Thursday, May 7, 2009

Working Class Man

That's Maynard G Krebs.

Anyone younger than me will be thinking, No, that's Gilligan. They were both played by Bob Denver, but his first big role came as Maynard the beatnik kid in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - the TV show that started in 1959 and anticipated the announcers CNN would hire in later years by having the characters named Dobie, Maynard, Zelda, Thalia and Chatsworth.

I was thinking of Maynard today because he had a signature line on the show. Whenever anyone mentioned the possibility of work, his eyes would open wide and, in a voice about an octave higher than normal, he would screech "Work!" as if it was the most awful thing that could happen to a person.

Well, I have to confess that I have accepted some work ("Work!") in my retirement. Last month I did a couple of days and in the next few weeks I will really be tied up with a fairly large project. I am of two minds about mixing business with my life of pleasure.

The first is obvious. Getting a few more smackers in the bank account won't hurt given the trimming everything has taken during the (deep, ominous voice here) Global Financial Crisis. The 600-pound gorilla I haven't written about is, of course, the drop in retirement savings and plans that happened about 30 seconds after I walked out the door of the company.

But the truth is that we will be fine if things come back in the next year or two and Sydney's housing prices don't decide that they've stayed high long enough and it's time for a little lie-down. No sense in worrying about what you can't control, so I am choosing to believe that everything will be just fine. And if it isn't, we should at least be able to buy tinned cat food and not just the dry stuff.

Nonetheless, doing some work keeps me involved to an extent, keeps my skills up, and gives me a new focus while I am writing. To which, I say, Who cares?

And that's the other part of my thinking about taking on this work. Even when I was working, I didn't do it to keep myself involved, maintain my skills or have focus. I did it because I liked it. And when I didn't like it, I did it because I had made a commitment.

So doing this stuff now is like those times you took a job when you had summer holidays in high school. Sure, it was still vacation, and sure you could always use the money. But it definitely did not feel like summer vacation.

The flip side to all of this is that I am still pretty good at the type of work I have agreed to do, and it will not be a huge chore to get it done. Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention - it will make Linda happy.

So in one of the other signature lines of the great Maynard G Krebs, "You rang?"


Testing the Heavy Drinkers Quick Weight Loss Program.
Log. Day Two.

I continue the tests to determine the viability of losing weight by not drinking while eating and exercising as normally. It seems remarkable that this is only Day Two. It seems more like six or seven months. Clearly, one of the side effects of forgoing the grog is that time stretches out and two days seems closer to an eternity.

7.00pm Watching dreadful cooking show on TV. Cannot focus on what is being prepared as bottle of wine in the background dominates my vision.

7.20pm Make LK a scotch and soda. Inhale fumes from Johnny Walker bottle for several seconds until she looks over.

9.00pm Dinner. Steak. Corn. Baked potatoes with butter, sour cream, chives. Briefly think that if this program works, it's not too shabby. Then realize that the best thing with a steak is not a glass of water.

10.30pm Surprise myself for second night in a row by falling asleep quickly. Dream of Flying Monkeys from the Wizard of Oz.

11.45pm In bathroom, eying Listerine bottle. I do not see any warnings that drinking contents is harmful. Slightly concerned that stomach could blow up in the manner of the people's cheeks in the Listerine ads. Do not need more stretch marks. Will think more about it.

7.00am Awake feeling better and more alert than usual. Consider this an annoying side effect as I recall the old line - this is the best I am going to feel today.

8.30am After five cups of coffee, decide to do exercises. Great difficulty standing still for yoga positions. Deep Breathing more like Shallow Panting. I blame this on lack of alcohol, not excessive caffeine. As you would.

9am Test results:

Glucose levels up 6% since start of program. However, still within the safe range. Forgetting to take meds for last two days may have contributed as well. Hmmm. No drinking for two days. Forgetting medicine for two days. Consider possibile loss of short-term memory as damaging side effect due to absence of alcohol.

Body Mass Index up (UP!) 0.4%.

Weight up 0.2%

Conclusion: One of three explanations seems most likely.

1) This diet doesn't work and I should return to drinking immediately or risk significant weight gain.
2) The measuring devices are not functioning properly. Perhaps they have never functioned properly. Perhaps I am already thin.
3) Day-to-day changes in BMI and weight are meaningless, since they are affected by such things as time of day, fluid retention, etc.

I want to opt for #1. But I will give it another day or two to see if this is a temporary fluctuation. Alternatively, I may have to exclude baked potatoes in addition to alcohol on this diet.

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