Climb

Climb: (v) to ascend, especially by using the feet and sometimes the hands

Everyone understands the choice but no one discusses it. It is an unspoken piece of information that is decided in the internal workings of every human being.

You have to find out if you would like to go to a gym and sweat four times a week so that when you climb a flight of stairs, you won’t sweat.

There you go. I don’t know why nobody talks about it.

People working out in the gym are not thinking about how they’ll feel when they’re sixty-five or seventy years old. They just want to make sure that if they’re on a date and there’s a half-mile walk to the auditorium, or a two-hour wait standing in line at the restaurant, or four flights of stairs to ascend to reach the destination, that they will be able to do it without looking like they’re flirting with death.

Also, nobody wants to be the one panting the loudest in the bedroom after sex. If you’re a man and it sounds like you’re going to have a heart attack because you made love to your woman, it may just discourage her from trying again.

It is our vanity that presses us on to bench-press.

And for those who think to themselves, what do I care if it takes forty-two seconds for me to recover my breath after climbing a flight of stairs?–well, you will never catch those individuals stomping, dancing or doing a Pilate.

Do people live longer because they are aerobically able to climb without much difficulty? There’s no evidence for that. They just look prettier and healthier doing it.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s much to be said for reaching the top of a mountain with your clothes undrenched.

But unless it is a major concern, or you’re just bound and determined to convey that your tight pecs, flat abs and muscular legs make you more sexy, I think you will probably join the ranks of those who file away from the gymnasium.

 

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Caddie

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Caddie: (n) a person who carries a golfer’s clubs

Mike was always trying to figure out ways to make money. He was a fifteen-year-old entrepreneur before anybody was prepared to spell or
pronounce the word.

He liked me.

Now, Mike weighed about 122 pounds. I also weighed 122 pounds–but stored 150 more as a backup. So Mike had a lot of stamina. I just had a lot.

Mike had the brilliant idea of going to the new golf course just outside our town and offering his service as a caddie to our limited supply of financially successful people. He did it for two or three weekends, and came back with… cash.

At fifteen years of age, I so infrequently saw money that it seemed almost mystical and certainly magical.

Mike convinced me that I should take my 270-plus pounds and go out with him the next weekend to caddie at the golf center. He explained that it was nothing more than going on a long walk. (I should have realized at that point that it had been many years since I had been on a long walk. My personal preference was a long drive.)

But I agreed and arrived at the gold course at 8:00 A. M. sharp to carry the bags for Mr. Fundergetz. Now, I’m sure that’s not his real name, but he said it with a German accent so quickly that the best I could ascertain was “Fundergetz.” Most of the morning I opted to call him “sir.”

I had not realized that golf courses were measured in yards–and this was before anyone had thought about using a golf cart. By the time I reached the third hole, carrying the bags and trying to keep up with Fundergetz, I was panting, sweating down the insides of my legs and so flushed in the face that he became concerned for me and asked me to sit down while he ran and got some ice for my forehead.

After a few moments of recuperation, I said, “I’m fine now, and it won’t be too much longer, right?”

At this point, Fundergetz explained to me that it was an eighteen-hole golf course and we were only one-sixth of the way through.

Noting the fear on my face, my trembling brow and a tear coming to the corner of my eye, he showed mercy on me, handed me two dollars and asked if I could make it back to the clubhouse on my own.

I was so humiliated.

Mike was so disappointed.

I was completely emasculated by the whole experience.

So when I arrived back at the clubhouse to complete my restoration, I got two hot dogs, a coke and a Baby Ruth candy bar.

It is amazing how good they made me feel.

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Burgundy

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Burgundy: (n) a deep red color

I’ve spent much of my life wondering if I am focused or obsessive. It may be impossible to get an accurate meter from anyone else on the issue due to their prejudice. But let me let you decide.

When I was twelve years old I had a little singing group. We all ended up going to church camp together, and after several strategic “nags,” I was able to convince the counselor to allow us to sing an a capella number before vespers.

Now, the evening vespers time at this particular church camp was about a half-mile hike up a big hill.

I bring this into the conversation because I had decided that our singing group should dress up for the occasion in these new shirts we had purchased, which were deep burgundy in color, and made out of some sort of acetate that resembled velvet. They were also long-sleeved.

The day arrived for us to sing, and it was about 90 degrees outside, but by the time of vespers, it had gloriously cooled to 85.

My friends wanted to wear t-shirts and shorts, but I insisted that we maintain our plan and climb the huge hill in our burgundy, long-sleeved, unforgiving shirts.

Being the largest member of our group, I labored, I wheezed, I panted, and I perspired like a man on the gallows.

When I got to the top and it was time to sing, I spent the entire song wiping my face with my hand and dropping the moisture to the ground beneath me. (One of my buddies got so warm that he swooned. Fortunately, he was bolstered by the baritone.)

The other kids looked on with a combination of amusement and admiration. We finished our song and our tenor screamed aloud, “I can’t take it anymore!” and ripped his shirt off, casting it to the side, sitting with his naked top, much to the chagrin of a nearby counselor.

Needless to say, I received a lecture the following day, from several members of the staff, about appropriate attire for vespers.

To this day, I cannot see the color burgundy without breaking out into a cold sweat.

 

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Balmy

Balmy:(adj) pleasantly warm weather.Dictionary B

I will take the risk of speaking ideals. (After all, being idealistic is a tedious journey to frustration. At least when you’re pessimistic, you’ve already arrived.)

But taking a chance on musing the magnificent, let me say that when it comes to the subject of weather, I find the perfect to be simple.

It should never be so hot–or balmy–that you’re sitting without moving, and sweating.

Likewise, it should never be so cold that while sitting, you shiver.

Whatever that temperature may be in whatever climate or particular nation, there is the ideal.

Because even though I have found myself in regions which are deemed to be tropical paradises, they were always infested with bugs, buzzing things, and sweat.

  • Yes, the sun is warm.
  • Yes, the sky is blue.
  • And yes, I am melting.

Likewise, growing up in the Midwest, there were four or five months during the year when I either needed to grow fur or cover myself with it. I could not go outside without freezing and once inside, found it difficult to thaw out at an adequate pace.

So without being a complainer, I will tell you that for about two or three weeks every year–in whatever area of the country–I escape the perspiration of balmy and the icicles of frigid, and find the ability to sit and enjoy the air without interruption or being accosted by insects and snow.

 

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Ann Arbor

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Ann Arbor: a city in southeastern Michigan; home of the University of Michigan.

It was a gray, overcast day–a bit of chill in the air, threatening some sort of storm, whether the precipitation would be merely wet or partially frozen.

But I was sweating.

I had literally broken a surface sweat around my temples and under my armpits. I was nineteen years old, and for the first time in my life, I was about to cross the border into Michigan.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but being from Central Ohio and a fan of the Buckeyes since birth, I had not only been infused with a competitive spirit toward the University of Michigan, but had basically been convinced that north of Toledo lay the barbarian horde.

So intense was this training that upon entering the state, a mere forty miles from the seat of hell in Ann Arbor, I not only found fault with the scenery, but in my mind, generated sinister proportions to every ditch and tree.

There were things I knew about Michigan just from the passing conversations of my friends and family:

  1. They were all mean and hated their children.
  2. They wanted to do harm to all Ohio women.
  3. They weren’t really Americans.
  4. They despised God.
  5. And of course, they cheated at football.

My problem was that I was on my way to Ann Arbor to do a gig, and somehow or another, I would have to muster the courage and professionalism to treat them as humans instead of creatures from the Black Lagoon, the source of their power.

What was particularly annoying was that the concert where I performed was very enjoyable, the audience generous, and I walked out with more money than I had made in weeks.

Damn those tricky Wolverines–trying to seduce me with filthy lucre.

But I maintained my loyalty to the great Ohio, and as I retreated back to the safe haven of my home, on those forty miles to the border, I held my breath half the time … so as to make sure that I didn’t inhale the Michigan spirit.

 

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