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Sympathetic ear hard to find for post-holiday aches and pains

Sympathetic ear hard to find for post-holiday aches and pains

Posted: Friday, January 15, 2010 8:01 pm

Sympathetic ear hard to find for post-holiday aches and pains | David Critchlow Jr., Just A Thought
Has anyone seen my kids since Christmas?
If you have, I was wondering if they still had faces.
Maybe I should ask their teachers; hopefully, they have seen them.
I, on the other hand, have only seen the tops of their heads with ear-thingies running out the sides and into some new-fangled computer device they got for Christmas. They are loaded with all kinds of stuff and the kids just had to have them.
So who’s to blame? If I were to guess, I would say my wife and I are.
Now, thanks to us, our daughters can sit in a room with friends and family — ignore all of them — and disappear into their hand-held computers.
When I was their age in the mid-1970s, the only computer game I recall was Pong, which was a table tennis game for TVs with two-dimensional graphics. It was amazing technology back then but nowadays would be considered as boring as having to sit at home on a Saturday afternoon with only a sibling to play with or, worse yet, the parents.
As I told my mother-in-law, “We’re about to succeed in making our children so unsociable they will not be able to interact with anyone face-to-face.”
She agreed and proceeded to tell me a “‘Back in my day…’ story.”
Speaking of the visiting in-laws — who are wonderful people, by the way — I also got to hear about their growing list of ailments from arthritis to sundry other aches, pains and swellings. I tried to chime in about some of my problems with aging, but they reminded me that, since I wasn’t even 50, I had not yet earned the right to moan and groan about my problems.
I couldn’t help but recall my father once telling me that before going on trips with friends, he would get them on the phone and say, “I want to hear all about what’s bothering you in advance, because I don’t want to hear any of that (stuff) on our vacation.”
He would say to me, “Nobody really wants to hear about all your problems so keep it to yourself.”
I guess that means that when somebody asks, “How are you doing?” I need to stop telling them about my shoulder, back, knees and feet, and respond, “Fine, and how about you?” At that time, hopefully, I won’t have to hear about the infected corn on their foot that has somehow led to a chronic knee problem that caused osteoarthritis and the need for hip replacement.
By the way, if anyone wants to know how my dad is, he’s fine.
As for me, I would like to tell you about my aching shoulder with the partial tear of my rotator cuff, especially after my in-laws told me I had to wait a few years before they cared to hear about  my ailment — even it was the result of hanging too many Christmas lights, ornaments and other decorations. I already know what my father would say, which is something I heard many times in my youth: “Suffer silently.”
Surely my wife would sympathize with me, I thought. Unfortunately, she doesn’t. “Well what do you want me to do about it?” she asked. “Go see a doctor.”
So I did go see the doctor and he did seem to care — as long as I paid my deductible first.
And what about my angelic daughters? Without looking up from their miniature computers, they simply asked if my shoulder somehow got hurt because I was so overweight.
“Listen, you smart alecky kids, don’t you even care that I’m injured?” I inquired.
“In a minute, Dad, we’re in the middle of a game,” they responded.
All this brings me back to you, and I want to thank you for listening to my post-holiday whining — that is if you’ve made it this far in my column (probably with Kleenex™ in hand).
Editor David Critchlow Jr. may be contacted by e-mail at
Published in The Messenger 1.15.10


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