Opinion Columns & Blogs

It’s all about perception

By PAM STONE

Every now and then, I need a little pick me up. Are you with me?

You know the feeling: despite denying yourself all the gooey, baked goods that come with the season and stringently adhering to your exercise program, your body says, “Yeah, good luck with that. You do realize that when you hit menopause, every ounce of fat on your body takes a road trip to your waist and then texts all its friends to come move in.”

Or, if you’re a man, you begin to dully realize that your hairline is beginning to migrate from the top of your head and decides, instead, to beginning tunneling through your ears and nose like a rat terrier.

It’s pretty despairing, isn’t it?

That’s why whenever I feel the need to top-up my self esteem, I borrow Paul’s car to run errands. Why is that? Because Paul is rabidly devoted to running and cycling and swimming (which clearly implies our area is in great need of a mass transit system), along with competing in marathons and half Iron-Mans. He doesn’t care if he wins or places near the top, he’s satisfied just to finish without the assistance of an EMT. And here’s the best part: when you do finish, you are awarded a nifty magnet to stick on the back of your car that says you just ran either a half marathon (13.1), or a full marathon (26.2), or, Paul’s crowning achievement, a half Iron Man (70.3)!!

Oh, yeah, baby! So when I see some gorgeous, tight-skinned (I hate her, already), 20-something year old, stepping out of the Beemer that daddy bought her, and I’m seething with envy, I make sure I back in right next to her so that when I haul my 50-something old booty out the driver’s side door, I can look down my nose at her and say, “Take that! Ha!”

And if I feel a bit lonely and desire inclusion, I drive very slowly past a group of cyclists, all clad in professional gear that reveals a complete absence of body fat, just so they can take in my 70.3 sticker and I immediately see their smiles and thumbs up. Yes, yes, I’m just like all of you, except I’m sucking on a 400 calorie Eggnog Frappaccino with a bag of Doritos between my thighs, jamming to Prince from the comfort of Paul’s heated Hyundai. Enjoy!

So, my thought is this: let’s get rid of Dr Phil and the mood elevators that an enormous segment of our population is addicted to. Let’s start manufacturing a ton of these magnets and begin passing them out to anyone who you think might be feeling a little blue this holiday season. I’m telling you, when you step out of a car that just proclaimed to everyone in the mall parking lot that YOU have run marathons and competed in Iron Mans, it’s akin to that ‘new haircut’ feel: you walk taller, you admire your reflection in the store windows, and best of all, everyone regards you as some sort of super hero to bike, run, and swim 70 miles while sharing the same waist as a Clydesdale. It’s all about perception.

Theirs.

You’re welcome!

Reach PAM STONE at pammstone@gmail.com.

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