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In my body...


On Sunday, I ran out of Centrum Performance.

This is kind of a big deal. It has consequences. It does affect me.

For the last five or six years (since about mid-way through college), I've been taking ginseng and ginkgo biloba. Yes, the herbs.

And although I have my ups and downs, moments of lethargy, just like everyone else, overall I do think they help. The ginseng is good for energy and the gingko is supposed to be good for memory and concentration.

It's hard to tell if these things are actually working because it's such a tough thing to really rate. But overall, I did feel like I had more energy and as forgetful I can be sometimes, the gingko always did seem to give me a little edge with concentration and with long-term memory.

So how did I know they were working for so long? Because the minute I'd run out and had to go two or three days without either, I'd notice a huge difference. If it was the ginseng, I'd start to feel worn out, run-down, lazy, the opposite of peppy. And if the ginkgo ran out, it wouldn't be as noticeable a difference, but there would be little blank spots where I'd go, "Now, where was I going just now? Huh? Wuzzat? Who are you?"

A few months ago, I switched over the Centrum because it has ginseng and gingko, as well as about a thousand other things that are supposed to be good for you.

It's a multi-vitamin, which is Greek for "Many Vitamins."

Yeah, that's the stuff.

Centrum Performance comes in this good-sized container and since you only take one a day, they last a long time. When you're running low, you know it because you look into that pill cannister and you see it dwindling. From six to five to four and so on. You have a whole week to stock up after you notice how few pills are left.

I didn't stock up. And with the LCP festival coming up this week, I've been too busy with rehearsals and work to stop and pick some up.

So the last two days have felt like the film stock of my life was suddenly edited into slow motion. Along with a lack of sleep, the world was suddenly covered with goopy molasses.

Words didn't make as much sense. The floor seemed like a very reasonable place to just lie down and rest. E-mail piled up, unanswered. ("But then I'd have to type," I would think when I considered responding.)

It worries me a little, this whole pill taking thing. I typically don't take anything unless I have a really bad headache. I have a big problem with the idea of anti-depressants (I know they're supposed to help, but how do you really know it's the pills and now just that you're doing better emotionally?). As I age, I notice the subtleties of my body — how eating something might make me feel sluggish, or how that first cup of coffee in the morning is both a blessing and a curse. (Blessing: It makes me clearer headed. Curse: I don't sleep as well.)

These aren't things I'd ever notice before. My body was just this vessel. It ate and digested and once in a while asked for an ibuprofen when its head ached. It did well with exercise and rest, but could easily withstand a late night or two in a row with some catch-up sleep on the weekend.

Now it feels like a delicate vehicle, a temperamental car that chugs to life more slowly without proper rest and care. It's a car that can go from zero to sixty in ten seconds, but only when it really wants to. It craves exercise and lots of water, but more typically is going to live on oil and long drives with no rest.

I guess thinking about all this is what I get for going to see Osmosis Jones.


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Whenever Earl the Cow tried to change his life for the better, there was his twin brother Keith, always a few steps behind, waiting for a chance to screw it up.

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