Sep 8, 2006

On Stoicism, Convenience, and Middle Age

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Wheeled laptop bag (Toledo, OH) I have a tendency to stubbornly hold fast to wisdom passed on to me by my parents and grandparents, and one of the most enduring of the philosophical traditions I have inherited involves physical labor.

A belief system something along the lines of "hard work builds character" and "no pain, no gain," I have learned that perseverance and pushing beyond one's endurance point brings greater rewards.

Though I have garnered an extra twenty pounds in my midsection, I still pride myself on being willing and able to perform heavy lifting and the grunt jobs that need to get done. Such was the case Monday when I helped my 18-year-old son move a weighty couch up a flight of stairs, around some nasty turns, and into his apartment.

Alas, my back has been acting up since that day, and my university treks with 40 pounds of audio-visual equipment across campus have been cumbersome.

That is, until I today commited (for me) the ultimate in wimpy responses: I used the wheels on my laptop bag.

Now, I do not begrudge anyone who makes use of such conveniences, as they were designed to assist people in transporting heavy loads across long distances. I do not expect that my own personal, neurotic Stoic tendencies should be embraced by others.

But my lower back burned with the searing pain of a likely pulled muscle (or herniated disc, but I am too filled with machismo to actually seek medical advice), and...I wheeled my bag.

I did carry the second bag containing a projector over my shoulder, mind you, so I did not completely forsake my philosophy of pain and steadfastness, but I allowed myself the luxury of wheeling the 20-pound bag behind me.

And, imagine - I arrived at class without sweating, or being winded from walking up the stairs with my instructional tools. Imagine that!

Now if I can just get past my hangup over cutting my own grass...

4 comments:

microdot said...

Cutting grass is a zen experience. It puts me into a place where I am always 16 years old, though I have a traction mower now but a much bigger lawn. The drone of the motor, the sun, the perfect lawn, I am bliss!

Lisa Renee said...

I actually missed having a yard, so I don't mind mowing it. However, I remember when we had one of those non-engine push mowers at a time period when I decided I would really be environmentally friendly. That...whas a mistake...



:-)

Mark said...

Mike, Mike, Mike...

Look man, there's no shame in going to the doctor. A healthy man is a stronger man, and stronger men outlive the rest.

But wheeling the laptop bag...well, I have one too, and... I just can't do it...so I cannot condone it.

With all due respect Mike, you think the doctor thing sacrifices masculinity?

Hooda Thunkit said...

Based on experience, you can tough it out for the next six weeks and the pain will fade or you can seek medical attention and be your old self again in a month and a half, the choice is your's ;-)

As for the grass, let it grow. If my neighbors can ge away with it, you should be able to get away with it too.