Why a good ergonomic chair comes with a chiropractor

A year ago today I was attacked by an ergonomic chair in our office. The following surveillance photos are proof of how dangerous these chairs can be. Especially if you don’t actually know how to sit in one… 

imageBeing a journalist, I am trained to notice the most subtle signs of something amiss.

A hesitant glance.

A bead of sweat.

A chair that appears to be built backwards.

So, as I walked through our composition department this morning on my way to the news room, I immediately noticed that Peggy’s standard-issue office chair had been replaced with a broken piece of furniture. Who would do this to poor Peggy with the lower back problems? Why not replace her desk with a TV tray while you’re at it? Maybe we could move the copy machine on top of a book shelf so she has to use a ladder!

Poor, poor Peggy.

Then I remembered her mentioning she was getting a new “ergonomic” chair. Using the deductive skills I’ve developed over 16 years as a journalist,  I came to the following conclusion:

This must be her new chair.

I stared at it for a moment, trying to picture how one would ergonomically sit in it. I decided there was only one way to find out — a process that was captured by one of our office’s surveillence cameras…  Continue reading

I just remembered! I’m slowly replacing my memory with Post-Its!

imageWhen my wife called to remind me about letting our dog out at noon, I instinctively retrieved a Post-It from the desk drawer and scrawled “Dog at noon,” then stuck it to the computer monitor.

This required shuffling a series of other yellow Post-Its into order of importance, with things like “Call about hair cut,” “Go to dry cleaners” and “Clean out van” written on them.

That one, of course, was moved to the very end of the line.

Sadly, they’re all things I should be able to remember on my own and usually do; like when I’m staring into the closet for a pair of pants to wear. Later, I got into the van and was gently reminded by a shocking-yellow piece of paper to “get gas.”

It was while sitting at the pump a short time later that the notion of Post-It dependency hit me.  Continue reading

Age is relative, especially for an all-beef patty

imageAs I mentioned, I turned 50 several weeks ago. The good news is I have a friend who just turned 60.

Relative to him, I’m a young man (Of which I will keep reminding him until that sad day when, unexpectedly, he knocks out my front teeth with his walker).

My point is, when it comes to age, what seems relative can quickly change.

Yesterday, for example, I was eating at a fast-food place when I noticed a pair of college-aged girls taking glances at me from another table. This has happened before, which is why I instinctively went through a series of mental checkpoints drawn from previous experience:

1) Is there condiment blowback in my hair, on my chin or around my nostril(s)?
2) What am I wearing today, and is there any part I forgot to snap closed, zip up or buckle down?
3) Did I unknowingly allow any part of my body’s internal gastro process to be heard externally?
4) Am I slouching, hunched or otherwise postured in a manner that makes it appear I’m protecting my $3.99 Value Meal, possibly to the death?

And lastly,
5) Is there someone much younger and better-looking sitting directly behind me?  Continue reading

When you celebrate your 50th birthday at work

image I’m not sure what my parents were thinking when they had sex 50 years and 9 months ago.

Actually I guess I do, and well… Ewwww.

Anyway, if they had stopped just long enough to glance at a calander for 2016, they would’ve CLEARLY seen that my 50th birthday would probably fall on a work day. And a deadline day no less! Not that they could’ve know that. But why even take the chance?

With a little planning, and some restraint for God’s sake, they could’ve avoided putting me in this situation.

Even our local doughnut shop got in on the act by making this…  Continue reading

Ashes to ashes, dust to… Hey, not so fast!

imageThis summer I’ll turn 50.

There. I said it.

The truth is, I haven’t given it much thought because I don’t feel 50. Sure, there are some days I roll out of bed, walk to the bathroom and realize the creaking and popping sounds I hear aren’t coming from the floorboards. And yes, I’ve noticed when I’m cleaning out my razor it looks like someone used it to shave our neighbor’s grey Schnauzer. But most days I throw on a rocker T-shirt or slim-fit dress shirt, leave it untucked over my jeans, lace up my superhero Vans or hiking boots and am on my way.

Then I rush back in for a second trip to the rest room.

But still… I’m technically on my way.

However, over the last several months I’ve started getting reminders from society’s collective data bank that I am getting older. The first came in my email back in January, when I got one of those Singles Looking for Love In Your Area! messages. I’ve received many of these over the years, and they always include the image of an attractive 30-something woman in a sun dress laughing with an equally attractive 30-something man as they sip wine on a beach at sunset.

Not anymore.  Continue reading

No, you’re not seeing things; I’m wearing glasses now

imageIt all started a few weeks ago when my wife and I were watching a Japanese movie with subtitles. Being  that I’m the only one in the family who doesn’t wear glasses, I gladly explained to her that Lord Yushido had demanded, “A ferret army be dropped by helicopter upon my enima lesions!”

I’m no expert on early 1700s Japanese history, but I’m pretty sure Shoguns didn’t travel by helicopter. And the rest of that statement… I don’t even want to think about.

“When’s the last time you had an eye exam?” my wife asked, pressing pause and donning her glasses. “And by the way, it says, ‘A fierce army be delivered on horseback to break my enemy’s legions.'”

“Yeah, that makes more sense,” I said, and admitted I hadn’t had an eye exam since middle school. Did I mention I’ll be 50 in a few months? I’ve always prided myself on still having a full head of hair, being in relatively good shape and not needing glasses.

Thanks to Lord Yushido and his lesions, it seemed I might have to settle for two-out-of-three. As we arrived at the optometrist’s office the following weekend, I was still hopeful my eyes had just been tired lately. Or that I’d merely had a minor stroke.

We have teenagers at home, so it was possible.  Continue reading

Turning 49 doesn’t matter much when you don’t act your age anyway

image Last night, a good friend suddenly and without warning offered a pre-emptive toast to my turning 49 next week. I call him a “good” friend because, until as recently as last night, I considered him a “great” friend. But I honestly can’t remember his name now.

Haha! Just kidding!

We were actually never very close.

Ok, in all seriousness, until his good-natured ribbing about turning 49 (I still can’t stop laughing!), I hadn’t given it much thought. That’s because I don’t really think about myself relative to age.

Relative to the nearest strip of bacon, coffee shop and my wife, sure.

But age?

Not really. Continue reading

Male-pattern baldness linked to excessive ear, nose hair (probably)

If you are a male over 40, chances are your ear hair has grown 2 centimeters since you read this.

If you are a male over 40, chances are your ear hair has grown 2 centimeters since you began reading this.

What I’m about to tell you may be considered vain. On the other hand, it could also be considered a responsible act of brushfire prevention. I’m talking, of course, about excessive ear and nose hair. I bring this up because of a recent conversation I had with someone who wanted to express his opinion on…

Something.

To be honest, I can’t remember what it was because I couldn’t overlook the fact that he appeared to have a chinchilla stuck in each ear.

I tried to be a good listener.

Tried to look reflective.

At least until I realized saliva had pooled in my open mouth.

As you might expect, this person was a male over the age of 40, which seems to be about the time follicles in men’s ears and noses begin producing hair at an alarming rate. I say alarming because I’ve heard of men purposely growing enough ear and nose hair to make a comb over. Continue reading

I just remembered: I am slowly replacing my memory with Post-Its

image When my wife called to remind me about letting the dogs out at noon, I instinctively retrieved a Post-It from the desk drawer and scrawled “Dogs at noon,” then stuck it to the computer monitor.

This required shuffling a series of other yellow Post-Its into order of importance, with things like “Call about hair cut,” “Go to dry cleaners” and “Clean out van” written on them.

That one, of course, was moved to the very end of the line.

Sadly, they’re all things I should be able to remember on my own and usually do; like when I’m staring into the closet for a pair of pants to wear.

Later, I got into the van and was gently reminded by a shocking-yellow piece of paper to “get gas.” It was while sitting at the pump a short time later that the notion of Post-It dependency hit me. In the beginning, I was only an occasional user, jotting down out-of-the-ordinary reminders. You know, things like a doctor’s appointment, or that it was time to change the oil.

Then, “Change cat box” and “Take out trash” began appearing on the bathroom mirror, or stuck to the alarm clock — painfully obvious things that were reminders in and of themselves. Continue reading

If the jeans fit, wear them (At least until your legs go numb)

(Today’s post is unusual because, for the first time, this one actually comes as a request. To put into perspective just how unusual this is, think of drinking a beet frappuccino, then requesting another one. Then again, most people aren’t Carrie Rubin at The Write Transition where, in addition to her terrific perspective on life and writing, she also offers a “very tasty” beet frappuccino recipe…)

image I have a favorite pair of jeans I refuse to give up, and which, over the last few years, my wife has attempted to eradicate on six different occasions. She hates these jeans because, according to her, they are “ripped, frayed and embarrassing.” Particularly when I forget to change them before going out somewhere in public, such as our front yard. Her attempts to get rid of my jeans have escalated from them being “lost,” to an incident last week in which she claimed my jeans “spontaneously combusted,” forcing her to put out the flames with the nearest extinguishing device: A meat cleaver.

She later apologized for hacking my jeans, telling me she reacted instinctively to a dangerous situation. I told her I understood and that, instinctively, I planned to continue wearing my newly perforated jeans, at least until the remaining threads give way to the force of gravity and I am suddenly de-pantsed.

Probably while raking the yard. Continue reading