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A monkey on my back
By Corky

      It started in high school. I thought it looked cool when other kids did it so I tried it myself. Now a quarter century later, I still have a monkey on my back. Or at least it looks that way from twenty-five years of slouching.
      Some days you'd swear my spine was surgically removed. I should have gone to finishing school where students practiced good posture by walking with a book on their heads. But with my luck I'd get an encyclopedia.
      Being a secretary for two decades didn't help matters. Shoulders tend to slouch from parking in front of a computer all day -- except in times of high stress. On those occasions they defied gravity. While I pounded out some crucial document, my shoulders mysteriously rose to ear level, giving me that Schroder-at-the-piano appearance.
      When this strange phenomenon happens, experts recommend three exercises for relief:
      (1) Rotate your head slowly from side to side.
      (2) Try circling your arms like a windmill without collapsing your cubicle walls.
      (3) Kick off those high heels (or Wing Tips) and stretch your body fully to the left and right. This also works as a turn signal on the way to the coffee room.
      Helpful, yes. But what happens when the boss stops by to see the Smith contract while you're imitating Jane Fonda?
      The answer may lie in hiring a personal drill sergeant -- someone who follows you throughout the day barking, "Stomach in! Chest out!"
      "It IS out!" I'd squeak defensively.
      Mail order catalogs offer a calmer solution to poor posture. The upper-body brace aligns the spine and pulls back shoulders, forcing the dejected girl in the "before" picture to stand up and take notice.
      Aside from the device looking a bit restrictive, I wondered about those dozen magnets inside. True, they've proven helpful in the field of medicine, but they could wreak havoc on my computer system. And what happens if I, wearing my lovely magnetic brace, become hopelessly attached to my file cabinet?
      No. To break a habit, one must simply be conscious of it. Writing this column required me to think about posture all week. Now that I'm done, I'll stay focused by typing "I will not slouch" a hundred times a day.
      Now where's that copy-and-paste key again...?

      Corky is Lois Corcoran. Her column appears in the free parenting e-zine, The "M" Word.
"Jest Between You and Me," is now available at Hard Shell Word Factory. For a short reading, visit the Free Gallery of Authors' Voices.

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