A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker
DO IT RIGHT
Have I ever told you how much I love Anita's eyes? They really are extraordinary.
I mention this only because I'm about to talk about her legs, and I've learned through sad experience that it's best to lead with a positive — especially when I'm about to be negative.
Don't get me wrong — my wife has great-looking legs. They're short and stubby, but that's not her fault. Blame her father. He's got the shortest legs this side of Oz. And Anita has his legs.
But that doesn't stop her from abusing me with them whenever we go walking. Well, OK – for me it is walking. For her it is running. Even though I can cover about twice as much territory as she can with each stride, she gets those short little legs churning and I can't keep up with her. I spend most of our exercise time looking at her . . . well, from behind, and trying to come up with reasons to slow the pace. At least a little.
"Nice evening, isn't it?" I asked recently.
OK, so Anita isn't especially into aesthetics when she's exercising.
I paused a moment, not so much for effect as to catch my breath.
"So," I said at last, "why don't we slow down a bit so we can take it all in?"
"I'll take it all in when we get home."
"But we can chat . . . " — pant! gasp! — " . . . while we walk," I countered.
"We can chat at home."
Yeah, right — just as soon as I'm through having my stroke.
I gathered my strength for one last shot. "But strolling together is good for our. . . "
“Strolling is for babies," she said, "and we can be together at home."
Tough, relentless and short-legged. No wonder I love this woman!
Finally, after two torturous miles, we slowed for the cool-down portion of our walk.
"There!" she said, smiling brightly. "Didn't that feel good?"
"Sure, if you include hangnails and kidney stones in your definition of `feeling good.'"
"But just think how great you'll feel once we get you back into shape," she said.
"You're right. I'll make a lovely, well-toned corpse."
She rolled her eyes. "You know, you don't have to do this," she said.
"I want to get in shape," I said. "But do we have to go so fast?"
"You know what they say: no pain, no gain," she said. Then she took my hand. "I know it's hard," she said gently. "But we can't avoid it if we're going to accomplish anything. And the way I see it, why spend time and energy on something if we're not going to do it right?"
It's a good question, isn't it? We all face painful realities in our lives. Aspiring pianists think practicing is a pain. Watch a world class athlete work out, and you'll eventually see a face twisted in agony. It's hard to stay true to principles of honor and integrity when you see others getting ahead through questionable ethical tactics. Sometimes you think there has to be an easier way — and usually, there is. It's rare, however, when the easy way is also the right way.
Achieving success in any endeavor is a process that almost always requires sacrifice, especially if we're going to do it right. But like Anita says, why spend time and energy on something if we're not going to do it right?
You should see the look in her eyes when she says that.
Have I ever told you how much I love those eyes?
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Look for Joe's book, "How Can You Mend a Broken Spleen? Home Remedies for an Ailing World." It is available on-line through www.Amazon.com.