Torture Exercise

WRITING - Joe Bob's America

Everybody's treating Nolan Ryan like he's the Great Yuppie Hope.

After all, if he can throw a no-hitter when he's 44 years old, then maybe I can start training for the Metropolitan Opera. Who SAYS you can't start learning "The Barber of Seville" when you're 45?

This is the NINETIES. This is AMERICA. This is the Age of No Age.

You notice how nobody uses the word "middle-aged" anymore? You call somebody "middle-aged," it's about like saying "You have a face like a constipated moose." One night on "The Tonight Show" Johnny Carson told Buddy Hackett he should think of himself as "middle-aged."

"If I'm middle-aged," Buddy said, "where are all the 120-year-old people?"

We used to have "Over the Hill" parties when people turned 30, or 40, or 50, or whatever. This used to be a source of AMUSEMENT. When my grandfather retired, his buddies at the phone company gave him joke gifts like walking sticks and knitting needles.

Now, all of a sudden, you can't tell these jokes anymore.

"Well, I'm 48, but I FEEL 28."

Since when am I supposed to care how old you FEEL?

"All the people in my family are long-lived. Two of my grandmothers lived into their early nineties."

Yeah, so what does this have to do with how old you are?

Lemme explain something here. How old you are is a MATHEMATICAL EQUATION. It's not negotiable. You start with the day you were born, and you count all the days and months and years, until you get to today, and that's HOW OLD YOU ARE. Am I getting this across? It's a number. That's the ONLY number of your age. You can't think about it real hard and make it a DIFFERENT NUMBER.

Is this clear?

You ever notice how, about the age of 35, people start going crazy with the exercise routines? Firm up, slim down, pump iron, run laps. And a lot of em I understand--they FEEL bad, and so they wanna feel BETTER. Or they're athletes, or dancers, or actors, and if they don't pump up their deltoids, they'll lose their jobs. But there's also a lot of people who are doing this stuff because of some vague reason like "I believe in exercise."

You what?

I can understand "I believe in God," "I believe in the First Amendment," or even "I believe in pre-marital sex." But who can BELIEVE in exercise? It's like, no matter what you look like, or feel like, or what you're trying to do with your life, you want to exercise for the SAKE of exercise. It's a Zen thing. It's like you wouldn't be a decent human being if you didn't do it.

So all these Ponce de Leons are out there working that Stairmaster, jerking those free weights, playing the sadistic game of racquetball, because they believe there's gonna be some reward when they get through. They're gonna be 48 and look 28. Of course, you could save all that time by going the plastic surgery route, but that would be too easy. They wanna the Old Testament way. They want fiery trials and ordeals. They wanna trudge forty years through the desert, fighting off middle age, retirement age, and old age. They wanna be immortal.

Fortunately, a new study came out last week proving just how immortal we can be. It has a graph showing the difference in lifestyle between a person in top physical condition and a person who never gets any exercise. At the age of 20 they're just as healthy. By the age of 40 the lazy guy is able to do just a little less. At the age of 60 the difference is slightly greater. At the age of 80, the lazy guy might have to stay indoors. The exercising guy will get to keep going out until he's 88. (Of course, by this time, he's spent eight years of his life jogging.)

But the most interesting part of the study involved the question: Who will die first?

God threw em a curve ball.

If everything else is equal, and the only difference between these two guys is that one exercises and one doesn't, they'll die at exactly the same time.

I find this very, very amusing.