Daily Archives: May 21, 2020

These Days by Donald Turner

As COVID lockdown continues, folks are buzzing about how they’re managing. Our habits are changing, some for the better and  some for the questionable. We’re assessing our activities, our possessions, our purposes and letting go of what no longer serves us. Today’s guest blogger, Donald Turner, is letting slip his rigid schedule of accomplishment for  new habits: sleeping, flexibility and contemplating worms. 

These Days

Awake, I check the  time. Ahh. I can’t sleep, but I’ll rest a bit more. Smart phone in hand to track my sleep, I enable WiFi, Location, and Bluetooth for FitBit—slept five hours, thirteen minutes. Yuk. I want at least six hours, especially now, during covid-19 season. I’ve got to get to bed earlier and stop stimulating my mind near bedtime.

Sleep problems looping through my brain, I conclude adequate sleep is more important than completing projects, which can wait. I’ll give up some satisfaction in how much I get done in a day. Making daily progress will be enough.

Before rising, I spend about four minutes blessing my back by doing flexing procedures of ten-second counts each. A retired chiropractor and friends suggested these movements. The flexes are listed below for later reading by anyone interested. Start gently.

On my back, I do real motions on some imaginary devices.

  1. Bike pedaling
  2. Both legs together at the ankles, pedaling a single pedal.
  3. For slight twisting torque on my back, I keep my head against the bed while I arc my bent legs from one side to the other. The legs take turn being the more bent leg which crosses over the less bent leg. The less bent leg rests on the bed. As I get more flexible I push the knee of the more bent leg onto the bed. Repeat five times for each leg.
  4. Buttocks tightened against bed, then relaxed.
  5. Plank, supported by elbows and feet, I stiffen my back as I count to ten.
  6. As I let my back sag, I do pushups from my knees, not my feet.
  7. On hands and knees I do cat-like-spine-upward arcs and downward cow dips—beginning and ending folded as if in a Muslim prayer position.

Honoring my good habits, like the flexing habit, improves my days.

Once I’m up, I write about what interests me. If I suspect others would find value, I submit the writing—after tweaking—for the comments of my writing group. I start by reviewing topical lists I’ve created from various ideas come to me as I walk or think in bed. Introspective discovery and the challenge of fiddling with words motivate me.

I know a bunch of writing rules, such as: spell out small numbers like five and thirteen instead of writing 5 and 13.  But, I want numbers as digits to stand out among gobs of words. After all, my STEM education in science and technology biased me toward numbers composed of digits with their lovely shapes. Merely 10 digits.

On behalf of the magnificent TEN, I exhibit them: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9. These shapely symbols tell me, “We don’t get no respect–at least not enough.”

Now in my seventh decade, I use a repeated non-curvy digit to represent my age. The older I get, the faster I get old. To me, my remaining time increases in value. Life has been mostly good during many happy years of reasonably sound body and mind. If I falter in my seniority, may my mind be last to fall.

My life, all life, is evidence of organized matter. Entropy is increasing disorder. Each life briefly overcomes entropy. However, entropy dominates some regions of the universe. My house is such a region–temporarily, I tell myself.

When my bodily entropy is certain to accelerate, an anatomy lab can have me as a corpse—after my brain fails. Such a donation will avoid an expense to my heirs and be a contribution to medical students—especially if my parts correspond to anatomy books.

Perhaps the chap book I’ll write could be tethered to the better looking of my big toes along with an ID tag and a note about my synthetic lenses and the exceptional length of my near-sighted eyes.

Thinking ahead, I’ll be dead forever, so I’ll more than catchup on my sleep deficits. There won’t be an I, nor a me. There was an I, a me. Dust to dust. Atoms to atoms. Entropy wins, but some atoms from my body may yet come to be in another life form, maybe in an earthworm.

Maybe some of my writng group remember my wormy poem:

I’ve never been an earthworm….without a single tear.

 

I’ve never been an earth worm

Never wriggled through the soil

Never flooded to a road

Never plucked by any toad

 

Glad I’m not a worm

Glad I’m still a man

 

On my corpse worms may feed

Extend beyond an ear

Slide out a vacant eye

Without a single tear

 

Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

~Mark 9:44 King James Bible version

Donald Turner retired to Angwin, CA. after 29 years of aerospace computer programming in California for the Navy at China Lake/Ridgecrest, for Northrop Grumman at El Segundo, & for Boeing at Huntington Beach. In retirement Donald keeps busy with writing, gardening, exploring the internet, attempting stock market profit, mixing music with Bitwig, and making his two acres more fire resistant. He is divorced with two daughters and four grand-daughters.

After graduating in 1966 from Pacific Union College, Donald taught high-school math, physics and earth science at Fletcher, NC. from 1966-69, then math at PUC prep in 1969-70.  He holds a  Master of Arts degree in  Physics from University of Wisconsin,  Milwaukee and a Master  of Science in  Electrical Engineering from University of California, Davis. He represents his age in non-curvy digits.

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Filed under Aging, Autobiographical Writing, COVID19, Humor, Students