The Dreadmill

I hate working out.  I despise gyms, and, these days, I just don’t care for running at all.  Growing up, working out was easy because there was a goal I wished to achieve.  As a high school running back, I had to avoid defenses.  As a part time hoodlum, I had to run away from cops.  (only a few times)  So, I did enjoy sprinting, but there really isn’t any need to now.  However, staying moderately physically fit is a goal for all of us, so I do practice my walking skills on a daily basis.  Knowing my frequent walks from the couch to the refrigerator is not what the doctor orders, I walk at the park with our dog and we also have a treadmill.  This morning at around 3:46, well let’s just round it up to 3:47, I was wide awake with my wife sleeping by my side along with our dog, Laney, at my feet, and our cat, Otis, purring atop my head.  I decided it would be a terrific time to let them sleep further while I put some time in on our treadmill.  Sleep is critical for my wife since she works three jobs, one being a nighttime security guard at Bed Bath and Befraud.

The room housing our treadmill is a tricky one.  Located adjacent to our bedroom, the T.V. must be off in our bedroom because starting the treadmill will blow a fuse disabling the treadmill and the lights in the room. (Reasons for this are unclear which is why I’m trying to convince my wife to finish her electrician apprenticeship.) I made the mistake of starting the treadmill before turning off the lights leaving me in complete darkness.  That was o.k.. I just quietly walked downstairs to the garage and flipped the breaker back to on.  My wife heard me going down the stairs and advised me to grab a flashlight before working both the treadmill and the I Pod we use to watch while working out.  Good advice.  I didn’t listen.

I walked back into the darkness, and the treadmill was lit up again and since I once took a braille reading class at The Biloxi Technical Institute For Those Thinking They May Go Blind Someday, I successfully located the start and stop buttons in addition to button determining the level of speed I preferred.  Five minutes into my walk, I’d forgotten about the I Pad.  So, because I hate stopping for anything during a workout, and the fact I’m an idiot, and the additional fact I am the most impatient person in the world, I decided to work the computerized apparatus in the cavelike darkness.

Losing control of the I Pad and moving at the speed of a juiced up turtle, I decided to stop walking on the treadmill while it was still moving.  Not completely awake yet, I witnessed an optical illusion.  The glowing face of the treadmill was moving away from me giving me the perception it was going to crash into the wall directly in front of it.  I tried to reach out and save it with every inch of my insanity.  It wasn’t moving.  It was I who was moving away from the screen.  I had been velocitized.  This I didn’t realized until the treadmill flung me backwards into the nearest wall creating a noise only my family and neighbors could hear.  I knew it had awakened my wife when she bellowed, “Are you O.K.!”, as she was racing toward the room.  I also heard our cat, Otis, bellow, “Can’t a cat get any sleep around here?”  I guess our dog, Laney, was so terrified and worried she rolled her eyes.

My wife, Britt, entered the room, turned on the lights and found me, back against the wall and covered in a heap of suit cases once peacefully standing behind me.  If embarrassment is being “o.k.” well then I guess I was.  Otherwise, I had not suffered multiple contusions or even a minor concussion and my hernias were intact.

Laughing at me Britt asked with finality, “Why didn’t you use the flashlight like I suggested?”  Thanks, Britt.  Like I wasn’t suffering enough on the floor at 4:13 in the morning.

Do you Believe in Basements?….Yes!

No skates.  No Ice.  Just tennis shoes and clubs.

The Winter Olympics isn’t just about figure skating around a rink.  With remorse, I was forced by my sisters to watch ice skating.  Although knowing zero about figure skating or hockey, I preferred ice cream and ice hockey.

After witnessing the “Miracle on Ice”, in 1980, my brothers and friends became interested in the sport.  None of us had skates, but my father accumulated a load of golf clubs from many of the doctors working with him.  They provided the clubs as a form of tithing or charity.  After the 1980 Winter Olympics, we used the clubs as hockey sticks and the used golf balls as pucks.

While still wearing a leg brace at the time, I was forced to be the goalie.  Coincidentally, Jim Craig, the USA goalie, was my favorite player on the USA team.  I used a worn downed catcher’s mitt to defend our goal.  The mitt should have surrounded my face.  I took more golf balls off me from the basement floor than Frazier took hits from Ali.  Someone taking a putter and hitting a golfball into your forehead is just flat out embarrassing.  Can you at least pull out a three wood or even an eight iron.

Staggering back, it was glorious.  It may have been dangerous, but it sure was fun.

No brain, no pain. No goals.  Just use your head.

Perhaps, we’ll see another miracle this year.







These Aren’t Gold?

At the ages between five and 18, when you win wrestling tournaments, you receive a medal.  It may look like gold, but isn’t genuine gold. As a youngster, around nine or ten years of age, I won a few myself, but they weren’t even worth a copper penny.  They weren’t worth zinc.  Then, I began taking second and third place, thus receiving silver and bronze medals.  Those medals were made of aluminum foil and caramel apples.  The gold ran out for me just like it did for those after the rush.

In Alaska, they refer to those gold medals as fool’s gold.  Evidently, nobody can fool one of my great nephews.  His name is Rocco, and with that name, you better live up to that name.  As a wrestler, so far, he has.  He additionally is trying to maintain a sense of reality. With the help of his father, after winning a few of these “gold” medals himself, his father, Pat, had to break the news to his young son.  “Rocco, you know those aren’t made out of genuine gold, right?”

“These aren’t really made of Gold?”


Wildly disappointed, and with maniacal curiosity, Rocco asked, “How do I get REAL gold?”

Pat made an attempt to explain to his son what real gold was, then proceeded to tell him how he could obtain this precious medal.  “You mine for it in California, or Alaska or win it in the Olympics.”

This didn’t sit well with Rocco at all.  Quite sure his goal is not to be a miner when he grows up, I guess we’ll see how much sweat, blood and tears he have will to suffer through to obtain gold at the Olympics.

Honestly, I think a smaller, yet worthy and more obtainable goal, would be striving for becoming, I don’t know, a doctor or an astronaut.

I’ll write the conclusion to this blog in about twenty years.


Bottled Water: 1976

Born in 1973, I guess I knew what bottled milk was, but bottled water?…..  I’m still getting used to the idea.

In 1976, my brother, Steve, didn’t know what bottled water was either.  Since we came from a town with reliable tap water, why would the idea of bottling it cross our cave dwelling minds? Bottled water to Steve, and many others, was as inconceivable as a man landing on the moon.  He heard it had happened in 1969, but similar to others, Steve requested moon rocks to confirm it.  Bottled water was no exception.

My brother, Steve, was in Cleveland, Ohio during the 1976 Wrestling Olympic Trials.  As a former National Collegiate Wrestling Champion, he was qualified for the trials.  Clearly, his opponents would be formidable, but according to him, not quite as intimidating as the tap water in Cleveland.  While staying at a local Cleveland Sheridan, Steve, after a lengthy workout, tasted the water in his hotel room.  His description of the water was less than delightful.

“It was a milky substance tasting as though it had also ran through a 1927 garden hose.”

After a call to the front desk, Steve informed the clerk, with detail, something was wrong with the water, and other guests should be notified before drinking it.  The desk clerk’s response was simple.

“You didn’t drink any of that water, did you?”

“Well, Yes!”

“Sir, everyone knows they shouldn’t drink any of our water out of the tap.”

“Well, I’m not everyone!  What the hell am I supposed to drink?!!”

“Bottled water, Sir.”

“What the Hell is that?”

“It’s water in a bottle which has been distilled and packaged for consumption when common tap water is filled with human waste, as well as many other animal’s less than agreeable releases.”

“Ok.  Can you send some of that stuff up here?”

Steve never qualified for the Olympics, but he is still alive and drinking tap water.




Blame it on Rio or NBC?

After close to a week, I am still recovering from an Olympic hangover.

Since 1980, I’ve followed the Olympics, Summer and Winter, with patriotic fervor and genuine interest with war being settled on a mat, track, in a pool, or on some ice.   Sports, using that term loosely, I would never commonly pay attention to are witnessed with terrific zeal.  A miracle on ice, perfect ten from Mary Lou, and even a bobsled from Jamaica are amongst many of my fond memories.

This year, I was disappointed, mostly due to NBC’s dreadful coverage.  Even one of my closest friends stated with hyperbole, that he wanted to kill Bob Costas.  “We’ll be right back with the two hundred mile swim medley featuring Michael Phelps” meant nothing to him nor me.  Three hours later, we were falling asleep to commercials and snooze worthy stories.

Mind you, I paid attention to the games every night, but found something to complain about either because I compare them to prior Olympic years, or I am getting older and more cantankerous with every hair I lose.  Talking to others, I received similar feelings, yet, I must begin with the positive.  Both Simones, competing in gymnastics and swimming will be something to behold forever.  A girl with the last name of Ledeky must have been swimming using PET’s. (Performance enhancing toes……….they must be webbed.)  And, unless a man with the last name of Bolt and Caitlin Jenner have children, I don’t see a faster person entering our world for a long time.

This brings us to Michael Phelps.  As magnificent as he is, I simply grew tired of him. Perhaps, I’m just soggy because of the endless amount of events earning him the opportunity to surround his neck with a billion medals.  He is the Mr. T of medalists.

After some collective research, many Americans asked why beach volleyball should be on prime time T.V..  I couldn’t definitely answer that.  However,  I do know this: Females wearing thongs are something I will remember in most of the events including diving, gymnastics, and synchronized swimming.  My wife didn’t have to ask why I was watching these events instead of Major League Baseball.  She would just look at me, and say, “Really?”  I told her I was intrigued with  green water and the pommel horse, which doesn’t even exist in women’s gymnastics.  She bought that about as quickly as anyone bought, and now have sold, Ryan Lochte and his story.