I'm on my third week of lower back pain, and I'm not growing any more appreciative of it. Grizzled old soothsayers say that we only make progress when we're experiencing pain, after which they raise one of their haunches and make a noise that sounds like "sooth". I have all kinds of objections to this claim, foremost of which is what a horrible system! Second of which is what constitutes progress? The only common goal we can all agree on is that moment when we keel over and begin the rotting process, which undertakers are savvy enough to delay long enough to collect hefty fees. And we all make steady progress towards that goal with or without the application of pain. Plus when you're in pain, making progress toward anything except the acquisition of powerful pharmaceuticals is way down near the bottom of the list of ways to occupy your time, and anyone who suggests that this is an excellent opportunity to better yourself is liable to end up the recipient of a knuckle sandwich. And like I say, who determines what constitutes a better person? I'm not about to use this period of lower back pain to take up French as a second language (although I have added a few choice curse words to my vocabulary.) "No Pain, No Gain" might be true, as far as it goes, but so is "Pain, No Gain." In fact, "No Gain" all by itself is a pretty good summary of my philiosophy of life, which, up until this very moment, I have been unable to articulate. See? I'm making progress!