Editorial

Save your back, while there is still time!

Monday, October 9, 2017

I have witnessed my 13-year-old son Gideon wrestle with his unwieldy school backpack often enough to nod knowingly when I encountered the NBC News story “Why Bags Are Wrecking Our Backs.”

Although much of the online report does focus on youngsters and their hefty textbooks, adults face life-changing dangers as well. And it’s not just backpacks; poorly designed or overly stuffed purses, briefcases, tote bags and wallets can all contribute to back pain and related ailments.

In our hectic world, some materialistic people are convinced that a “Fanny Pack” is designed to carry the equivalent of a woman named Fanny. (“Hi, I’m Fanny. And this is my conjoined twin Nanny. C’mon, let’s get on with this marathon!”)

Improper loads can lead to disc compression, damage to the soft tissue of the shoulders, nerve damage, poor posture and headaches. (“And involuntarily pulling the wrong voting machine lever! It wasn’t MY fault I lost in 2016! It was Givenchy and Prada and all those handbag designers and their unergonomic wares!”)

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 75-85% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives. So apparently 15-25% have no idea what the heck back pain is! I’ll bet they DO experience WRITER’S CRAMP, from penning all those syrupy family Christmas letters. (“The maid fussed about having to dust all the gold ingots George received for his bonus, but at least juggling them doesn’t bother George’s back in the least. Sorry about your single-wide and the tornado.”)

Unfortunately, some women choose appearance over function with handbags. Occasionally, they do get the positive reinforcement they crave. (“Hey, look at that lady and her gorgeous big handbag. I wonder, is she leaning because she lost an earring or because she’s pecking for corn?”)

Self-styled “supermoms” are particularly guilty of injuring themselves by loading up for every possible contingency. They refuse to venture outside the house without tools for: sewing on a button, doctoring a skinned knee, applying sunscreen, changing a tire, removing weasel spit, administering Bat Shark Repellent, etc.

These moms are a blessing in their prime; but once they’ve suffered with back pain for years and died an agonizing death, it leaves the survivors with feelings of guilt. (“Doesn’t she look natural?” “Yeah, the casket is so full of coupons, Pepto-Bismol, lint removers and hair dryers, she barely fits in.”)

Men have their own problems. Immediately after reading the NBC story, I cleared excess credit card receipts, outdated doctor appointment cards and assorted bric-a-brac out of my wallet.

The one thing macho men don’t have in their wallet is phone numbers from pretty girls who are turned off by clueless Romeos. (“Is the chef cooking something new or is my hand in the candle again? It’s been numb since I tried hauling 13 cans of Spam in my duffel bag.”)

The NBC article suggested carrying only essential items, balancing loads better, keeping the bag closer to your body and (in the case of children) having a heart-to-heart talk with your child’s teacher about possible solutions.

But stay earthbound. Traveling to the moon will only tempt you to be more irresponsible. (“Forget studying the origin of life! Everything weighs only one-sixth as much on the moon. I can cram six times as much stuff into my luggage! Everybody gets green cheese for Christmas. Except YOU, George!”)

©2017 Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes email responses at tyreetyrades@aol.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.” Danny’s weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.