"You're not a teenager anymore, you know. You need to make some changes in your lifestyle", she said.
I have always been troubled by conversations that start in that manner. They tend to be filled with logic and common sense, which are my two arch nemeses' when it comes to lifestyle choices.
Thinking I was going to be lectured about laughing hysterically at the same Bugs Bunny cartoons that I had seen at least a thousand times in my life, I took the bait and asked, "what changes?".
"You need to start paying a little more attention to your health" was the reply.
At this point, I should have followed my first instinct, and departed the living room in favor of the solace of my shed, but foolishly, I chose to engage.
"I'm in good shape! I climb trees for a living." I proclaimed.
"Climbing trees is not aerobic exercise, and while it may strengthen your hang-on-for-dear-life muscles, it's doing little for the health of your heart. Not to mention, if you were in better shape, you might not come home after climbing trees, and lay on the couch yelping like a puppy who had been hit with a rolled up newspaper. You need to exercise."
"I get plenty of exercise", I replied.
"You rarely get off the couch when you're home, and if you do venture outside, you make the kids pull you around in their wagon!"
"That's not true! I get up several times an evening, and walk outside to smoke", I said, realizing instantly that I had just opened a whole new can . . . no, barrel of worms.
To this, she gave me a look that said, "I don't even have to argue that point, do I?"
She then moved on to the issue of my diet. An issue that I did not think was an issue, but was apparently an issue to her.
"What's wrong with my diet?"
"Your breakfast consists of a whole pot of coffee, and the occasional Vicodin for your back. Your lunch is whichever fast-food kid's meal that you perceive to have the best toy in it, which is another issue that I don't even want to get into right now. You couldn't even tell me the last time you ate something green, and bacon grease is not a suitable bread spread."
Having lost track of all her points, I simply replied, "Well, French fries are made from potatoes!"
I then began to suspect that I was not winning the argument, so I left immediately for my shed. After sitting down to catch my breath from the walk, I contemplated long and hard on the issue, and decided to make an effort at improving my lifestyle. And I would start the next day.
My first course of action was to prepare for attacking the smoking issue, and taking care of the breakfast issue at the same time. So, the very next morning, I made myself a heaping bowl of the 'quit smoking' drug that my doctor had given me, and poured milk on it, making it a bit more palatable. Just as I was about to shovel in the first bite, my wife entered the dining room and began shrieking something about proper dosage or something.
Humoring her, I took only one spoonful of the anti-depressants, and put the rest of the bowl in the fridge for later. I then declared triumphantly, "I have decided to make some changes."
"Oh?" she said in a tone that suggested concern.
"Yes, I'm going to quit smoking . . . again, and I'm going to start exercising. And I'm also going to eat a vegetable every day."
With that being said, I got up, walked out the door, and jogged the entire fifty feet to my truck in the driveway.
Upon returning home that day from work, I was delighted to find out that my wonderful wife was putting forth great effort to help me with my lifestyle changes. As I sat down for dinner, she heaped two huge scoops of peas onto my plate.
"WHOA! WHAT THE HECK? You're getting a little carried away aren't you?" I yelled.
"I thought you said you were going to eat a vegetable every day."
"YES, A VEGETABLE! As in, A green bean, or A pea. Not a whole flock of them! With that, I picked up A pea, and swallowed it down with my Coke, like a pill.
She had also begun preparations for my smoking cessation by posting "Dad escape routes" for the kids, and removing the ax from my shed in an attempt to spare the lawn mower from further harm in the event of a nicotine fit.
With all of this, I am beginning to feel minutely confident that the lifestyle changes shall be successful. But it's far too early to know. I figure if I, and everyone else in the family, can survive this shock to my system for at least a week, then maybe I'll consider making some of them permanent.