Point of View: Loath to Be a Sloth

The fear of physical atrophy

   Well, it’s official: Spring has arrived. For Sebastian Gorgone, it was heralded by the arrival at Gerard Drive of squid-chasing bluefish; for me it announced itself in the form of a deer tick latched onto my upper left shoulder.
    A day later, Peter Siefken finished the job that I’d somewhat botched, though I did remember to take two antibiotic pills, as he had recommended, soon after making the discovery. The potent pills made me feel wretched, though anything’s better than having Lyme disease, which messes with your brain.
    I think that’s my biggest fear, that I may wind up not in my right mind, which would be chagrining for a lefty.
    There’s the fear too of physical atrophy (not to mention teleological questions having to do with the soul), which is why I went this week to see Sinead FitzGibbon, who recently won in 6 hours, 28 minutes, and 10.86 seconds a 50K (31-mile) race in Pennsylvania, the Hyner View Trail Challenge, clawing her way up a series of steep hills and dodging potato-sized rocks dislodged from those above on her way down.
    She thinks I may be beginning to lose it — physically — and that, consequently, I should begin some strengthening and run-walk exercises, which she has duly prescribed.
    Mary bought me a watch because the running and walking intervals must be timed. I thanked her, but before setting forth had a consult with my body, which they say you should listen to. So far (though it’s barely audible given the fact that one of my hearing aids is in the shop) my body is saying it’s dubious. It is pretty much the same with Mary too, though it’s more a question of finding the time for her. Modest exercise is something we agree we can do together, though, of course, we can always play gin.
    I used to think that not to exercise — not to be engaged in one sport or another, whether it were soccer, squash, slow-pitch softball, running, biking, swimming, or tennis — was somehow retrograde, slothful (and sloth, we all know, is one of the seven deadly sins). And now, most of these sports have passed me by, with the exception perhaps of doubles tennis, where I nevertheless find that my customary confidence (some would say overconfidence) has begun to slip.
    I know what should be done, else why would I have sought out Sinead in the first place. All that remains, then, is to summon up the requisite energy to begin.