Where Pain Lives

Aeon Magazine

“For patient after patient seeking to cure chronic back pain, the experience is years of frustration. Whether they strive to treat their aching muscles, bones and ligaments through physical therapy, massage or rounds of surgery, relief is often elusive – if the pain has not been made even worse. Now a new working hypothesis explains why: persistent back pain with no obvious mechanical source does not always result from tissue damage. Instead, that pain is generated by the central nervous system (CNS) and lives within the brain itself.”

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Tavern on the Gray

Manhattan, inc.

“A warm nasal voice, possibly of Chicago origin, is issuing from the speakers in Joy Golden’s gleaming red, black, and chrome office. Golden and two emissaries from Chiat/Day listen intently. They are reviewing tapes of radio spots they made for Pizza Hut the day before. They’ve heard this particular spot ten times, but all three giggle when it’s over. They like it when the character, on his way to lunch at Pizza Hut, forgets to open his office door. Clunk-thunk. It’s hard not to laugh at the sound effect: the two-hundred-pound studio owner created it himself by walking headlong into a door. Ten times, until he got it right. Anything for Joy Golden.”

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Skies Still Friendly with Kids in Tow

Even before I got in line, I knew there would be trouble. The woman was my age or a little younger. She was traveling with two small children and an extraordinary assortment of personal effects. She held the baby in her arms and pushed a stroller loaded with a diaper bag, a teddy bear, and an overnight bag toward the American Airlines check-in counter. A little boy danced along behind her, pulling a large suitcase on wheels as if it was one of those rolling, squeaking, wobbling basset hound toys.

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When Those Bare Facts Reveal You’re Unsuitable

Last week, I put myself through hell. I went shopping for a bathing suit.

 

For months, I’d avoided this miserable chore. I knew it could take hours, if not days. My friend Lynn offered to join the expedition. She and her husband were off to Santa Barbara, and she was suitless. It would be painful, she knew. She had a baby about three months ago, and despite hard work on her part, she hasn’t quite regained her figure.

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Nailing Down a Future

Once a week, I relinquish my compulsion to be busy every minute. I drop in on Lisa, who goes to work on my fingernails. It’s a luxury, I know — it costs me 10 bucks — but for one hour, I sit as still as Whistler’s Mother. We talk. She asks me about my life. To her, it seems exotic.

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Mapping ‘Car Wars’ Strategy

I just got back from a trip with my husband. We drove around the fat midsection of France for two weeks, in Burgundy, Brittany, and through the green, river-abundant country that lies in between. This is not the amazing thing: We did not fight in the car. Until recently, we have had serious navigational problems, leading to what we call “Car Wars.”

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Living the Good Life With or Without Mr. Perfect

Several female readers are under the impression that I think a woman is incomplete without a man. This, they say, runs contrary to what they’ve learned from years of therapy.

 

They say they wish I’d shut up.

 

I’ve given them the wrong idea, and I apologize. No doubt, I’ve dwelled too often on the wonders of my first year of marriage. The truth is, finding myself in a wedded state came as quite a shock. It was not what I expected.

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Full House of All Guys is Rare Deal

Last week, my husband announced that he wanted to invite six guys over for an old-fashioned poker party. This was a surprise. His idea of entertaining normally leans more toward a cozy dinner for eight, with his wife as chef. What would I think, he asked tentatively, of having a bunch of beer-swilling, cussing, cigar-smoking, gambling guys in our peach-and-white dining room?

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When the Nesting Instinct Paves the Way for a New Life

In a nook under the roof that shelters our front patio, we have a repeat houseguest. If I knew what she liked, I’d bring her breakfast in bed.

 

Two years ago, almost to the day, I came out to Los Angeles to visit Ron for the first time. We’d known each other for just a couple of weeks, but we were sure it was serious.

 

He picked me up at the airport and I was quaking. On the drive to his house, neither of us said much. We didn’t know where to start.

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Waiting in Asbury Park Summer Nights for Bruce

It happened long ago, at the New Jersey shore, before we knew that Bruce Springsteen was going to be famous. He played all the dives in Asbury Park, places like the Stone Pony and the Upstage. At 14, we were still too young to get in, but that didn’t stop us from trying. It was part of an evening’s sport.

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journalismTURKOIScolumns