I’ve decided to postpone part three of my award-winning series “Eatin’ Our Way Eastward” until further notice (the fat cats at Iowa Public Television are threatening me with ‘civil action’ if I don’t start ‘showing a little more skin’ in my blog; GASP!!)  I know, right?  That’s crazy talk, I don’t care who you are…so I’ll go to a more reliable source of entertainment…thee old mail bag.  Honest to goodness real live letters from you…avid readers of richripley.

This letter is from Donnie B. of rural Georgia (imagine this in a southern drawl, but not twangy, as you read this)  “Hey lardass!!  How’s the workin’ out goin’ at your fancy fitness center? Can you fit into your girdle and dress yet sweetcheeks?”  Firstly Donnie…thank you for writing me.  I always appreciate hearing from fervent richripley fans.  Secondly…the working out is going well, I’ve never had so many folks paying so much attention to me in one place (unless you count jail).  As I started my first couplea workouts, mostly stretching out, light weights and masculine aerobic type stuff (to get my heart rate up—not Zumba or Hot Yoga or anything like that, ((you try finding yoga pants in my size that don’t make my thighs look like chicken drumsticks)).  The trainers at the gym were practically falling all over themselves chasing me around with those A.E.D. (automated external defibrillator) paddles “hot and ready” to go if I decided to have a heart attack (and folks say ‘customer service’ is a lost art).  To them…I say “pish-posh”.  I honestly feel that those trainers got a better work out than I did.

Anyway, Donnie, I’m going to the gym to increase my flexibility and get into better shape.  If I happen to lose some weight, so be it.  One of the greatest things that I’ve had to overcome is being watched by practically everyone at the gym.  Nowadays most folks working out are “plugged” into some sort of electronic gadget that, I assume, is playing music…spurring them onto greater workouts.  I sincerely doubt that any of them are listening to ‘The Very Best of Paul Harvey’ reruns or are learning a second language via “Rosetta Stone”.  What I “do” to warm up or cool down…depending on how lazy I feel that day is shoot some hoops on the outdoor basketball court.  It’s a nice all-weather court, painted nicely with adjustable rims and entirely surrounded by a ten foot high chain link fence.  Here’s where I really feel “under the microscopic lense” Donnie.  The majority of the machines like the treadmills, stationary bikes, stair steppers, ellipticals, and whatnot face the basketball court.  The only thing separating me from “them” is a two story tall glass window.  So when I’m warming up, just shooting some hoops, everyone is watching me (or that’s what I tell myself).

 If you’ve ever shot a basketball before you know that if you’re really good you may make 40% of your shots.  If you’re like me, less than that.  So I’m out there just clanking shots off of the rim, the backboard, crows and the occasional squirrel (it’s an outdoor court).  So if I miss the first couplea dozen shots I’ll go over to the edge of the court (where there’s some grass sticking through the fence) and puck it from the ground then walk to midcourt and toss it into the air and watch as it drifts away in the wind.  I may then lick my finger and hold it up into the air and slowly turn towards the direction of the wind (golfers have been using this ruse for DECADES!) If I’m feeling especially theatrical I’ll get on my knees and bend over and put my head low to the ground-placing my ear onto the court (like the Indians in old westerns used to do out in the desert when trying to pick up the trail (many horses, four men, one of them with one eye and redheaded).

All of this is just for show, mind you, for the folks sweatin’ it out on the stair-steppers…so that they’ll understand “why” I’m missing all of those fifteen foot jump-shots or in many cases…lay-ups.  It’s because of the “cross winds, the humidity, the sun’s in my eyes, the barometer is rising or falling, etc.” It’s a production either way is what I’m trying to say Donnie.  If I’m making plenty of my shots then no “show” is necessary but then when that happens the gym is empty. Go figure.

Be that as it may I’ve noticed that I’m feeling a lot better with increased flexibility.  Thank you for inquiring Donnie.  Say “hey” to Bernadette for me!

richripley in 1982 with no love handles, bald spot, high cholesterol or smooth moves with the ladies or on the court.

That pretty much wraps up todays edition of Letters to the editor.  I should head to the gym here shortly and work out some kinks and whatnot.  I might still fit into that girdle yet.

Peace.

Rich

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