Monday, January 30, 2017

No thanks, I just had a banana

Had a dear friend and kindred spirit named Bob Bresler, aka Breeze. Incredibly talented musician, brilliant dude, former Marine with service in Viet Nam, seminary student. What attracted me to him was our shared love of science fiction, and his zany sense of humor.
His standard response to any unexpected question was "No thanks, I just had a banana."

"Are you going to Ethics class at 11:00?"
"No thanks, I just had a banana."
"Do you know what time it is?"
"No thanks, I just had a banana."
"Can I borrow your blue shirt with the penguin on the collar?"
"No thanks, I just had a banana."
"Wanna cut class and go get a beer?"
"No thanks, I just..wait, what? YEAH, let's GO!"

He would also initiate conversations with total strangers by saying, "So, how WAS China?" It's not a bad conversational gambit. He told me that in all his years of using it, he actually had run across one person who had recently been there. Since my association with Breeze came to an end around 1981, that's pretty impressive.

He also collected and shared gonzo theories. For example, the idea that a light bulb is not a light emitter, it's a dark absorber. Each bulb has a certain capacity for dark. You turn it on, and it starts absorbing dark. And when it's full, it signifies that by going dark itself. You carefully remove the full dark absorber from the lamp, and place it in the trash.

Somehow, his love for all things gonzo and science fiction combined to make him an ENTHUSIASTIC fan of horror movies. He LOVED those things, the way my 4 year old grandson Heath loves Spiderman cartoons, and the way my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA, loves those depraved love stories on the Hallmark Channel ( and Christmas movies).

Now, I cannot now, nor have I ever, been able to tolerate horror movies. It all goes back, I believe, to the terror I experienced as a six year old seeing and hearing the banshee in Disney's "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" in 1959. So I don't know WHY I agreed to go with Bob to see a horror double feature at the drive-in. It was awful. I hated it.  I wish I had just kept saying "No thanks, I just had a banana."

I was thinking about Bob yesterday, because I took a banana with me to church. I thought I might need a snack before lunch, and our entire building is set up so you can drink your coffee or munch your breakfast if you need to; ya just have to be courteous of those around you, but that hardly needs to be emphasized. (Although I have asked 12 year old Kenneth not to get Doritos again as his half-time break snack. Crunch Crunch CRUNCH!)

I didn't eat my banana, though. I hope one of the kids or Vanessa picked it up; I hope I didn't leave it in the car! Instead, I was caught up in considering my identity.

It's something I've touched on a couple of times recently, most coherently in "Fat Old Crippled Bikers and Book Covers," in which I talk about not being what I look like. But yesterday, it  was brought home to me that there were two significant issues in my life that I wanted to change, and that both of them were hugely aggravate by the fact that I am about 100 pounds over weight. Those two issues were: pain in my life, and weariness in my body.

I have stubbornly refused to take serious, dedicated action on my weight; I peaked at 300, but I am down to 280. That's still 100 pounds over something I'd feel comfortable with, and all of my doctors have told me repeatedly that my pain level would drop, my breathing would improve, and my energy level would increase, if I just lost weight. My primary care physician told me years ago that I was in a pre-diabetic state, but that if would diet and exercise, I'd get better. I didn't diet or exercise, and now I have diabetes.

It is TRUE that I have some significant medical issues that are impairments. But it is also true that I have LOTS of reasons to get fit, and only EXCUSES why I don't.

So, I sealed it. I wrote out my repentance on a piece of paper, signed and dated it, and gave it to Vanessa. And I grabbed the leader of the small group we attend, and asked him for help. As it happens, older adult fitness is his passion. He  is my age, very trim, and he gets that way by getting lots of exercise. He plays senior league softball, and instructs Tae Kwon Do, and in consultation with him, we came up with a short program of things I can do to gradually return me to a state of health.
I stopped by Walmart yesterday afternoon, and today I am wearing a 'FitBit' which records my steps and activity level, and send the data to my laptop or tablet.

TRUE FACT: I did not get in this shape overnight. I will not lose the weight overnight, either. BUT, if I follow the program, I WILL get better.

Oh, yeah: I took  my cane, and I hung it on a nail in the wall of my man-cave. I wrote yesterday's date on a piece of duct-tape, and I stuck it on the cane.

It's what we call "a stone of remembrance."


  1. You persist in your attempts to create discontent and guilt, don't you? All you wrote above could easily apply to me (except the melanin content of my bride, who tans nicely when out in the sun).
    I don't do resolutions. I don't do resolutions. I don't do reso - well, maybe a bit more mobile activity wouldn't be a bad start, although mobile activity does include greater hip pains. I'll consider it.

    But enough with this constant incitement!It's as bad as the look my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Leona, the elegant, foxy, praying grandmother of Kerrville, TX (who also loves Hallmark and Christmas movies) gives me when I start munching on my second pastry. Or my first.

    And I'm not going to steal your stock phrase. Too much typing!

    1. Well, I didn't do this until God talked to me, and He uses encouragement; the other guy is the accuser who uses guilt/condemnation.
      But in all seriousness, if you DO decide to try to increase your fitness, I can heartily recommend the Fitbit. It cost me $104 including tax at Walmart, and it handles most of the record keeping automatically.
      Ummm...I don't use one, but there are macros which will reduce typing. We used one in middle school documents regarding troubled/troublesome children. CTRL-K-P inserted "and kill the parents."
      just for amusement, not for dissemination....

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