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Thoughts on the way to nowhere
Scripps Howard News Service


March 27, 2006

Like many of my fellow bloated Americans, I exercise daily in an attempt to shed pounds and to keep my stressed heart from one day popping like a balloon.

Many people pay for memberships to gyms, where they at least have the distraction of other members, including some in leotards. But those of us who work out at home are constantly reminded that exercise is boring.

Our minds wander all over, getting as big a workout as our bodies. I've got my treadmill set up in the garage with all kinds of distractions handy: a small TV, reading material, music. But my brain bounces from topic to topic like a pinball, always coming back to the fact that I could keel over from exertion any minute, resulting in the big "Game Over."

Random thoughts from a typical workout on the Dreadmill:

Remember when exercise was all about having fun? When did it become drudgery? Here I am, bored out of my skull, walking to nowhere. Let's not think about how that's a metaphor for Life.

God, my legs are going to fall off. If they did, could I get new ones grafted on? Ones that already had muscles? Then I could skip the workouts and still look better in shorts.

These days doctors can transplant most anything, including faces, from one human to another. Too bad they haven't mastered personality transplants. I can think of some people who'd benefit from that.

What is that huffing sound? Oh, it's me.

If Americans keep living longer and longer, will huffing and puffing eventually become the background music of life?

You know you're older when "getting lucky" refers to the last piece of cake.

How come we have angel's food cake and devil's food cake and who decided which is which? Do they serve those in heaven and hell? If so, I'll go with the chocolate, even if it means eternal fire.

Mmm, cake.

What the heck is manna? You always hear about "manna from heaven." Does it come in chocolate?

How come Death is always pictured as a specter in a hooded cloak, carrying a scythe? At New Year's, the long-bearded Old Year carries a scythe, too. Is he related to Death? How do you use a scythe anyway?

What's that awful smell? Oh, that's me, too.

The bravest person who ever lived was the one who first ate a lobster. Here's this creature, looks like a big bug that comes armed with clacking claws. Drop it into boiling water and it turns bright red, a sure warning sign. And yet somebody was the first to say, "Hey, let's eat this thing."

Mmm, lobster.

Is that the phone? Probably another telemarketer. Here's the perfect thing to say to get rid of telemarketers: "So. What are you wearing?"

Is that a chest pain? Nah. But what if it was? I'm all alone here. Could I get to a phone and call for help before it's too late? Would my family find me here, hours later, face down on the treadmill? Would I have big black rubber burns on my face? I'd better start keeping my cell phone nearby.

I could use my workout time to talk on the phone ... if people didn't mind the puffing. They'd probably hang up, thinking it was an obscene call. "It's that breather again."

Mmm, breathing.

Time's almost up. Just a few more minutes of agony, then I can get off this machine and get on with my day. Assuming I don't pass out first.

Wonder how much liposuction costs?



Redding, Calif., author Steve Brewer's latest book is called "Bank Job."
Contact him at ABQBrewer(at)
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Scripps Howard News Service.

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Ketchikan, Alaska