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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Walking: The man who walked back through time

I'll call him Jack. This is a true story about a man who walked back through time. He began the journey almost too late.

Jack was home alone. His wife, who always got the mail, always fed him, was always there in the house somewhere, was visiting their daughter. He had settled in on the couch as usual to watch the news at noon. Then the mailman came. Jack could see him out the window.

Jack would have to get the mail, or let it build up for the next two weeks. For a moment he contemplated driving their car down the 40 feet of driveway to the mailbox, but he didn't know if he could still slide in behind the steering wheel. He would have to walk to the mailbox.

He sighed and hoisted himself out of the couch. His shoes were by the door. He leaned over his big belly to tie them. He was breathing hard, barely able to catch his breath. When he stood up, he was dizzy.

Letting himself out the front door, Jack blinked as sunlight hit is pupils. He shuffled forward, holding tight to the railing as he stepped down onto the front walk. Slowly he progressed to the driveway, and then step by step to the mailbox. He was breathless as he grabbed onto the box to steady himself. Taking out the mail, he contemplated the long trip back to the house, and then the steps up to the door. Would he make it, or not?

He made it, with a lot of huffing and puffing. Inside, he slumped back into the couch, wiggled out of his shoes, and with a disgusted tone hurled the ad flyer to the floor. All that for nothing!

Jack reached for the remote, then paused. He looked down at his enormous thighs, his round belly, his flabby arms. How had he gotten this way? When had it happened? He felt old. He was trapped inside a great bulging body barely able to sustain life.

He was 68 years old, and he had grown obese and unfit. Unfit for Life.

Jack realized that he needed to get moving. Running was out of the question, and so was driving to a gym. All he could do was walk.

Tomorrow he would walk to the mailbox again. And then maybe he'd even walk to his neighbor's mailbox.

Which is exactly what he did. The next day he walked with great strain to his own mailbox, paused long enough to catch his breath, and walked to his neighbor's mailbox. He was happy he'd made it, and gave it a little tap on its top. Then he walked back to his own mailbox, touched it, and went inside. Again he sank into the couch. In no time he was asleep.

He awoke proud of himself! Tomorrow he would walk to the mailbox belonging to the neighbor beyond the one next door.

Which is what he did.

It wasn't easy, but he thought it would become easier. Plus, he had to do it for Life. Either walk, or give up Life.

The days went by and Jack added a mailbox each day. Each day he walked to the mailbox beyond the last, tapped it, went back by the same route, tapped his own mailbox, and went inside.

Soon the first several mailboxes were so easy he didn't notice them. Soon he looked forward to his walk and adding one more mailbox.

He continued adding mailboxes for an entire year. At first he wound around inside his subdivision, then ran out of mailboxes and ventured out to the main road. Eventually his path took him up and down hills. They were much harder than walking on the flat, but he did them, mailbox to mailbox.

He kept walking as though his life depended on it, which of course it did.

At the end of one year, Jack ran a marathon, a real one. His daily walks had taken him miles and miles each day. He had lost weight, at first slowly. His walking had become faster until he had broken out in a trot, then a run.

He had rolled back the clock on his health, had essentially walked back through time to an earlier Jack. Of course he saved his Life along the way.

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