Aging Pizza

During a workplace lunch just a couple of years ago, we were all talking about the aging process. I was the oldest in our department. A couple of co-workers were about a decade younger than I. The rest were much younger. The question of the day in the lunch room for the three “more experienced” of us was…when did we first feel definitively older than we hoped we were?

My response took little time to formulate.

In March of 1992, I was in Minnetonka MN as part of a business training seminar put on by a high-technology water purification and filtration company named Osmonics. The company I was working for at that time was a distributor of their products, and six of us went out there to get training in their product line so we’d have a better understanding of how to market and sell their products.

I had never been to Minnesota before, and I was very impressed with what I saw traveling from the airport to our hotel. Beautiful countryside and residences, and that time of year provided a chill in the air and a touch of snow on the ground, making a “winter person” like myself quite happy. After arriving at our hotel, we learned that as guests we had complimentary passes to utilize the fitness gym across the street. Since we knew we only had a half day of training one day during the seminar schedule, we all agreed to head over to the gym and get in a workout then.

After product training all Monday and Tuesday morning, Tuesday afternoon found us at the gym. It was gigantic, looked brand-new, and offered plenty of workout options. First class. Three members of my group went off to the weight room, but myself and a couple of the other guys went over to the basketball courts. There was a full-court pick-up game in process, so we sat nearby until it ended so we could get into the next one.

I did feel a twinge of concern as to how I would do playing in a full-court basketball game. Sure, I was in good shape for someone soon to turn 35. My conditioning wasn’t bad as I regularly played half-court hoops. I was looking forward to showing off the fact I still “had game” to my buddies, but was definitely picturing that happening in the smaller footprint.

The game in progress ended a few minutes later, and we hit the court for the next one, pairing up with a few players from the team that just lost. I played well, even though we didn’t pull off a win to guarantee a spot for the next game. That was fine by me – one run was enough for the day. I had accomplished the main goal of getting exercise…while also feeling just a little bit younger by hanging in there and playing a solid, “regular-length” game of basketball.

Back at the hotel, I needed to take a well-deserved shower. Having my own room, I figured I’d just clean up and hang out there before heading to dinner. We were being taken out by Osmonics to a very fancy steakhouse, but there was still a couple of hours before I needed to be in the lobby for the ride out.

It was during the shower I first noticed something was…off.

In 1963, there was an episode of The Dick Van Dyke television show called, “Don’t Trip Over That Mountain.” In it, Rob Petrie (Dick) promises his wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) he won’t get hurt during a ski trip with his neighbor Jerry (Jerry Paris), who happens to be an expert skier.

Of course, once on the slopes they proceed to run into each other…two skiers…and a goat.

After seeking medical treatment, Rob reports to Jerry he was given the diagnosis of a “sprained body.” The only thing on Rob’s body that didn’t hurt was the left side of his upper lip.

I thought about that TV episode as I ended my shower.

I had a sprained body. The only good news was my upper lip didn’t hurt at all. The lower lip didn’t either. But everything else did. I went to comb my hair and once I got my arm high enough, a new discovery…

My hair hurt.

Maybe that was just part of the full-on headache experience now underway. Anyway, I shuffled over to the bureau to get some clothes, and about halfway through getting dressed I realized dinner out…was out. I could barely move my arms and legs. My body was off-line.

I phoned around to let my co-workers know I’d be staying in my room for the night, mentioning I was tired and thought I was coming down with something from the plane ride. That actually was a legit excuse because they all knew my 90% deviated septum often lost the good fight with air flight, so they wished me well.

Using the phone hurt.

I figured as far as dinner was concerned, I could use room service…but I had a real craving for pizza. I checked the hotel info out and found there was a Domino’s nearby which would deliver to the hotel. Perfect. I’ll get dinner delivered and not have to leave the room at all.

Placed the order. Got my money together. Laid down to rest.

When the knock on the door came about a half-hour later, I immediately remembered one thing I hadn’t thought about when placing the pizza order.

How would I get to the door?

A good minute or so later, I stood before the delivery person and exchanged money for food. I am quite sure that guy thought something was wrong with me, and if he had asked if I was ok I was fully prepared to tell him I had a sprained body.

Pizza. Soda. Advil. Surprisingly, I didn’t have any trouble sleeping. I attribute that to the fact once I fell asleep, my body had no ability whatsoever to adjust itself.

The next day, not much had changed. Limited, strained movement. Soreness. Pain. I placed another call, letting my group know I would be unable to attend the training that day. I’ll admit I was also egotistical enough to have considered the impact of my co-workers seeing me in such a state. For sure, it would negate all the street cred I earned from my stellar basketball performance. News of how poorly my body handled exercise was way more likely to spread through the office than how well I played.

I laid in bed watching TV for most of the day, and eventually felt a tiny bit more in control of my body when the same Domino’s employee appeared at the door that night with Pizza #2.

The following morning was our final day of training, and we’d be heading home thereafter. I was able to gather myself and get to the bus for the short ride over to Osmonics, putting a brave face on and forcing myself to appear normal. I got through the training, the ride out to the airport, and the flight home.

That trip was quite a memorable moment in time, leaving no doubt I definitively felt older than I hoped I was. I could not believe how much my entire body had shut down.

I’m hoping any similar moment in time, while likely inevitable, isn’t for a very long time.


Pictures Courtesy TripAdvisor/GoComics


85 thoughts on “Aging Pizza”

  1. I would immediately assume something was catastrophically wrong with me, probably death was coming. But I’d have ordered the pizzas anyway, just in case

    Liked by 3 people

  2. That’s crazy, only 35 and in that much pain from a full court basketball game. I feel bad for how bad you felt! Just wondering if a massage would have helped. But then you would have had to have the masseuse come to your hotel room, and, well, I think I’ll just stop here.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As an avid Dick Van Dyke fan, I know the episode you refer to well. So does being an avid Dick Van Dyke fan make me old? Nah, it’s the fact that I’m older than the show that would prove that fact! P.S. I used to call Minnetonka home, so I’m glad you liked it.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I feel you. Since a full hysterectomy threw me into menopause I don’t even recognize my body anymore. Add a deep root radial meniscal tear that never healed and there are days I feel 100. I am not enjoying my 50 s.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m about to hit the big 50 in a few months and living in a youth-obsessed Hollywood, I feel even older every time I step outside. The only comparison to your situation was when I threw my lower back out about 10 years ago and walked hunched over for the next few weeks until it healed. It was the first time where I felt father time moving forward and having no mercy.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. This was so funny but thank goodness for pizza delivery!
    I have to laugh when a guy my age calls me ‘young lady.’ Buddy–I’m no longer young and neither are you, but you made me smile so all is well in my world.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Didn’t we just have a discussion about being old over on my blog? You were clearly falling apart at 35. I however was leading girl scouts in survival in the forest while chasing after my 2 year old! The question really is, could you manage a full court game now?!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Wow man, that’s rough! The sprained body syndrome is definitely not a place you want to find yourself, but you did the right thing in staying away from everyone the day after. The crap you would have gotten from your guys wouldn’t have ended in Minnesota either.

    I first felt old when I was much too young to be doing so. It was my mid-twenties and in my post high school athletics iteration, all my muscle went fat and I gained a ton of weight. As a result, every morning was a chore just to get out of bed because everything hurt. So I took up meditation and I started running. I never looked back.

    As for basketball, my personal highlight was being able to dunk. As a bench talent, I had to focus on something other than free throws, which I can still sink at a good clip. The rest of it? Not so much.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was never able to dunk. That frustrated me no end that I wasn’t given that talent. I can identify with that mid-twenties “get in shape” mode. I did the same, as I had gained a lot of weight after school and did not feel like me. Glad I got my act together.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I could dunk and hit free throws at close to a ninety percent clip. And that’s it. My jump shot was pretty, unless I had to deal with a defender, which is kinda important.

        Yeah, I was a hot mess back then. I’m glad I did too.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, the aging! I have to be up and down (quickly) off the floor with the preschoolers every day. My 72 year old body is not so quick. Climbing is hard, and running, and… well, most everything. I love the pizza story and had to smile. Misery does love company!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. 35! Duuuuude… I have no words. It’s all about doing something in excess that you’ve not done in eons. I should know, I did end up really, REALLY sore after… bowling! It’s simple. It’s not a “sport” I do more than once per year – you use different muscles so you feel them. You probably would have felt better had you gotten up and moved around, yanno 😉 But I do understand that whole body sprain and wanting to sleep it off. Lucky for you, you were able to.
    As for the Domino’s, well, I’m sure that was the best option they had 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Too complicated. My “aha” (or maybe “ah shit”) moment was based on a simple math problem. Yeah. My 45th High School reunion was nearing, That did not register, but then I did some cute math: I graduated high school in 1977, so how far back from 1977 was 45 years? 1932. At that very moment, while everything around me stood still, I heard my age catch up to me. In a flash.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. It’s amazing, the lessons time forces us to learn, Bruce. I unfortunately had a father-son basketball game with my stepson IN FRONT OF OTHER PARENTS of his teammates from the varsity squad, the first time for me back on the court in 20 years or so. One, my talents did not return. Two, my wind did not bounce back. Three, I imagined every laugh from the stands at the surely comical results as the young men hammered the mostly flummoxed adults was aimed at me. And, yes, I was so sore very soon and a long time after.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I finally got around to looking at your blog — excellent stuff. It was about my mid-30s that I finally stopped playing pickup basketball regularly and started riding a bike instead. My body thanks me.

    On another note: I had tried to subscribe to your blog but always got blocked by some “invalid email” message. I finally figured out Firefox was the problem (Firefox is often a problem). So I tried subscribing on the iPhone and it seemed to work. I have a lot of catching up to do reading your blog. Looking forward to it because some of the topics really intrigue me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bike > Full-court Basketball…at that age…a quality decision, sir. I periodically hear of issues with WordPress comments, likes, subscribing at other sites too. Glad you cared enough to try the workaround, and glad it worked. Love your writing and am looking forward to future posts from you as well.


  14. ugh – I feel like that right now but because yesterday I got flu & covid shot on same day – great post especially because it begs to ask ‘old for what?’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You had more courage than I getting both in one day. I staggered mine three weeks apart this year since I had a rough time with the flu shot last year. I had a rough time with the flu shot again this year, but I just didn’t want to take a chance on having more issues. Hope you feel better soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. In my late 20’s, I decided to get back in shape and lose all the weight I had put on. First day, I went out to run a mile and I was wondering at what point I should begin my finishing kick. There was no finishing kick. It was a struggle to finish that mile. If you ever get to the point that you do not feel like eating pizza, immediately summon medical help!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Hopefully you can look back on that story now and laugh so that we are all laughing with you rather than at you. It definitely pays to start slow and work your way up when it comes to exercise regardless of your age.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. As someone who has loved playing basketball since being a youngster, I absolutely enjoyed laughing through this wonderful story!! I still love shooting baskets and throwing a football, but it’s been a long time since I could without pain afterwards. I applaud your determination at any age to play to the point of your hair hurting!!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh boy, can I identify with that story. Despite a great bill of health from the dr. this week, I had to beg to differ after raking leaves for what seemed like days (it might have been a couple of hours). Sheesh, getting old ain’t for sissies, is it?

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Great comic strip at the end. 😁
    I think another way to take note of one’s advancing age is when a person realises that linking their hands behind their back and placing them above their butt as they walk is suddenly a comfortable way to move around. I’ve seen it happen. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I realized I was getting old when I became a grandmother. That was mind-bending even though it wasn’t a physical collapse. My guy discovered it on a basketball court too. I think that’s a thing, Bruce. Welcome to the club. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Was enjoying re-reading this. Am convinced we were not intended to engage in physical activity in association with the workplace. We had a great gym on our office park in CA but I was always weirded out when running on a treadmill next to a guy with whom I’d just had a “work argument.” Or once was working out with my personal trainer and my boss decided to join in on the “encouragement.” The most clear example: I was participating in a soccer game at the company picnic and my colleague decided to throw a completely unnecessary move to avoid my defending. (I was 57 and hadn’t actively played for 20+ years; he was in his 30s, and and an excellent player.) This caused him to step into a hole and break his ankle in so many places that he didn’t come back to work for 3 months.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You may already know a common term in basketball is “breaking someone’s ankles” when you cause a defender to lose balance or fall down. This is a case where one ankle actually did break. I feel a bit guilty I laughed out loud when I read the end of your comment, but it is always funny when karma provides instant returns. Thanks for re-reading, and also for sharing your “workplace “history.”

      Liked by 1 person

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