I totally planned to go running today. There’s nothing I enjoy more than excruciating pain spread out over long distances. Unfortunately, through circumstances entirely beyond my control, I had to delay my date with joint trauma and awkward chaffing. I’m not making excuses. I’m merely acknowledging my powerlessness to overcome insurmountable obstacles that arose through no fault of my own. It was fate, not I, who decided I should skip a vigorous cardiovascular workout in favor of a nap. I can’t trace the failure of my exercise attempt to a single culprit. Instead, there are several equally plausible though entirely contradictory reasons which may or may not apply. If I read over the list again, I’m sure I’ll find one that fits for today:
It’s too cold.
Dying of hypothermia isn’t conducive to my fitness goals. Although my hairy, muscular build suggests otherwise, I’m not actually a polar bear. OK, only the hairy part is true, and most of that’s on my back. There’s a reason my wife makes me wear a shirt at all times, including when I shower. It’s arrogant to think I know more about winter survival than an arctic predator, so to play it safe I intend build up a healthy layer of blubber before I venture into cold. These Cheetos will let me do some light jogging outside someday, so technically they count as a health food.
|I look just like a polar bear, only I’m much, much whiter. I don’t tan. I start on fire.|
It’s too hot.
I sweat while sitting perfectly still in an air-conditioned room, so my odds of avoiding heat stroke in direct sunlight aren’t good. My body isn’t ventilated well enough to survive physical activity in weather too warm for a sweater. To stay on my feet, I’d need a chase car to follow me and hose me down like a beached whale, but I don’t know anyone who likes me well enough to do that. I’ve never had a passing motorist offer me water, but a few have helpful hurled trash and small rocks in my direction. I still don’t know why a driver would have fist-sized stones lying around his car, but I can only assume most of my enemies are geologists.
It’s too perfect.
It’s sinful to waste ideal weather on exercise, which is nothing more than self-inflicted torture. Rather than brutally crushing one of my few chances at happiness, I should sit on my porch and read a book or go for a walk with my wife and kids. But of course I won’t. Instead, I’ll appreciate the perfect weather in the best way I know how: by glancing at it through the window while I play Xbox
|Ideally, that window should be bulletproof and so heavily tinted that no light could pass through it. Basically it would be a wall.|
I’m too out of shape.
It’s dangerous for someone in my physical condition to do anything more strenuous than eat, and even that’s dicey. Before I tackle something as demanding as running, I should build my way up with low-impact exercises, like sitting in a chair and breathing. Technically, staying alive burns calories, so it counts as a workout. After I inhale and exhale for long enough – a few years should do the trick – I’ll be ready for something a little harder, like standing up. Alternately, I could simply give up and buy a Rascal scooter, thereby making my legs obsolete. It seems pointless to spend all that energy conditioning my lower body when I’m just going to replace it with something better anyway.
I’m already in shape.
Since I haven’t run in forever, there’s no direct evidence my conditioning is actually bad. It’s not unreasonable to assume I’m in the best shape of my life as long as I don’t attempt any physical activity that would disprove that theory. If I’m already at the point of physical perfection, improving upon my body through exercise would just be gloating. People who drive by me as I gracefully gallop along the road would feel terrible about their own lives, and rightfully so. I’d basically be a mobile cloud of depression. I can’t have the resulting suicides on my conscience, mainly because I already have enough lawsuits to deal with. It’s safer for me to just stay indoors and let society at large be happy.
I’m too ugly.
I’m tired of passersby mistaking me for some kind of albino chupacabra. All it takes is one guy with a cell phone to summon animal control and suddenly I have to dodge Taser bolts and tranquilizer darts. I’m not exactly quick on my feet, so my evasive efforts succeed none of the time. Then my wife has to bail me out of the pound, which is always scary. One of these times she’ll pay the extra $65 to have me dewormed and neutered.
I’m too pretty.
I might not be handsome in the traditional sense, but I’m sure a few motorists with low standards and poor eyesight are into the albino chupacabra look. Those misguided individuals who think I’m hot would be distracted and crash, thereby causing a chain reaction with thousands of other drivers. I can’t shut down all the roads in a major metropolitan area just because I want to exercise. For the greater good, I have to stay inside and let the wheels of commerce continue unhindered. Future generations will sing songs about my sacrifice.
|Most of those “accidents” would be deliberate. For some reason, people who see me shirtless instantly lose the will to live.|
I have to spend time with my family.
It would be cruel to deprive my loved ones of my presence, even for an hour. OK, so my wife Lola is indifferent to my existence and my 1-year-old still mixes up my name with the dog’s, but I’m sure that deep down it kills them all when I walk out the door. When Lola says, “I’m tired of looking at you,” what she really means is “stay and annoy me more.” Women are so easy to decipher.
I spend too much time with my family.
Running would extend my lifespan, and that would be cruel to Lola. When she married me, she agreed to put up with me for 30 years at most. With my dietary choices, it would take a miracle for me to make it to middle age. I view sobriety as a bad habit, and the deep-fried cheese I eat six times a week is as healthy as a shotgun blast to my heart. But if I exercised consistently, I’d have a small chance of living long enough to die of old age. If my wife knew I could still be around in my eighties, she’d have to murder me now. She’s awfully busy at work this time of year, so it’d be rude of me to force her to build an assassination into her schedule. Instead, I’ll continue my unhealthy lifestyle so I die on time, just like a gentleman should.
I had to make this list.
Rather than running, I compiled excuses and made them available to anyone who wants a quick, dishonest reason to get out of exercise or any other unpleasant activity set outside. I use the same pretexts to escape yard work, snow shoveling, and outdoor weddings that are dry. I gave up the health benefits of running so I could help my fellow man. I’m not lazy; I’m a martyr and a hero. I just hope the medal I earn for courage can fit around my growing number of chins.
Clearly, running today was impossible for abundant but directly conflicting reasons. Even if none of these excuses applied, by the time I got done checking the list, it would have already been dark. At that point, going outside would’ve been out of the question because I’d probably attract a real chupacabra looking for a mate. Everyone knows they’re nocturnal and incredibly horny. Instead, I’ll run tomorrow – but only if nothing else comes up from the list.