Heavy Lifting
November 30th, 2015

One thing I always admired about U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon is that he was never treated for anything other than a manly affliction. Usually it was a bullet in the shoulder or maybe a Comanche arrow in the back. Never once did Doc Adams ask him to drop his pants and assume a position. How undignified!

But, what the heck? You get over it after awhile, this morbid fascination with your pubic area. Even if the doctor is female, you don’t blush or cringe. You take it as a compliment, at my age, that a woman might be interested in fondling your private parts. And of course it’s cheaper than a brothel, because Medicare picks up the tab.

This time around it was a hernia, which I’m told may be the result of too much heavy lifting. So I guess it’s no wonder something down there finally got broken, because heavy lifting has been the story of my life. Ever since I was a baby, someone was always asking me to pick up after myself. And I’m not talking here about alphabet blocks or marbles on the floor; I’m talking about a toppled chest of drawers or an upended piano.

Turns out I have an abundance of upper body strength, which I presume I inherited from my hard-working pioneer forebears. Most were hard rock miners. Others worked with heavy machinery; one was a cow catcher for the Central Pacific Railroad. They were neither white collar workers nor blue collar workers but rather, horse collar workers.

Horse collar work builds muscle, but not the sort of muscles you see on body builders. No, those are just show muscles. What I have are utilitarian muscles, no good for preening and to no avail on the athletic field. Which is a shame, because if my high school had had, say, a caber-tossing team, I would have been a stand-out. I would have been popular!

I suppose I could have joined the circus; instead, I decided to go to college—which resulted in a series of crappy part time summer jobs, all of which entailed lifting heavy objects, such as tractor tires.

Tire Lifting copy

I majored in English, hoping to one day become a writer. This in spite of what I’d been told by my guidance counselor, that I’m better suited for working in a rock quarry, or as a stevedore, as a furniture mover, or even a fork lift. Not a fork lift operator, mind you, but an actual fork lift. But no, I needed a challenge, and what I’ve learned over the years is that it’s much harder to craft a coherent paragraph than it is to clean and jerk a silly boulder.

Rock Lifting copy
-Richard Menzies