Nancy Roman

Corporal Mysteries

This is not a “Whatever happened to Max Klinger?” type of Corporal Mystery.


Corporal Maxwell Klinger – M*A*S*H

No, this is Corporal in the sense of “What the heck is going on with my body?”


“The” body resource of my college years.

As I come within a week of turning sixty-two, it has occurred to me that in many ways my body is still an enigma to me.

Some of my questions go way back to childhood. You’d think I would have figured myself out by now.

My nose, for instance:

Why am I sometimes only congested on one side? If I have a cold, don’t I have a cold on both sides of my nose?  Only sometimes I don’t. Right clear. Left clogged. Are viruses directional?

And then there is (excuse me, but I feel I must discuss this) –  Flatulence.  Gas is a mystery that I have wondered about since I was nine (but not constantly, of course):

If gas is lighter than air –  if I fart, and lose that gas, do I actually weigh more than before I farted?

I keep saying that one of these days I am going to remember to weigh myself after a good rip, but I only have delicate rips. I think I should enlist my husband for this scientific experiment.


Not his feet – or mine. (But unfortunately close to mine.)

As I got a little older, my feet began to puzzle me.

Why do my feet feel so good when I try on new shoes at the store – only to kill me after I buy those shoes? Are my feet just pretending to be happy because they like to try stuff on?

And then there’s my stomach.

Why does my stomach not like the same food that my mouth likes? I’m talking about Pizza. I LOVE pizza. My taste buds are committed to pizza. So why is my stomach committed to heartburn?

Instead of understanding the workings of my body, growing older has only added to the confusion.

My eyebrows are thinning. I’ve got bare spots. So if I have places where the hairs won’t grow – why oh why do eyebrow hairs keep coming out in places very far afield from my actual brow area? Can’t those runaway strays start falling out too – at least at the same pace as the ones who were behaving themselves?

Not me... but I seem to be headed there....

Not me… but I seem to be headed there….

Since I’ve already been gross enough to discuss farting, let me spend a few seconds on peeing.

I think I learned in Biology class in 1967 that your metabolism slows when you sleep. So that you can sleep many hours in a row and rejuvenate your body.  You’d think old kidneys would be even slower. But no. Old kidneys just speed up. I have to pee more at night than when the sun is shining.

This reverse metabolism may also be responsible for the weird phenomenon of overnight weight loss.  I seem to lose two pounds during the night, only to put it back on during the day. And although it is obvious that I am eating during the day, I am also walking around – sometimes even zumba-ing around. At night, the only exercise I get is the multiple trips to the bathroom. Why does this burn so many calories?  Would I be thinner if I gave up Zumba and took up Napping?

And finally – on the subject of thinness –

I’ve worked hard this year to eat healthier and exercise more. And it’s really paid off.  I now weigh less than I weighed on my wedding day, more than twenty-one years ago.

But even though I am slimmer, my ass is larger.

Yeah, yeah.. I know; it’s part of being over sixty.

But here’s what I don’t get:

If it’s natural that my butt gets bigger as I age, why can’t my breasts grow too? –  at least a little?

Come on boobies… my behind is leaving you behind.


Zumba Butt


  1. Another side splitter! Trouble is, my side hurts along with my back and legs and I’m seeing a chiropractor! Side splitters can be painful. Could you write something serious?


    • I’ve tried. I start serious, but I always end up silly.


  2. Ha ha. You’ve covered it all so well, Nancy. How are your knees and wrists? Make you think it’s payback time for something, but WHAT?


    • Wrists and knees are okay so far…but my neck makes some very disconcerting noises…


  3. Well, now I’m going to spend the rest of the day wondering about the flatulence question. Maybe I can get Wonderbutt to help me test that hypothesis.


    • If my theory is right, Wonderbutt gains a lot of weight several times a day.


  4. Just thought of something. Don’t moan over larger whatsits. The bigger the girls get the harder they fall. Know what I mean?


    • Yeah, there’s no place for them to fall. I’ll still be perky when I’m ninety.


  5. Laurie MacKellar

    Funny! Yeah they say you should weigh yourself in the morning. And my mouth and my turn
    my (and now my bladder) are constantly at war over what to eat. I swear it is like having three picky kids who won’t at least agree on what they are picky about. And the last thing – I must be the only fat girl in the world with small boobies. I became resigned to the fact that fat would accumulate everywhere BUT


    • dragonhavn (@dragonhavn)

      Take heart, no you’re not. At my largest, well over 200lbs, I still did not fill a B cup … today, fifty lbs lighter and still managing to be working down, in spite of having no idea how I did it (LOL), depending on the bra, I still don’t always fill a B cup … My mom was convinced that in the era of bralessness, I would sag to my waist by the time I was 40 … overlooking that there has to be something to sag in the first place … twenty years after her deadline, no where near the waistline (laughter). So, no, you are not the only one to gain weight and not gain in the bustline …


  6. Lovely pic. My eyebrows are looking patchy as well, but that’s from plucking grey eyebrow hairs–which apparently are genetically programmed to grow to a full two inches. Just be glad you don’t have Candace Bergen/Diane Keaton neck.


    • I don’t think I’ve seen Candace’s or Diane’s necks in about twenty years. That bad, huh?


      • no one has. they are always covered in turtlenecks.


  7. your farting queries fascinate me. i would like a farting(?) scientist to weigh in on that. weigh in? ba-dum-pum. but, really – i do want to know. also – happy pre-birthday. i just had mine and i thought you might enjoy these thoughts. they are along the same lines in a post-39/-pre-60 way.


  8. When you figure all this out, please clue me in. Inquiring minds want to know..:-)


  9. Oh my goodness. Today is my 68th birthday and I can totally relate. Everything hurts. My sister calls it traveling pain. One day it’s your foot, the next day your hand. After that your neck, etc. it just travels around your body making you aware of a new part every few days!


  10. I know how you feel. Lately I’ve been thinking that I’ve somehow been ‘assumed’ by someone else’s body – one that is definitely older than the one I should be in. It certainly doesn’t LOOK like ‘my’ body, it doesn’t FEEL like ‘my’ body, and it doesn’t act like ‘my’ body. Maybe it’s some sort of alien conspiracy!


    • It’s when I come upon my reflection unexpectedly that I am sure it is not me.


  11. You made me laugh ’til I cried. Or maybe I was just crying… I’m stil in the “denial” stage when I wake up every morning thinking tomorrow I’ll feel better. 🙂


  12. The eyebrow thinning is what puzzles me. For years I had Brooke Sheild’s famous eyebrow look, then once I hit 40 I realized if I pluck an eyebrow hair it won’t grow back. So sad. My bushy eyebrows were my thing.


    • But why are the roots of the unruly ones so strong?


  13. Aaah – the pleasures and perils of aging. Always good to remind yourself that you’ll never be as young again as you are today! You always make me laugh…:-)


  14. The stray hair question is the one on my list. My eyebrows are not thinning, wish they would but no just turning colors. But those stray hairs, everywhere! Chin, even now and then neck or close to my cheek. I am truly considering a permanent solution.


  15. Thanks for letting us laugh at ourselves…I’m pretty sure most of us recognized most of these things if not all.



  1. Corporal Mysteries, Part Two | notquiteold

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