Sunday, November 5, 2017

Help me, I'm shrinkingggg

I had my annual physical examination on Friday, and I'm happy to report that everything checked out A-OK.

(A-OK? Who says that anymore? I guess that's a time-warp burp there. Excuse me).

Pulse? Check.

Weight? Yep.

Temperature? I'm still cool after all these years. Or hot. Depends on your point of view.

A-fib?  Constantly.

There was one disconcerting moment, though, as the assistant was putting me through my pre-physical paces. She had me step on the scale, not only to weigh me, but to measure me.

I'm 65 inches tall. That translates to 5-foot-5.


Apparently, I'm shrinking. I clearly remember that back in high school, when I was 18 years old, I was 5-7.

Look, being under the national height average for men (which I think was around 5-8 or so back in 1969) never bothered me. A non-issue. The only time I can remember being short as a liability was during my sports writing days while conducting post-game interviews in cramped ACC locker rooms. I tended to be squeezed out of the way by the shuffling gaggle of burly cameramen from local news stations, who needed to get those up close and personal shots.

Being 5-7 also kept me about three inches taller than my wife — not that it means anything. I just happen to think the difference in height is good eye appeal for a married couple. But I am an inch shorter now. Maybe that just means we're closer to seeing things eye to eye.

I asked my doctor if losing two inches in height from 18 years old to 66 years old is normal, and he suggested that it's within the realm of acceptance.

But I figure I'm doomed to shrinkage by my very DNA. My grandmother on my father's side — Charlotte — lived to be 98 years old. Over the last 10 years of her life or so, she lived in the Phoebe Home (an assisted care facility) in Allentown, PA. Every time we headed north on vacation, Kim and I would stop to pay her a visit.

And every year, she seemed to get shorter. It was an amazing thing to see.

I'm aware of the effects of gravity over the course of time, and spinal compression and any other factors that might be out there acting like a trash compactor on us, but I swear to you just as I (barely) stand here, she was less than five feet tall the last time we saw here. I bet she lost three or four inches over time.

I once kidded her that she was never going to die. Instead, one day she would just simply disappear. I think it really was a close call at the end.

So I'll just accept the cards dealt to me. There are no plans for spinal inversion therapy or hanging from my ankles in the closet. I'll just sit back, relax, and let the world come to me.

It'll be a shorter trip these days.

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