Opinion: Walk the walk with no talk


Last year, for my birthday, my son gave me one of those watches that keeps track of daily steps. It isn’t a fancy Fitbit, with all the bells and whistles, although it does monitor my blood pressure. It isn’t very accurate. Yesterday, I got several different readings: 190/100, 60/40 and 120/70. I’ve decided to go with the last one because it keeps me alive the longest.

I read somewhere that the average American gained 5 pounds during this spring’s home quarantine. I think of myself as an above-average person, so I figured I was good for at least 10 added pounds. And now, I have become obsessed with walking.

I look at my watch every 20 seconds. How many steps can I get in while inside the house? I know exactly how many steps it takes to walk around the kitchen island (27), and if I do that 75 times, I have walked a mile, and not only that, I become too dizzy and nauseous to eat. The pounds are dropping away.

The recommended 10,000 steps a day is just an arbitrary goal, so I started shooting for other benchmarks: 15,000, then 20,000 and 25,000, all of which I have achieved. I Googled people who walk up to 60,000 steps a day, but it’s mostly fugitives escaping the law on foot. One guy claimed he did 70,000 a day. His wife finally left him, but he got in a few more steps searching for her.

I want to have some steps already on my watch when I awaken each morning. The device doesn’t reset to zero until midnight, so I go downstairs at 12:01 a.m., turn on the TV and get on the treadmill. Not only do I begin the day with 2,000 steps, but I’ve now seen every episode of “Hot in Cleveland.”

On Tuesday, I was gone for three hours.

“Where have you been?” my worried wife asked as I sauntered up to the front door.

“I just kept walking and walking, Mary Ellen. Why not? I have nothing else to come home for….”

Wow, that came out waaaay wrong. What I meant to say was, “I have no hobbies, I don’t play an instrument, I can’t cook, I don’t have a workshop, I hate gardening and I don’t follow the stock market.” I didn’t have time to say all that before the door was slammed in my face.

Later, I apologized.

“Mary Ellen, that was a terrible thing I said. I’m sorry.”

“So, you are walking back that remark?”

“Yes, I am. And I think that counts as 1,000 steps.”


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