The Cap’n and I are going to be ship shape — or barge shaped

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but now that summer nears, I’m going to get back in shape.

Oh, you’ve heard that one before have you? Well, I mean it this time. No seriously. Ah, c’mon, that wasn’t supposed to be the humorous part of this column.

I started yesterday. Well, really, I started two weeks ago. And two months ago. And six months ago. And a year or two ago. The point is, I’ve started.

Tonight, I took a loooong walk around town, which has a few slopes and rises. Gentle mountains, I think. I must have sprinted along — OK, trudged; give me a couple days to get in shape and then I’ll sprint — for 10 or 12 miles. I huffed, and I puffed, and I blew… a gasket. But I made it! All. The. Way.

Then I looked at my GPS.

The thing must be broken. It clocked me at a mere two miles. And a third.

I could have sworn from the sweat, pain and tears that it had battered my way through 15 miles, if not 25. They don’t make miles like they used to.

At this rate, I’ll be agreeing with my cousin Randy — round IS a shape! And I’m getting shapelier all the time.

The bathroom scales confirmed that I have not crested the 300-pound mark. But the scales did flash a number that reinforced what I’ve known along — bathroom scales are dirty, rotten liars. I think they’re in league with my mileage tracker.

A major problem is that since becoming a widower last summer, I’ve been left unsupervised. If I don’t feel like doing laundry, I don’t. It’s a difficult feeling to come by.

If I don’t feel like working out, I don’t. Ditto.

Also, while I can cook, I see no sense in putting forth the effort for one. Especially when the one is me, and the grocery store a quarter mile up the road sells gallons of milk, boxes of Frosted Flakes and peel-and-eat cookie dough.

Why cook when you can reach for the Trix with the Silly Rabbit? Why not go sailing along a sea of milk for supper with my good buddy Cap’n Crunch?

I pop in a DVD of my favorite cartoons, flop in my easy chair with my bowl — and the boxes of Golden Grahams and Froot Loops close by — and recreate my Saturday morning childhood. It was a wonderful time when Mom and Dad paid the bills and all I had to worry about was the square root of 16, and a participle of speech or two.

Occasionally, I’ll get ambitious and fry eggs. I prefer them sunny side up — “dippy eggs” — so on egg nights, my snow-white beard turns egg-yolk yellow, with a spattering of red salsa highlights. I follow the well-proved maxim that the messier something is to eat, the better it tastes.

After a few episodes starring that Wascally Wabbit and lifelong pal of mine, Bugs Bunny, and a few bowls of Lucky Charms, my giggly friend Pillsbury Dough Boy comes through. He tops off a super cereal supper with something I think of as a better banana — when you peel this wrapper, you find bunches of chocolate chips buried in cookie dough.

Terry never let me eat uncooked cookie dough even though I explained to her that most cookies are ruined by baking. The dough is where it’s at.

I think on my next foraging trip, I’m going to see if the grocery carries bathroom scales. Mine seem to be acting up and I don’t understand why. My shirts are shrinking, too. I’m going to try another brand of laundry soap.

Now where was I? Oh, yes, I’m getting back in shape. Stretches, lifting heavy bags of trash and hefting them all the way to the dumpsters, long hikes to the dairy bar for milkshakes… all the important exercises that make a boy grow big and healthy. I’m having pretty decent success with half of that equation.

But trust me, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, this time I AM going to get back in shape. Right after this episode — or two — of VeggieTales. Because a balanced diet is important.

Cole is a confirmed health nut — with an emphasis on the word after “health.” Join him with some Rice Krispies Treats at

burton.w.cole@gmail.com or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.


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