100daysoff

Jeff Astrof has 100 days off. See how he spends them.

Day 54

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It has long been a trait of mine to act impulsively without thinking of the ramifications, or to fire off a joke before realizing the impact it would have.  On some level, I think I thrive on the suspense and the anxiety it causes.  It’s kind of like a game of mental Russian Roulette.   Unfortunately, today there was a bullet in every chamber.  If yesterday was a day of action, today was a day of consequence. Let’s start with the obvious: my decision to wax my back yesterday.   There are certain people who would never, ever be attracted to me: anyone on the mat next to me at yoga, the woman who gave me my colonic last year when I went on the “Clean” diet, the hygienist who cleaned my braces when I was in high school, and my wife who has to rub “cool mint soothing balm” on my freshly-waxed back after every shower.    I’m not sure what I was thinking the upside would be of having an androgynous Eastern European lady pour hot wax on my back and rip out the hair that has been growing their peacefully– with the exception of a painful laser treatment a decade ago, and an unfortunate experiment with Neet a couple of years before that– for at least 15 years.  While I can’t tell you what I was thinking, I can most certainly tell you what I wasn’t: that the day after I would look like a pink spotted Dr. Seuss character.

The only hint I had of long-term consequence was when I asked Olga if I would get a rash and she said, “Probably.  You are supposed to have hair there and you just ripped it all out.”  Correction, Olga: YOU just ripped it all out.  And today the consequence is that my back looks like a clear-cut forest with a thousand red dots on it.  My wife assures me that in a couple of days it will look better– a safe bet seeing as it currently looks like the face of the 17 year old fry chef at Burger King.  Yes, it’s gross, but how do you think I feel?!  I’m not even sure what I thought the upside would be if somehow my back was completely smooth and not Lesion Village: that someone would see me running topless on the beach from behind and think, “wow, that young man certainly has a smooth back…” only to have me turn around and see the salt and pepper bath mat on my front?  Anyway, as far as experiments go, this one was a bust.  Now all that’s left is to wait for the inevitable itching to start exactly ten minutes before my 14 1/2 flight begins next Wednesday.

My other bold action that didn’t pay off yesterday– without the associative deformity– was my shopping spree for my wife.  My wife has this extremely annoying habit of saying her problems out loud that cause me to spring into action to try to solve them immediately.  Sure, you can be one of those people who say, “maybe she just wants to tell you what’s going on in her life for the sake of intimacy or just conversation and doesn’t want you to solve her problems.”  My wife, in fact, is one of the people who says that.  But that doesn’t help me.  We have been planning our big trip for several months and it requires shopping.  My wife hates to shop.  She once– and I’m not kidding– put a t-shirt on hold at the Gap and took six months to decide whether or not to buy it (she decided not to).  Whereas I act first and think later, she thinks and thinks and thinks and doesn’t act.  So, when my wife innocently said, “I need a skirt for our trip” and I looked at the calendar to see that our trip is less than six months away, I immediately sprung into action and told her I would get her the skirt.  She told me not to but it was too late.  I went to a store in the Grove and bought a skirt in every style and every color for her (they were one size fits all so I didn’t have the high risk of explaining to her why I brought home a size 16).  As a side note, it is an extremely charming thing to buy your wife clothes from a 25 year old Anorexic girl in Los Angeles– I definitely felt like I was in the new Untitled Jeff Astrof Romantic Comedy starring Jeff Astrof.  My response of “No thanks, I’ll wear them out.” to the Anorexic’s question, “would you like a bag?” had audiences howling.  I was adorable.  Know what they didn’t like?  Today, when I brought every single skirt back, taking away the Anorexic’s commission, because every skirt was objectively ugly and made of a very wrinkly material that sends shivers up your arm when you touch it.  Even my response of, “It says one size fits all and they didn’t fit me” did not get so much as a smile from the Anorexic when she asked why I was bringing back every single skirt.

My third impulsive act was going to play basketball last night.  As you may recall, I suffered a severely pulled groin that I thought was a hernia last time I played basketball about a month ago.  After a brutal massage by a chiropractor and sexual assault by my octogenarian doctor, I was told that the best thing to do to recuperate was to rest, stretch and ice.  I figured that taking a month off was enough rest and I kind of stretch at yoga and as for ice– well, I’ve certainly had ice in my drinks over the last month.  Besides, I figured I would take it easy last night and who knows, maybe my freshly-waxed back would make me more aerodynamic.  What I didn’t count on was that the game would be dominated by a bunch of lightning-fast 25 year old zero percent body fat Asian guys, one of whom, I swear was an animated character on Speed Racer.  Instead of volunteering to sweep the floor, or keep score, or just going home like I should have, I decided to try to keep up.  I imagine that if someone was watching from the sidelines they would have seen an Asian colored blur whizzing by, followed by a hobbled, pink-speckled guy chugging up and down the court after it.  A friend of mine who hadn’t seen me in a few weeks gave me the backhanded compliment that I looked like Kevin Spacey in “American Beauty” a clearly middle-aged guy who was kind of getting into shape.  I took the compliment and hobbled with it.

The prescription for a hard game of basketball is to take a hot bath with Epsom salts immediately after.  Unfortunately, with a back that looks like it had been attacked by the business end of a cheese grater, I would not be approaching anything hot or salty.  I took an ice cold shower then avoided eye contact with my wife after she lived up to the “… or worse” part of our wedding vows by applying the cool mint balm.  This morning I paid the price for my actions.  Not only did I get out of bed like Robocop, my groin tightened with every step I took, culminating in the low-point of my day when I was sitting at my desk in my office, on the phone with my credit card company and my right leg froze in the fully extended position.  I couldn’t lean back into the chair because my back was still on fire and I couldn’t bend my leg without having to ask the guy from Visa to call 911, so I sat in a weird yoga position for roughly 45 minutes trying not to sob.  Because of this glitch in my tightly planned day, I was late going to lunch which made me late to my meeting in Burbank which made me late going back to the Grove which made me miss my kids playing tennis today.  There was something okay about suffering through the indignity of a ravaged back or hobbling into a store to return a bagful of skirts to the sales girl who only flirted with me when I bought them, but missing my kids’ tennis practice made me feel like a failure.

And then something strange happened: when I got home, my kids ran up to me to tell me about their days and asked me to put a log in the fireplace and start a fire.  I realized that that probably would not have happened had I been on the sidelines yelling at my daughter to play tennis louder or my son to take the racket out of his pants and stop trying to be funny.  This connection was only possible because of my absence.  Maybe the lesson here is that sometimes it’s better not to act than to act, which seemed to be  the lesson of today.  I think I’ll try to internalize that lesson as I head into my last month and a half and hopefully beyond.  Either that, or I’ll get a nose ring.  What’s the worst that can happen?

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Written by 100daysoff

April 7, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Nose ring, p-shaw. Go for the nipple or belly button ring.

    Michael Lebit

    April 8, 2011 at 4:49 am


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