The Black Magic Of The Morning Jog

Remember the English writer who smirked, “Whenever I feel the urge to exercise, I lie down till the urge passes.” He died in his 80s. Then there was the American running guru; he died running in his 40s.

Do these reports tell us anything? Not much, really. Only that life is a crap-shoot with very little if any right & wrong rules to the game. You and I roll the dice; in the end the house always wins.

Frankly, that’s where this little epistle should end. What more need be said…? I suppose we could say something about the meaning to life. we could say something about the many global ‘Isms’ that seek to give our lives purpose. Theism…Buddhism…Confucianism…Atheism…Agnosticism….and one of the recent biggies Existentialism.

Now it turns out most coaches, workout gyms, and assorted other high priests of high health have little to say about any ‘Ism’ other than athleticism. Which is perfectly fine, because who actually work outs in order to learn the answers to life’s eternal questions? Well, maybe with the exception of Donald Trump who long ago learned the answers and is willing to share them with the rest of us in between his quarterly receipts.

Lets come right to the point about our love-affair with fitness. Dr James O’Keefe of Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute just concluded a year-long study of men working to stay fit: “While regular runners lower their risk of early death by nearly 20% compared with non-runners, running more than 20 miles a week can actually be harmful and lead to cardiac damage….The same is true with running too fast after age 50…even endurance athletes appear to be at higher risk of atrial fibrillation….”

If you ever get the impression these fitness docs sound a little like rabbi’s, you’re right. Every report has a maybe-this-but-maybe-that ring to it. Their reports read something like the mystic predictions of the ancient Delphic Oracle: “Today’s battle will end with many deaths but only one victor.”


That’s not exactly giving the answer that Greek general asked for. Nor is Dr O’Keefe. But then I can’t exactly disagree with him either. The way this napper-not-runner reads the good doctor — what the hell, I can either run or nap as I wish, cuz when the time comes I’ll be checking out of this game either way!

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