Shoulder Shrugs…..

After going through our customary reentry routines Kathy and I sat down to our print matter that had accumulated over the past couple of weeks. I did try to do the techno thing and read online but I love the feel of newsprint on my fingers and of course on the white chair where I do a lot of my reading. Old habits die hard.

If you look at several articles in mags and papers compressed into a short period of time it can be uplifting or overwhelming. Politics,terrorism, the Panama Papers and the plethora of shootings can give one fatigue. My favorite item was about a group of parents at an Easter Egg Roll in Connecticut who pushed the other tots out of the way to ensure their child’s success. Classy.

The typical response might be a shrug of the shoulders. As I thought about this I realized it may convey multiple messages. First and foremost could be a lack of interest. Kind of “I have seen this before and nothing changes.” One could also say it is a symbol of resignation. “What can I say?” How about forgiveness when you get caught raiding the cookie jar? “I really didn’t mean it.” Then we can be all encompassing by ignorance.”Dunno”. If you find yourself raising and lowering your scapula as you read this you are projecting a sometimes involuntary response.

Now shoulders play an important role in who we are and how we project it. If you stand tall and throw them back you are confident and ready to face the world. Girls seem to think it is wonderful to see broad ones in guys that in turn define muscular pecs as the proverbial hunk sheds his shirt. I have never elicited quite that type of reaction. But when you think about it this, it is beyond important in fashion as every suit is well padded at the top. They say it makes you look skinny. I will take their word for it.

On the other hand you can put forth weariness and pressure. Look at Monday night’s basketball game. The Heels went from triumphant to downtrodden in 4.7 seconds. Nova on the other hand morphed from shock to elation, strutting their stuff. At Rockefeller Center one can see Atlas upholding the world on his frame and depending on how you see things he is either beyond cool and strong or ready to buckle if one more catastrophe gets loaded onto his cargo.

The shoulders are really a reflection of what is going on in our lives. One psychologist noted that, “The body reveals what the mind conceals.” This is all wrapped up in the workings of our limbic system. It is the area of the brain around the hypothalamus and it controls our moods,emotions and sentiments. It can cause us to shrug but moreover clench our fists,grind our teeth or cause our face to redden. As I said, this is often autonomic. As cool as we want to appear the cat is already out of the bag.

Consulting Netter’s Textbook of Anatomy which I alway keep in the nightstand, the shoulder is really a fascinating piece of machinery. The various bones and sinew are perfectly matched to pull this way and that. The ball and socket move non stop for decades without even a squirt of oil. Think about that. The limbic system sends a signal and a bunch of very complex maneuvers from lifting a bowling ball to typing on a keyboard to swinging a golf club can take place at this juncture. You and I never give it a thought but the human body is really complex and exciting beyond measure.

We shrug because it was passed down from our ancestors. Cavemen didn’t have a dictionary or thesaurus so they pointed,grunted and yes shrugged. Therein was the primitive form of body language that today conveys all sorts of messages. People have made it a science. When you fold your arms as I am talking, you feel a sense of invasion and you want to ward me off. I guess I would too if I listened to me. If you don’t want to look me in the eye you might be lying. Couples who don’t walk together or hold hands are drifting further apart. Crazy? I think not.

Now you can give me the Cold Shoulder if you want. That can signify you turning your back on me or it might be from medieval times when you were given the cold and not warm part of the meat because you were at the end of the serving line or not looking to be invited back again. Ayn Rand had Atlas Shrugged and we all see Soft Shoulders as we travel down the highway. The femme fatales always give you a winsome look over their shoulder or as Mae West said while batting eyelashes, “Why don’t you come up and see me some time,big boy?” Unfortunately I haven’t heard that one personally but if Kathy reads this there is always hope.

I am going to put my shoulder to the wheel. This hearkens back to the captain planting himself firmly on the deck and grabbing the ship’s wheel with all he had to steer the ship in a torturous gale. I will go the gym and do a whole bunch of exercises to strengthen my upper bod. This will help me avoid getting it replaced by some sort of contraption that medical science has devised. As I do I will be only be part of the 20% of my fellow Americans that meet the requirements for healthy exercise. What a shame.

Now you say that you think TTG has lost it with all these ramblings. Maybe so, but I choose to say I am looking around at my world and the simplest of things. As I study and research I find there is a whole universe out there waiting to be discovered that is beyond mundane. Complex by its simplicity and obvious by its neglect. Then again you may just shrug your shoulders and I won’t really know what you are thinking. Hope you enjoyed the ride and a break from our mayhem.

As always
Ted The Great.

Factoids:

Shoulder replacement surgery takes about three hours. You are laid up for 4-6 months. The costs all in, can range between $20,000 -60,000 depending on what state you are in. Approximately 7 million Americans a year are affected by some sort of shoulder injury.

There are three bones in the shoulder: Scapula(shoulder blade),Humerus(upper arm) and Clavicle (collar bone), The clavicle is the first bone to start ossifying (hardening) in a human fetus, but is the last to completely develop – often not until the late teens for early twenties. It is the bone most broken by kids.

Broad shoulders do not slope whatever that means. It also denotes the ability to take criticism or assume responsibility. Broad shoulders come to mind when you think of a military honor guard at a funeral or the soldier marching at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Ram rod straight and a steely eye.

Just for fun: Someone sent me this. In a way it is the antithesis of your typical square shouldered hunk. Yet is is something that got to me in a big way and I hope it does you too.

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