The Old Coot knows why

You see it on TV all the time – another promise to make you thin and healthy – “Buy our video” – “Join our gym” – “Eat our prepared meals” – “Take our pill” – “Follow our diet.” None of it works, not for long anyway. But, I’ve discovered the secret. We just have to do the stuff we don’t do anymore.  

Like get up and walk over to the TV to change the channel. Lean way to the right in your car and use a hand crank to open the passenger window. “Push” the lawnmower; use a hand-powered trimmer. “Sweep” the clippings off the sidewalk with a broom. “Shovel” the snow.

The list of “stuff we don’t do” is a long one. I spent ten minutes looking for the car keys so I could drive to the post office and get a stamp to mail a bill to a business five blocks away. I could have walked over and paid it in person, but we don’t do that anymore. Now, I do even less; I sit at a computer and pay the bill. I’ve become so sedate I no longer turn pages in a book. I push a tab on a Kindle. Presto! I’m on the next page. I don’t even expend energy to turn down the corner of a page so I can go back to it. My Kindle has a tab for that too.  

We don’t take the stairs – up or down – even if we only want to go to the next floor; we push a button and wait for the elevator. (And catch a cold from another passenger in the process.) We push a lot of buttons – the one on the dishwasher (no more scrubbing the plates and wiping them dry); the one on the dryer (no more strenuous trips to the backyard to hang out the clothes). More of the stuff we don’t do anymore. 

It’s everywhere – this stuff we don’t do. It’s in our car. We don’t push in a clutch, shift gears or crank the wheel with our own muscle power. We don’t row a boat – climb a hill to ski or sled down. We don’t clean the oven or pull the stuff out of the freezer to defrost it. We don’t pick berries or can tomatoes. We nibble; we nosh; we sit and push buttons. And we wonder why we’re overweight and out of shape. 

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