My back is "out" - on vacation, presumably - an annual event - down to Bellingham to shop perhaps or maybe Mexico for some sun.
It's a real inconvenience, in any case; my movements are restricted and painful and the only place I can find a modicum of comfort is, like a hooker, on my back, in bed with a book - more of a "booker," I guess.
This means that I am even grumpier than usual, deprived of the exercise room and the swimming pool, dependent on others for my daily needs, I am tempted to scream, "Why me?" or "It's not fair!"
It is here that we are jolted back into perspective by real life, by something as senseless and incomprehensible as the recent tragedy in Connecticut, an event that need not be discussed here, for it has been and probably still is all over the news media, subject to post mortem analysis by lay persons and experts alike, from the president on down; words fail even the most literate at a time such as this.
My bad back doesn't even register on the scale of suffering when young children have been killed.
Myriad solutions will be trotted out to prevent a repetition of this heinous act, none of them new, all of them against the backdrop of the right to bear arms and the ease with which some nut-job can get his hands on firearms.
Many refuse to watch or listen to the news, the reason being that 90 per cent of the news is bad and depressing and indicative of how far we have fallen.
That is their right. I watch because it is the devil, and I want to know what he looks like so that I can perhaps keep my own children safe, although in Columbine or Connecticut there wasn't much those parents could have done.
This is a count-your-blessings situation, where we kiss the ground and thank whatever god or God we have where we live, and that our biggest problem is a bad back or a car in need of repair or the threat of the socialists winning next spring's election.
We still have crime here and children living in poverty and pedestrians getting knocked off weekly by multi-tasking motorists.
We are not immune, and in no way do we wish to trivialize the loss of a loved one in a car accident. But compared to the horrendous crap coming down in other parts of the world, we are fortunate, indeed.
This is the kind of sentiment in which I wish to indulge at this time of the year. By my third eggnog with rum, I'm really starting to tally up my blessings, sciatica be damned.
I am surrounded by family and friends and I'm thinking that it doesn't get much better for a bald man on a fixed income who's closing in on three score and ten, and with the help of the pharmaceutical industry, might crank out a few more Christmases.
So from me and mine to you and yours, a trouble-free holiday and thanks for all the kind comments in the grocery store and elsewhere.
It is a rare privilege to have access to a soapbox such as this, especially for an egocentric smartass such as me to rant and rave, and I don't take it lightly.
I hope I have given some of you a bit of joy over the year, because that's all you're going to get! So enjoy, 'cause it'll all be over in five or six days, all those hours of shopping reduced to a few frenetic moments tearing the paper and ribbons off another pair of slippers or a gift card or a gym membership, before we climb to the summit and start the long slide down into 2013.
Which means, next week: Yours Truly's annual Rear End Review, a mocking, irreverent look back at the events of the past year.
@ Copyright 2013