Looking to the future is just a ‘waist’ of time
During my time writing for this paper, I have given a great many readers a great many reasons to become aggravated. I am afraid that this week will be no exception. In fact, with this edition, many readers’ weekly Friday frustration may turn into perpetual scorn.As is well-known, in this town of the beautiful and fit, any display of superficial one-upmanship is an invitation for trouble. What can shed an equally unflattering local spotlight is lacking the discipline to not say something when one has nothing to say. This week, I am fearlessly violating both provincially metropolitan codes of Aspen conduct.This week marks the beginning of the holiday season with all of the food, drink and lying around watching football games that makes average Americans wrap themselves in an additional eight or so pounds of fat. That’s enough extra corpulence to keep us busy from Jan. 2 through each successive Halloween, running and pumping to trim it all off in time to do it again the next year.And talking about this is what gets me into trouble. I know I should keep my mouth shut, but it doesn’t matter. I am one of those people who can eat and drink and fill it with just about anything in any quantity without visible effect. Sure, my innards may look like those of a retired hot dog stand operator, but who among the health club crowd around here cares about that? The truth is that I’ve had a 32-inch waist since I was a freshman in high school. I’ve also worn the same pant size since then. But I caution you not to draw any conclusions about how easy my life has been because of this, for the two have not been the same for 28 years.You see, I’ve been cursed with this obsession about looking forward. It has consumed my life. As a 15-year-old boy I measured my middle at 32 inches and opted to buy pants with a 33-inch waist because I thought I would grow into them before they wore out. Well, spring turned into summer, and summer tuned into 2005. My prudent disposition never wavered. My waist is still 32 inches, and I’m still buying 33-inch pants. Many a doughnut has passed underneath my belt during that time; they just didn’t stay there, through no fault of my own.I try to stay fit now, mostly for the kids’ sake, but there where times in my youth when I couldn’t run a mile without being sickeningly winded. Or was it that I just didn’t see the point in running a mile back then when I had 275 horses waiting to run underneath the hood of my ’68 Chevy Concourse? Hell, I don’t remember. The point is that I didn’t run very many miles for pleasure, or care too terribly much about my general fitness. Perhaps that was why I was always attracted to the game of baseball. Before the steroid era, it was a thinking man’s game, where a high lactic threshold and the oxygen-carrying capacity of your blood were no substitutes for the natural ability to throw a rock 90 mph and knock an empty can off a fencepost from 60 feet away in eight out of 10 tries. I sure do miss that time. I don’t mean to imply that I have maintained a steady weight throughout this period, either. I have grown from a 90-pound weakling into a 190 weakerling as my midsection has been preserved in a steady state. The words “bigger” and “stronger” go together like “George” and “Bush.” Yet, long gone are the days of squat-thrusting twice my own weight just to show off in the gym. Alas, “Age” is apparently the neutralizing agent that so effectively repels increased strength from increased size in our advancing years.As many such stories begin with so much promise for a happy conclusion, this one, too, winds up with the familiar crumbling to the temptation of peers. With things humming along swimmingly, without any signs for the need to change a single thing, my wife and I decided to put aside our nightly ritual of enjoying a delicious bowl of ice cream. Our only rationale in doing so was that it had become indelicately out of vogue. It had gotten so bad that we hid our habit from friends and secretly partook in the darkened living room.As you have already concluded, my waistline didn’t alter a smidgen. The only thing that varied was the prevailing winds of my attitude. The change spurred me to begin living for the day. I went nuts and bought a pair of 32-inch pants. They were a modern pair, designed to ride low across the hips. As I never do, I didn’t try these pants on either before taking them home. In my confidence that evening, I waited until the last moment to ready myself for a social affair. I pulled on the new pants, one leg at a time, tucked in my favorite shirt, and headed out the door. Sitting in the car, I noticed nothing unusual. However, once walking across the street, I quickly discovered that, while my waist was the same, I no longer had hips. With nothing to grip, my new pants dove for the street. I spent the rest of the evening with my hands in my pockets, pulling upwards to keep my pants in an uncompromising position. I longed for my old pants, my rounder thighs, my ice cream and the days of old. I’ve learned a valuable lesson through all of this, but I’m not sure what it is, and I’ve gone on too long about it anyway. Change may be inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be apparent. Eat, drink and be merry this holiday season. For tomorrow, you may buy a new pair of pants.Make sure that the pair you’re wearing fits today. Roger Marolt doesn’t mind a few wrinkles now and then. Press him at email@example.com
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