My wife and I need to exercise more. Every time we leave the house we notice vultures circling overhead in anticipation and now our washing machine is doing that nasty thing where it shrinks our clothes. So, in a moment of pure inspiration and absolutely no intelligent thought whatsoever, we decide to take up mountain biking. We could remember biking as kids and there was nothing to it. We set out to purchase our bikes with the fond memory of a cool breeze gently blowing in our faces.
One of the first things we notice is that the seats are too small. Apparently they are now making the seats smaller than in our youth. The clerk smiles knowingly and smugly suggests that for the more mature biking enthusiasts they can attach foam padding. There is, of course, an extra charge. My wife chooses the extra padding and is currently riding around on what looks like a bucket seat from a 1967 Buick. I, on the other hand, have decided to save the additional expense and go without the padding. My proctologist has assured me that the tingling in my left buttock should eventually fade away.
Early Saturday morning we prepare for our first cycling adventure. We decide to leave early to insure we’ll be back before dark. My wife is to travel in front and carry a fanny pack with suntan lotion, a first aid kit and our medical insurance cards. Her job is to set the pace. My job is to follow behind and criticize. I’ll be carrying a backpack filled with: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (for subsistence), energy bars (for endurance), 2 jugs of Gatorade (to replenish our bodily fluids), rain gear (in case of inclement weather), a map and compass (in case we get lost), a flashlight (in case we’re lost at night), and signal flares (to assist the search party).
We go over the route one final time. I spread the map out on the kitchen table, pointer in hand. “This is the route we’ll be taking, so pay close attention. If you have any questions, now is the time to ask.”
I carefully review the emergency procedures. “If separated, we will rendezvous either here, at check-point Charlie, or here, at check-point Romeo.”
“We’ve been over this four times already,” my wife complains, obviously taking the whole adventure much too lightly and showing no respect for my superior training and experience. After all, I was the one who spent nearly two full years in the Cub Scouts, not her. Fortunately, I understand the seriousness of the task ahead and have taken the necessary precautions.
We’re finally ready to put our weeks of training and preparations to use. It’s time to venture forth and boldly go where no sane middle-aged man or woman has gone before — it’s time to leave our driveway.
I brief the kids. “Now remember, while we’re gone I want one of you to remain by the phone at all times in case we need to call for assistance.”
“But you’re only going around the block,” the kids complain. “The house will be in sight the entire time.”
Ah, the innocence of youth. They oversimplify everything.