Every instinct told me not to say anything to my neighbor about my back pain. He’s a chiropractor. I might as well be a recovering addict next to a drug dealer.
The inevitable happened one day; I’m mowing the lawn and suddenly there is this shooting pain in my lower back. I release my grip from the mower thus it stops running. I grab for my back like somebody just stole my wallet.
Who happens to be pulling out of the drive at that exact moment? Just like a drug dealer; there to relieve your pain, the chiropractor – I call him Bones… behind is back.
Bones stopped the car and jumped out faster than a lawyer at a three car pile-up. “What’s the matter, pal?” Gus (I’ll call him Gus from here on out.) says looking like mortician at a three car pile-up with no survivors.
“My back,” I confessed.
“How long have you had that?” Gus said.
“I’ve always had it,” I said.
“You should have said something,” Gus said. “I could have helped you.”
“No, no,” I said emphatically through the grimace of my pain. “You can’t help.”
Pain is a wonderful truth serum; you state the truth even when not even questioned.
“You get me in your office. You win my confidence. You crack my back. The next thing you know I can’t live without a weekly adjustment. I’m yours for life.”
“Sort of like going to the doctor for pills?” Gus said.
“Yes!” I said. “A logic you have had years to conjure and I have nothing to counter it with except… please help me! On the other hand when on vacation I don‘t have to shop for a chiropractor; I have my trusty bottle of pain relief and good times with me.”
“I was going to suggest something else,” Gus said.
“What?” I said. “You got a cousin who is an acupuncturists. You guys are all alike you work in tandem and off the pain and desperation of others. You guys in the pain business belong to the same country club.”
“That’s because we can’t afford your doctors’ country club,” Gus said. “But what I had in mind was going to the gym with me a couple of days a week. Maybe that’s all you need. If you have back pain, exercise may help you not feel it.”
“What does a membership cost?” I said.
“It’s $99 to sign up and only $10 a week after that,” Gus said. “It has a weight room, pool, sauna, and track. In fact, that’s where I was headed for. Why not go with me this morning?”
Gus and I had a pleasant ride to the gym. We avoided the subject of back pain and treatment.
We walked into the lobby of the gym and Gus seemed at home. He said to the receptionists. “Is Andy around?”
The girl behind the counter was athletic, muscular, blond, and in her mid twenties. She had whitened teeth and a tanning booth tan. My first thought was ‘The only thing natural about her is her… come to think about it there was nothing.’
“Sure,” she said. “I’ll tell him you’re here, Gus.”
Gus leaned over to me. “You’ll love Andy. He’s the owner/manager. “Knows his stuff.”
“As long as he doesn’t perform acupuncture,” I said.
Andy burst through double swinging doors that led to the gym, Julie’s male counterpart. “Hey, Gus,” Andy said and gripped my hand like I was about to slip off a ledge. “Glad to have you. My name’s Andy.” He smiled as broad as a lawyer and mortician at a three car pile-up with no survivors.
“I’m Rex,” I said.
“We’re running a special,” Andy said. “You sign-up today, your first month is free. Julie, start the paper work.”
I strolled over to the counter where Julie signed me up for a membership.
Julie’s final smile was, “And don’t forget if you bring a new member in and they sign-up, you will receive the sign-up money. Be sure to come back the end of the week and pay your sign-up fee so you can take advantage of our discount offer.”
“So Gus gets $99?” I said.
“That’s right,” Julie said. “That’s how easy it is.”
I smiled and backed away.
Gus and Andy were talking and parted when they saw I had completed the sign-up. They waved goodbye.
“Tell Uncle Ben and Aunt Sally I said hi,” Gus said to Andy.
Gus and I walked to the car.
“Andy is related?” I said.
“Cousin,” Gus said. “He used to be in acupuncture.”
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