Steps Must be Taken
FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER my doctors have been on my case, saying that I need to “Get more exercise.”
Some of them give me sheets of paper with various exercises that I could not do at gunpoint. Others suggest that I buy a bicycle. There is no surer way for me to kill myself than to try again to ride a bike. When I was a kid I had a bike that got me nothing but scar tissue. I was the only kid in the neighborhood who could crash a bike still using training wheels.
Lately my doctor, the same one who set off a bomb scare at the Mormon Tabernacle in Utah, suggested that I should start walking as an exercise. He didn’t accept “Stumbling” as an alternative.
“Go walk around the Mall a few times. Four laps equal a mile.”
He wants me to become a “Mall Walker?”
“That’s for old people and shoplifters,” I said.
“Well, you’re not a shoplifter.”
I let him live.
I know that getting more exercise would be a good thing, but … but… but, I guess I don’t really have a good excuse – other than I don’t want to.
It will hurt. I know that, but it hurts anyway, whether I’m moving around or not. So…
I’ve taken the first step, to coin a phrase, toward actually getting up and trying to walk distances greater than from easy chair to refrigerator to bed.
I bought a pedometer. It came today, whisked like lightning from the far shores of Amazon.com. It is already helping me to get some exercise. It took me twenty sweaty minutes struggling to get the box open. I think all packaging designers are sadists or reformed safe crackers.
Once I got it open I found the little bundle of a folded up instruction page. One side was all in Chinese. The other side was in an English dialect used for foreign instruction sheets only. I never knew that someone could type with an accent.
The other roadblock to my exercise program was that the entire thing was printed in the smallest font I have almost seen. When I type I use a 14 point font. This thing was printed in what I estimated to be a minus 37. It also helped me get some exercise. I think that the twenty minutes I spent searching the house before I found a magnifying glass should count.
With the magnifier in hand I started looking at the instructions again only to discover that the writer, sitting at his or her desk in some forced labor camp in Central Asia, was very creative when it came to both spelling and coming up with new abbreviations.
I’ll figure it out eventually. I’ll even get it calibrated to my “stride length” I never knew I had one. I always thought I just went from one lurch to the next.
And then I’ll start on my walking campaign. I can almost see those paces adding up as I pass by Victoria’s Secret and the expensive fancy mattress store for the third time, trying to resist the aromatic allure of the Cinnabon shop.
Of course, the reality is that my brand new pedometer will tally my steps as I start out – and take a sit-down while it is still totaling in yards instead of miles. A man’s gotta rest.
The pedometer is only about two inches long, about the size of a morsel you might find in a decent shrimp cocktail. It has buttons; a display screen and it can beep and buzz when you reach your distance goals. My goals right now are just to get the correct time in. I hope it doesn’t buzz or beep when I do that. I might take it as sarcasm and throw the thing out the car window.
I’m going to give it a try, but I think I’ll walk around the new Superstore rather than the Mall. I don’t think I’m old enough to do that Mall thing. At least not for another 70 or 80 years.