Now that I’m retired I have an abundant amount of time to study nature. Well, actually, I have an abundant amount of time to do whatever I damn well please. But that’s beside the point. Contradicting my wife’s thoughts on the matter, I am a somewhat normal human being, making humans my favorite study group. And I find my patio to be an excellent observation point.
While sipping my morning’s coffee I enjoy waving to those driving off to work, in my own way thanking them for continuing to support our nation’s Social Security program, and, indirectly, my monthly paycheck. In response to my friendly wave, they are more than happy to give me their one-fingered wave in return. And though they may throw out the window a colorful adjective or two, I know deep down their thoughts are well meaning.
Depending on the time of the day of my observations, the beverage I’m holding may vary. In the early morning it’s coffee. When the clock strikes whatever o’clock, then it changes. It’s then I enjoy watching the joggers. I have never boasted to having did it, and I have never said I would one day try it. It has not even came close to finding the most bottom wrung on my “Bucket List.” I am not, nor ever will be…a jogger. Jogger is just a modern-day term for someone who runs with no particular destination in mind, and no plans once he or she gets there, other than to..aah, run back to where they began running. In my past I can remember running, but it always had a destination in mind, and a purpose once I got there. I have ran in sports. I ran from a pervert who intended to do whatever he thought was entertaining to my body. I ran from a game warden when I was caught fishing out of season. I even remember running from my father when my ass was his target for something I did wrong. But to run…just to run…the thought of doing such a ridiculous thing never crossed my mind.
Observing runners is quite interesting. There is one woman who waddles past my home each morning, whom I would guess to be in her 60’s. She does a shuttle-type walk while at the same time pumping her fists as if sparring with Mohammad Ali. I’ve watched her for some time now. One would believe that over time the exercise would give her added resilience. It doesn’t. She still looks as if she is on the ragged edge of pulmonary heart failure each time she passes. It can actually be torture to watch.
Then there is this man who almost always makes my day. When I say almost always, I’m talking about when a good breeze is blowing against the direction he is running. As best I can figure out, he is bald except on the sides and back. Having let his hair in back grow long, he combs it forward over the bald area, then sprays the bejesus out of it with hair spray. So when running against the wind, it raises like a shingle on a roof, flapping up in the air, then dropping back in place when the winds subsides. I would suggest to him that he might try double-sided tape in the front. But because it can some times be the highlight of my day I leave him to the mercy of the wind.
Then I have this one gentleman who runs by looking as if the Grim Reaper is right behind him. He always wears white; a white headband, a white t-shirt, white shorts, white socks and white running shoes. Because my picture of Heaven depicts everyone there wearing white, then if this man were to die, all he would need would be a halo. The rest of his attire was already taken care of. Anyway, I have no idea where he begins his run, but judging by the way he trudges by my patio it looks as if it began somewhere in Death Valley and he hasn’t had a drop of water since leaving. His face is red, his legs are red, and his arms are red. His mouth is hanging open and gasping for oxygen in such quantities that I have a strong urge to grab a bunch and take it in the house for myself until he passes.
Some joggers I see bring their dogs with them. Now, as far as I’m concerned, those are the really smart joggers. Think about it. Dogs stop to sniff and pee on every object above ground level, giving the perfect excuse to stop for a breather. If I didn’t own a dog, I would borrow one.
Though I will not admit it to others, I find ways of justifying my life void of exercise. I have even thought of cutting out and framing newspaper clippings of famous athletic people who died at a young age, the young age being any age younger than myself. Though I did finally quit smoking, I have set my limits! I am determined to hang on to a sin or two..or three…or. First of all, I perceive alcohol as being a great preservative of the vital organs. And being a back yard mechanic, I know that the more a engine part is worked, the faster it wears out. So I choose to put the same principle to use concerning the human heart. Shush, shush, shush! I don’t care to hear your personal theories. You can put those feelings in your own blog. This one is mine!
I am now 67 years old. In my life I had my appendix taken out at 17, and other than having a Melanoma surgically removed at 65, I have never seen the inside of a hospital. I take a pill for an inactive thyroid, one for moderately high blood pressure, and one for moderately high cholesterol, and a daily 81 mg aspirin. And I still eat anything I damn well please, and a One-A-Day vitamin if I happen to remember. A balanced meal is making certain my meat on one side of the plate doesn’t weigh more than the potatoes on the other side. So when my wife gives me grief about exercising I always say the same thing. I don’t care to hear how much longer I might live if I exercised. What I do want to hear is that I lived life doing what I damned well pleased, and certainly didn’t die from tripping on my own tongue while running. But I did tell her I am willing to compromise. If she would be willing to stop, sniff and pee on a bush or two I might think about joining her on her walks.