Hello darkness my old friend. I’ve come to snack with you again. These are the lyrics to the yet-to-be-produced Weird Al parody song being played at an eleven in my head as I blow the dust off my kitchen scale. A few weeks have passed since that dark, fateful day when the low battery icon on my proudly-made-in-China Taylor 3835 Kitchen Scale began to flash, I glanced around the kitchen to see if anyone was watching, and slowly and deliberately buried the scale in the mass grave of random household junk that is the left-hand drawer on my kitchen island. I can still hear the scale gasping for joules as I covered it with a ziplock bag of rubber bands, four copies of the same thai food take-out menu, and the owner’s manual to something I no longer own. What could lead me to such a depraved and senseless act of scale-slaughter? Was it the countless meals of chicken, broccoli slaw, mayonnaise, mustard, and Chex Mix, all carefully measured in consistent portions, that had slowly driven me to the brink of insanity? Or perhaps it was the PTSD (Post Traumatic Scale Disorder) I experienced every time I went out to eat with Wife and had no way of knowing how many calories was in that f***ing delicious duck confit panini. Whatever it was, it caused me to hit my breaking point, and, unfortunately, my kitchen scale payed the iron price. Well, actually, it was more like the protein, carbohydrate, and fat price, but I don’t want to be yet another nerdtritionist who lectures internet strangers on the importance of hitting macros. Not to worry—this sordid tale has a happy ending. I gained ten pounds, and the scale, blessed with a fresh battery, rose like a phoenix from the ashes. Now, who wants exactly one serving of Chex Mix?
Got muscle memory? I do. But not in the way that you might think. See, I’ve been going to the gym every day for the past month, and the changes my body has undergone are nothing short of astonishing. Like, Jeff-Goldblum-in-that-science-fiction-movie-astonishing. You know, the one where he transforms: Jurassic Park (he got super buff for that movie). For example, before coming to the gym, my body thought you had to wear clothing designed for humans and/or something other than socks while using shared equipment. My body also never knew that eating on the treadmill was even possible, or that a very effective workout for many, many people involves super-setting five minutes of cycling on the recumbent bike with 55 minutes of leaning on the reception desk and talking about deflated footballs. But the most amazing thing that has happened to my body, I think, is how it knows I need to go to the bathroom the second I climb onto the only unoccupied treadmill in the entire facility. The human body is a miracle.
Can I run something by you? No, it’s not my idea for a new line of hearty soups called Stock-y’s® (our flagship mélange is a playful little number called French Onion Rings), but remind me to bring that up when you’re in a high-risk-investment kind of mood. Actually, it’s more like a some-one that I intend to run by you. I’m talking about my daughter, and, gurl, am I proud of her! I mean, she’s only 5 months old, and already able to move at speeds of up to 10 miles per hour. How is this possible, you ask? Well, if you think I’ve been beefing up my baby by feeding her a prototype of Stock-y’s® Filet Mignonstrone, you are sorely mistaken! Although, I could see how one might think Stock-y’s® FDA-acknowledged Liquid Entree Creations would be perfectly suited for a toothless baby. Furthermore, I could see how an innocent suggestion to ditch the organic butternut squash puree in favor of Stocky’s® Premium New England Cheeseburger Chowder could go viral on the mommy blogs in a matter of days. Farthermore, I could see how this would all make me very, very rich. But that’s not what I’m saying. Actually, the reason my daughter could beat Usain Bolt in the 100 meter dash (Usain would be driving a really slow golf cart) is because I recently acquired a jogging stroller. That’s right, I’m one of “Those Guys” who conveys their child around the neighborhood like Egyptian Royalty. Of course, after only two days of ownership, it snowed. In retrospect, buying a jogging stroller in November may have been a high-risk investment. Speaking of, let’s talk Corn Syrup Bisque!
I’m trying to solve a mystery. But unlike Indiana Jones or Sherlock Holmes, I don’t solve mysteries by bare-knuckle-boxing Nazis or tracking supernatural hell-hounds. I solve mysteries by calling Customer Support and waiting patiently on hold. So far, I have been solving this particular mystery for approximately fifteen minutes and forty-seven seconds–a new personal record. If only Sir Arthur Conan Doyle could see me, the 21st century sleuth, in his natural habitat: sprawled across a futon in his mustard-stained bathrobe whilst instrumental Maroon 5 plays over speakerphone. Of course, I am exhausted from attempting to solve one of the most challenging puzzles of this millenium, The Case of the Unknown Heart Rate Monitor Internal Weight Assumption. See, Wife gave me a heart rate monitor for Christmas (hey, marriage makes you ask for weird gifts) and it has singularly revolutionized the way I work-out. The only problem is that the model I have doesn’t allow you to input your weight, which means it calculates calorie consumption with some factory installed algorithm. This makes me crazy. I must have accurate data, dammit! Sixteen minutes of clarinets belting “She Will Be Loved” later and I am beginning to suspect foul play. Why? Well, for one thing, the pre-recorded message explaining they are experiencing higher-than-normal call volumes is a bit fishy. Is today National Troubleshoot Your Heart Rate Monitor Day? Maybe I should send an e-mail instead. [TWO HOURS LATER] I have just been informed, via e-mail, that the internal assumption is proprietary information and cannot be released. I have been encouraged to upgrade to one of the manufacturer’s more expensive models. Will Nailsbails (A) Conduct an internal investigation to see how high this conspiracy goes? (B) Travel the world to topple the oppressive tyrants of Big Heart Rate Monitor? Or (C) Go to Sports Authority and purchase a new model? It’s your adventure. Choose wisely!
I’m being chased by a goose.
Not just any goose, either. I’m being chased by a Canadian Goose, which is the rabid hyena of the goose kingdom (I guess the Canadian Government is pouring so many tax dollars into teaching their human citizens how to be mild mannered and kind that they have completely overlooked their indigenous goose population).
But I don’t blame the goose. I blame Fyodor Dostoevsky. Allow me to explain.
Ever since I attempted to read The Brother’s Karamazov in short bursts while on the treadmill at the gym, I have been unable to finish a book. I don’t know if it was the combination of running 6.5 miles per hour while trying to decipher Dostoevsky’s epic prose, I don’t know if it was the blow to the head I suffered when I lost my balance and fell off said treadmill. The jury is still out.
What I do know is that since my butt got Karamazov’ed off that treadmill, I just can’t focus. I’ve tried Roth, Coetzee, Bellow, DeLillo, Rushdie, C.S. Lewis, R.L. Stein, the back of the shampoo bottle, the front of the conditioner bottle, the three year limited warranty on the coffee maker that we got as a wedding present and is now broken – if I’m reading it while my body is inert, I quickly lose focus.
So, naturally, I decided to try taking walks around the pond near my house with my nose buried in a paperback.
It has changed my life.
I’m tearing through books now. I used to get antsy after fifteen pages. Now I’m reading fifty to a hundred without blinking an eye. Plus, I’m getting exercise without the risk of being catapulted into a Nautlius machine.
Just…do me a favor. If you’re going to try this yourself, make sure you watch where you’re stepping so you don’t inadvertently invade the personal space of a large alpha male Canadian Goose.
Because it will chase you. Like the one that is chasing me now.
PS – Somebody call animal control.