Altitude Sickness, Column

Goodbye, 2016!

As you read this, 2016 is over. 2016 is roaring to a close, taking nearly every talented person with it, Pat Harrington, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Dan Haggerty, Glen Frey, Abe Vigota, George Gaynes, Tony Burton, George Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, Robert Horton, Joe Santos, Joe Garagiola, Ken Howard, Peter Brown, Garry Shandling, James Noble, Patty Duke, Doris Roberts, Prince, William Shallert, Morley Safer, Alan Young, Mohamed Ali, Anton Yelchin, Noel Neill, Gary Marshall, Steven Hill, Gene Wilder, Hugh O’Brien, Arnold Palmer, Robert Vaughn, Florence Henderson, Fidel Castro, Ron Glass, Van Williams, John Glenn, Alan Thicke, Bernard Fox, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Sharon Jones, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds.
2016 has been death on a stick for the world of talent, and for the folks listed above, if you don’t know their names, you know their work.
Death meandered through 2016 and took some of our best, while I am sure I would walk right by KFed and Kim Kardashian in the freezer aisle of the grocery store. Seriously? Couldn’t it have taken Simon Cowell or the cast of Twilight, instead? At least the Grim Reaper took the guy from “Grizzly Mountain.”
Anyway, horror movie purge fantasies aside, I had an interesting development over the last week.  I bent over to pick up my keys from the floor, and with a snap I was on the floor with a sprained sacrum… Let alone all of the skiing, lifting, stationary biking, warmups, cooldowns, yoga…all of the things that I do daily to keep myself in tip top shape—it was picking up my keys that brought me down.
I have spent a week sitting still not doing much, lots of warmups, lots of ab work, lots of riding on the stationary trainer (like two hours per day, one in the evening, and one at night). I guess that doesn’t sound like sitting around, but it is, after a fashion. The pain in my lower back has been exquisite, and my sacral spine will literally not flex at all. Standing for any extended period of time is excruciating, as is sitting or lying for any extended period of time, so I have taken up levitating.
All snark aside, this is kind of true, because during times of lower back distress, instead of just going to the chiropractor and doing physical therapy, I also hang upside down from a pair of gravity boots on a pull-up bar that hangs in my stairs.  This is a vital tool in dealing with a sprained or twisted sacrum or sacral spine. The weight of inversion will straighten the spine and loosen the intravertebral muscles.
This is so vital, in fact, that the first thing I do when I look at a new apartment is look for a place where I can hang a pullup bar and be upside down on it with my arms extended and not touching the floor, which implies a nine-foot gap between floor and ceiling, no small order in an apartment.  This requirement often necessitates creativity and the use of stairwells.
To close this week’s missive, Pip is back to his usual hateful ways, my back hurts like a son of a gun, and I now have to figure out how I want to do rehab.
On the brighter side, I invite you all to come see me perform stand-up comedy on a Friday night at the Cortina Inn (every Friday through early March), or music on a Saturday night (also at the Cortina Inn). Shows start at 9 p.m.

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