Thursday, July 27, 2006

No, Doctor, REALLY!

Actually, the bizarre fact is that my doctor will believe me.

This problem has been nagging me for three weeks, and it simply won't go away. It badgered me all through the performance run of As You Like It. Not that Shakespeare consulted me (the bastard never does); this part, I didn't like. Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of pain.

Especially a pain in the neck. Not figuratively in this case, but literally. My neck is out of alignment, and none of the nifty physical disciplines that they teach in acting training helped. In fact, it's theatre training that caused this situation.

Try not to laugh too much when I say what it is. Because I'm not kidding. If you laugh, I will know it, and my feelings will be deeply hurt. Isn't it enough punishment to read the newspaper every morning, thinking naively that surely, today won't be even more ludicrous than yesterday? Every damn morning, I'm proven wrong.

Now, is everyone familiar with "Repetitive Motion Injuries"?

Oh, for Lugh's sake, Google it and come back.

The more familar ones are carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, cantaloupe tendon.... this is not one of them.

It's a sewing injury.

That's right, I said a frigging sewing injury! I've been sewing since I was 17, and have owned my own machine since I was 19. I decided to make (we call it "build" in the biz) part of my costume, as I'd have ongoing use for the piece (relatively unadorned Elizabethan pants). Hey, I know what I'm doing. I took the costume classes, I've kept up with the skill.... no pattern? No problem, I have books with sketches and I usually improvise my way.

I also blame furniture manufacturers (look, I'M not going to take the blame. Forget it). The problem is, they are sexists. They make the blithe assumption that all people who sew are women. The average height of women in America is 5' 6". Therfore, sewing tables are made to accomodate that size, just as airline seats are specifically sized to the dimensions of a hunchbacked hamster. I'm six feet tall. Therefore, the machine sits too low for me. So, in order to see what I was stitching, I had to keep tilting my head to the left to look down and under. One, I like to do a good job, and two, if you've never had a powered sewing needle penetrate a finger, then you haven't used some of the vile profanity that I just know lurks, waiting for you to vent your spleen and whatever other internal organs it can manage to grab on the way. I haven't done that in years. That is, I haven't run a needle through my hand. Vile profanity, that's a skill that I manage to hone and advance nearly every day. It's a gift, don't you know.

I don't like pain; although, being an actor is a good argument against that statement. We suffer. Oh, Lord, do we suffer! And all for you! I hope you swutting well appreciate it. This appreciation is best shown by large sums of cash or bearer securities.

But, I digress.

So, ever since, I've been using yoga techniques I learned back in the day to stretch and relax the affected muscle groups, to try to restore order in me vertebrae. About two times a day, I "break through" and it loosens up, YOWZA! Unfortunately, it then re-kinks itself. Having done this for nearly three weeks, I have now added to the problem by irritating the tendons, bruising bursae and grinding cervical bones in ways that the manual insists that you should not. The result being, now it hurts a hell of a lot more, and I'll have to go see my doctor. He's an osteopath, and can put good fixes on these things.

I'll say "sewing injury", and he'll say "ah", and go directly to the task. Why? Because I injure myself in such ridiculous ways on a regular basis that it's getting hard to surprise him anymore. Actually, that's a bit disappointing....

For a lot of that, I blame my parents. I have inherited major "klutz" genes from both sides of the family (my daughter is unhappy that I then passed them to her, scorning the idea that it's some kind of treasured inheritance. I didn't buy it, either). I have quite the collection of bruises and scars, with my only disguise being follicularly derived. That is, they're somewhat hidden by hair. No, not a hairy back, thank you! But arms, legs, and even well onto my hands? Yes. My head? Yes; I've bashed it about lots of times, and at least I got the genes that mean my hair isn't receding or thinning.

No, as I see it, I am totally innocent in this entire endeavor. An artist suffering for his art. But, in the end, if you trace events carefully, even more intricately than that time you read The DaVinci Code while you were on another one of those acid flashbacks, you will eventually discover who is ultimately responsible. He is, directly or indirectly, the cause of nearly everything that goes wrong in the world. Could you but meet him, you would instantly know this. For one reason, something bad would happen to you just for saying "Hello" to him.

So, Bruce, wherever you are? DAMN you, this is all your fault!

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