18 April 2012

Pull the Other One

by Robert Lopresti

I have to warn you. I am a Gloomy Gus today.  Not the usual jolly soul you have come to love and admire over the years.  My milk of human kindness is long past pull-date and my sense of human warmth is approaching absolute zero.

“What is the cause of this uncharacteristic gloom?” you may well ask.  “How have you been cast down to this wretched state, Rob, dear friend?  What, to coin a phrase, is harshing your mellow?”

I shall elucidate.  Yesterday I pulled a muscle in my leg.  It was my own fault, I admit it.  I engaged in a dangerous and reckless activity.  Exercise.

(Let this be a warning to all the impressionable youth out there.  Don’t be led astray by peer pressure!   Sure, it may look tempting when the “cool kids” are out there jogging and lifting weights, but don’t fall into the trap.   Do you really want to end up a muscle-bound  health freak, surviving way past the deaths of most of your friends, not to mention the Social Security system?)

Where was I?  Oh yes.  My leg hurts.  But that’s not all.  My injury is playing holy havoc with my lunch schedule.

At the advice of yet another health nut I recently started spending half of each lunch hour walking while devouring my finger food lunch.  At first, I resented the idea, because I normally spent this interval reading, and reading, as I am sure most of you out there in writer-blog land will understand, is very important to me.

I did find a solution: audio books.  I went to a department store and tried to find something as low tech as a portable CD player hidden among the grains of rice that can hold Bach’s complete works, and the cell phones that guess your weight to the last kilogram.

I did find the the CD players,, hanging out rather sheepishly next to a single, sad, cassette tape player.  Remember them?

Anyway, thus equipped, I went to the library in search of a suitable audio book to read (e-read? Hear? Listen to?).  I settled on Dennis Lehane’s Moonlight Mile, which I highly recommend.   In fact, if the publisher happens to read this, you have my permission to use the following as a blurb.

Moonlight Mile is my favorite book to read while I am walking and eating.  –Robert Lopresti, author of stuff

So, my gimpy leg has shot that half of my lunch hour to hell.  The second half of this festive event is normally spent writing, either a file I brought from home on a flash drive, or editing a story I have already printed out.

Alas, this morning, in my rush to transfer all my worldly goods from my bike panier to my backpack, preparatory to catching a bus to work, I managed to leave both my paper file and flashdrive at home, where they are no doubt entertaining the cats no end.  So I can neither walk nor write.

This reminds me, as so much does, of Jerome K. Jerome, a great Victorian humorist.  As I recall  he once lamented that if he dared to leave on a trip without bringing all the pages and tools he needed to write he was overcome with a desperate urge to write.  On the other hand, if he brought them a long he was never tempted to pull them out for as much as a glance.  Jerome (out of respect, I am calling him by his last name.  I know it is hard to tell) was a great student of human nature.

Have I mentioned that my leg hurts?  If you have never heard one of your own muscles tearing, let me assure you that it is a memorable experience.

This may explain why, lacking the ability to write something useful, I  chose instead to impose this rant on you. Fortunately it is now over.

And remember, if you must exercise, please take the elementary precaution of first removing your legs.

10 comments:

Velma said...

Well, darn. I commiserate, Bobby, but you have a leg up on the rest of us. At least you didn't wrench it putting your foot in your mouth like at least one our colleagues (although I won't call our Sunday writer by name, ahem).

Janice said...

The best thing for your leg might be some time on the sofa with Jerome's immortal "Three Men in a Boat"

David Dean said...

I, too, have suffered the ravages wrought by infernal exercise--once ending up on the floor with my back having gone out; doing a reasonable imitation of a dying cockroach! Sure, it's always funny when it's not you!

You have my sympathy, and my respect, Rob--gloom on!

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Dave, It sounds like your mistake was letting your back go out without you. Work on that, willya? And Rob, I sympathize.

R.T. Lawton said...

Rob, as you are rapidly finding out, approaching older age is not a task for the weak or faint-hearted. By any chance, while you were in better health, did you purchase the extended warranty for body parts? Of course now, you have a pre-existing condition which makes you ineligible.

John Floyd said...

Hey Rob, I heard someplace (George Burns, maybe?) that getting old is a hell of a way to have to spend the last years of your life.

I think he also said that if he'd only known he was going to live so long, he would've taken better care of himself.

Herschel Cozine said...

And I have a T-shirt which says: I plan to live forever. So far, so good.

Robert Lopresti said...

Janice-

Three Men in a Boat improve almost anything. Last time I checked the Michael Palin TV movie version was available on Youtube, too.

As for all of you guys talking about getting older, la la la, I can't hear you.

Jeff Baker said...

Rob, as I am no stranger to "owies," I hope you feel better soon. AND I certainly didn't expect to see the name/face of Jerome K. Jerome this evening! I'm a huge fan of that era's humorists, including Gelett Burgess and W.W. Jacobs. Oh, and that Twain guy...

Jennifer said...

W0w