Thumb Work

The neighbor’s tree landed at the curb before 8 a.m. on December 26th. Before, even, the morning daily newspaper arrived.

Seemed a bit hasty, I thought, every bit as fast to judge as they were to cart. Of course I thought so given the fact that I picked mine up from the Boy Sprouts’ tree sales location at about 3 p.m. on December 24th. No point in rushing, it’s clear.

Turning that last page in the calendar and outfitting the refrigerator with the new one – quite a ritual, as you well know – simultaneously offers closure and renews optimism. It also leads us to the land of clichés.

At the gym, for instance, there’s a sudden crowd, many of whom are newly arrived at that venue.

Xenophobes should worry not. The walking triangles (broad shoulders, narrow hips and waists) persist. As do those who seem to mostly suffer through the exercise (and exercises) in a Calvinist kind of way: the reward comes later, and only to those with patience and endurance. But mostly patience.

This year, several scarcely seen things accompanied the revitalized interest in all things physically fit. The customary parade of new outfits is, well, customary. Some – especially me – would do well to follow this trend as the seasoned outfits we’ve long worn are becoming threadbare. Correction: are threadbare. Not to mention seasoned.

Attire aside, though that probably is the most interesting dimension of the entire experience, a recently popular exercise routine has gathered even broader acceptance.

Not yet on the infomercial circuit (who watches those things?), the routine appears to be one easily mastered by most. We like endeavors for which success is virtually assured, don’t we?

The accessory required is one already owned by most: a cell phone. And, like its owners, a smart one.

By carefully manipulating two joints on each thumb, one rapidly and repeatedly goes through a series of motions all the while carefully cradling the delicate device in the palms of both hands.

While we await the sure-to-arrive scientific reports about arthritis and carpal tunnel, these gym rats advance their status above that of those who merely pump iron, walk in place or ride to nowhere. Activities that make one wonder how smart the participants really can be.

The new calendar is installed at the Refrigerator Museum.

The last year, as usual, had its ups and downs. As, we can be certain, will 2017.

Now what are we each doing to ensure more of the former?

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