Monday, 6 May 2013

The peril of smooth muscle


             
I’m tormented. An orchestrated campaign is underway to cause me misery and embarrassment. As I descend into middle-age (and beyond) a group of living entities, all with a similar form, is waging systematic assaults upon my body.

And who is responsible for this crusade of terror? An inner-city gang of hoodlums? A plague of norovirus? A pack of rabid dogs? No, none of these, it’s something much more terrifying that’s collectively known as smooth muscle.

Smooth muscle is found in various parts of the body including the gut, windpipe, bladder and blood vessels. Unlike most of our muscles which are under voluntary control (those in our arms and legs for example) smooth muscle does its work automatically. While we can choose when to move our limbs, smooth muscle operates outside of our conscious control.

It’s as if smooth muscle has a mind of its own. It can also be sensitive to our focus of attention; concentrate on a bodily function that is mediated by smooth muscle and that function can change, often in ways we wouldn’t have wished for. This combination, involuntary activation and sensitivity to attention, can be an incendiary mix. Let me illustrate:

  1. As I get older I worry more about my health. My hypochondriacal mind occasionally senses that my gullet might be narrowing and that a blockage is imminent, thereby putting me at risk of an agonizing death. Striving to reassure myself that the tube is open, I focus on my throat and repeatedly attempt to swallow saliva. By third or fourth gulp paralysis sets in – try it if you doubt me – thus confirming my initial fear.

  1. A formal meeting at work and a lag in the discussion. The silence is shattered when my stomach and intestine spring into action sounding like the brass section of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the elongated growl of a tuba along with the staccato of the trumpet section. Colleagues eye me suspiciously; I pat my stomach to reassure them about the source of the interruption.

  1. Sometimes the culprit resides further along the alimentary canal. Last week, while in the frozen food section of the local supermarket, I bent over to pick up some battered fish when my anal sphincter released a blast that sounded like a container-ship’s fog-horn; I give the old lady next to me an accusing stare, and ambled away.

  1. Smooth muscle is involved in the expansion (and constriction) of blood vessels, a process that is responsible for the most vital of all male functions: the development and maintenance of an erection. And this is where smooth muscle’s behaviour is at its most fiendish. Home alone watching old episodes of Baywatch, titanium-plated steel; throes of passion with Mrs Jones, molten putty.     

  1. In a public toilet, standing at the urinal and about to pee. Another bloke enters and immediately starts to pound the porcelain with a powerful stream of urine. My hose has yet to start squirting. I begin to mind-read; standing here in a public place with my todger exposed, but not peeing, what will he be thinking? Will he conclude I’m a homosexual, seeking sexual favours? Or will he label me as a pathetic flasher, exposing my genitals for thrills? I urge myself to pee, but nothing happens. The more self-conscious I become, the longer it takes to pee.           


Smooth muscle is a menace, an ever-present threat to the well-being of an aging man. You have been warned.

20 comments:

  1. I'll consider myself warned. Thanks.

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    1. You heard it first here, Stephen.

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  2. I had no idea this was such a plaguing ailment! Funny post.

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    1. Thanks for dropping in, Bettyl.

      Smooth muscle disorder - the new arthritis!

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  3. I'm just pee shy. If someone's relieving himself in a urinal directly next to me, it is nearly impossible for me to pee until he has finished. I have the same thoughts spiraling about my head, though.

    As for farting in public. That's a regular occurence for me since I can't burp.

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    1. There seems a lot of pee-shyness about; if we all happened to find ourselves in a WC together, it could be kinda awkward.

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  4. Crap, that explains it. My whole body is just one big smooth muscle.

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    1. Wall-to-wall smooth muscle! There's no hope for you Joe!

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  5. This is hilarious! I have tears from reading this. Great post!

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to drop by. I'm pleased it made you smile.

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  6. Man, your embarrassing tales never cease to entertain. Looks like I have a lot to look forward to as I get older! Smooth muscle problems - here I come.

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    1. It is sobering how embarrassing events seem to occur with greater regularity as you get older.

      Take care, Daniel, smooth muscle is gathering on the horizon like Red Indians poised to attack the cowboys!

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  7. Love how you quickly blamed the old lady in #3! Hilarious!
    And as for #4...would Mrs. Jones be adverse to a little Baywatch playing in the background?! Might fix you right up. (Pardon the pun :))

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    1. I'm old-fashioned in some ways Pam and don't like farting in front of women. Therefore, when it happens by accident, I have to blame someone!

      Hmm, maybe a semi-naked David Hasselhoff might float Mrs Jones' boat. I'll have to think about that one.

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  8. I think beer relaxes smooth muscle

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  9. I suspect relaxed smooth muscle can be as troublesome as tensed.

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  10. This is too funny--especially no# 2 & 3. Hopping over from the writer's group on Fb to check out your blog. I'm Marcia from Menopausal Mother--- after reading the name of your blog, naturally I had to stalk your page! Nice to meet ya!

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  11. I feel privileged to be stalked, Marcia. I will shortly take a peep at your blog to discover the inner workings of a female menopausal mind.

    Best wishes

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  12. Hi - Menopausal Mother sent me over. Love your blog.
    Pop over to mine at http://www.lifecherries.com

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  13. I appreciate you dropping by, Lanthie.

    I'll have a peek at yours right-away.

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