ŠThe gym, the golf, and other thingsŠa telecommuter shares how to keep fit while being trapped in the freedom of working from home.

ŠThere is no doubting my frugality, but I'm in great shape. I don't own any barbells or have bulging pectorals or bicuspids. I have seen lots of discarded workout equipment at the recycling center in my town and have never once given thought to perhaps taking any of it home. I don't belong to a gym. It has been probably thirty years since I have hefted a golf clubŠat least for the purpose of playing golf. It's not that I am adverse to these pursuits, it is just that damn pragmatism that was self-instilled in me as an adult. It's hard for me to pay for something that I can get free out in my small back yard, and enjoy just as much as either of the former. Let me explain Telecommuter's Workout Golf.

I live in a house that has a fireplaceŠI live in a place that has cold wintersŠI work at homeŠI am not close to anything resembling a gym or a golf course. I need exercise to keep me from not looking as old as I am so that my two young children will not ever mistake me for their grandfathers, who have both passed away. They already refer to me as being really really old. My son occasionally inquires how much longer I expect to live. Oil is very expensive this year, as it is every year. I don't enjoy giving money away unnecessarily. What is a telecommuter to do?

I call Bob the Woodman. Nice guy. Does his job well. Honest. Old fashioned. He owns a truck that he has to crawl under and move a valve by hand to make the bed go up to dump its load. A used part to correct this problem would cost him maybe $16 dollars. The truck has been like this since at least 1995Šhe has not sprung for the part yet, and he still gets his job done. This is a business guy after my own heart. I have to get 3 cords of wood at a time in order to get my best price from him after discounting, haggling and credits for longevity as a cash customer. Bob is an excellent example of how a business should be run. I buy the wood cut to length, but not split. No big dealŠit adds to the discount and gives me more exerciseŠwhich brings me to the conjunctive of this disjointingŠ Telecommuter's Workout Golf.

Is the visual coming together for you yet? Then, let me continue. I have but one club in my game of golf..a 6 lb oak wedge. It's perfect for almost every shot and every time you lift it to swing you get a invigorating workout. This is not for the uninitiated and takes all your concentration. A miss could penetrate your boot and remove your foot at the ankle. In the other type of golf, the one you play on a green, this would probably be physically akin to catching a shot on the noggin with a ball going about 249 miles an hour or in weight lifting like dropping a fully loaded set of barbells on your head, ouch. I guess all sports have their yowie ouchie touchy-killy points.

Anyway, you stand pensive at the periphery of the freshly dumped woodŠcontemplating the task before you. Most people who split their own wood would have three cords split and stacked within the weekŠnot me. I want to stretch this out and wallow in it for as long as possible. A log is selected and wrestled it into positionŠa 31 pounderŠgood exercise! Like any golf shot that has to be well thought out in advance, so it is with a log shot. And, as a fairway has to be ''read'', so it is your swing must be carefully calculated to ascertain the ''sweet spot'', where your club will fly true and split the log on the first try. A ''split in one'' as we say in the sport. Which way should the log face you? What facets of position or lay will cause problems with your shot? Is the wind at your backŠto the side? Which stance would be best? Is there any chance of some unforeseen interference? Is the crowd hushed? Are the cameras on you? You address the log and close your eyes and think serenely of your mantra. You clear your mind of all the worldly dross and concentrate on the oneness of the grain. The aroma of freshly cut oak fills your nostrils. Tranquil white noise now dominates your synapses. The cold that is biting the tips of your ears and fingers is not felt at this juncture. Tension is gone. Your focus is all encompassing. You slowly cock the maul back in a reverse arch that is both well defined and symmetric with the asymptote of the target and the proclivities of the horizon. In what seems a slow motion release you start the downward swingŠthe acceleration begins. You think you hear the rush of air as the maul passes it's theoretic mid-point. No turning back. The latent power is in motion nowŠthis is what you have been living for. THUNK! Ahhhhhhhhh, you miss and hit the frozen Earth. You wife opens the back door to say the mechanic called to tell you the alternator is going to add an additional $181.00 to the repair bill on your 11 year old Jetta. Your son's snowball finds its mark on the side of your head and down your collar. A crow heckles me in the near distance. I'm getting too old for this crapŠnext year I'm going to buy the stuff split and hire some young kid to stack it for me. My own kids will be old enough to go out and get it from the woodpile and throw it on the fire for meŠI'll be sitting there watching TV and sipping a hot chocolate and thinking about retiring.

As an afterword, I gotta tell youŠ I read a Reuters Health article by Charnicia E. Huggins the other day that stated that ''Saying You Exercise Creates Good First Impression.'' Not exercising itselfŠbut ''SAYING'' you exercise. This is food for some really deep thought, but not too much, about how far we have come since the dawn of humanity.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online May 23, 2001

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