Today, I'm out of gum. I need gum. I'm not kidding; a day without gum leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth—literally. And so I have to go and get some gum.
There's a convenience store a little over half a mile from my house. Normally, I would get in the truck, drive to the store, get my gum, and head home. Ten minutes, tops. Today, however, I am going to walk.
Not a big deal, you say? On the contrary, this is a BIG deal. The Lovely Louise walks almost every morning. She does about three miles every day, and that's a very big part of why she's still so lovely—and I want to be lovely too.
I know it's good for me, but it's just so freaking boring. Even with my iPhone and iTunes to keep me company, I think it's one of the most boring things I can do. Place one foot in front of the other and repeat thousands of times. Yup, boring.
I do think it's important at my age—at any age, actually—to keep moving. Last week, I went with the ladies in the neighborhood to a Tai Chi class. Tai Chi is all about movement and balance. This is good for me too, but I feel a little bit like an idiot bending my knees and waving my arms around trying to look graceful. The instructor makes it look so easy, and he's very graceful. Me? Not so much. I look more like a guy standing on the side of the road trying to wave down a ride into town.
I'm tempted to show them all how spectacular I am by doing The Crane. You remember The Crane from The Karate Kid? Daniel-san would practice The Crane while standing on a piling and then hopping from one foot to the other. This would be the move he would use in the karate championship to knock out the bad kid from the evil dojo. I can stand on one foot and raise my arms just like Daniel-san. The problem comes when I have to jump, land on the other foot, and kick out with my first foot to knock my opponent out. I look good at first, but I don't really think I'm intimidating anyone; most people just laugh at me. Clearly they haven't seen The Karate Kid; they don’t know how truly dangerous I am.
Never mind, I still need to walk. If I can get up to a couple of miles a day, perhaps I can regain that Greek hero body that would make women swoon and men envy me when I walk by. Yeah, I know, I'm dreaming again. Maybe I could just lose some weight and get back some muscle tone. That would be good, too.
Lately there's been a small problem, and it's prevented me from starting my walking program. About a month and a half ago, the Lovely Louise and I were unloading a large gas tank from the back of my truck when it fell on my left foot. After I hopped around on my right foot for several minutes and uttered a number of words that Louise doesn’t like to hear, the pain subsided somewhat and I was able to walk, although Louise said she was going to call me Hoppity.
For the next six weeks, I would either have terrible pain in my left foot or no pain at all. There was no rhyme or reason to it; some days it hurt like hell, and some days it didn't. After an hour of Tai Chi, I could barely stand on it. Louise finally got tired of hearing me complain, and even more tired of me using my painful foot as an excuse not to walk. So she made me go to the Urgent Care Center to get it checked out.
After taking x-rays, the doctor informed me that I had broken off the end of one of my metatarsals. Yes! Vindicated! My pain is real. He gave me the name of an orthopedic surgeon in case it got so bad I needed surgery to repair it. In the meantime, he said, I should take Ibuprofen for the pain. What? Is he kidding? Now that I know it's broken, this is Oxycontin-level pain I'm having. No, he said. You haven't needed medication for six weeks and you don't need it now. Doctors are tough to fool these days.
There's nothing quite so comforting to a man as finding an actual medical excuse not to go for a walk. My problem is that Louise isn't buying it. She knows that sometimes it doesn't hurt at all, and that's when I should go for a walk. If it hurts after the walk, she'll make me take some Ibuprofen and perhaps she'll let me sit in my chair in front of the TV and bring me cocktails and snacks. Okay, there I go, dreaming again.
In any event, I'm going to put on my socks and sneakers and walk to the store for my gum. If I don't make it back, maybe she'll come looking for me in the truck to give me a ride the rest of the way. Nah, she'll probably let me crawl back on my belly and tell me that it's good for me. It’s tough living with a woman who doesn't listen to my crap.