The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

It Took 48 Years

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How often do you say that you don’t feel your age?  You don’t!  And why should you hide that feeling?  It’s grown difficult the past decade to recognize on sight people who are in your age range because you don’t feel you look like them physically (despite your grayed-out goatee), plus you can still run faster than you did when you were sixteen, plus you’re a high school teacher and it’s true what they say about the kids keeping you young.  If all that isn’t enough, you’ve never seen cause to stop doing some things you’ve done since you were a kid, like playing video games and watching your fair share of animated television shows.

Sadly, this feeling of not feeling your age has been shot in the ass in the last month.  Perhaps you should have paid closer mind to the consequences of hubris as conveyed in Classical Mythology.


It started with tuna salad.  You’ve got a damn good recipe (try it!).  But it makes too much for one person, so you usually give some away.  You didn’t last time.  You kept it around longer than you should, which you swear wasn’t that long, and bam!  Within two days, you had enough gas to inflate The Hindenburg (with potentially the same results).  That was followed by violent diarrhea.  Like Krakatoa, minus the lava.  The only good thing that came from this whole experience was learning a new definition of “uncomfortable.”  Some people might be thinking to themselves, “I already know what uncomfortable means…”.  They don’t.  Uncomfortable is when you’re leasing an Air BnB in Ann Arbor, Michigan before the food poisoning fully set in, and then the food poisoning fully sets in.  It arrived in a manner similar to the Uruk Hai arriving at Helm’s Deep.  And you weren’t staying in one of those private-access, private-entrance Air BnBs.  It was the spare bedroom in a young Asian doctor’s townhouse, down the hall from her master bedroom.  At 3:30am, you had to make the longest walk of your life fifteen feet down the hall and knock on her door and ask her to take you to the emergency room.

Stories that start like that never end well unless the first line is “Dear Penthouse…”.

So you got a few bags of hydration at UM Hospital, laid low the next day, and still made it to the soccer match you were there for in the first place.  You even had enough pep in your step to tailgate and fully enjoy the experience.  But be careful, because, “…you’re still weak and dehydrated and blah blah blah,” said the ER doctor.  No problem.  You can chill and recover.  But for two weeks?  It turns out you were so gutted that the probiotics in your gut were blasted away with everything else.  So you can’t digest dairy.  Every time you had a big bowl of Honey-Nut Cheerios and a container of Chobani for breakfast, which is practically every other day, you were treated to an episode of The Return of Violent Diarrhea.  You can’t figure this out until you take the probiotics your regular doctor said to take, and cut out all dairy.  They probably told you this in the ER.  That was probably the “blah blah blah” part.  Great job listening, wiseass.

Things settle down in time for you to take a trip the next week with the girlfriend to Door County.  You’re feeling strong and healthy, mostly, and are happy you made your summer weight goal even if the last few pounds came by way of diarrhea and dehydration.  Monday morning rolls around, and you wake up with a back spasm.  But this isn’t your typical back spasm.  Your typical back spasms are in your trapezius, and even those aren’t so typical since you haven’t had one for eight years.  But you know what a back spasm feels like, and what you’re feeling feels like one, right there at your right kidney.  Damn, what a sting.  Still, no worries.  You know how to deal with spasms.  Some ice and Aleve are enough.  Cut back a little bit on your regular workout routine, and it’ll work out.  Even the chiropractor a few days later said, “Yep.  That’s a back spasm.”  She tweaked the hell out of it with her thumbs (which outta be registered with the police) and told you to put some heat on it.  Okay.  Gotcha.

You wake up a week ago and head to yoga class to work out some kinks and get some good stretching in.  It’s hard to believe that back spasm is still with you, huh?  But hey—you’re so active in the summer, so maybe that’s why it’s lingering.  But what about those funny bumps you feel on your back at your kidney, right where the spasm occurred?  When you look in the mirror at home after class:  Holy fucking shit.  Those things look nasty!  And they’re wrapping around from your back to your navel.  What the hell is going on?

Shingles is what the hell is going on.  Congratulations.  You’re officially getting old.  It took 43 years, but Shingles (also known as Chickenpox II:  The Reckoning) has finally emerged.  It’s been waiting since you were four years old.  All it needed was to find a time when your immune system was weak, combined with some life stresses.  “That wasn’t a back spasm,” your doctor says.  “That was Shingles emerging.  Here’s three different medications to help.”  And, well, fuck.  You don’t even take one medication.  Now here’s three.  Better fire up that pill reminder on the Walgreen’s app, wiseass.

So now you have Shingles after food poisoning that you completely underestimated the effects of.  And why did you underestimate it?  Probably because you don’t feel your age.  Which translates into you truly don’t believe you’re as old as you are, so why would you worry so much about routine food poisoning?  Because Shingles is why.  You’re most likely to get it once you’re in your fifties.  Forty-eight is close to fifty (you looked on a measuring tape to confirm this).  Now you’ve got to deal with the rash, the ongoing ache from the back-spasm-in-disguise, the fatigue and general malaise, and the Post-Herpetic Neuralgia.  It’s too soon to tell, but something with so many syllables is generally not good, even if it is preceded by “Dear Penthouse…”.  You text your friend, and he texts back, “I definitely don’t want post-hook-up-herpes necromancy.”

It’s a helluva way to spend the last month of summer vacation.  Here’s a good idea:  Stop saying that you don’t feel your age.


Written by seeker70

August 26, 2018 at 6:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. That sounds decidedly un-fun. Well, at least you don’t have to act your age.

    Adam D. Vollmers

    August 27, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    • Damn straight, AV. It sounds like you might be volunteering your services to assure I maintain that particular end.


      August 27, 2018 at 9:28 pm

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