My doctor flipped the weight of the scale over another notch, looked at me with annoyance and said, "Man does not live by bread alone."
"You think I don't know that?" I said. "Any fool knows you have to make it into a sandwich, top it with homemade preserves or cover it with cheese sauce and make a casserole out of it."
"You are overweight again," he said.
"Like how much?"
"Like if you were scheduled to fight Muhammad Ali this fall, you would have to drop fifteen pounds to make the heavyweight division. How much exercise do you get?"
"I learned over a week ago Thursday for what I thought was a gingersnap cookie in the carpet, but it turned out to be a cork coaster and I haven't taken a chance since."
"Do you go to the refrigerator a lot?"
"Yes, and sometimes I even run."
"I have here a list of activities that tell you how many calories you can burn up per hour. I want you to go over the list and try to do at least one or two activities a day."
The list was depressing. An hour of housework burnt up 80 to 180 calories, ironing 50 to 60 and writing 10 to 20. I would have to arm-wrestle King Kong to make a difference.
Then a brilliant idea hit me. If I could do some vigorous exercises, I could eat all the fat food I wanted and burn it off before it took root.
That night I had a piece of apple pie. Then I grabbed one of the kid's bicycles and pedaled for two hours. It was work, but it was worth it. I had paid for my folly.
The next night I had 40 potato chips. To make up for it, I did a little ironing that I had put back. (Actually I only ironed for eight hours and put the rest of it back again.)
The next afternoon I outdid myself. I found an Easter egg I had hidden from the kids in the freezer totaling 583 calories. I had to paint the house to work it off. The same night I had lobster in butter, which totaled 2,390 calories. Checking my list I discovered I would have to row across Lake Erie and back to balance the calories.
Then, a terrible pattern began to form. I was borrowing on my energy and putting IOUs in the refrigerator. I owed two hours of carpentry for a bowl of cereal in cream, three miles of jogging for a French doughnut, and eight days of shoveling snow for a piece of birthday cake.
As I sit here writing this column, I am in hock through 1975. As I told my doctor, the only way I can possibly catch up is to be an oarsman on a slave ship. He is making the necessary arrangements.
From "Forever, Erma" by Erma Bombeck