Who is to blame?


From time to time, as regular reader-masochists are aware, I reflect in this space on the fascinating, rapid, and debilitating nature of the aging process. Clearly, the phenomenon is quite timely and profound for me these days.

My catalog of aging effects continues to grow. So does the severity of those effects. A brief update:

1. Chronic subcutaneous calcaneal bursitis in my right heel. Translation: My right heel hurts all the time. I cannot run without a profound limp. Occasionally, I feel as though there is a gnome or tiny ghost standing behind me stabbing said bodily location with a penknife. The condition will likely persist through my lifetime. Yippee.

2. Mild rotator cuff injury in my left shoulder, almost certainly from playing tennis for roughly 50 years. This is currently a minor problem, thank goodness, though I am worried about it getting significantly more debilitating and painful in the near future.

3. I haven’t seen this on an X-ray, mind you, but judging by my, ahem, micturating “schedule” lately, I possess a prostate that has grown to the size of a healthy grapefruit. Perhaps further explanation is in order: One’s prostate is normally the size of a walnut. When it enlarges, it presses on one’s bladder. This causes one to feel the need—indeed, to possess a…well…“pressing” need—to pee frequently. Very frequently. This need does not cease during sleeping hours, incidentally, so it impacts the quality and quantity of my rest, which affects the quality and quantity of my mood, patience level, etc. You may query the amigos and Mrs. Amigo if you doubt this. I am certain they will confirm.

4. My hair, gray since I reached my mid-20s, has become white and alarmingly thin. Once upon a time, some folks mistook me for the amigos’ grandfather. I fear they now wonder if I’m great-granddad. I wouldn’t blame them. Still worse, I know for a fact that there are law students who, upon meeting my wife, are startled to learn she is NOT my daughter. Ouch.

5. My memory has become a sad joke. I can’t remember names, words, events, appointments, the location of my reading glasses, or why I walked into the kitchen. Now, what was I talking about….??

6. Oh, yeah, speaking of reading glasses: My vision is doing some funky things. A few weeks ago I noticed a small insect, perhaps a gnat, had lodged itself in the lower left corner of my left eye. I closed the eyelid and rubbed. Still there. I gently swabbed my cornea with my right index finger. Still there. I stared at the gnat. It moved across my eye, slowly, deliberately. One might say it floated. I informed my optometrist-wife (you know, the one who looks like my daughter) of the insect who had taken up residence in my eye and asked her if she could, pretty please with sugar on top, remove it. “Ha!” she responded. “That’s a floater, caused by a PVD.” “A ‘PVD’??” I asked. “Yeah. A Posterior Vitreous Detachment. Probably nothing to worry about. You’re at about the right age for that. Let me know if youexperience something like a shade being drawn down in your left eye. That would be, you know, kinda serious.”

So there you have it, dear reader. A cornucopia of physical deterioration that quite literally ranges from my heel to the top of my head, and all points in between. A smorgasbord of afflictions and weaknesses with highfalutin’ names like “chronic subcutaneous calcaneal bursitis” and “posterior vitreous detachment”. A faulty memory. Problems with urinating. Snowy hair. An insect taking up residence in my left eye. I am, as Roseanne Rosanna-Danna might offer, “a reeealllll attractive guy.”

One obvious question flows from all this: What is the cause of my condition(s)? Let’s not insult each other’s intelligence. The answer to that is self-evident, is it not? It’s not poor nutrition—my mother fed me well, and my wife ensures that I get three healthy, well-balanced meals a day, too, with lots of fiber and nutrients. It’s not exposure to toxins or industrial waste. It’s not even the fevered swamp in Washington, D.C.—though I would love to toss the whole lot under the bus, truly I would. It’s not climate change or a poor relationship with my in-laws or drug addiction or childhood trauma.

No, no. The answer is clear. The evidence is overwhelming. It’s not an accident that 60 percent of my symptoms evaporate when Krista and I go on vacation ALONE and that they recur within 20 minutes of returning home. I mean, the last time we went to Arizona for a week my hair even turned brown.

Yes, that’s right. It’s the fault of the children, the grinning, “let’s-take-dad-down-scheming” amigos. If you doubt me, just watch. In a few years, when they’re all out of the house and living on their own, take a careful gander at me and Mrs. Amigo as we walk along Park Drive, Greenville, OH and ask yourself: Doe she look more like his daughter or his wife? Quod Erat Demonstrandum…


By Timothy Swensen

Contributing Columnist

Timothy Swensen is the author of the bi-weekly column series Virtue and Mischief that is published every Tuesday in The Daily Advocate. He can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author

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