HI, MIDDLE AGE
Jimmy Sollisch, a friend, plays basketball at age 53. But he’s hurting. Jimmy has plantar fasciitis and is temporarily out of action.
I’m glad Jimmy is hurt. Guys in their fifties, they think they’re going to be pain-free forever. It’s sick fun to watch them get zapped by the middle-age hand buzzer.
I ran into Ken Kurtz, who was on Penn’s all-star lacrosse team. Not now. In 1955. Ken is 78, but looks 65. He played singles tennis until several months ago. He said, “You have to know when to quit, but it’s impossible to know. I never know.” Ken has stopped playing lacrosse, squash, basketball and, now, singles tennis. His advice: “Take up painting.”
I said, “I already do things like that.” (Like klezmer music.)
Jimmy — the basketball player — wants to play basketball at 70. That’s like climbing Mount Everest.
Jimmy’s “painting” is cooking. He makes an excellent roasted lamb.
Sacrifice the lamb, kid. That’s the way to make it to basketball at 70.
Every decade or so, I throw out my elbow braces, thumb splints and knee braces. Sometimes I get emotionally attached to the stuff, and it’s hard to throw out certain items. Like, if you sleep with a molded arm splint for three months, you can’t just pitch it.
My friend Carl wears a knee brace when he plays tennis. I refuse. Knee braces are crutches.
I threw out my “clarinet tendinitis 1991” notes and exercise diagrams.
I did biofeedback back then. I did it just once.
I went to a blind masseuse who believed in inducing terrific pain in me. His dog should have stopped him. Deep tissue, deep purple. He was accused of rape. (Different customer.)
I have a new bag of orthotics — mostly knee braces and exercise diagrams.
I’m supposed to balance on one foot for 30 seconds with my eyes closed.
Try it. If you succeed, you are completely well.
You shouldn’t have read this. You might become “worried well.”