Could you Please Stand to my Left?

I woke up this morning unable to turn my head to the right. With the exception of mandatory prostate exams, nothing says “Hey world, I’m 42!” more than turning your entire torso in situations where a simple neck twist would suffice.

If you’re a high school football player or young rodeo star who can’t move his neck, there’s a certain badge of courage there: you survived a tough hit, or were thrown from an ornery bronco. It’s not only youthful, it’s masculine. You were engaged in an activity that tested the limits of your body, and although you failed, at least you were attempting to be awesome. There’s integrity and honor in that. In other words, making a clockwise turn at the hips to address a woman next to you in line at Target might be somewhat sexy if you’re 19 and wearing a cowboy hat, but at 40 it simply indicates that you should consider stretching before reaching for things.

That’s how I did it — at least I think that’s how (strike one — cause of injury unclear). I was in bed  on my stomach (strike two — injury occurred while lying down), and simply extended my arm to cuddle with my iPhone (strike three — an iPhone is very lightweight). That’s when a shooting pain traveled from the base of my skull to my shoulder blade. I froze, in hopes that remaining motionless for a few moments might encourage my muscles  to reconsider.  After a few minutes, I attempted to lift my head, but apparently someone had driven a railroad spike through my neck. Hurray! Today I’ll be Frankenstein, and I’m supposed to be “the helper dad” at my kid’s preschool.

Few things are more frightening to children than a 6’6″ man with limited movement. It’s a survival instinct; their monkey brains know that a beast is more dangerous when it’s injured. Of course, that’s not true of humans, but evolution is a slow process, and my condition is going to trigger these kids’ flight instincts just like an angry bleeding mastodon might have their great great great great great great grandfathers. I have to leave in 45 minutes and I have a visible IcyHot pad on my neck. Keep me in your thoughts.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

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