I grew up on the mean streets of South Euclid where other than sitting in the stands at a summer ballgame no one broke an athletic sweat.
The only gyms back then were for basketball. Oh sure, we “took gym” from 7th grade on but exercise was strictly frowned upon. Some of the Italian kids lifted weights, but to my people isometrics and calisthenics were merely 14 and 19 points in a Scrabble game.
I am reminded of this because I was recently invited to “work out” with some loved ones.
FLASHBACK to a generation ago.
The kids had loaded my new Sony Walkman with a “mix” and one Sunday morning I decided to walk. So there I was singing along to the music and feeling younger than springtime. Suddenly and without warning, as I passed outside my house, from the deepest caverns of my inner ear and with a shriek that broke window panes countywide, I heard the mother of my children scream:
(I guess I was singing too loudly).
So that’s pretty much been it. I have neither offended a neighbor nor broken a sweat since.
Actually, the subject of exercise was broached just recently with my brother. A week ago I was down with a bad back, a problem that recurs every couple years. It had been diagnosed by one of the card players as sciatica, but H insisted it was congenital. He reminded me that both our father and he had endured similar maladies. Similarly, he noted, none of us was ever known for any regimen of sustained physical care.
Maybe I should accept the invitation and hit the gym. I do have the sneakers. Still, Hal asserts that Bogarts don’t run unless they are being chased.”
Nothing, but nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.
I think I’ll lace ‘em up this weekend. Hal may be right, but fact is, I’m being chased by Father Time.

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