The penultimate week of the 2010 NFL football season was tempered for me with immense grief.
First, there was the news that MTV’s “Jersey Shore” brought in record ratings.
This left open the possibility that more people may take in the childish, felonious antics of Snookie, grand poobah of the New Jersey Oompa Loopas, than Tuesday night’s rerun of President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address.
“What is a Snookie?” you ask.
I should be willing to answer because I got brought it up. Yet, I neither have the time nor the place to explain the enormous popularity of a New Jersey family of misfits who have yet to actually kill people and instead spend most of their procreating in hot tubs.
Secondly, Jack LaLanne died. This was disheartening because it went against God’s Old Testament promise that Jack LaLanne would live forever.
LaLanne, who was 395 years old, was often known as the “Godfather of American Fitness.” This was because many times he would confront the unhealthy and, with a rub of his chin, profess “I’ll make you a smoothie you can’t refuse.” My Brando is never as good in print.
Of course, those of you old enough to remember when actual exercise didn’t just involve walking to the television to turn it off, probably best know LaLanne as the host of a longtime fitness and exercise show.
He also introduced us to the benefits of juicing. And Jack juiced everything, fruits, vegetables, old tires, ceiling fans. And he would exclaim it all with “That’s the power of the juice!” Former MLB slugger Mark McGwire said the same thing during a congressional hearing and everyone got really mad.
Of course, I say all these things about LaLanne in jest. The truth is he was probably in better shape at his death than I was at age 10.
I think it’s also a sad testament to our commitment to living healthy lifestyles and making it a part of our daily lives. We only seem to think of fitness in terms of crash diets right before high school reunions or as New Year’s resolutions.
Every day, we see headlines on the television news about our children getting fatter and fatter, not unlike Violet from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (that’s two Willy Wonka references for anyone playing a drinking game).
Our answer is to take toys out of Happy Meals. Scrap the toy, save the burger. I’m no healthy-food role model. I actually suggested to my wife the other night that restaurants are missing the boat by not offering bacon wrapped in a crispy layer of bacon.
Our bulging midsections are a product of our convenience-based society. We’d all be in better shape if we had those Flintstone cars and I think the remote control (God love it) has single-handedly made us all go up two dress sizes.
But, as I get older, I am becoming more aware of certain things I eat and drink. I actually tried to give up caffeine at the start of the year, again. It didn’t go very well. I actually ended up on a PICC line at a Pepsi Bottling Co. Scary stuff.
I tend to avoid the fast food hamburgers more and more. I substitute with five soft tacos instead but I’m getting the idea.
So, in summary, we can learn nothing from Snookie. Except that our 15 minutes of fame could be only minutes away. But maybe we could take a few lessons from Mr. LaLanne.
I’m feeling better about the upcoming Super Bowl aready.
Pass the hot dogs – er – Hummus.