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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Not (yet) fat, but definitely lazy

Posted on June 16, 2010 at 2:05 PM

I can now say – without any stomach churning queasiness or tears of self pity – that I turned 40 in January. I thought it was going to bother me -- Oh! and it did! -- but like all great pains, this too has eventually passed. Now, I only scratch occasionally at the phantom limb which are the memories of my 30s. (Looks off into the distance, a whistful smile, and a sigh...Itch scratched.)


But two events recently have me really examining my lifestyle and hoping that I’ll be better (and around) for the *next* 40 years. First, when doing a service call in our company van, I noticed the startings of this Saturn-like skin roll around my belt line. While my body will never be described as “chiseled” or “cut” or “hard” (well, maybe my heart will be, but that’s another story) I’d rather not have anyone unpacking their adjectives and pulling out “mushy” and “soft” either. Second, I went to hit golf balls the other night – something I used to do for a living and have done like a MILLION times before – and my left shoulder hurt so much I couldn’t swing a club. A 9-iron. DUDE! 80 year old men play golf, and I am in too much pain to do it! Something must change!

Then I started thinking about it. From a healthy living standpoint, my lifestyle is a wreck! Not quite a head shaved Britney wreck, but more like Christian “GOOD FOR YOU!!!” Bale wreck. I spend probably 80% of my day being sedentary. I ride in the car to work. At work I sit in a chair. I ride in the car home. I sit on the couch at home before going to lie down in the bed. You take away the showering, the walking to and from the car and the understanding of theoretical physics and I’m practically Stephen Hawking! In SEAL terms, I'm not giving maximum effort and I'm not putting out. (I'm also not really a team player, but I'm kind of tabling that for this...)

And my diet is pretty sucky as well. I used to bring a candy bar to work every day. I *used to* until I told Dan this – Dan who loves candy bars just barely less than he loves his family – and he said, “ eat a candy bar...every day? Like *every* day?” But still remaining were the microwave meals with their giant sodium and fat levels. (I remember one particular meal that used to always make me sick after eating it. Not from the taste, but just this overwhelming feeling of body blah... Then I read that it had like 75% of my daily fat and sodium content. Then I read that it was really 2.5 serving sizes per container.) Instead of treating my body like a temple, I have been turning it more into a break room for the IT department, cramming it with cushy seating and salty snacks.

I felt like if I were one of the people in Jesus’ parable of the master who gave his servants talents (when you've decided to read the Bible through in a year, you'd be surprised how many applicable analogies you find), where the two good servants double their money, I would have brought back a super-sized Big Mac value meal and been particularly proud that I chose a jumbo-sized sweet tea over a Coke.

So, I have begun a new regiment of better living. First up is adding some exercise, and I’ve decided to start biking every day. Roughly 6 miles (3 laps) around our neighborhood when I get home from work. Why biking? A few reasons. One: I own a bike. Two: I used to bike to-and-from work EVERY day for like a year (7 miles each way) and at the end of that year I felt great. So, I know I can do it. Third: This seems like a pretty low impact way for my old-man bones to start off.


And, while embarking on an exercise regiment in the 95-degree, high humidity SC month of June may sound like the perfect fixin’s for a heart attack, I pulled out my old my bike, aired up the tires, threw on my iPod and rode the other night. And when you have like 9000 songs on your iPod, shuffle play *might* not always produce the most workout inspired music. For instance, I love Miles Davis' “Kind of Blue,” but hearing “So What” or “Freddy Freeloader” or some random tune from Disney’s Aladdin or a Beethoven movement is just *not* the inspiration I need during my 30 minutes on the crucible of pain and torture which is my bike seat. Fortunately, just when things starting looking bleak around the halfway point, a little DMB came on with these eerily apropos lyrics from “Bartender”: And if I go, before I’m old, Oh brother of mine, please don't forget me if I go. And if I die, before my time, Oh sweet sister of mine, do not regret me if I die.

Then, as I pulled into the driveway, the first of (hopefully) many bike rides completed, the iPod dished up REM’s “Everybody Hurts”  (I swear, it’s like sometimes my iPod is a personal DJ watching over me and selecting the perfect soundtrack to my life) which totally described that arrhythmic hammering in my chest, the ragged breathing and the rather unpleasant tingling caused from the bike seat’s pointed end constantly exploring my man area in an entirely inappropriate fashion.


So, I’ve bashed on my swimming pool before, but let me now share one reason why IT is far better than my home theater: When I come home, feeling dizzy and disoriented and on the verge of a pre-faint vomit, the swimming pool welcomes me in its cool bosom in a way that my home theater could never even imagine. So, good on ya, pool! Good on us both!

Categories: June 2010

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Reply Dan
1:23 AM on June 17, 2010 
(John) And my diet is pretty sucky as well. I used to bring a candy bar to work every day. I *used to* until I told Dan this ? Dan who loves candy bars just barely less than he loves his family ? and he said, ? eat a candy bar...every day? Like *every* day??

Chocolate is like in-laws. or siblings. You love them, but you shouldn't necessarily be around them EVERY day. I remember, when visiting you, seeing the huge Costco/Walmart fun bag of candy bars that you would pull from every day for your lunch. I also seem to recall that you would throw in a bag of potato chips as well. ( I could be wrong about this; I was fixated on the chocolate) If it was me, I would soon be adding an extra bar a day, then two, and so on with equal bags of chips to match. Years later, at 600 pounds, I would be on one of your posts, " My fat friend. Alas, I knew him when he could still get out of his own house."
Reply John Sciacca
12:18 PM on June 17, 2010 
Dan says...
I also seem to recall that you would throw in a bag of potato chips as well. ( I could be wrong about this; I was fixated on the chocolate)

(...mumbles silently to self....there, uh, might still be the daily bag of chips....)
Reply Jodie
11:27 AM on June 28, 2010 
Hi John--
This "OLD" English teacher of yours loves the fact that:
A. You are still writing; with a subtle sarcasm and sense of humor that I still love and remember
B. You turned 40 and are now into my "realm" of the world; although I am now 49 and pushing the big 5-0
C. You are realizing that writing alone will not sustain an overall fitness of brain and brawn!

Glad you are exercising--it's good on so many fronts: for yourself (body, brain and psyche) and for your family (so you can keep up with your little one). Keep it up!