Thursday, July 4, 2013

Hitler Loved Vegetables ... But I Digress

Well, folks, you may remember me saying it, my annual physical's coming up, next week. And like any test worth taking, I've been cramming for it. I started in May, eating right and getting regular exercise. I may have tapered off on the exercise, since it's so extremely boring, but I've kept up on the eating. Cold turkey, I dropped ice cream, all desserts, cookies, bacon, sausage, etc., and I've been 99.9% successful.

So when next week gets here, and I go in there fit as a fiddle, I'll be happy. The doctor will tell me I have 40 years to live (I'm now 60), and I'll come home happy. Really, it's then that I'll face the true test, how much I'm able to keep my present discipline. In some ways, eating my vegetables seems like the most natural thing, and in other ways, it's a real challenge. It's definitely hard to keep them fresh. Even in the fridge, they wilt and turn weird colors, and get slimed over. Like everything, they're in the process of rotting, which is very hard to staunch.

Speaking of vegetables, you know who loved vegetables? Hitler. Which is something to think about next time you recommend them to someone. You'd think anyone so into butchery would be carnivorous. I just learned it this week, Hitler was a vegetarian, a nonsmoker, a teetotaler, and more or less abstained from sex. I think I heard he was missing a chromosome, so maybe that governed some of his choices, as well as his general unruliness. Definitely not a guy to mess with...

I've long known he was a badass from way back, I just didn't know the extent of it. But his mind was rotten, and now I think I know why: Poor refrigeration of vegetables. They were going bad and he was eating them anyway. It's tough enough with modern refrigeration. What'd they do back then? They had to wait for the iceman to bring a chunk of ice. And since Hitler was so afraid of being assassinated, by the time the iceman cleared security it was melted. But I digress.

Anyway, my physical's coming up. And I've always thought my doctor is a hard guy to please. He barely knows me, for one, which is my own fault -- if I weren't generally so healthy I'd be in there more often. So every year when I show up, it's like we're starting from scratch. We've never been able to form any kind of relationship. I'm sure he reviews my file, then comes in and acts like he basically knows me. We've just never gotten close.

It kind of reminds me of John Wayne, really. I'm thinking back to the '50s. John Wayne had a wife he couldn't get along with, maybe he didn't know her well enough when they got together. One thing led to another and they ended up in divorce court. By now she had developed expensive tastes, being married to a Hollywood star, and naturally she thought she needed some big alimony, something like $9,000 a month! Which was huge money back then, even if it's chump change now.

The judge, as the story goes, looked at her somewhat askance. "You say you need $9,000 a month?" I'm making up the quotes, "I find for the plaintiff in the amount of $1,100 a month, case closed!" Well, John Wayne got a big grin on his face, and his fans, packing the courthouse, erupted in applause. His wife, Mexican by the way, was downcast. But I digress.

As far as my physical goes, you're probably dubious that I had such a strong will that I was able to stop eating desserts and all that. Yet, it's true. But I'll admit, it's hard. One of my favorite places to go is DQ. It's so easy. They've got the soft serve and all. I love it, and just writing about it's giving me a craving. A big old ice cream cone -- I like the vanilla ones dipped in chocolate, a large. I try to savor it, which works for a while, until I can't stand it anymore, and it's quickly down the hatch!

I was thinking of this just yesterday when I drove by the lake. I remember a crazy story, which tells you something of how the earth works. You might remember, Florida has some crazy sinkholes. A few months ago the earth gave way and swallowed some guy, him, house and all. Well, the same thing's happened with entire lakes! This one was sometime in the '70s -- remember it? It was Lake Grady -- a sinkhole opened up right there at the bottom of the lake and drained the whole thing! Afterwards, they said it looked like a desert!

That'd be insane, if you were out on Lake Grady in a boat at the time. You might actually end up going down the hole like a bathtub drain. The only way you'd escape is if you had enough hair on your head to stop it. More likely, you'd be headed toward the middle, then realize, "A sinkhole!", and start up the motor. Which would be a great time to have a good motor! Definitely, if you own a motor, you want to keep it in good shape. It's like a car engine, it can go bad. And you never know when an ounce of prevention might save a stitch in time. But I digress.

I personally don't like living dangerously, which is why I schedule an annual physical. That way, if the doctor finds anything that needs to be addressed, we'll take care of it. So I'm expecting good things, for sure. And even if there's something wrong, which wouldn't likely be much, since I feel so good, we'll fix it.

I know some people like to live dangerously, so they take the bull by the horns. You hear of all sorts. For some, they even make it their profession. Like tightrope walkers. We had the guy a few weeks ago who walked across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope, or tightwire. He was praying to Jesus, who was telling him, "Yes, I hear prayers, but don't be an idiot ... I've given gravity the final word in these cases." Thankfully, the guy made it.

It's an old profession, tightrope walking. I looked it up, and found a reference to a guy way back in 1905. "Reno, The King of Wire Walkers!" On that occasion, they strung a wire between the two tallest buildings in town, in Muscatine, Iowa. Reno was going to walk it with wooden shoes, stand on his head, and ride a bicycle across the chasm. Just the thought of it gives me the willies. Although I take some relief in the fact that it didn't really matter if he made it, because obviously by now he would've been dead anyway. But I digress.

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