Mack Williams column: Living better though chemistry

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 19, 2020

By Mack Williams
For the Salisbury Post

Today’s title is an old Du Pont slogan. A fellow singer also once said the same in describing how Claritin cleared her sinuses prior to singing.

I experienced pain recently, seemingly in my left hip, replaced on Jan. 16, 2018. So, I started exercise walking only every other day, in fear that I might have been overdoing it.

Biting the bullet (no, the pain wasn’t that bad), I finally made an appointment with my orthopedist. There, he seemed satisfied my legs and hips could go through the necessary gyrations, but I didn’t attempt the “Peppermint Twist,” (homage to Chubby Checker). I never really attempted the twist much even “When I wore a younger man’s clothes” (homage to Billy Joel).

My doctor ordered an x-ray just to be sure. I could leave on my shirt and underwear, but had to put on something resembling plastic gym shorts. I figured this was some new temporary throw-away-COVID-ware. At least it beats the traditional back-less, bottom-less medical gown.

The x-ray technician did the job well, and my irradiation was very brief. The procedure left me in no danger of becoming “The Amazing Colossal Man”(1957), or like Tor Johnson in “The Beast of Yucca Flats” (1961). The MST3K versions were better.

While awaiting the x-ray results, my mind played tricks. I feared my hip bones might appear to be as crumbly as those of the mummy of some ancient Egyptian pharaoh run through an MRI. When I told the doctor of my pharaonic fears, he replied (showing ancient Egyptian medical knowledge), “If they had, then we would have dipped them in honey.”

But the doctor held up my x-ray, saying “It’s perfect!,” leading me to pay silent homage to Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” (but that “perfect” song lyric concerned the werewolf’s coiffure, not his bones). The doctor decided my pain to be a pulled lower back muscle, having the nurse give me a shot of cortisone near the same place where Gen. Patton once said that he, himself, often needed a “swift kick in the a–” (homage to George C. Scott and General George S. Patton).

A few hours later, I felt like some of my years had fallen away. Without that muscular ache, I was feeling “As light as a feather, as merry as a schoolboy”(homage to Charles Dickens and his Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”). But I decided not to try to stand on my head, as did the actor Alistair Sim in his depiction of Ebenezer in the 1951 film “Scrooge.”

As I finished my walk, the park’s halogen lights began switching on. Their steady light had already been preceded by the natural chemical luminescence from the pulsating lights of dozens of lightening bugs. And with that, I thought of bones and muscles put back to a semblance of youth through modern science.

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