Pencil

It’s February. You sit with the erect spine of a crisp Ticonderoga. The chiropractor said your thoracic region is a clear No. 2, which you’re pretty sure is a compliment. Optimism for the future keeps your chin high and your lumbar in the slightest curve that will surely stay flat. How about this booming economy, huh?

Candy Cane

It’s March. Screen time surpassed crying and stress-baking as the best anxiety salve. Hours of gazing at TikTok bent the tip of your spine, which may also be striped red and taste like peppermint. Chiropractor said “wintry back curve” is normal. You glance at the degree hanging behind him during your zoom session. What’s Chesapeake Online Medical College?

Gollum

It’s June. The bright side of staying indoors for months is that no one sees you evolve into a crinkly Lord of the Rings demon. As the curvature stretches down your back, your spine also makes these weird zig-zaggy movements. You’re not sure how that happens to someone who hasn’t left bed in 96 hours. Chiropractor said movement helps. Another reason to bear crawl to the fridge for some stockpiled Funions.

Shrimp

It’s August. You’ve given up on human shape and are hoping things will end as a delicious pink crustacean. Stretching sounds like you’re machine-gunning a sleeve of bubble wrap. You tried putting books under your laptop to shift your gaze, but that only made you think of how you haven’t read Infinite Jest yet. Chiropractor complimented you on your antennae and recommended cocktail sauce as treatment. You’re unsure as to what this relationship has become.

Mollusk

It’s September. You’re actually shocked the human back could do this. Who knew that binging endless hours of Planet Earth would not just bend your spine, but swirl it? Clips of deep ocean shells feel more relatable now for some reason. This isn't the first time you've watched the Deep Sea episode. Should you be studied? You feel like the chiropractor should know about this. You call him. He’s crying. Ok, maybe a different time.

Puddle

It’s December. Months of news overdosing has thawed your gastropod shell into a pond of flesh and bone. Chiropractor said he knew this was coming. They didn’t know how to tell you. You think a phone call would have been fine. They say wintry back curve was just an early sign of complete “posture thaw.” Once you hit shrimp there was no going back. Chiropractor didn’t want to tell you because, well… because they love you, damnit—liquid or not. They’ve always loved you and they didn’t want to see you lose hope. You try to hang up the Zoom call, but remember that your arms are evaporated. Chiropractor is crying again. Are you, too? It’s hard to distinguish tears from the rest of your body now. You should have kept those books under your laptop. For what it’s worth, says chiropractor, you’re doing the best out of all his patients. You pray that means you’re the only one.

How's that economy doing?


And now a quick joke...

You know how magpies will seek out, treasure, and hoard shiny yet useless little things? That is how I act around the seasonal items at Trader Joe’s.