Beauty and the Back

Imagine this, but doubled over on the couch (courtesy of

This morning was rough.

I woke up around 8 a.m. on the sofa in my living room—otherwise known as “my bed” since excessive snoring and my son’s desire to sleep in my real bed with his mother resulted in my exile from the master bedroom. When I was younger, the location of my slumber never mattered. I could rest comfortably in an airline seat—once doing so upside-down with my head hanging in the aisle on an overnight flight from Miami to Buenos Aires I took as a child—on a cot or roll-a-way bed or even on the floor. The way I figured, I was lucky to have any place at all to lay my head and, fortunately, my body could handle it.

Too bad that is no longer the case at 42 years old.

This morning—and despite having a sofa that is slightly more comfortable than the floor (but quickly approaching it under the sustained weight of my heavy ass)—I woke up, prepared to rise and was instead met with a wave of intense pain shooting outward from the center of my back. And regardless of which way I twisted, rolled, bent or leaned, the pain just kept on coming.

I eventually cringed and whined my way to the bathroom—which was an adventure in itself for someone with limited mobility (as any readers more elderly than me likely know)—and returned to take some Aleve. There was some stronger stuff around—my wife is prescribed something much more potent—but normally, this is all it takes. So I spent some time suffering, smoked a few cigarettes and waited for my back to loosen up, which it eventually did. Sure, I still experienced shooting pains from time to time, but only when I tweaked it. As long as I was careful, it more-or-less felt normal.

squirrel planking

Squirrel planking is “in” this year (courtesy of the University of Findlay)

It looked like I was “upright planking”—stiff as a board, but otherwise presenting perfect posture—but it worked. I carefully and very intentionally completed some chores and other tasks—like brushing my teeth so the stench of my breath wouldn’t cause me to flinch and re-injure my healing back—and settled on the sofa again, this time to watch some television and relax.

At first, I had to sit a certain way and move as little as possible for fear of the pain returning. I know that makes me sound like a pansy—which looks like the word I would like to use but probably shouldn’t—but throwing your back out is nothing to laugh about. Ask anyone who has experienced back problems and I’m sure they’ll tell you: it freaking hurts. And this is coming from a guy who’s had multiple root canals, been kicked numerous times in the groin—thanks to eight years of karate as well as a clumsy streak—and dealt with the pain accordingly.

I mean, really. You can rest your sore balls while you’re sitting down and the pain will subside pretty quickly. Your back, on the other hand, is attached to every damn appendage you have. And like a cherry on top of a sundae is your head, itself a solid chunk of weight putting even more pressure on your midsection. Every time you move, turn or do anything at all, your back is involved and the risk of more pain is there.

And like I said, the pain can be rough.

Fortunately, the Aleve kicked in and before I knew it, I was feeling much better. I channel surfed a bit before settling on CBS This Morning, a safe bet to be interesting when I can’t find anything better to watch. Oddly enough, throwing out my back isn’t the only sign that I’m getting older; I also find myself paying more attention to the news and current events. Hell, I even stay abreast of economic issues and the stock market despite knowing very little about either of them. And when I’m in the car, it’s pretty much National Public Radio all the time.

Grateful Dead

Grateful Dead (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Hard to believe that I once preferred U2, the Grateful Dead or Sublime blasting from my stereo, isn’t it? That’s what happens when you get older. Not only do you want to know what’s happening in the world, but you also long for something you rarely cared about when you were younger: peace and quiet. But I digress.

At some point during my convalescence, the CBS anchors moved to a financial story and started talking about unemployment, recent jobs numbers and the economy. As I mentioned, I try to stay on top of these issues—even though they usually bore me to death or confuse me—so I watched and listened as the pretty news people introduced their next guest.

And that, dear readers, is when I forgot about my back and instead found myself transfixed by some unknown beauty. My jaw dropped and quite literally hit the floor.

There on the screen—and introduced to me and the world by one of the anchors—was the lovely and talented Lauren Lyster, host of Hot Stock Minute and co-host of The Daily Ticker on Yahoo! Finance.

I was awestruck. Never in my life had I seen a news anchor, business reporter or financial analyst so knowledgeable and so beautiful. Lauren—and I hope she doesn’t mind me calling her that (even though she will likely never set eyes on this post)—was eloquent, cute, polite, smart and drop-dead gorgeous.

Lauren Lyster is Lovely (courtesy of RT Network)

Lauren Lyster is Lovely (courtesy of RT Network)

Just look at the pictures shared here and tell me I’m wrong.

Suffice it to say that during this financial report, I maintained a focus so intense it would border on creepy if anyone were here to actually witness it. Since they weren’t, I was able to shake it off once Lauren’s piece ended, refocus and do something I rarely do: I looked her up on Twitter.

She was easy to find (@LaurenLyster) and since her page is public, I don’t mind sharing her address. You should check it out sometime.

What happened next still confuses me because I did something else that I rarely do: I sent her a tweet!

Get your mind out of the gutter; it was innocent and I can prove it. Check it out.

My Tweet

If I had to guess, I would say that only ten or fifteen minutes elapsed before Lauren—or one of her assistants or staff members, whatever the case may be—sent this reply tweet.

Her reply tweet

I’m not naïve enough to think Lauren actually wrote this herself, but it was a nice gesture nonetheless. And to me, it was just as meaningful for a different reason. Before I explain, I must confess that this next part makes me sound a little freaky, which I assure you I am not… at least not in a dangerous, demented or uncommon way.

Assume for a moment that Lauren did not write this tweet herself and that it instead came from some lowly staffer or hired publicist. My message was a heartfelt one. I sincerely thought Lauren did well and since people seem so hesitant to share compliments with one another, I decided I should tell her. Of course, I also couldn’t resist telling her how beautiful she was—as if she and everyone else watching didn’t know already—so I guess there was some light flirting. What could it hurt, though?

Follow Lauren on Twitter for financial news and updates on her shows (@LaurenLyster/Twitter)

Follow Lauren on Twitter for financial news and updates on her shows (@LaurenLyster/Twitter)

It’s not as if I ever thought she would read my tweet, fall head-over-heels in love with me and show up at my doorstep a day or two later, ready to start a life together and wondering why our paths never crossed before. Honestly, though, I’m sure there are people out there who hope this will happen or worse, actually believe they have a relationship simply because of online interactions. Sad, but it happens. And I assure you that this is not for me.

If you must know, I Twitter-flirted a little, but it was largely unintentional. Yet another feature of old age is the ability to say whatever is on your mind without the slightest regard for how others might perceive or comprehend it. In other words, you just don’t give a damn. And just between you and me, this is one of the features I enjoy the most.

Unfortunately, this “openness” comes at a cost because it brings with it an inability to control these outbursts. You just think something, blurt it out—or in this case, tweet it out—and expect nothing more than the satisfaction of knowing your views, opinions, beliefs, rants, revelations, flirts, tweets, emails, text messages, voice mails and other insane profundities have been heard. There is no expectation for acknowledgment or even the slightest reply, which is why I was so surprised when I got something back from Lauren’s official Twitter account. Even if it wasn’t really her, it has to count for something.

And think about this: even a hired publicist or social networking guru who gets paid to respond to every message in a positive way will later see Lauren in person. Hell, they might even be friends or something. If by some chance they are hanging out one night and my tweet comes up—especially if it gets a positive response from Lauren, like a smile—then my “mission” to congratulate a beautiful, talented and professional young woman on a job well done will be complete. And honestly, that’s all I ever wanted to do.

She isn't all business! (courtesy of RT Network)

She isn’t all business! (courtesy of RT Network)

Of course, I can’t deny being attracted to Lauren because let’s face it, she’s amazing. She is also very professional, and we know that can’t be easy in the male-dominated, dog-eat-dog worlds of broadcasting and finance. Women historically make less than their male counterparts for equal work, but very beautiful women face another obstacle: gaining enough respect to conquer the “she’s pretty so she must be a mindless bimbo” stigma attached to comely ladies everywhere. Yes, women of different ages, colors, sizes and any other measurable characteristic face unique challenges as well, but beautiful women have their own crosses to bear, especially in the “workplace.” And in no way would I belittle this fact or attempt to detract from Lauren and her accomplishments. I assure you of that.

However, there is something known as homage—basically a public display of honor or respect for someone who acknowledges their skill, worth, achievement, beauty or, in Lauren’s case, all of the above. And face it: she’s a knockout. Since all of the images I found of Lauren were legitimate, public and inoffensive—the majority are screenshots from her days hosting Capital Account for RT America—including them here is a way for me to “tip my hat” to a woman who certainly brightened my day.

And as you look through these images, I hope she does the same for yours. I suspect she can cure sore backs, as well. Thanks, Lauren!

Posted on June 8, 2013, in Perspectives, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Lauren is stunningly beautiful, talented, and professional. This young woman has it all.

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