Rising Action

4 03 2007

Friday morning I woke up as usual. I threw on a hoodie over my pjs as usual. I shuffled out to the kitchen, ate a bowl of cereal, and drank a glass of orange juice, all as usual.

As usual, while eating I scanned the newspaper George had already retrieved and set at my place. Then, as usual, I shuffled back into the kitchen to prepare my usual bucket o’ latte. As I waited for the steam to build up in the espresso maker, a common (or one might say “usual”) sensation came over me.

I sneezed.

For the rest of the day, things weren’t quite as usual. You see, when I sneezed, my head was obviously not in its usual sneezing position. I know this because a jolt like an electrical shock shot through the back of my head, neck, and shoulders. I crumpled and yelped. When I tried to straighten out my shoulders, my muscles felt as sore as if I’d hiked 30 miles with a 50 pound pack poorly situated on my back and head. (Not that I’ve ever hiked 30 miles with a 50 pound pack poorly situated on my back and head. I mean, think about it. George doesn’t even expect me to hike out to the curb and get the morning paper. You think the man would let me carry a 50 pound pack situated anywhere in any fashion? No. We’re using our imaginations here. As usual.)

It hurt to turn my head to either side or to look down or up. George said I must have pulled a muscle when I sneezed. He tried to rub my neck and shoulders, but the pain was just sort of everywhere. The massage didn’t really help.

Later in the afternoon when Rusty brought Jacob home, I was typing at the computer. Rusty knew something was up when I slowly turned my upper body to face him instead of just my head. I told him the whole story. (This, too, is usual. Rusty hears lots of stories from me when he brings Jacob home. I must admit he bears it well.)

Rusty said, “Maybe if you sneeze again . . .”

The look I gave him discouraged further speculation on that line.

George said, “I could tie a hot-water bottle on your back, and you could wear a jacket over it.”

“And look like a hunchback?” I said.

George and Rusty laughed. As usual, they weren’t being very sympathetic.

That night I took an ibuprofen, but every time I moved, the pain woke me up. Yesterday it was still there only much less severe. Today I just feel a little sore and stiff, so it looks like things will soon be as usual as ever.

Thus ends Jeanne’s adventures out of her usual realm and into the perilous territory of sneezing with her head in the wrong position. No doubt you’ve all been on the edges of your seats, holding your collective breath, and clinging to every last word.

As usual.



10 responses

5 03 2007


I’ve done that more often than I’d like to admit. Isn’t it strange, though?

5 03 2007

Ah good, I’m not so weird then, or at least in good company with Jeanne and Suzan. I’ve thrown my back out sneezing. I told someone that and they looked at me like I was nuts. Well, I am but not because of THAT apparently.

Jen T.

5 03 2007

Misbehaving (as usual)?

So is this what happens when you misbehave?

Sorry to hear about your traumatic sneezing incident. That must be why you looked at me funny today (ha!). If it makes you feel any better, my dad once put himself into traction for several days because he sneezed while tying his shoe. Don’t try that one if you can help it…

Good to see you and the fam today. Only wish we’d thought to invite you to lunch with us before we all dispersed. Dad went back in to find you, but you’d already left. Oh well.

Tina H.

5 03 2007

I was so tense throughout the story that I think I threw out my back and neck.
Heather G.

6 03 2007

Was it usual for such a thing to ever happen before “The Year of Jubilee”? I don’t think so. Remember 50 is the new 75 on some days, so we can remember we are but dust and outwardly wasting away.

Your fellow aging Baby Boomer,


10 03 2007

Re: ohhh

This is not good news, Suzan. I’m counting on my sneeze adventure being a one-time freak event. So, I think you should re-phrase your comment to something more like, “Don’t worry, Jeanne. I imagine it really was a stray bolt of lightning that somehow got separated from its storm, and the chances of this happening again are one in eleventy-gzillion.”

Whew! That’s a relief. Thanks, Suzan!

10 03 2007

Jen, I really doubt it was the sneeze that threw out your back. More likely it was the fact that you sneezed while your various selves were engaged in a limbo competition. Full disclosure is essential in these cases, you know.

10 03 2007

Re: Misbehaving (as usual)?

Traction?! Good gravy. I feel quite fortunate now.

Good to see you, too. I wish you’d caught us for lunch. I could have played on your dad’s sympathies for sneezers and possibly gotten a free meal out of the deal. Oh well, indeed.

See you (again) soon!

10 03 2007

Reading is dangerous business. Were you wearing your helmet and goggles?

10 03 2007

Well now, aren’t you Little Mr. Sunshine? The new 75, eh. How fun is that. Guess I’ll have to make the most of it. Good thing today is the meatloaf-and-mashed-potatoes special at Luby’s. Easy on the dentures, you know. Hey, you should meet us there. 4:30-ish? Great. See you then. (If I remember my bifocals, that is.)

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