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by Eric Miller

“So, what’s bothering you?,” my wife asked.

“Pretty much everything,” I replied.

“And how do you feel about that?” she pressed.

“That? Which that? I have feelings about everything. About which feeling, exactly, do you want to know how I feel?"

“The same one I’m feeling about you.”

“I can’t know what you’re feeling unless you tell me,” I stated.

“Exactly!,” she exclaimed.

“I’m just feeling flat,” I replied, nonspecifically.

“Well, that’s no surprise. You’ve been a vegetable ever since you retired. You don’t try new things,” she barked.

“Ouch, must you be so blunt?,” I cried, ducking and putting my hands over my head for protection.

“You need a totally new experience to kick start your kicker. I know exactly what you need. Leave it to me.”

What she thought I needed was something to pull me from the depths of vegetating and to lift me to the heights of European culture and art. That something turned out to be an opera, in Italian of course.

I did find it to be quite an impressive spectacle. We sat right in the center of the first row, so the view was fabulous, but the front row I found out quickly was the worst place from which to read scrolling super-titles above the stage. I had to lean my head way back to see them. Not only did I know that it was an unnatural position, but more importantly my body knew it. It fought me tooth and nail to keep my head straight, rather than let it tilt back. I, of course, fought my body tooth and nail to tilt my head so I could read the translation. My body would have none of it, so it threw a spasm tantrum and locked my head in the tilted position. There I was with my head at a right angle to my torso, almost resting in the lap of the lady behind me, while I stared at the ceiling. I wanted to scream for help, but I didn’t want to interrupt the performance. So I just remained in that position, until the woman behind me began to make a fuss that I was a pervert.

Immediately, a baritone on the stage began to sing “perverto, perverto,” soon  to be joined by the rest of the cast. Then I heard the pounding of feet on what I assumed was the dance floor of my self-esteem.

Suddenly, I felt hands sliding under me, picking me up, and carrying me. In seconds, I was sitting in a high back chair on the stage. The cast switched to singing  “Chiropracto, Chiropracto,” and then they began to sing “La donna mobile,” which I assumed meant that  I needed to be immobilized.

To my surprise, I was just left in that high back chair until the end of the show. As the curtain rose for the cast to take its bow, I was pushed to the front of the stage in my chair, from where I received a standing ovation.