I am now a finalist in the Back Spasm Olympics. I'm favored to win the gold, if only for the amount of time I've spent training for this event. Yesterday alone I competed in the Can She Put The Apples In Her Cart event at our local grocery store. Although it was touch and go, moan and cry, for a bit, I did manage to finally get the bag of red delicious into the cart. Later, it was the Reach Down To Get Bananas relay. I was stuck at a 45 degree angle for a few seconds, but huffing and grunting like a power lifter, I finally managed to grab the bananas and get myself into an upright position once again. As with any sport, the spectators are key. I had a few of them rooting for me during my training yesterday.
There was the cashier at The Coach House. While rummaging in my purse for my debit card to pay for my purchases, I was suddenly thrust into the Can She Stand For Two More Minutes semi-finals. The clerk looked at my clenched jaw, listened to my low power-training moan and saw my body jerk.
"Are you all right?" she queried.
"I...am...fine" I managed to choke out between clenched teeth. Sheesh, she must not associate with athletic people like me or she'd know I was just fine. I could tell she'd never make the grueling demands of the Back Spasm Olympics. It's not for wussies.
Then I was off to the store to buy some broccoli. Vegetables are quite important for a healthy body, which is how I managed to hang on to my cart with a grip equaled only by super glue and make it to the checkout counter without the broccoli. Standing there, I pondered whether or not I had enough power reserves to maneuver back through the aisles, pick out the vegetable and return to the cashier. Not wanting to over tax my body while in the rigors of training, I explained my situation to the svelte brunette manning the cash register.
"I'm sorry, but could I ask you a favor?"
"I'm having trouble walking right now, and I forgot to grab some broccoli. Would you mind getting it for me?"
She gave me an appraising look and must have pondered what she'd do with me if I fell over in her line and how good that would look for the company.
"Yes, of course. One bunch or two?" she asked.
Then she said I could pay now and they would bring the groceries out to me. Thinking that might save my athletic reserves for the upcoming Climbing Into The Van event I knew I was facing, I agreed.
But first I had to win the Can She Make It To Her Vehicle In The Parking Lot event. This isn't a sprinting event, it's more of an endurance test. I caught a break in that there were store fronts I could hold on to for support as I shuffled my way to the parking lot. Once there it became a little trickier for me. There was nothing to hold on to and I admit that the thought of defeat briefly crossed my mind. Briefly. Then I sucked it up, along with some oxycontin and muscle relaxants and bravely forged ahead. Making it to my van seconds ahead of the kid with my groceries, I leaned on my vehicle and tried to take a deep breath. Bad idea. Short, puffed breaths, preferably taken in through clenched teeth is the only way to go during grueling events such as this one. Hyperventilation is your friend. Once I felt my face tingling, I knew I was in the zone.
“Where do you want your groceries, ma'am?” the straight-spined youth asked of me.
I had a good answer for that but figured he was too young for that kind of language and told him to just put them in the back seat.
Then I was alone for my final and most exhausting event of the day. The Van Climb. In the end, all great athletes are alone. They compete against themselves. I am such an athlete. I mentally tossed out the traitorous idea that having a power lift installed to aid me in climbing into my van would be a good idea, I bravely grabbed the steering wheel for leverage and pulled.
Bad idea #2. Never use your arms when your upper back is spasming. It can result in the Super Spasm, which reduces such professionals as myself to simpering, puddles of sobbing protoplasm. I'm human. I'm not ashamed to admit that I succumbed to this urge, but not until I had huffed and puffed and pulled myself into the drivers seat. Then and only then did I let go and my tears were tears of joy.. Every world class athlete has a crew to thank for helping them reach the pinnacle of their career. I'd like to thank Ben & Jerry, Nabisco, McDonald's, Frito-Lay and many others for their contributions over the years. I couldn't have made it without you.