Yesterday, I noticed it starting to wiggle. The foot rest lever on everybody’s favorite Cadillac recliner was acting funny, describing strange arcs as I attempted to maneuver people’s feet up and down.
Then, it happened. Jane was leaning back to get some relief from her peri-menopausal headaches, left elbow pain, and a dose of 21st century stress all mixed together. “Is there something wrong with this lever?” she asked me with a quizzical look on her face. “Maybe”, I replied. I grabbed the lever and began to coax it to make one more leg lift. I breathed a little Chi into it, and it performed in one last gasp, then died.
The dang thing broke off in my hand. I held it up to show Jane, looking befuddled. We were like two clueless landlubbers looking at a seamonster that had
washed up on shore, trying to figure out which end was its head.
We both laughed hysterically. Her legs were now permanently stuck in the up position on a dead recliner. “Looks like I’m here to the end. I can’t think of a better way to go”, she deadpanned.
An hour later, Jane’s headache gone, I gently pushed the footrest down with my foot and Jane floated out the door to catch her train to glory. Two more left shortly afterwards, with tickets on the same train, and I was alone with my team of work horses. Ten recliners, Craigslist specials all of ’em.
In an earlier time, I would have been embarassed at their tattered edges and clunky sounds. But not now. The writing is on the wall. Planet Earth needs us to get lean in every department. Next Friday is Buy Nothing Day, my 75 year old mother reminds me.
So I turned over Big Bessie and stared at her innards. The metal handle had twisted right off. Hmm. I played, and pushed, tunked, and tugged, and then figured out that I could tie a short length of hemp rope (my dad used to find them on the beach and collect them) to the “rotation axle” which controls the foot rest. After one patient climbs out, one gentle tug to reset the spring and the next person wouldn’t even need to use the now non-existent handle. It would work even better than before.
Well, ain’t that just lovely! Yet another reason to either start a community acupuncture clinic, or support one as a patient – it’s a sustainable enterprise – for a cost conscious American economy, and for a planet with finite resources. There is no pretense about being part of some grand edifice of Professionalism designed to impress our materialistic propensity for glitzy packaging. We’ve gotten rid of the packaging! What you get is affordable community medicine without all the extra garbage (or sticker shock!)