No, not the era that all the bumper stickers talk about. The era of my being officially injured is over. The doctor pronounced me healed today, saying that the progress made in the 5 months since surgery is remarkable. This actually makes me a bit sad, since I’ve just lost the greatest excuse ever. There’s no end to the applications of a swift, “yeah, but I’ve got a broken leg.” Now I don’t have one, and must resort to the infinitely more klugey “yean, but I’m recovering from a broken leg.”
Anyhow, apart from that, it’s obviously a big relief to have this chapter closed. What the exact keys to the accelerated recovery schedule were I know not, but place great stock in the amount of exercise I did during recovery. This gave my vascular system the impetus to keep working hard, kept my musculo-skeletal system from breaking down more than necessary and improved range of motion considerably. When it came time that I was capable of moving around more and able to do more work, I didn’t have to rebuild from ground zero. I was ready to get some work done. Apart from not wanting this episode to drag along and be a big hindrance to normal life, a surprising motivator came from a simple statement from NCVC’s fearless leader. While visiting me in the hospital a day before surgery, he kind of half jokingly said “now don’t let yourself get all fat and everything.” Sort of a throwaway remark, but the truth of it stayed with me. If I’d let myself go completely, everything to do with recovery would have been made that much more difficult. Plus, famously weak as my upper body is, I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere on crutches with a big old gut to cart around.
One of the most interesting things in the next couple of years will be the sociological changes wrought by our newly found (long existing, but newly found) nationwide poorness. The missus and I have been discussing this a lot for a while. The need for people to show their ‘wealth’ (I think we can all understand the implications and meaning behind those parentheses now, yeah?) is going to out itself somewhere. Will austerity be the new black? I barely remember some of the stuff that happened in the 70s and early 80s when it was kind of hip to be poor. “Good Times,” “Sanford and Son,” “Chico and the Man” and “Welcome Back Kotter” and those shows contrast nicely with the aspirational (if you want to call it that) shows like “Dynasty,” “Falcon Crest” and “Dallas,” as well as “90210” and “The Hills” and all these other cultural touch points that make you feel like a leper if you don’t drive a Bentley.
My mother and I were talking the other day, and I think that they’re about as battened-down for what’s happened as a couple of just retired lifelong middle to upper middle class (depending on where in the John McCain spectrum of middle class you happen to see that split occurring) people can be. Apart from their considerable investment and savings and diversification and all that, they have about the best arrow that you could have in your quiver. As stated so succinctly by my mom - “I can survive being poor.” The ability to find value in life without the need for using a bunch of resources may be what distinguishes those who can deal with all of this from those who can’t.