After the customary indulgence over the holidays, here’s Donald Hall, the 87 year old American writer and poet (and Poet Laureate), offering work-out inspiration. Think “Opposite Game” you played with your kids.
My trainer, Pamela Sunburn, works me out Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. She’s tiny and strong, four foot ten and a hundred pounds of muscle. If she had to, I’m sure she could carry my two hundred pounds slung over her shoulders. For half an hour each session she has me do cardio on the treadmill, squat with five-pound weights, lift tenners over my head and out from my sides, stretch muscles, stand up no hands with a beach ball between my knees, and do push-ups (as it were) standing against a wall. Exercise hurts, as well it might, since by choice and for my pleasure I didn’t do it for eighty years. (Once in my fifties I walked four miles.) […]
I sit on my ass all day, writing in longhand, which Kendel types up. Sometimes in a car I would pass Pancake Road, two miles away, and see a man walking his collie, the dog stepping out on his forepaws, two wheels harnessed to his backside. These days I no longer drive past Pancake Road or anywhere. I push wheels ahead of me instead of pulling them behind me like the dog. With my forepaws holding the handles of a four-wheeled roller, my buckling hindquarters slowly shove my carcass forward. I drool as I walk, and now and then I sniff a tree. […]
I went out for cross-country. As I did laps for endurance, I heard my eighty-year-old coach— the war had resurrected elderly faculty— mutter, “Truck horse.” My feelings were hurt. I worked on improving my style, but when I ran cross-country, agony rotated from ribs of one side to ribs of the other. I faked turning my ankle. […]
I have been told that as a baby I crawled up on a kitchen table and devoured a quarter pound of butter. I spewed it out quickly, and mouth-memory has endured in my distaste for yellow milkfat. Because it was so athletic to climb the table, perhaps my misadventure also led to my athletic malfitness. […]
Exercise is boring. Everything is boring that does not happen in a chair (reading and writing) or in bed.
~ Donald Hall, Physical Malfitness. Essays After Eighty
- SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration
- Related Donald Hall posts: Which year was the best?