About two months after I stopped my regular running routine (i.e., I quit running altogether and began a torrid affair with my couch), there came the inevitable day when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My body had begun the long, ugly battle with gravity. My physique started to resemble that of E.T. This development makes sense in light of the constant urge to waddle down the street after Reese’s Pieces and penchant for shouting things like “can’t a brother get some M&M’s?” Have I mentioned that I get beat up for saying stupid things like that? I’m much easier to smack down now that my body has morphed into the shape of a fat little extra-terrestrial. Over the weekend, while padding through the mall and using my finger flashlight to look for gum under benches, I stopped in front of a store selling all in one starter boxing kits. This, my highly evolved candy seeking brain told me, might be a good way to get some needed exercise and help alleviate all of that getting pasted for yelling absurdities.
Upon bringing the box into the house Monday night, my 10-year old daughter Anna glommed onto the set. We love boxes at our house. The decision was eventually made that I should waddle the box over to center of the living room and set up the kit. Anna was entranced. The kit consists of a weighted punching stand, boxing gloves and a jump rope. I adjusted the height of the punching bag for Anna and the child immediately adopted the set as her own. Hugging the bag, it was like we’d finally given her a sibling. She announced to her mom and I that she’d named the punching bag “Steve.” No reason. She just thought it looked like a Steve. Anna then began a sort of dance passive-aggressive (actually, mostly aggressive) co-dependency with Steve. She’d hit her new friend a half-dozen times in a blind rage and then hug the bag and tell it everything was going to be okay. Last night, Steve the bag got the worst of it. Tuesday was Anna’s first really cognizant viewing of a Presidential election, and she took it on candidates she didn’t like. Well, she took it out on Steve. Ticked off by the endless prattling of pundits, Anna went nuts on Steve every time she passed the bag. It’s good for her I suspect. Most adults don’t have a Steve to process through. I just chased down a trail of mini-Snickers bars and waited for her to go to bed so I could get some punching time in.