You have but one back. You keep it someplace next to a screen door with a hole. A few feet off there’s a snow shovel with a rusted edge. I mean that, mentally, you shove your back into a basement area located many floors away from you and the main action. This is a bad move. Your back is still above your hips and below your ribs. It’s installed, and that’s so no matter how you act.
The result of this mismatch between thought and reality is that your back is screwed. Thought doesn’t line up with reality, and the result is that your back has become no good. Everything’s listing to one side and it’s going to stay that way. Your back has become a cot with a screw gone and a lot of rust. Like the screen door and the shovel, it’s something that now belongs nowhere, fit only to be stowed, and you made it that way. To do what you wanted to do (mainly hitting keys and reading text), and without bothering to take the middle of your body into account, you folded and scrunched your back like it was made of sponge. It wasn’t, and now it’s not the thing it should be. It’s a busted item and it hurts.
This situation causes danger signals. When you sit at your desk, do you think of red lines of light criss-crossing a suffering darkness? Do you think of tin foil that’s dense but crumpled and that’s somehow inflamed so that the edges are a nest of orange that burns? No matter how you act as if it weren’t there, does your asshole hurt? Does it feel like it’s been twisted into a knot? Does it occasionally produce blood when you shit, plus a sensation like a cluster of hornet stings located near your coccyx? And does the inner edge of your thumb have a pain distinct but closely adjacent to the pain at the root of your index finger, with the ache at the index finger being part of a matched set running from one end of your hands to the other? And do these finger cuffs of pain fall into a collection of aches that sit at every joint and every extremity because you’re now a broken thing? That’s from your back. Stupid. From your goddamn back.
Way to go, smart guy. It’s all because of you. You wouldn’t pay attention. You had to click your mouse. You had to scrunch down and read the 17 tweets beneath the main tweet. You had to lift your elbows high and drive your fingers at the keys. You had to fold your sacrum until it had pleats and then you weighted it down with your torso, arms, neck, and you figured nothing would happen. Your back was someplace else, somewhere safe. No, it wasn’t, and something did happen. You’re screwed, you and your back, and down to the basement with both of you. You’re no good to anyone.
—Follow C.T. May on Twitter: @CTMay3