While reading the Sunday papers I came across yet another article outlining a new theory about how to lose weight, tone the body, put spring back into my step and generally turn back the heavy hands on the clock of life. Most of these self-help articles end up in the birdcage after a days illumination and a weak weeks work served up on a bed of graphs, goals and goading. The experience is then seasoned with a peek into the mirror and weighed ponderously on a bathroom scale, after which, according to popular legend, depression sets in like a bowling ball swallowed as a vitamin, followed by locked doors, dimmed lights and a howling scream from the bedroom closet.
Despite this cycle of despair, another article caught my eye and I bounded from the bed like a grasshopper on steroids, ready to hug the morning with hope, clutch the afternoon with fevered work and embrace the evening with a slim, stretching sizzle until the morning scale again huffs under the combined weight of all my good intentions.
Realizing the futility of this overdone ritual, I gleaned the best of the lite advice and wove it together with resolve, vowing that the next run at the treadmill would not leave me with a quixotic gleam and deeds undone. I read and took notes, then began to put my plan into action.
Activity of any kind increases the metabolism, keeping the fires burning internally both when and after work is done. The choice of activity ranges from thumb twirling to climbing Mt. Everest, with an ideal choice being closer to the palm than a climb of sherpa. Mental exercise also counts, though less than revving up the heart. Nevertheless, keeping the mind engaged is sound practice, come to think of it.
Any additional chores, activities or efforts should be warmly embraced, as well some attention gathering undertaking that might help deflect the desire to quit the ruse and watch the game on TV, which, surprisingly, also ticks off calories, though only fast enough to offset the occasional potato chip.
After a modicum of deliberation I launched into my New Program: Simultaneously I began a host of activities, which, if promises held true, would have weight dripping off me faster than a bank draft overcharge.
Rolling up my sleeves I began the following: Washing the dog, sending a few emails, vacuuming the carpets, cleaning out the refrigerator, running a few loads of laundry, mowing the yard, truing the rims on my bicycle, adding WEP encryption to my home network while clogging on the sidewalk to the playing a polka on an accordion. Of course I could not do everything at the same time, but I tried. Taking both the dog and laptop into the shower was a bummer, though vacuuming the refrigerator produced new and unexpected results. My only regret was that the towel slipped while clogging to the polka behind the lawn mower, a move that was decidedly poorly received by the Police Officer who braked harshly to a stop as neighbors curtains flew open and Oprah unplugged.
It must have been quite a show and I would normally have enjoyed all the attention, but the back of the squad car was cramped with the accordion still strapped to my chest. As we pulled away I saw my dog, Spooky, running from the house to find me, mouthing a bath towel like a downed duck.
The good news is that I still have fingerprints and that orange is a color that seems to flatter me. By the end of the day I was safely back at home, considering what went so wrong so quickly. While most people stare into the past, I live mostly in the now, while looking toward all the future nows that might await me. I find this more fun, as the past always turns out to be the same.
I resolved to learn from my mistakes and walked out of the house the next morning to improve upon my previous performance. I shotgunned, if you will, into another inspired performance, though this time I stayed out of the shower altogether and replaced washing the dog with walking the dog. Spooky immediately spotted a squirrel and pulled me, the laptop, accordion, vacuum, extension cords, kitchen rubber gloves and spandex bike fashion-ware around a pine tree so fast that I soon resembled a Gordian knot, never to be undone. The only thing that saved me from suffering an anaconda-like induced fate was that I was sporting a musical upgrade, this in the form of a tuba, which kept the life from being squeezed out of me. Had not the mailman arrived, causing Spooky to begin a counter-clockwise chase, I would still be roped to the tree, flailing like Captain Ahab as he began his final descent lashed to the Great White Whale.
Speaking of whales, the mornings excitement resulted in the loss of some ballast, resulting in some lofty thinking, which, unfortunately, is not reflected in this weighty piece.
(Lance was last seen, harpoon in hand, walking Spooky through the Railroad District, while mumbling something about the Pequoid. Cover your koi ponds and throw a pointed barb to: firstname.lastname@example.org. No carping allowed. Check out his new book, Essentially Ashland...The Missing Years...It's loaded with humor and history).