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Pain and Program Exceptions

    📂 Computers,Running-hiking         🗨 No Comments

Happy new year. Not so much for me. The new year was marked with a wicked lower back pain. An irritating bulging disk that gets inflamed every now and then and pinches the nerve, radiating pain everywhere. Guess that's just nature's way of manifesting my age to me. Yes I know, I'm not in my twenties anymore. Haven't been there for quite some time and the longer I live the further away I get.

So what do? Just add the back pain to the foot pain, added to the hamstring pain, added to the knee pain, and I have a nice variety of aches and pains.

I suppose pain is body's exception system. If you're a programmer, you know what I'm talking about. An exception in a program is raised when something totally unexpected happens in the running code and needs immediate attention. Good coding practice dictates that programmers anticipate and compensate for all possible errors before their code is hit by an exception. But sometimes there's no avoiding it.

  • A number gets divided by zero - an exception is raised.
  • A missing file is referenced - an exception is raised.
  • A piece of data doesn't fit inside a database table column - an exception is raised.
  • An XML stream is missing a tag - an exception is raised.

Graceful code is supposed to catch the exception, alert the user, and halt. After all something catastrophic must have happened and continuing the program could mean entering an invalid and unknown state. I admit, I've broken that rule a few times by catching an exception, logging the issue, and continuing as if nothing had happened. Why should proper programs get all the running privileges?

Body pain works the same way. It's a signal that something's gone wrong and needs attention. One must correct the problem before continuing with normal activities. That's exactly what I had intended to do. Give my back a few days of rest before getting back to running again. Except that last night I saw a jogger in the freezing temperature and my jealousy meter went off the scale.

So tonight I resolved to go for a walk, only to naturally speed up to a jogging pace after a few steps. And thus I entered into the invalid state of pain, as in, not knowing how my back will feel tomorrow. Oh well, why should only healthy, pain-free people have the privilege of running?

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