I wrote this over four years ago. I wish I could say that I was in good condition and that my Parkinson’s disease had improved, but I would be lying. I still walk a dog each morning, but it is really a chore to complete a mile. My back still hurts and I will occasionally work out with the Bow Flex machine. No longer go to the Fitness Center. Since I wrote it, I was forced to retire from the taxi business because I could no longer pass the PUC physical. But if I were to admit it, the most strenuous thing I probably do is poke at this fucking keyboard. Carrying a little too much weight, but it is stable. Not losing, not gaining.
Conversations with Myself
By: Garland Davis
Psychologists say that most people have a conscience. You know; that little guy in angel garb and a halo who sits on your left shoulder and pushes you in the right direction. I have one of those but, he wears wash khakis, Chief Petty Officer’s anchors, and a piss cutter. He really busts my ass. He has a cup of coffee in one hand and a wheel book in the other. I call him my Inner Chief. The conscience’s counterpart and nemesis sits on the right shoulder and is usually pictured as a little devil with a pitchfork. Mine is dressed as a Seaman Recruit. He wears dungarees with a red DC stencil. He has a list of excuses in one hand and a Bad Conduct Discharge in the other.
Back in June last year, the Chief showed up suddenly and really gave me hell. What he said went something like this. “Boy. (He always calls me Boy.) I am disappointed in you! You are pissin’ me off! You are slacking off big time. Ever since you were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease you’ve become a pussy. You used to keep yourself in shape. Ever since you suspected that you had the disease and the doctors confirmed it, you’ve used it as an excuse to let yourself go. Now, you got a birthday coming up soon. You will be sixty-eight years old and Boy, if you want to be an old man, continue to act like one. But I’m going to give you another option.”
“You wrote that blog about your Parkinson’s Disease. You say you are not depressed and have a good attitude about living with the disease, but you were bullshitting your readers and you are bullshitting yourself about your “active” lifestyle. You told them you stopped drinking because you feared the progressive deterioration of the disease. You are to be commended for your attitude. But Boy, I do miss my beer! Your other actions, or should I say your lack of actions, are contributing to your deterioration and the progressiveness of the disease. The way you are living, you may as well drink beer and get shitfaced every night”
“You claimed to be active. You walk the dog, Big Freakin’ Deal! Walking the dog is not exercise. The dog goes ten feet and stops to smell something. He goes another ten feet, smells something else, and then goes back to piss on what he smelled the first time. He is on a sixteen-foot leash. You have barely moved your fat ass. You are just a weight on the other end of the leash, standing there doing nothing. The dog is getting the exercise. You said in the blog that PD changes your gait and makes walking or running jerky and clumsy. It doesn’t make you unable to walk or run! Get off your ass and use what you got. Like stock car racing, before NASCAR pussified it. You built the best car you could and took it to the track. Race what you got or as the old time racers put it ‘Run what you brung.’ So get off your ass and get on the road and use what you got. A guy that loses an arm doesn’t stop jerkin’ off, he just does it differently.”
“Now let’s talk about that fat ass of yours. You have steadily gained weight over the last two years. You make excuses not to workout. Back pain, you are tired from work, or you don’t feel like it. Give me a fuckin’ break. You drive a taxicab a few hours a day. The most strenuous thing you do is lift the occasional suitcase or grocery bag. I really don’t give a shit what you feel like.”
“You never have an excuse not to stuff potato chips into your fuckin’ mouth, though. You were once a cook and baker, you know food, and you understand nutrition. You know why you have gained weight. So drop the potato chips and kick them away. Put your training and knowledge to use. Your wife is a good cook and so are you. Just because the food is good, doesn’t mean you have to eat every fricken’ bit of it! Take a normal portion and when you are full, STOP FUCKING EATING!”
“Sure you got the BowFlex machine. But, you don’t use it regularly. You use back pain as an excuse to skip workouts. Admit it. You have the fucking back pain whatever you are doing. If you want to do something you ignore the back pain. So ignore it when you need to workout. ‘Pain doesn’t hurt!’…… Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse.”
“Put all this together. Control your eating! Get your ass out of that recliner and walk, maybe even run a bit! Start and continue regular workouts on the BowFlex and get the gym membership offered through your Medicare Health Plan and spend some time in the gym! You know you can do it because you did it. You once ran marathons and could lift more weight than a fuckin’ forklift.”
“Boy you do all this, get your ass in shape, and you won’t hear from me on this subject again. Remember, I’m watching you Boy.”
Today is the 17 of January, 2013. Six months have passed since the “Chief” chewed my ass and I wrote that. I can’t ignore him. So I started walking on or about the 9th of June. I also started Monday, Wednesday, Friday routines, alternating between the BowFlex and the Twenty Four Hour Fitness Center. I started weighing myself each morning. I got a pad of graph paper to keep track of my progress and weight. Suddenly there the little son-of-a-bitch was:
“Boy, what the fuck are you doing? The next thing is you’ll be writing a POAM. You spent too much time in management classes and hung around too many officers. The only POAM you and I ever needed before was a wheel book. You wrote down what needed to be accomplished when it had to be done, and then you went and did it. The problem with POAM’s is they set unrealistic goals and milestones. I’ll give you your Plan of Action. Get your ass on the road and walk. Get on the machine and to the gym and workout. Your Milestones will be your ass dragging after you finish. And push your fat ass away from the table!”
After six months, I find it much easier to walk and usually do about four miles four or five days a week. The perimeter around the development where I live is exactly four miles. Uphill the whole way, or it seems so. I have been doing the full distance since the end of September last year. I tried to start running again, but the clumsiness brought on by the Parkinson’s makes it difficult. So I just walk.
I’m being careful about what I eat. The little son of a bitch is always there. So, I am trying to eat three nutritional meals a day with a couple of fruit snacks. Hey, it works. I am not really hungry and I have lost forty-three pounds.
That Seaman Recruit with the BCD is not silent. He is always there with an excuse and tempting me to either eat more than I need or to skip a workout. On my birthday, he almost talked me into buying a red velvet cake (love them) and some vanilla ice cream.
Suddenly the Chief was there, “What tha fuck are you thinking. You have been doing great. Don’t fuck it up now! You know statistics show that people are fourteen percent more likely to die on their birthday than any other day of the year. It’s probably from stuffing cake and ice cream into their fuckin’ face. Tell you what, since it is your birthday and you and your wife are going to the Steakhouse for dinner, order a piece of that cake for dessert and share it with her. That way, you want have the fuckin’ cake at home haunting you all night.”
So far, I have listened to the Chief. I’m afraid of the little son of a bitch. He scares me.
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A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.