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    My Achin' Back!

    You've probably heard this spiel before, and as a health & safety advocate I've certainly supported this kind of logic in the past: "When shoveling snow, it's important to use proper lifting techniques. Maintain a neutral body posture, lift with your legs, and take smaller shovels of snow to avoid straining your back. Also, be sure to warm up before you start, and if you don't excercise frequently be sure you don't overdo it. Take frequent breaks to have joyous snowball fights with the neighborhood kids, make snowmen and snow angels with your loved one, and roll around in the soft, fresh powder with playful Labrador puppies."

    What a load of crap. All of it. Here's the reality. You open the garage door with shovel in hand and there's snowdrifts up to your knees, so you have to shovel your way outside. The fluffy white snow has mixed with sleet and freezing rain overnight so now it has the consistency of semi-dry cement. Your car looks like a Wolly Mammoth under 30 feet of ice in the Siberian tundra, and the post-storm wind is biting at your exposed flesh at a steady clip of 30 m.p.h. Every shovelful you take from the driveway feels like you're hoisting half an igloo and every stroke of the ice chopper simply sinks into the snow mass with a dull, ineffective thud. You scrape and chop and chisel and push and fling and chuck and lift and throw for two hours, trying to reconnect with the world, secretly despising your Okaly-Dokaly neighbor with the new Toro snowblower while you wait for the brain aneurism to finally strike. As far as ergonomics are concerned, you can fling thirty pounds of snow over your shoulder to the snowbank three feet behind you or thrust it forward four feet ahead to the pile ahead of you--take your pick.

    As for me, I think I'll lie down in this snowbank over here for a while. Call 911 if you want, but I'm going kick back and enjoy my heart attack. Lord knows I've earned it.  snow shovel.jpg


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