My 20-Pound Geriatric Thug Purse

Mom jeans, sensible shoes, giant purse. You probably wouldn't peg me for a drug smuggler. But that's what I've become.

Of course, you'd have to define "drugs" in a geriatric, ibuprofen-and-probiotic sense, and "smuggler" as one who carries around perfectly legal prescriptions and over-the-counter supplements, but still -- you get the point. My purse has become a big bag o' meds.

This realization hit me recently as I walked into work wondering why the hell my handbag was so heavy. As I plunked it down on the counter of my soul-killing cubicle, a bottle of Aleve and pack of multivitamins poked from the interior, and I realized the reason for its heft. Pain relievers. Supplements.

Drugs.

I have pills to make my back feel better. Pills to help me sleep better. Pills to grow my hair. Pills to keep me regular. Pills to improve my joint health. And more.

So much more.

Now before you call me a pill popper and I hear from all you granola hippies out there about the benefits of good diets and healthy habits and kefir yogurt that smells like ass, let me say this: I do all that. I am something of a granola hippy myself, and regularly manage to annoy my family by making them exercise and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

(But never kefir yogurt that smells like ass.)

All this medicine is a relatively new development. You see, I've hurt myself. By sitting. In a chair.

Yep, you read that right. I'm having sacroiliac joint problems due largely to the fact that I sit for 12 hours most days a week, thanks to ten-hour workdays and two-hour round-trip commutes. Oh sure, I exercise on my breaks and days off, but that's a lot of sitting.

You know, they say sitting is the new smoking. But still. I can't believe I've reached an age where I've actually injured myself by sitting.

In a damn chair.

As a kid, I remember groaning and rolling my eyes in the back seat of the car as my grandmother rode in the front and complained about how long rides hurt her back.

"C'mon, Gran!" I thought. "You're just sitting there!"

And now, these days . . .

Ha ha haaaa!

Did you hear that? She's getting a big kick out of this up there. Not funny, Gran.

I see a physical therapist, a chiropractor, and an MD for the back problems. My days off each week have become eight-hour geezer events consisting solely of doctor's appointments. And the back issue isn't even all of what's going on with me. I will spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say it involves the aforementioned probiotics and lots of whole grain foods.

Whoops. Sorry. In typical senior citizen fashion, I can see that I'm oversharing and bemoaning my many and various maladies, as well as forgetting the original point, which was . . . what? Oh yes, my huge, ridiculous, drug-filled purse.

The other evening, as I pawed through its contents looking for the glucosamine pills so I could swallow them down with my evening Metamucil, I realized that not so long ago, things were very different for me. In the 80s and 90s, I owned tiny handbags that contained only a few items. And on most weekends, I didn't even carry a purse -- all I needed was my go-to checklist of money, ID, keys. That's it. I was out the door, and onto the dance floor.

Not so much anymore.

Now I have a behemoth bag filled with an entirely different, way longer checklist, consisting of (but not limited to) prescriptions. Supplements. Vitamins. Wrinkle cream. Pain relievers. Sunscreen. Fiber chews.

In fact, all my purse really needs is an AARP card, a handful of lightly used tissues, and five or six stale butterscotch candies, fuzzy and forgotten at the bottom.

Geezer level: complete.

Ha ha haaaa!

Yeah. There she goes again. If I squint, I can just about see her. A short, smiling old woman with a cardigan, bright blue eyes, and a perpetually aching back.

Not to mention one giant purse.