Loretta LaRoche: Combat obesity the old-fashioned way
As a young child, I would beg my mother to let me mow the lawn. I loved walking behind the push-mower, watching its blades turn and churn up the grass and hearing the rhythm as I walked up and down the yard. My least favorite part was having to rake up the grass afterward.
I don’t think I’ve seen anyone mowing a lawn with a human-powered machine in years. In fact, most of the push-mowers must be in antique stores awaiting someone who will buy them and turn them into lamps or clothes trees.
What I see now are people sitting on a riding lawnmower with grass-catching capabilities. This type of equipment was used by farmers to clear the “back 40.” Now people are using it to mow a patch of grass the size of a postage stamp. The noise these machines emit is somewhat analogous to a jet idling on a tarmac when you’re trying to sleep in on the weekend.
I’m not quite sure why this has become the new paradigm for lawn maintenance, but I’m sure one of the reasons is that it looks cool, just like running around town doing errands in a big truck does. We seem to like big in this country, and fast, and we want to expedite and multitask, so we can get as much done as possible in one day. If we can sit and do all our stuff, we’re even happier.
I think eventually we will simply not have to move at all. Maybe our legs will turn into wheels. After all, the evolutionary process has proven that when you don’t use it, you lose it. Unfortunately our need to expedite and all our technology has decreased our calorie expenditure.
My grandmother washed most things by hand, including the dishes, mopped or swept floors and walked everywhere. She had incredible stamina and rarely if ever sat down to rest. She always told me that she knew that eventually she would have an eternity to rest.
My mother had the same mindset. Gadgets were considered unnecessary. A lot of her sense of self worth came from doing things that required a certain degree of physical and mental effort.
Believe me, I’m not proposing that we go back to outhouses or washing our clothes down by the river. But perhaps we might want to integrate some of our past into the present. It just might be one of the answers to curbing the continuing rise of obesity.
Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth, Mass. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth 02360, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the Web site at www.stressed.com, or call toll-free 800-99-TADAH (82324).