Have Problems -- Will Fix

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Laree is stretched on the floor with closed eyes listening to her iPod. She’s motionless, but for an occasional turn of the head or flex of some seldom-used muscle. You need to look closely. There... did ya see that? She did it again. She’s practicing her Feldenkrais movements to gain more complete control of her muscular system. She’s enrolled in a course in the healing form and applies herself with dedication.

Though a weightlifter for 30 years, the girl is certain sitting at the computer between sets for 25 of those 30 has contributed to a cascade of muscle disconnects, misfirings and malfunctions. Gasp. The subsequent imbalance and atrophy has led to chronic pain, limited range of motion, structural inefficiency and a rotten disposition.

I lied about the rotten disposition... Laree is my knight in shining armor.

She’s learning to reactivate those muscles that have long ago shut down due to subtle or not-so-subtle bad habits established as we grope and lope our way through life. We’re all in this neuro-muscular predicament, yet not all of us know it, or are ready and willing to do anything about it.

Me? Given the choice, I hoisted the steel improperly rather than taking the time and effort to re-right my wrongs. Ugh! Lie on floor, be still, relax muscles, locate pain, twitch this way, wiggle that way, apply pressure, reassess pain, squirm, wriggle, relax and reassess. That is, until I’ve seen Laree light up with relief from persistent old pain and charged by her advancing muscle balance, efficiency and range of motion. Her improved natural ‘n healthy muscle action is delighting her. Pottery and potter, she’s become her own portion of clay to rework and form.

I watch as she isolates, discovers and creates, and I glean through her findings to select moves that’ll apply to me. Dig deeper, girl, concentrate. What stretches, which trigger points, will address my long-established structural predicaments? Half our tired bodies don’t work; the other halves are wearing out bearing the uneven load. Let’s fix what’s broke.

Keep an eye on her blog, bombers. They’re worth more than pure gold... a tank of gasoline, even.

I nibble tuna from a can and sip Bomber Blend from a jug; I wait and watch. We have plans.

It’s Sunday afternoon and we’re off to Santa Cruz’s Merry Bodybuilding Wonderland, one of our local amusement parks. Like kids, we’re excited with anticipation; it’s been a week since our last visit and we have many rides we want to explore. There’s the Monster Pulldown, the Big Curl and the Giant Dipper, the Huge Back Rower, the Horseshoe Tri Ripper and the spooky House of Deadlifts. The colorful arena is a thrill a second, a cheery test of daring and courage.

Actually, I exaggerate, overrate and lie (bad Dave): The Merry Bodybuilding Wonderland is not exactly merry, though it does bring joy; and wonderland is a bit of a push. The bodybuilding part is real, if you’re willing to slave regularly, eat right and keep your head together... no easy trick. The Cold Iron Foundry or the Mad Muscle Factory are more appropriate names, or in this case, The Weight Room Santa Cruz. Whatever; if it wasn’t there I’d die.

Last week, you might have noticed, I didn’t report for duty. Monday through Thursday I stayed at the plush Stanford Health Resort and Spa for a change of pace. Every now and then it’s good to get away from the same old beat, if you know what I mean.

While I was lying around, drinking and eating, having manicures, facials and massages, the caring and hospitable staff provided me with a stealthy, three-lead Medtronic ST100 ICD, or as the locals call it, a pacemaker. Took them six hours to do what normally takes two. What dedication... generosity... selflessness.

“Are you sure this is a pacemaker, Nurse Jane... I thought they were the size of a Cheerio... this is a big sucka... where do you suppose it goes?”

Whatever... seems to work. Looks cool, too.

We eventually made it to the land of wonder and I spent an hour and 15 minutes putzing around the main floor doing dumbbell alternate curls supersetted with triceps pushdowns, Hammer Chest presses with an abbreviated range of motion, seated lat rows with equal care and leg extensions, calf stretches and freehand squats in four neat bundles. I should have stopped after the lat rows (gasp, gurgle), but how does one know until it’s over... unless one is smart and without debilitating neuroses... or unless one listens to one’s all-knowing wife.

I’m thinking of getting together with Frank Zane to help me with my posing routine. Seems when I hit a side-chest-shot there’s a curious lump about the size of a Zippo protruding dramatically in the upper left pec. In retrospect, I shoulda had both pecs done at once... a double Zippo. Live ‘n learn. Anywho, we made it to the gym and back without a hitch, plenty of laughs and more than a thrill... that is to say, with authentic gratitude.

I thank ya’ll again for dropping us your numerous notes of encouragement (don’t crap out, Bomber), well-wishes (may your annoying whining stop), advice (eat vegetables), support (where would he be without Laree) and occasional admonishment (get a real job). Those to whom I failed to respond, excuse me. I’m slow on the keyboard and don’t think much faster.

I find I don’t need to go far to travel. Next stop, the tri-burrows (or tri-burroughs) of downtown Lamenectomy -- by the summer, I hope. After that, who knows? Perhaps, it’s back to the mountainous regions of squats, deadlifts and presses. I’ll keep you posted.

Post Script: The above note was scribbled on Sunday. It’s now Wednesday. I know what you’re saying, “Time flies.” How original. Anyway, I just returned from my second post-Zippo workout. I know what you’re saying, “Who cares?” Cute. Anyway, I’m feeling encouraged and strong and relieved. My range of motion, energy and strength have advanced substantially. You might note the upward curve of my lips. That’s a broad smile. Rather dashing, wouldn’t you say?

I might get a custom paint job on the ol’ craft, yellow with some red hot flames streaming from the cowl. Pull back on the throttle slowly, bombers... advance with caution... take a long look as the world goes by. It’s a beautiful place from a distance.

Godspeed... Captain Dave

There’s more...

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Go... Godspeed... Dave

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