Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Becoming Fine in 2009, Part One

Thanks to our good friends at U.S. News & World Report and their "special year-end issue," I now have fodder for fueling my brand of curmudgeonastics as I look through the feature, "50 Ways to Improve Your Life in 2009." I know, I know, I know that these folks have my best interests at heart and that they're only making friendly suggestions, but seriously...

1. Bike to work. All I need to do to let you know how -- ahem -- silly this Minnesota resident thinks this idea is, is to quote the first paragraph of the article: "On a freezing November morning in Chicago, Megan Mason puts on leggings, several polyester tops and a fleece, a windbreaker, four pairs of gloves, and silk sock liners. She ties a bandanna over her head, dons earmuffs, snaps on a helmet, safety-pins a scarf into a cocoon around her head, and gets on her bright green Schwinn for a 6-mile ride to work." What the article fails to mention is that Megan can no longer bend her legs, grasp anything with her hands, nor see anything that isn't directly in front of her.

2. Get a new toothbrush. I've got this one covered. The dentist gives me a new one at every 6-month checkup. I also get a miniature box of floss and a shiny sticker that says, "Look, ma, no cavities!"

3. Move to Vermont. Amy Golad wrote the two paragraphs containing this suggestion/order. I kind of wonder if she's a real estate agent in the Green Mountain State.

4. Use glass to store food. I'll admit that this is a much better suggestion than using food to store glass, which is what Bubba's Diner must have been trying. I still haven't received my settlement check from that piece of litigation.

5. Walk the craves away. The idea here is that physical exercise reduces the cravings that some people have for particular foods...in this case, chocolate. That's all fine and dandy, but what amuses me is the description of the scientific study that was conducted...probably using our tax dollars, but that's just a hunch on my part: "25 regular chocolate eaters [Does this refer to people who regularly eat chocolate, or people who eat regular chocolate? Or people who are regular? And does that mean that they are somewhat normal or that their bathroom habits are predictable?] abstained from the treat for three days before participating in the study, for which they walked on a treadmill for 15 minutes. After completion, they waited 10 minutes before engaging in two activities that generally stimulate chocolate cravings: a simulation of a stressful situation and the unwrapping of a chocolate bar." I know that I always crave chocolate after simulating a stressful situation...and who's the genius that figured out that unwrapping a chocolate bar is usually followed by eating chocolate?

6. Get paid for good health. The point here is that some companies -- PepsiCo is featured in the article -- provide financial benefits to their employees who participate in wellness programs. It's such a good deal, I'm thinking of taking up smoking so I can pocket the $600 I'd get for quitting...if I worked at PepsiCo...which I don't...so I won't. Besides, shouldn't this directive be directed to employers instead of employees? As in, "Pay Dewey for cutting down on carbs." That would certainly improve my life in 2009.

7. Have your eyes checked. I prefer my natural polka-dot coloring scheme, thank you very much.

8. Continue to compete. To quote: "Just because you're getting older doesn't mean you have to give up on the sports and fitness activities that you enjoy." This is good news, because I would hate to think that I could no longer participate in the middle-of-the-night dash to the bathroom, the hand-to-mouth popcorn toss, and my personal favorite, the full-house-search-for-something-I-had-just-a-minute-ago.

9. Take an afternoon nap. Finally, these guys are talking my language! Now let's talk to my boss about it.

10. Jump into freerunning. If you've seen the opening chase sequence of 2006's James Bond movie, Casino Royale, you've seen an excellent demonstration of freerunning: bounding over, around, and through obstacles and walls like a skateboarder doing tricks...only without a skateboard. I love watching this stuff, but I have a tiny issue with it that keeps me from joining in full-heartedly: In addition to the fact that its origins are in Fraaaance, there is also a problem with terminology. It's known as freerunning, but its real name is parkour. And to put the cherry on top of this language mishmash, those that participate are called traceurs.

And don't even get me started on how I would -- you know -- break my neck and all that.

Stay tuned...there's more to come!

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