Thursday, May 2, 2013

Time for a Check-Up

Two random events which occurred during the past week struck me as being quite similar. My annual visit with my doctor required the usual exams and blood work. In an unrelated matter, I also test drove a car.

It dawned on me there is a strong similarity between our bodies and our vehicles.

Each structure is housed inside a container, of sorts. When each structure is new, we take great care not to damage it. Every car owner frets over the inevitable first scratch on the shiny, new paint. When my current car was still new, I gently bumped my driver's side fender against a cement parking bollard. It was a glancing blow at best, but crinkled the fender just enough to make me lose sleep. I was ruined. I had betrayed the trust of my new car. Actually, the damage was minimal, too insignificant to repair. The crinkle remains visible, of course, a tiny reminder that perfect doesn't last forever.

Likewise, new mothers worry about their baby's exterior container. She tries to prevent the baby experiencing the horror of skin irritation or blemish of any sort. With each outburst and whimper, mom believes that she is overlooking the obvious cause, ruining her child in the process. As time passes, the new mom's concerns lessen. She learns to relax. Baby learns to crawl, stand and walk with little damage. Mom has hope that both players may survive.

As both types of containers age, certain parts may require attention.

The tread on the tires may wear thin and need to be replaced. It might be time to visit the mechanic if the car develops a shimmy. If walking becomes awkward or uncomfortable, it might be time for the human to visit the podiatrist. Comfortable shoes with good insoles might do the trick. Traction is an important part of getting around and is vital to maintaining control of all containers.

Aging might also interfere with container performance.

The engine may falter and require a minor tune-up. Anyone who has driven for a while knows that a tiny noise is easier to repair than a big noise -- and is less costly, too. Also, human containers have hearts which might need a tune-up. A doctor once told me that our bodies talk to us constantly; the trick is learning to listen for the signals. Human containers may need to visit the doctor occasionally to achieve better results. That way the vehicle and driver can both get back on the road with a simple adjustment.

The exterior condition of the container also warrants attention.

As people age, they need to ramp-up their grooming efforts, removing hair that grows where it is not wanted and becoming vigilant about their overall appearance. It's always advisable to keep weight under control to look and feel better. Keep in mind that it is common for mature people to stop caring about their appearance. Remember: Make an effort.

Just because the car is accumulating miles doesn't mean that its condition should be ignored. Take the car out for a spin once in a while. Even if you don't drive far every day, start that engine and rev it up. Take short trips and show it that you care. Keep your container in good condition, whether it is your body or the vehicle you drive.

What really matters is the type of fuel we use in the container.

Eating is important, of course, but eating well is even more important. Downing a burger and fries on the run is not the best idea. Try sitting down to relax over a meal of fruit and veggies. We all KNOW that we should watch what we eat. Whether we heed that information is another thing entirely. But as you pull into the drive-thru lane at Fast Food City, think what would happen if you poured rubbing alcohol into the tank of your favorite car? Wouldn't it be a better idea to hold off adding fuel until you can find a nice station with an ample supply of your car's octane choice?

Unfortunately, most people treat their vehicles better than they treat their bodies. They are willing to forego seeing a doctor or fueling their body with the proper food. But the car must be washed and tucked away in the garage for safe keeping, no matter what. That's a shame.

In the long run, this may be a priority choice we regret making.













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