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Maybe There's Something To Biorhythm


February 21, 2019

(Editor's Note: This column was first published in December of 1994. I figure that's so long ago none of you will remember it. Heck, I don't remember it! You know, I think I'll start running these historic columns regularly in this space. Let me know if you like the idea.)

My spouse thinks the entire decade of the 70s was a vast wasteland of air-headed ideas about astrology and transcendental meditation and foot reflexology and other "Me Generation" foolishness.

It could be because he got sort of a double dose of it. He was working at The Commercial Appeal at the time, so of course they had to cover all these hot trends. But to make it worse, I was working at (the then) Memphis State University in continuing education, planning and promoting adult special interest classes.

It was almost more than he could deal with when I would come home and excitedly tell him how I had set up a class that day in levitation after learning that one of the engineering profs really could lift a table three inches off the floor by just thinking hard about it. I guess I sort of egged him on, but I had to agree that a lot of that stuff was pretty ridiculous. I don't believe you can tell a person's fortune by feeling his feet.

Just this past week, I was reminded of another of those '70s subjects that you don't hear so much about anymore - biorhythm. For a while in those days, people went around measuring their alleged biorhythm with little devices, and blaming everything that went wrong on them, of course. You were even supposed to chart your biorhythm so you'd know what time of the day or month to negotiate that big deal or stay home from work.

I never really figured out what it was all about, but I think it had to do with electrical impulses to the brain that were affected by the tides or some other mysterious, cosmic force. At least that's what some thought; I've come to the conclusion that things like sleep and stress might be a more reasonable explanation. And I think it even affects cats.

See, we had one of those weeks last week. Wayne had an out-of-town consulting job that required him to leave at the crack of dawn last Wednesday, so we were literally up all night on Tuesday while he finished all his writing and designed the front pages of both papers. We went home about 2:30 a.m. and then had to pack! Since he had to leave for the airport about 4:30 a.m., he just stayed up. I got a couple of hours of sleep before going back into the office to put together the other 27 pages of the Countywide and the other 23 pages of the Sun.

Things went pretty well for a while. Then about 1 p.m., the phone rang and it was Gwen, our reporter at the Sun, telling me about the shooting in downtown Shawnee. She was in the middle of it and didn't have a camera. So I had to jump up and go.

Considering that I was operating on two hours' sleep, was worried about Gwen, was stressed out about undone work I'd left behind with a deadline looming, it stands to reason my biorhythm was out of whack. I guess that's why the sidewalk alongside the Masonic building jumped up and tripped me as I ran along there looking for Gwen. I went down on one knee and elbow, with the camera crashing into the concrete just ahead of me. I was so alarmed about the camera (which thankfully was unharmed) that I didn't realize until later that I had blood dripping from the elbow and knee, plus a hole in my formal jeans.

I shudder to think about how it must have looked to anyone who saw that display of grace and poise.

That was the most dramatic, but hardly the final bit of bobbling. Christmas shopping did not improve my state of mind or body, but I still don't know how I turned over an almost full, one dollar Diet Coke on the basketball court during the Little Axe game Saturday night. That meant, of course, that I had to get down on my hands and knees and mop it up in front of hundreds of fans with ten thundering boys playing basketball within inches of me. I slunk away from there as soon as I was sure I had a photo.

The other reason I left the game early was to check on my cat, who was having her own troubles. Perhaps overcome by her 15 minutes of fame in my winning column about her craziness, she had taken a notion to leap onto the dresser inside Wayne's closet while I getting ready to leave for the game. The sliding closet door was open only a crack, and a partly open drawer was protruding, so she had to calculate her leap carefully.

Apparently she should have checked her biorhythm chart, because her cat-like calculations were off. I heard her hit, slip and then let go with a shattering ""Ye-ow-ow!" And she kept yelling. I have never heard such a noise from that cat. I couldn't see what the problem was because of the door, but it was pretty clear she hadn't quite made the top of the dresser, had slipped and somehow caught her leg in the open drawer as she fell. And she couldn't get out.

I finally extracted her from that mess, but she was a wreck. Her eyes were dilated and she wouldn't move. I thought maybe her back was broken, or at least her leg. Fortunately, she was fine by the time I got home, but she didn't do much jumping for a couple of days.

Then Monday I had one of those mornings where I wondered why I thought I could drive. I took all the corners too wide, almost ran a red light and ran my new car up on a curb so hard I thought the bumper might fall off. I hope I didn't run over anyone; I parked as soon as I could and didn't go back out.

If all this is biorhythm, I hope I'm about to cycle out of it before I kill myself. Does anyone remember how we are supposed to fix those rhythms when they're out of whack? If you do, please call before I self-destruct.


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