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Older people can be boring when they complain about their aches and pains and I don’t want to be any exception. Last week, my back was killing me. What caused this debilitating pain? Deadlines of course.

Stress from having to conduct interviews and write 1,000 word articles the same night caused the muscles in my upper back to tighten up like cables on a suspension bridge. Except I was bearing the whole weight of the world”not just a roadway. Instead of seeking medical care, I tried the self-cure”re-adjusting my attitude until I wasn’t stressed out anymore.

Just as my back became emotionally pain-free, I physically injured it. It’s a testimony to my superb physical conditioning that I somehow hurt myself playing catch in the backyard. As I walked around hunched over, I at least had the satisfaction of telling people it was a “sports injury.”

I guess it’s all part of the deterioration that sets in after a half-century. I noticed, for example, that someone turned down the thermostat on my body temperature. I have to wear more layers of clothing, although pulling on long johns in mid-May seemed a bit extreme.

I found fatigue was arriving earlier in the evening than normal. I used to go out and socialize every other night. Suddenly, I was too tired to keep it up. Plus, I felt really comfortable staying home in my own little world.

Like some older people, I was also getting crankier. I “fired” one business after another for perceived mistreatment. There weren’t many shops and restaurants left that I wasn’t boycotting.

I wasn’t just getting more rigid in my attitudes; my body was as creaky as the Tin Man’s after a soaking rain.

Addressing my physical failings was my New Year’s resolution. I wanted to put my body in “dry dock” and have it repaired head to toe. I started at the top, getting teeth crowned and new glasses.

Being able to see and eat has been great. But I’m afraid my aging process is contagious. I like to hang out with my 11 year-old son but I may be turning him into a grandpa. He has attended classical concerts with me. He likes to cook with me. But the other night was really scary.

We were walking up and down the aisles of a video store; almost ready to give up, when he spotted a DVD with Humphrey Bogart on the cover. “Is he a detective or a gangster in this one?” he asked. When I said gangster, he grabbed it. He could easily relate to the main character because Bogart was prematurely gray at the temples, just like his old man.

I may be having too much elderly influence on my son but my aging problems are miniscule compared to some. I have two high school classmates who injured themselves walking. As for me, if I can just avoid low throws and tight deadlines, I should be able to walk upright this week.

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball...