Flexing My Way to Athletic Prowess

Thursday, March 17, 2016 | 0 Comment(s)

Only once, in an educational career that has spanned three decades, has my physical fitness ever been formally measured.  And, because the Devil, capital D, run's all middle schools, that time was during my 7th grade gym class. Smack in the middle of my pubescent transformation, the Board of Education had me go through a series of physical challenges a la Double Dare.

For one class period all the guys lined up next to the pull-up bar and took turns seeing which of us spaghetti-armed 80 pound towels could haul our newly smelly bodies up and over the literal and metaphoric bar. I still remember that I almost did one.  That was how horrific this experience was -- the accomplishment of barely failing to meet the lowest possible standard was memorable.  "Almost" would be the title of my one-man play, which focuses solely on middle school gym class.  The predicted run time is 3 hours. Inevitably, the pull-up exercise would devolve into watching the severely overweight students get put through this same farce. The difference now, of course was that we, their peers, had just fully embarrassed ourselves, and we took that aggression out on the most vulnerable as we mocked from the sideline. Brutal. 

I'm rooting for you Tiger.
This week of scoliosis tests and measuring arm strength always culminated in a mile run around the unofficial track that was our soccer field. While our school system lacked the funds for a pool, insecurities ran at "swimming without a shirt on" levels during the weighing and measuring period that was our middle school Combine.

Crash Test Dummies

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 | 0 Comment(s)

The pedestrian getting off the PVTA bus didn't even glance at the road before walking. Perhaps this adult sized person, bundled against the wind, was having a flashback to his or her days in elementary school when the vigilant bus driver would unfurl the flashing STOP sign in order to assure safe passage. Unfortunately for everyone, this a public bus, sans signage.

Additionally, the bus was pulled over into a designated bus stop outlet, which allowed traffic to freely flow in both directions. So, when this passenger exited the bus and immediately began to hustle across the street, cars flowed in both directions. This pedestrian acted immune to the consistent smushability of the human body.

The saving grace for our capricious Frogger was that he or she dashed into traffic within the confines of a crosswalk. In Massachusetts, crosswalks are a Big Deal. Capital B, capital D. If you fail to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, no matter what happens, it will be considered completely your fault. Unless otherwise dictated by a traffic signal, crosswalks are considered the Holy Land of pedestrian safety. Inside their boarders, no harm shall be done. And so it was written.

And while, legally speaking, crosswalks may serve to protect pedestrians from vehicular manslaughter, those thick white lines are not, literally speaking, a forcefield.  Which is to say that if a speeding piece of rolling metal were to come in contact with the delicate musculature of a human spine, even while basking in the holy light of the hallowed crosswalk, you dead. Dee Eey Dee, Ded. Maybe you'll get an extra shiny halo in heaven, but not in the morgue.