A Tale of Slugs, Mice and Bare Feet

There’s a slug way up high on my dining room wall. I can’t reach it with my hand. If I smack it with a broom, I’ll have slug guts on the white paint. What it’s doing up there I don’t know. I usually find them on my deck, my lawn, my sidewalk, my front door, or pigging out on the leaves of my plants. I pointed the slug out to my trusty dog, who is supposed to be guarding the house, but she was focused on the Milk-Bone box on top of the cabinet six feet below the slug. I guess we’ll wait until the slug moves of its own accord.

I’m using the computer very carefully today. For ages, my elbows have hurt, but now my left thumb is killing me. Apparently I have over-moused. I grip that plastic controller all day long, and now my thumb says STOP IT. I have changed mice, I’m consciously trying not to hold it so tightly and to let go when I’m not actually moving the cursor, but I know I’m doomed because I’ll forget as soon as I’m concentrating on a task. The worst culprit? Those online jigsaw puzzles to which I’m totally addicted. Maybe Saturday’s all-gray castle picture did me in. It hurts to hold a pen or pencil, too. I’m thinking about downloaded voice-activated software so I can just talk my stories into the computer.

I googled “mouse thumb” and discovered all kinds of listings. This is not an unusual problem. Most of links take me to folks who are trying to sell me ergonomic mice. One guy posted a YouTube video  that alternates pictures of actual furry mice with him massaging his left thumb with his right hand. Amusing but not helpful. This site from Office-Ergo is more helpful. My point is that overuse of the mouse (or anything else) will lead to repetitive stress injuries. Our bodies are not built to squeeze a small plastic thing all day long. So if, like me, you’re doing that while you’re reading this, let go of the mouse. Take a break.

Meanwhile, my feet are a mess, too. All those dog walks have created a mass of calluses and sore places that will ultimately send me to the podiatrist. In an interview I read recently in The Sun, Harvard University professor Daniel E. Lieberman talks about how the human foot is not designed for shoes. We would be healthier walking barefoot, he says. Shoes cause us to slam our feet into the ground in unnatural ways that cause foot problems. He’s probably right, but I’m not walking barefoot on rocks, roots and berry vines. Annie does it, but she has leather pads to protect her paws. Me, I’m shopping for better hiking shoes.

Except for the hands and feet, I’m very well, thank you. And I survived another Mother’s Day. I tend to whine because I have neither children nor mother, and my friends keep posting pictures on Facebook of happy family gatherings and flower bouquets from their loved ones. So I boycotted Facebook for a day and played music with friends instead. I’m over it now. Safe for 364 more days.

Except that I have a killer slug in my dining room. Oh wait, I just went to look for it again, and it has vanished. Now where’s the slug? In my dishes? On the table? Here, slug. Let me introduce you to my mouse.

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Author: Sue Fagalde Lick

writer/musician California native, Oregon resident Author of Freelancing for Newspapers, Shoes Full of Sand, Azorean Dreams, Stories Grandma Never Told, and Childless by Marriage. I have published hundreds of articles, plus essays, fiction and poetry. I teach writing workshops and offer individual editing and mentoring. I'm also pretty good at singing and playing guitar and piano.

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