Every body hurts

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Screenshot 2023 10 14 at 2.47.53 PMgraziano

I was lounging on my couch last Sunday evening, sipping a beer and watching football while following my bets on DraftKings, loosing the same forlorn sigh that I save for every Sunday evening when my crappy luck catches up with me. 

But I didn’t have to work the next morning—as a nation, we were celebrating either a psychopath who committed genocide or the indigenous people worthy of the recognition, depending on your politics—so I took another longer sip of beer. Then another. 

And another one until I finished the damn thing. As I reached over to place the empty Bud Light can on the coffee table in front of me, I pulled a back muscle and groaned. 

The Kansas City/Viking’s game—I had the Chief’s +2 on a tease with the Eagles—then cut to commercial. As I struggled to stand up from the couch and get another beer and an Aleve, I watched a commercial for Just for Men©  hair dye, chuckling at the men on the television who looked like Bela Lugosi with their jet-black hair.

Then something struck me: I was their target demographic! I was the gray-haired guy who will need their product if I someday get a divorce, a convertible and a 26-year-old girlfriend.  

I was also the guy who just pulled his back drinking a beer and needed to take an Aleve, a product that would also air in the NFL commercial cycle. Suddenly, the weight of my 48 years hit me like an anvil to the face. 

I’m getting old. 

For some reason, I mentally imagine myself—a metacognitive ballet that I perform in clogs—as 36 years old. In my imagination, I stopped aging when I was old enough to no longer appear awkward but still spritely enough to feel young. It was a good age, 36, and for all intents and purposes, I stopped aging then.

But my body—especially lately—seems to disagree.

Aside from being the bloated and doughy “before” version of the middle-aged man with scintillating white teeth on the Just for Men© commercial, every morning when I get out of bed, something new is sore. 

And the part of my body that aches is largely contingent on any abrupt motion or physical exertion from the previous day. For example, if I have to climb an extra set of stairs, invariably my calves and feet will ache the next morning. 

Or if some students were tossing around a football outside of school, and I decided to go full-Tom Brady and throw a few passes, my shoulder will ache for days. 

This is a true story: The other week I hurt my jaw biting into an apple.

W.B. Yeats described the aging man as a “tattered coat on a stick.” Despite the fact that I’m still mentally 36 years old, I don’t find the bard’s metaphor that far off base.

But there is some good news: I’ve embraced my gray hair, I’m not getting divorced—not that I’m aware of—and I won the tease then took the over on Sunday Night Football and hit that one, too. Still, my back hurt like hell the next morning.


About this Author

Nathan Graziano

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester with his wife and kids. He's the author of nine collections of fiction and poetry. His most recent book, Born on Good Friday was published by Roadside Press in 2023. He's a high school teacher and freelance writer, and in his free time, he writes bios about himself in the third person. For more information, visit his website: http://www.nathangraziano.com