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The unshaken Bond


Lance K. Pugh

I recently attended a showing of Casino Royale, which features a chiseled Daniel Craig as the latest James Bond. The new Bond, who looks like Vladimir Putin (whose soul I'm checking on, though the White House switchboards are busy or turned off), has the body of an extreme ultra marathoner: Lean, mean and not enough fat to fry an egg.

The stunts were so outrageous and continuous that I'm sure the stunt man hospital had to put in a few more beds for those on the mend. I won't spoil the movie for you by going into the details, unless I need them to make a point, which will give away the plot, pre-expose you to special effects, let you know who does what to whom and otherwise ruining your theatrical experience. I will not spill the beans, sink ships with loose lips, divulge or burst your bubble, unless it makes for a better article.

What little comfort I can add is that "M" is always mad, the women are so beautiful that the camera stutters, poison is plentiful, everyone has at least three guns, a card dealer gets a half-million dollar tip, everyone works for both sides and Bond has the emotions of a starfish in a claw foot tub.

I left the show unable to scrub Bond's washboard abs from my mind. I wanted to be in that shape now, not in a year. Accordingly, I laid out a plan and have kept to it for some days now.

I began by installing a physical agility course in my side yard that would help me deal with hot pursuit. I rounded up a dozen car tires and laid them out as you have seen during a football practice. At first I stepped gingerly from one to the other, trying to get the hang of something I have either never done or cannot recall for reasons uncertain. I went through the drill a half-dozen times until I got my time down to under three minutes, which I thought was pretty good.

No agility course would be complete without a rope climb, which I hung from the black walnut tree. I have a distant and distinctly unpleasant memory of such ropes many years ago. It used to go something like this: A small, muscle-bulging gymnast sits on the ground, grabs the thick rope and overhands himself up towards the ceiling at breakneck speeds, all while his legs are pointed up, making his body into a "V" shape. Once at the top, which was so high it had its own weather, the ropesman would reverse the process and end up sitting on the mat. From there he would roll back on his shoulders, arch into a wrestler's bridge, kick into a handstand and prance on his palms as he traversed the gymnasium and hand-slapped his way to the locker room.

My version is still a little different, but, in the most general sense, somewhat similar. I sit on the ground, use the rope to help me stand, then jump up a foot and hold on for dear life. After the count of three, I begin to lose my grip and form blisters until my knees hit the deck, at which point I lurch to my feet and hop over to the tires for another burst of speed and agility.

Another favorite for the course is the "hurdle and roll." It consists of jumping over an obstacle and rolling on the ground to a successful conclusion. I started with a short vault, though to others it might have seemed imposing and nearly impossible. I ran with my newfound speed, bounded like a gazelle, sailed up, up and over the obstacle, then landed on my hands, rolled on my shoulders and, eventually, got up. I was so pleased with my performance that next time I'll try clearing two stacked tires.

I have so much more to share with you, but I'm out of space and it hard to write while strapped to a gurney.

(Lance was last seen swinging from a climbing harness. You may soften his fall by rappelling to: lance@journalist.com. Check out his new book, Essentially Ashland...The Missing Years. It's a hoot!)


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