“All that activity in my own little neighborhood. I can’t imagine what the real runners — those who last longer than 15 minutes — encounter out in the real world,” Ray said in his column this week.
I’m not sure what’s more degrading than running with a plastic bag of dog poop in your hand. I suppose tripping over my own feet and falling to the pavement like a Charlie Chaplin skit might do it.
But the reality is my morning walk-jog, which I call the wog, always involves me carrying my dog’s waste because he doesn’t know how to wait and use a toilet.
And ever since I began my wog with my dog, I have encountered speeding cars, frigid temperatures, rain, blinding by tears, barking dogs, loose dogs and dogs howling in houses. I’ve dodged garbage trucks, school buses and a bicyclist who looks like he’s pretending to be in a velodrome.
All that activity in my own little neighborhood. I can’t imagine what the real runners — those who last longer than 15 minutes — encounter out in the real world. Perhaps one day I’ll find out. But for now, I know my limitations. And I’m staying put inside my little world.
It became obvious a while back that I needed to try some sort of exercise if I wanted to see 60. When I told a friend I began trying to run, she asked what was I running from? I answered the Grim Reaper. Look, I’m not one of these paranoid people who think about death all the time, just a lot of the time. Because the fact is, people my age and younger are dying all around me for no apparent reason.
Yet you look at someone like Keith Richards and wonder what the heck? Here’s a rock ‘n’ roll guy who abused everything — from his brain to his liver and below — during his lifetime and here he is 75 years old, smoking like it’s the 1920s, and still on stage. He may look like he died in 1998, but so what? He’s still alive and jamming.
But as soon as I get a strange sensation I think the worst. I saw a spot on my arm the other day and immediately thought uh-oh; something must be going on with my skin. But at my age, odd things have been sprouting up or changing colors all over my body for years. So I carry on.
A sign I better try something came when I got gassed tying shoelaces. My initial reaction to solve the problem was to convert to Velcro. But I didn’t want to look like I belonged in Florida with checkered pants, a wide white belt and a visor. Not yet, anyway.
So me and my dog wog. I jog, I walk; he sniffs, he pees. We have a routine, and I actually enjoy it. I don’t know how much it offsets my penchant for salami sandwiches and pepperoni pizzas or if it’ll prolong my life, but I’ll assume it’s better than laying on the couch.
All I have to do is be careful. Like watching out for that Olympian wannabe on a bike. And if he startles me one more time by silently whizzing past me, I’ll have something for him. Because I always carry it with me in a plastic bag.
Ray Kisonas is regional editor of The Daily Telegram and The Monroe News.
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