The Cartoon Physics of Almost 60

I've read a couple of interesting think pieces recently, all describing, opining on, or bemoaning the current state of The Internet. This involves commentary on the fading influence of social media, particularly Facebook, as the dangers and just uncomfortable aspects of an over-socialized (in this case, over-monetized and over-influenced by the nefarious types around the world) community of clickers and tappers starts to dawn on us. This is not good. We should stop this, and so on.

There's also a longing I sense for the good old days, when bloggers were writing to a specific audience--and interacting with that audience--without any pressing need for, or even thought of, page clicks and other analytic-driven irrelevancies. It seems a golden age, and while it wasn't I completely understand.

The other day, actually, I was contemplating suggesting to a bunch of old blogger friends that we all commit to doing it again for a month. Just writing often, commenting on other blogs, responding and wallowing in a big ol' feedback loop.

It was an interesting time, and I made connections that stay solid now, over 15 years later. I was writing for newspapers before blogs, and I always had correspondents, but blogging opened up the relationship between writer and reader and I miss it. I like slinging out sentences willy-nilly and then cleaning it up in the ensuring conversation; sue me. I dug it. I loved getting my mind changed (or confirmed) with a few doses of back and forth, and while we weren't a completely political bunch, we'd comment on what was going on, you betcha. And if we disagreed, we gave each other grief for it and then moved on. We were pretty human in those days.

I dunno. Might be worth doing again, just to see how we feel after a few weeks of retro writing.


Our electrical miracle of the other day seems to be part of a trend. I feel as though I've finally climbed out of a dark place, and more light is inspiring. The overhead light in the garage, which hasn't worked for years, is now shining away, giving me a good excuse to mess around in there. It's still full of furniture from the big move back in August, awaiting a much-delayed big dump-run day, and the clear path down the middle was starting to crumble.

So I brought my weights up here, to sit there by the exercise bike and stare at me.

(As you can see, there's the immediate electromagnetic effect exercise equipment has on stray clothing)

(As you can see, there's the immediate electromagnetic effect exercise equipment has on stray clothing)

I mean, they weren't doing me any good down in the garage, hidden behind bed frames. I've used them regularly in the past, not so much for the past couple of years, and my shoulders sometimes ache and I'm obviously less strong. I'll never become a gym rat, or have the slightest interest in, say, becoming one of those elder bodybuilder types (who are impressive, I admit; just too much work for a physique that screams too many psychological secrets to the world). But it's good to do a little light resistance work, and I did think that maybe in this year, my final of the 50s, I should focus more on that aspect of my health. It's not a bad idea.

This room, in fact, where I spend most of my time, has begun to strike me as belong to a teenager. There are the weights, a fixture of my boyhood bedrooms. The bike. The pictures I've hung on the walls haphazardly, with thumb tacks--maps and enlarged photos and a Casablanca poster. Farrah Fawcett wouldn't be out of place.

It looks like a room modeled after ambition, and unrealistic dreams, and lately I'm OK with that. I could use a little teenage-boy magical thinking from time to time, even as time shrinks down. I might have to lift me some weights now.


Because this health business is a little confusing. Several acquaintances, men around my age, have died in the past year. A couple took their own lives, which is frightening enough, but at least one apparently just died. There are other things, of course, and none of us can avoid being touched by this if we live long enough.

But the randomness is unsettling, and I take nothing for granted. On paper, I seem to be in good shape. My resting heart rate seems to be in the mid-50s, my blood pressure is fine, I have no complaints other than flu paranoia and this recent cold. Even my wrist problems have diminished, and I'm not one to complain about aches and pains at length. Comes with the territory, as does Advil.

And there are going to be surprises, apparently, which is why I can make jokes about the silliness of being obsessive about my weight when, c'mon, I'm almost 60. Give yourself a break.

But I gained a few pounds over the holidays, not uncommon, and I weigh almost exactly what I did a year ago, and I still feel like I'm hanging on to some weight that's going to magically slide off the scale in a few days (it's not magic, and it could definitely happen). But I'm a guy who pays attention to what he eats and does, and it doesn't match. The laws of physics seem goofy.

It doesn't matter, and it doesn't surprise me. If you're going to snack on Christmas cookies for a few weeks, you might miss a few. It's not the pounds; it's the concept. Things go south when they shouldn't, when you think you're heading for true north.

So I imagine the day I reach down to lift a 40-pound box of cat food, and I can't. I imagine that all the time. These weights aren't an idle thought, or a dream of big muscles on an aging body. They're just about the cat food, and the inevitable, and staying in mid-air as long as I can.

Chuck Sigars2 Comments