the drawback of being always in the office is becoming limp. of course, when a friend asks you to help him move house, you can’t say ‘no, my muscles are now too flabby for that’.

so you go, and come back with the n-th lumbago crisis. you can’t bend your back by an inch, you can hardly reach your d*ck to pee. yet, there are some advantages.

first, coffee is brought right to your desk, and your ashtray is emptied by your caring ol’podna.

second, you remember this beautiful word who got borrowed god knows how from german into a dialect of your remote childhood: ‘hexenschuss’. it’s the german for lumbago. and you know just enough deutsch to remember that ‘hexe’ means a witch, and ‘schuss’ is to fall. don’t spoil the charm of it by googling too deep for the explanation: rather, imagine that old germans saw this sudden pain in the back as a spell cast on someone, falling on the victim like a curse.

maybe it’s just so – or maybe not. what’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and a lumbago by any other name would make you feel as miserably old.

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