2017-12-29 / Commentary

Let it Go

40–Something

Maybe Frozen’s Elsa had something different in mind when she sang “Let it Go” other than eating doughnuts for breakfast and Mayfield Ice Cream for dinner. When the end of the year comes, that’s exactly what “let it go” means to me.

For some reason, I spend 11 months of the year trying desperately to be a good boy, depriving myself of the finer things in life (aka jelly doughnuts) and exercising with the fruitless hope that someday I’ll look like The Hulk (minus the green skin and the scowl). Truth be told, I’d settle for looking like David Banner, but even that’s a pretty good stretch.

The point is I spend an inordinate amount of time lifting weights and pushing food away just to maintain some semblance of a healthy physique.

Then December comes. The treats of the season overwhelm me, and I give myself a present ...or two: The exercise regiment slows down, and the eating regiment speeds up...dramatically.

Unfortunately, my annual “Let it Go” descent was exacerbated by a nasty case of bronchitis this year. My rule is that all rules are out the window when I’m sick...at any time of year. When I’m sick this time of year, it’s downright dangerous.

Still, a bout with the rhinovirus can decrease my appetite a little even if I prefer chocolate chip cookie dough for dinner, and most colds are gone within a week. That was not the case this time.

I came down with bronchitis. The problem with this particular illness, at least for me, was that I didn’t realize what it was until I’d already had it for a couple of weeks. I mean, my symptoms weren’t bad during the day. I was dragging a bit, and I definitely didn’t feel normal, but I could breath fine; there was no fever, and I could function pretty normally.

My job isn’t the most physically demanding one in the world, so life went on...until I tried to go to sleep at night. Then the fun started. I coughed like a 30-year smoker trying to get through a cup of coffee at the Waffle House (The Waffle House may be different now, but when I was growing up, filterless Marlboros were as common a side dish as bacon, and long, gut wrenching hacking was as much a part of the Waffle House experience as hashbrowns and Sweet Home Alabama on the jukebox.).

Finally, when I couldn’t take the coughing one more night, I went to a “Doc-in-the-Box” and got diagnosed. Turns out I had an ear infection too.

A prolonged illness, the holiday season, and the end of the year. It’s the perfect storm.

So here we go.

Despite 11 months of slightly (nobody’s perfect) good behavior; despite all those workouts, runs, and crunches; and despite the diligent rejection of endless plates of powdered pastries; I’m starting the New Year from scratch.

This is just one more indication of God’s sense of humor. It takes about 335 days to get in shape and 30 or less to ruin it all.

That’s why I’m afraid the only traight I’ll ever share with The Incredible Hulk is his scowl.

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