Pretty Idle

man sitting in a chair

Photo courtesy of Gratisography

“Move! Move! Move!”

My so-called “fitness tracker” is telling me I need to move.

To get up.

To stop sitting around.

Congratulations, technology… you’ve just figured out how to recreate the nag.

A motivational coach?

A nag coach.

Whichever you like.

“Move! Move! Move!”

It lights up and at the same time, zaps me so I know it’s there. Kind of like having your mother, your spouse, and a few of your more annoying siblings strapped to your wrist… equipped with a mini taser.

The scientists tell us sitting around is bad for you.

I don’t quite understand how sitting around on the couch with a family-size bag of potato chips while watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy could ever be bad for you. And if you just happened to die while sitting on the couch, I mean hey… bag of chips in your hand. The guy seemed happy.

But in the end, the societal pressure was just too much to resist. I broke down and bought a fitness tracker.

Nowadays, you see people stand around in groups, looking at their ankle-monitors-turned-fitness trackers, shaking them like they had just touched a hot stove with their fingers.

“How many steps did you get?”

“I got 24,326 so far!”

The group stares at the braggart with looks of awe and wonderment, planning her untimely death for getting something so clearly unachievable by mere mortals.

‘You did not.”

“Did too. See?”

She flicks her wrist to show the unbelieving crowd. Sure enough, the lit-up display is spewing truth.

After they all grudgingly congratulate her, about her working towards her fitness goals, of actually achieving some measure of success, the real truth comes out:

She had strapped the tracker to her eight-month-old greyhound and let it have run of the yard.

She giggles.

“This is the number I got by ten in the morning. Can’t wait to see what number Skipper can get by afternoon.”

To the others, she is anathema… dead… a non-person.

She is not heard from ever again…

Who dares cheat the technology gods?

As for me, I am determined not to cheat.

One, because I want to get into better shape. And two… I don’t want to upset the technology gods.

Besides, my tracker won’t let me get away with such tomfoolery.

When I’m idle for too long — like when I’m writing a blog post about being idle and cheating on my fitness tracker — it tells me to:


I obey immediately. I move.

Walk around the living room?


Move away from my desk at work and walk around the office?


Get up during the sermon at church?

Not check.

The mini wrist taser doesn’t know what to do. I have not obeyed its command. It zaps harder.






One more time…



The smell of burning flesh permeates the space around me.

I remove the tracker and toss it over my shoulder. I hear a “ploop” noise followed by the sound of steaming water and the cries of countless screaming souls.

I win. I think I won, right?

I later discovered that the tracker had landed in the holy water font, lying in a drowned pile of 327 others. Still gurgling slightly, the display screen slowly fading…


The technology demons are not happy.

I shrug and walk away, pretty confident a bag of potato chips is waiting to greet me at home.

A Paddle for Your Thoughts?

Whining crybaby

Photo courtesy of Gratisography

Have you ever wondered what’s wrong with America?

I mean, what’s really wrong with America?

Well, here’s my answer:



That’s right. You heard it here first. I repeat…


You can drive from sea to sea and see purple mountains majesty and foaming seas and stuff like that. The sun rises and sets. We get four seasons most everywhere (except in Florida where they get sunrises, heat, and hurricanes). God did a pretty good job with America.

It’s the people who keep screwing it up.

People rioting, having temper tantrums, holding their breath, turning blue. (Oh how I wish more of them would turn blue!)

People in the newspaper, on the TV news, splashed all over the Internet.

“Gimmee, gimmee, gimmee!”

“We don’t like this. We don’t like that. Waaaaaah!”

“Hey! Let’s start a fire!”

I think if we’re going to turn America from wrong to right, we’re going to need a new leader. A person of such wisdom and clarity, someone who could turn things around in a heartbeat.

My mother.

With my mother in charge, there would only be two courses of action for the whiny crybabies who seem to have taken the country by storm:

1) A righteous spanking with a paddle

2) Being sent to your room to take a nap

Now, I haven’t talked to my mother about this, but it doesn’t seem like paddling every brat in the country is feasible. You’d have to establish a spanking corps. A group dedicated to paddling offenders from coast to coast.

The problem nowadays is that out of a population of 309 million people, about half of those would have to be in the corps. In the old days, we simply called them “parents” but nowadays, we seem to be short on “parents” so it might not be the best way to go.

My bet is that mom would probably go for nap time.

I think her first order of business would be to create designated napping facilities throughout the country. Put one anywhere there are whiny, crabby people. You know, pretty much on every street corner…

  • Professional baseball and football games
  • Grocery store checkout lines
  • Any retail store on Black Friday (and Black Thursday Night)
  • Justin Bieber concerts
  • Capitol Hill
  • College campuses
  • Union shops
  • White collar office building

I think my mother could pull this off.

If you didn’t take your nap, she would threaten you with not coming out until you’ve taken your nap. Of course, there wouldn’t be any WiFi or computers in any of the napping areas. It would just be you, alone, with nothing but your miserable, useless thoughts. That by itself would be enough to set most people straight. Except that most people don’t think, so maybe there’s a glitch here I should tell mother about.

Well, doesn’t really matter. If anyone can straighten out the people of America, it’s my mother. Even if it takes a good paddling.

Speaking of dying…

Old man screaming

Photo courtesy of Gratisography


Did I tell you the news?

I’m dying.

It’s not like my doctor called me up with some test results or anything. No, I discovered my ailment from a trusted, reliable source whose diagnosis is 120% accurate:

An AARP membership card application in the mail.

Not only is this proof that you’re dying, but if you pay them a membership fee, they’ll get you discounts on stuff that will hopefully make your life happier as you’re dying.

Stuff like travel to go where other dying people hang out, prescriptions to alleviate your suffering as you’re dying, and  eating out at restaurants to fuel your dying body.

Think I’m making this stuff up? Then try stopping by a local restaurant during the day.

You’ll see flocks of cantankerous old people wearing AARP baseball caps, carrying their membership tote bags while waving their membership cards in the air to flag down wait staff who are actively trying to run away from them.

They’re the people who keep sending their food back to the kitchen because it all tastes like wet cardboard. Boy, do I have news for them: When you get old, EVERYTHING tastes like wet cardboard.

But don’t blame it on the AARP. They’re just being honest with you about your advanced state of decay.

Remember not so long ago when you could break rocks with your forehead, dig a well with a garden shovel, then run a 10k race in flip flops, with nary a sore muscle the next day?

Fast forward to you waking up every morning with muscle cramps, sore arms, aching lower back, and dry spit glands all from the rigorous exercise known as “sleeping.”

Even getting in and out of a car is more like an octogenarian Olympic event:

“Well ladies and gentleman, it appears he’s found the door handle and is struggling to get the door open. He’s trying to get his leg out and look, the left foot has touched the ground. I repeat: the left foot has touched the ground. He is now bringing his right foot around and oh, that terrible crackling noise. Oh the humanity! He’s putting weight on both feet and now he’s… Oh no, looks like a bolt of pain has seized him. He’s now back in the seat, writhing in pain. The bronze metal is definitely out of reach.”

But if you’re worried about getting a participation trophy for all you’re going through, rest easy. You’ll probably end up with a four-tier Lazy Susan filled with “trophies,” all coming from your favorite doctor. Be sure to proudly show your guests whenever they stop by:

“And this one? This one here is for a bladder infection. Next to that, halitosis. Behind that one is high blood pressure, low blood pressure, pre-diabetes, sleep aid, awakening aid, excessive ear wax control, gas, and of course, a bottle of gummy worm multi-vitamins just to mix things up.”

So here’s the bad news: You’re dying. But cheer up… at least you don’t have to pay full price for runny eggs that taste like wet cardboard.

Happy “You Should Be Dead” Day

Did you ever stop to think that maybe — just maybe — you should be dead?

And I don’t mean just you.

Because just you being dead wouldn’t do much for the planet. Unless you flush your toilet excessively in which case, you should probably be dead.

But not if you’re a ridiculously wealthy, famous Eco Warrior of Environmental Justice. Or just being ridiculously wealthy and famous suffices. That way you don’t have to be dead because you get to tell everyone else who should be dead.

Like Margaret Sanger who said, “The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.” Now I don’t know if the founder of Planned Parenthood was rich, but I think she was pretty famous. Just not famous enough for you and me to be dead… yet.

Remember that other famous guy, Jacques Cousteau?  He thought you should be dead too.

His thoughts on taking care of Mother Earth amounted to “World population must be stabilized and to do that we must eliminate 350,000 people per day.” I wonder if you’re supposed to volunteer or if someone just gets to pick your name from a hat? 350,000 people per day. Now that’s a pretty big hat.

But not as big as the one you would need if we were to make about 6.5 billion people dead. Keeping the number of the un-dead on earth at about 500 million is what some anonymous people with money think the number should be.  Maybe their names are in that hat which is why they don’t want to be famous.

Hard to say.

Which is why I think having gobs of money helps even more than being famous. Then you get to erect huge walls of stone in Georgia while you hide in a luxurious cave somewhere. But rich and famous is still a pretty good combo.

Take a guy like Prince Charles who has something like 10,000 houses all over the world, offices, shops, and property to boot. Do you know why he’s not supposed to be dead? Because he’s worth about $210 million and he has lots of stuff. That’s why he can’t be dead. Besides, he needs places to live and you can’t be in those places because then where would he live. Right?

Meanwhile, you’re throwing eggshells on a compost pile in your backyard, shutting off the lights in rooms when you’re not in them, and cutting up the plastic rings from your six pack of beer so Snuffy the sea turtle doesn’t get strangled in one.

That’s exactly how I see Bill Gates skipping around his 66,000 square foot home, yelling at people to turn off the lights in any of the twenty-four bathrooms or saying something like, “Close the window! What are you trying to do, heat up the outside?”  as he cuts up the plastic rings from his six pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

The same Bill Gates who has his calculator out saying “The world has 6.8 billion people. That’s heading up to about nine billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.”

See? If he can get more people to be dead, then all the better. All people have to do is get vaccinated, stop by a health care clinic, or kill their own children, and voila! Utopia!

Or, maybe one of the co-founders of Earth Day,  Ira Einhorn, had a better idea. He simply killed then composted his girlfriend.  So she is not only dead but she’s also earth-friendly.

So why don’t these Eco Warriors of Environmental Justice make themselves dead? Wouldn’t that be a good answer?

Well no.

Because unlike you and me — oxygen-breathing, carbon-emitting, inconsequential bi-peds — the Eco Warriors of Environmental Justice need to stick around to make sure all the compost gets put to good use.

And then they can flush their toilets all they want.