Thursday, January 20, 2011
Sh*& your dad FORGOT to say....
So I just turned 34.....not old or even middle aged. As a matter of fact I am still often referred to as a "baby" or in the southern vernacular "youngin." Be it vanity or delusion I have always had a bit of a Peter Pan complex and walked around espousing crap like "you are only as old as you feel" and "age is nothing but a number." So imagine my dismay, nay, horror when my first physical after four years doesn't go exactly as planned.
This brings me to the title of this entry, there are crucial things that older men, typically dads or uncles, REALLY should discuss as rites of passage with younger men. I know for a fact that within the female gender conversations about medical procedures and what can be expected are common and frequent. Now perhaps it is the nature of the thing, I mean there was an episode of Family Guy devoted to it's creepiness. Or it could be linked to societies internalized homophobia, or it could be that it produces too great a punch line at family functions to be discussed in great detail before it happens. Nonetheless guys are not getting the courtesy of the "warning" ladies get about pap smears and breast smashing.
I am of course talking about a prostate exam. There I was minding my own business coughing as expected when my Dr. instructs me to turn around and grab the chair. My first thought was "shouldn't I get dinner and a movie first?" That of course is the born and bred smart ass in me who in general is not freaked out by such things. But seriously....I had NO idea that this should have been expected! I can only imagine the reaction my kind Dr. might receive from some of the less cultured citizens of Catawba County. Suddenly Peter Griffins intense reaction makes sense.
So at 34 I come face to face with the fact I am getting older. My body not only doesn't function the way it once did but I am taking my first steps towards the endless list of things we all must eventually do to take care of our bodies. No big woo I think, as a matter of fact it's a badge of honor...I joke with Derek and my dad about it, lots of good natured elbowing. Then I get the phone call for my labs.....CRAP I have high cholesterol. GREAT now it really sinks in, you mean eating fast food every day, smoking, and drinking has suddenly caught up with me?! Say it ain't so.
Now it's not terrible and is easily fixed by diet and exercise, but for the first time in my life diet and exercise are a have to instead of an ideal. Let me explain, I think about my body in a more, shall we say, feminine manner. Crash dieting, ridiculous expectations, all or nothing fitness goals that typically end in tears and Ben and Jerry's. All with the very real hope and intention that I will fit back into those Lucky Brand Jeans.....sound familiar? So now I am faced with the OK I HAVE to eat better and get moving for my health. Again I come back to my title.....where is the sage advice for men as their bodies change along with their capabilities to render piles of junk food harmless?
I suppose I should find solace in the encouragement to drink red wine and the well intentioned....once you get used to eating healthy you'll LOVE it! Uh huh, so that's why the most successful businesses in this country are purveyors of grease and all things deep fried and smothered in chocolate. But I digress...within the stages of grief the first is denial. So as I grieve my BoJangles chicken supreme combo with extra seasoning on the fries and of course a Diet Coke, I am holding on to denial.
Denial that I will have to eat things like vegetables and all manner of things broiled and grilled. Denial that my exercise will have to comprise more than lifting the remote. Denial that my belt has been getting tighter since I quit smoking and began eating like I had a tapeworm. Denial that, fortunately my friends, is short lived as I have joined a gym, bought some healthy crap, and by telling Derek the "good news," ensured I will be appropriately nagged at every convenient possibility. Rest assured all well be well, as long as I have a boxing bag somewhere convenient and all of you to listen to me bitch.
I tell ya if I'm ever a dad and I have a son not only is he getting a detailed talk, he's getting a whole freaking lecture by like age 9.
Eat some bacon cheese fries for me y'all