zee mortgage of zee body on zee mind

A decade or more ago I was at a talk on cognitive aging giving by a old guy with a thick German accent. My only memory of this talk whatsoever is the guy repeatedly using the phrase “the mortgage of the body on the mind” to describe the idea that bodily problems interfere with cognitive potential as one gets older.

In related news, I went to a personal trainer for the first time in my life for a couple of days, which involved attempting to lift weights for the first time since high school. In addition to the expected but substantial new-to-exercising-this-part-of-the-body soreness in my arms and shoulders, I seem to have messed up my back in a more worrisome way, as in the spell last fall where I would fill a long sock with tennis balls and lie down with my spine on that for awhile.

In any event, it’s compromised my writing goals for the past couple days. I start to settle in and then think, “Holy [bother] does my back hurt”, followed by reminiscing about the German guy and his cognitive aging catchphrase. It’s like Harrison Bergeron, only instead of a dystopian satire it’s simply midlife.

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

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