On this, the week of Thanksgiving, physical exercise is at at a premium. As it says in the book of Proverbs, “A wise man works out during the holiday season, but the fool lets himself go and grows a beard hoping it will hide his third chin and then directs Bowling for Columbine.”
My plan yesterday was to get a run in between the end of my workday at 4:30 and 6, when Bridgette is done. Unfortunately, a meeting ran long, and by the time I left school at 5:10, I realized I didn’t have enough time to make it to the Y and go running. So I did what any reasonable-minded man would do – I got into my car and awkwardly changed into my workout clothes in middle of the school parking lot. It was dark, the temperature was in the upper 30s, and I was wearing flimsy running shorts and a t-shirt. There was virtually nothing wrong with my plan.
In a cold-induced frenzy, I took off with a shot through the parking lot. The grounds of the school connect with a system of local park trails here in Eden Prairie, and my intention was to go running along those for 35 minutes or so until Bridgette got done. Cruising along the darkened trails, I was doing great until suddenly a man was shining a flashlight in my face. It was a cop, telling me that the trails were closed for the evening. I assured him that I was but a meek and lowly social studies teacher, not some meth-addled adolescent or Senator Larry Craig (R-ID).
After a mustache-laden chastening, I was turned around and on my way. Running once again through the school parking lot in shorts and a sweaty t-shirt, parents and co-workers gawked at me from the comfort of their luxury SUVs as I heaved and lumbered through the November evening. Chastened by their stares, I covered my groin with my hands and called out, “Avert your eyes, all of you! I have been reduced to my mere essence before your eyes! O, that I were dead!” As mothers shielded the eyes of their children, my gate slowed to a weary, awkward lope as steam and hot spittle flew from my bloated lips. “I am in agony! Happy Thanksgiving! Welcome, sweet unconsciousness!”
As the same police officer from before beat me into submission and eventual darkness, somewhere in my heart I was glad this had happened. After all, it’s important to work out during the holidays, and what better way to get the heart pounding than with a brisk, thorough beating from the baton of a trained professional in full view of my work community?
I really couldn’t imagine a better start to the holiday season.