October 20

World Osteoporosis Day

 

Everything is heavier now.

When you lift something, you’re always worried you’ll hear a snap in the bone of your arm, in the vertebrae of your spine.

The scientists all had their eyes on climate change.  Polar ice caps melting, shifting weather patterns, an extended and dramatic hurricane season.  Such things have happened, to some degree.  But they hadn’t predicted the change in Earth’s gravity.

Explanations vary.  In some theories, a solar flare is the culprit; others point to magnetic alteration in the planet’s core.  Fringe groups blame God or the Devil; environmentalists blame humans.

Whatever the cause, the force of Earth’s gravity nearly doubled overnight.  Many buildings and bridges collapsed. Mountains and hills and roads took on new shapes.

As did people.  Stand on a scale and find your weight increased by 200 pounds.  Look in the mirror and see yourself bent over, old before your time.  Your spine has curved from the extra force, and each day you feel the strength of your bones weakening.

The elderly have suffered the most.  The morning after the change, they lay in place, arms and legs splayed as if pinned to the bed or to the ground.  They didn’t have the strength to get up.  When someone grabbed an arm to help lift them, their bones shattered beneath the grip.

Over time, more buildings will crumble beneath continued pressure.  More people will die as their skeletons collapse.

It’s difficult for you to move around the apartment.  You lean forward from the couch, reaching for the television remote to check the latest news.  As you lift the plastic device powered by two AAA batteries, it feels as heavy as a brick.

You press the power button, hearing a loud snap before the television turns on.