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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Achy, Breaky....

Achy, Breaky

Remember Billy Ray Cyrus and his "achy, breaky, heart"? Well, I donít have an achy, breaky, heart, but I do have an achy, breaky back. I can laugh about it now, but I sure wasnít laughing when it first happened.

I thought someone had stabbed me, but there was no knife or blood. The pain was excruciating. Christmas Eve and Iím down in the back. I kept thinking of all the things I needed to be doing, - like making dinner for the folks Iíd invited to my home before I knew I was going to be cripple and lame.

I donít even know what happened to my back. It could have been the box of books I lifted at work, or the table I took upstairs to make room for the Christmas tree, or just the stress of the holidays. It could have been a lot of things.

I went to the Urgent Care Clinic. "Do you have any other back problems?" The doctor quizzed.

"Well, yes, I do, but it is hurting on the wrong side and hurts far worse than usual."

"Does the pain go down your legs?"

"Well, as a matter of fact, it does"

"Any numbness or tingling?"

"How did you know?"

"We can do an X-ray."

I certainly was not going to get any surgery done at the neighborhood convenience clinic. "I donít think I want x-rays," I stuttered.

"Okay, Iíll give you some pain medicine and muscle relaxants and you can follow-up with your own physician."

That sounded good! DRUGS, at this point I needed some. At the pharmacy I asked the druggist if it would be okay to take the muscle relaxants and the pain medicine together.

"Well, itís probably not a good idea", he said. "You might end up falling in the turkey and becoming the holiday entertainment!" I was afraid of that.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about what to do for back problems. Four of five people have back pain at some time in life.; therefore, everyone is an expert.

The surgery believers say, "Go a surgeon - get it fixed, and get it over with". Iíll admit there are situations where the pain is so intense or the injuries so serious that they must be surgically addressed. But what if I go through all the pain and trouble of surgery, and it still hurts?

"Get an epidural injection. My husband had one and it helped him!"

"Donít have surgery for a slipped disc, only if itís ruptured!"

"Get a massage, use a heating pad, use cold packs, take ibuprofen, get a waterbed, use a hot tub, try lineament."

Now Iíve had back problems before, and I figured that if I could tolerate the pain for a while, it might go away. I also knew that people who have surgery do not always become pain free. In fact, most of the ones I know continue to have back problems after surgery.

My world revolved around crutches and pain pills. I later found that I should have been on bed rest in the early acute stage -- not that I was able to go out dancing anyhow.

I decided to take my chances with the chiropractor. After a week or two of manipulations, I began to feel better. I gave up my crutches and got a cane. Canes are great! I highly recommend them. People open doors and are kind to you when you have a cane. I never knew if I reminded them of their grandmother, or if they were just being cautious about irritating someone with a potential weapon in their hand.

Iím pretty much okay now Ė- not jogging -- but not in pain.

Please donít tell me that pain is not an appropriate topic for a humor column. You wouldnít want to cross me. I still have my cane, and I know how to use it.

Copyright 2002 Sheila Moss

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