'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
PLEASE PUT ON A SHIRT
Yes, I understand this has been an extremely hot summer. Yes, I understand the temperature is in the mid-90s and the humidity is oppressive. But let me just say one thing: if you are a middle-aged man and you want to go jogging, please, for heaven’s sake, put on a shirt!
Don’t get me wrong, I commend you for wanting to exercise and stay in shape. In this kind of weather, the only physical exercise I feel like doing is reaching over and turning the knob on the air conditioner to “max cooling.” So I’m genuinely impressed by your dedication and tenacity.
The problem is, something weird happens to men when they hit age 40. Even if guys are in excellent shape, certain things start to get, well, bouncy.
I was out driving the other day and I saw a rather stocky person jogging toward me. Because of all the bouncing, I first thought, “Yikes, Roseanne Barr is jogging topless!”
But then as I drove closer, I could see hair on this person’s chest and shoulders, along with a mustache. So I thought, “Yikes, Rosie O’Donnell is jogging topless!”
When I finally came abreast of this person (pun intended), I realized it was a middle-aged guy. And even though he had a stocky build, he looked to be in pretty good shape. But because he had passed the age-40 barrier, with every stride he took, he was bouncing all over the place. He definitely could have used a sports bra.
Unfortunately, topless joggers are not the only problem. The shirtless epidemic is even more prevalent among guys doing work around their yards. And unlike stocky joggers, most of the yard work fellas are nowhere near being in good shape. The problem with these guys is not excessive bouncing; the problem is the fact that many of them could be finalists in the “Jabba the Hutt look-a-like contest.”
The idea of a having a belly that “shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly,” is cute … when referring to St. Nick in a beloved Christmas poem. But if you are, say, riding your lawn tractor or dragging your garbage cans out to the curb, it ain’t so cute anymore.
Rule of thumb: if no one can tell whether or not you are wearing a belt because your midriff blubber is hanging down past your pants pockets, then do everyone a favor and put on a shirt! (Or in some cases, a tent.)
By the way, I want to make two things perfectly clear: (1) I am not talking about the guys in my immediate neighborhood. Most of these men are not only in pretty decent shape, but they also have the good sense to wear shirts out in public. (Not that I’m checking you out, guys.)
And (2), I am certainly not excluding myself from this discussion. I know perfectly well that my current 48-year-old gut is slightly different than the gut I had in high school. (In the same way that a Mack truck is slightly different than a Honda Civic.) I know that I easily could be a finalist in the “If Jabba the Hutt were an albino look-a-like contest.”
That’s not the point. The point is that I have enough common sense—not to mention self-consciousness, shame, and fear of ridicule—never to appear in public without a shirt. Heck, I don’t even feel that comfortable taking a shower without a shirt.
Please fellas, when you’re outside, put on a shirt. And even with a shirt, you middle-aged joggers still should consider a sports bra.
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