M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Monday, March 15, 2004  

M. Giant Got Back

So, Trash and I bought a treadmill over the Internet a couple of weeks ago. We got a really good deal, and they even delivered it to our house. Of course, about a quarter of the price we paid was shipping and handling. I hope most of that was for the shipping, because the difficult part of the handling was left up to us.

We got home from work and the box was standing there in the middle of our driveway like a cardboard phone booth, only heavier. We don’t own a hand truck, but we do own a small, wheeled luggage cart, whose design parameters I must have exceeded by an alarming margin when I wedged it under the bottom edge of the box. The axle was u-shaped by the time I got the thing wheeled around to the front door.

Trash helped me wrestle it up the front stoop, an operation that was roughly akin to rotating the tires on a Buick without a jack. And it still remained to manhandle it through the front door, through the entryway, across the kitchen, down the basement stairs, and into the TV room. We weren’t going to make it.

“How attached are you to the idea of exercising inside?” I asked Trash, but she had a better idea: open up the box and take the thing down in pieces. Which we did, and which ended up working out better than toppling the box down the stars would have, but the primary component was still so heavy that removing several sections of iron frame and twenty pounds of hand weights only reduced the overall load by a small fraction.

We slid it across the kitchen floor, using a vast expanse of the vivisected box to protect the newish tiles. We managed to get it to the top of the stairs. Now came the fun part.

Grunting. Swearing. Heaving.

“Okay, that wasn’t so bad. Only eleven steps to go.”

Step 2: We’d take a break if we weren’t both needed to hold the thing upright.

Step 3: Is that stair tread splintering?

Step 4: If we ever sell this house, the treadmill goes with it.

Step 5: If we can get this downstairs, we won’t need it, because we’ll be either a) so buff by that point that a treadmill will be useless to us, or b) quadriplegic.

Steps six through nine kind of run together in my fevered memory, but I’m pretty sure that it was step ten when the spinal disc between my L2 and L3 vertebrae popped out of its slot and whickered across the room like a gory, gelatinous tiddlywink, ultimately pasting itself to the far wall.

Okay, I exaggerate. It barely broke the skin.

No, I’m still exaggerating. I’m fine. Absolutely fine. Never better. Not one iota of back pain.

Yes, I’m exaggerating again.

At first it just felt like a muscle strain, like my ass does after a night of bowling (what did you think I was going to say? I’m talking about muscle pain. That other thing leaves a different kind of pain entirely, you pervs. Jeez). I figured it would be fine in a couple of days. And the pain wasn’t bad, even at that moment; I’d say it was about a mild “ow” on a scale from zero to OH MY GOD IN HEAVEN IT HURTS IT HURTS SO BAD PLEASE JESUS MOMMY MAKE IT STOP! In a couple of days it would be gone entirely and it would be like it had never happened.

That was about two weeks ago. That mild “ow” has gone down several font sizes, and usually it’s absent entirely, but that wet, heavy snowfall from a week and a half ago had my new friends L2 and L3 informing me in no uncertain terms that it was time to stop shoveling soon. It’s not bad enough that I need to go to the doctor, I don’t think; it should go away if I give myself some time off from moving pianos. If not, I’ll go in. I’m setting a firm deadline: April 30, 2015.

I’ve always had a certain fear of back injuries; one hears about people who hurt their backs and they’re never the same. They have pain until they have surgery, or die, or die having surgery. Or they get hooked on pills and turn into Chevy Chase. I’ve been lucky with my back all my life, especially when one takes into account the fact that my sister, Debitch the Younger, has had problems with hers in the past. Factor in my puny physique and it’s a wonder I can even pick up a bowling ball without spending the rest of the week in traction. Although I’ve never moved furniture for a living, I’ve moved it for friends plenty of times. I never had a minor injury until now (knock on bone), and I’m not kidding myself that this “injury” is anything but the most minor one possible. I’m seeing it as a warning that I’m thirty-four, and the days when I can lift items twice my weight with my back instead of my legs are drawing to a close. And you should be careful too, lest one day you hurt yourself to some similarly insignificant degree and find yourself reduced to inflating your stultifying tale to a thousand-word yammer just to burn off some bandwidth.

As for me, I’ll be fine. I’ll spend a few hours on that thrice-damned treadmill over the next few weeks, and override my mild back discomfort with some severe calf and shin pain until I’m back at a hundred per cent.

In the meantime, you want to grab me a soda? I don’t think I should get up.

Today’s best search phrase: “Garbage disposal personification.” I have only the vaguest idea as to why somebody would want to research that, and it can only point to a concept for the WORST CHILDREN'S SHOW EVER.

posted by M. Giant 6:50 PM 0 comments


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