May 28, 2024
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May 28, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Hopefully this pandemic is wrapping up by this point, again, and I have to say: I think we all gained a lot from this whole experience. I know I gained like 20 pounds.

What happened?

For one thing, it turns out that anybody who ever said they were a social eater or that they only eat at weddings was not being entirely truthful with themselves. Maybe you only eat at weddings, but if you stop going to weddings, apparently you eat all the time. Is that what you do every year in the Three Weeks—you stop eating? No, you invent siyums.

We’ve also all, as a society, been eating less produce. What would you rather eat during an unknown pandemic—salt and chemicals that have been packaged months earlier by machines, or fruits and vegetables that sit out in a store for everyone to touch and feel and root through to get to the bottom ones?

And sure, your spouse can technically stop you from eating so much—if your spouse is a woman or an incredibly brave man—but you have that covered. If you make too much food, you say, “It’s okay; I’ll put half of it in the freezer.” And your spouse will agree that that’s a good move. Then the next week, you can say, “Oh, I just ate it to get it out of the freezer.” And your spouse will agree that that was a good move. And the whole time in between, every food that comes along, you can say, “Well, I have to eat this, because there’s no more room in the freezer!”

So we weren’t eating any less. But at least we all worked out, no? When this thing started, I for one, pictured myself exercising like the people in prison—constant pushups, pull-ups on that pipe that hangs too low in the basement, playing in the yard… But what did I know? I also thought we would all come out really good at nunchucks.

And actually, we all pictured working out, with all that time we were saving not going anywhere. Who actually did that? Show of hands.

At least we’re all in the same boat. Unfortunately, the boat is now sinking.

But of course, we don’t have time to work out. Though arguably, if you work out, your life gets longer, and you have more time. It’s kind of like spending money for Shabbos. But:

  1. 1. You need to know how much longer the workout is going to buy you so you don’t overdo it on time.
  2. 2. The time you buy doesn’t include showering time and travel time, which is still coming off your schedule.
  3. 3. That time you buy for when you’re older can’t really be used for the deadlines you’re missing right now. I’ll tell you what: I’ll do all the exercise then, all at once.

And while we’re looking for excuses, there’s a new study out of Japan that proves that too much exercise can actually shorten your lifespan. So that’s good news, unless you’ve been making time to work out.

In the study, which was funded by people like me and you, scientists analyzed the lifespans of Kabuki performers versus the other art types in Japan, which are, “storytelling, playing music, and performing tea ceremonies,” and the ones with the shortest lifespans are the Kabuki performers, despite being the most active on a daily basis. Or it could be all the face paint. I don’t know exactly what Kabuki is, but it definitely sounds more active than tea ceremonies.

The practical question, of course, is “So how much exercise is ‘too much’?”

I think we should leave it to each individual person to decide.

Point is, this staying-inside business has been saving our lives in more ways than one.

But we definitely need to do something about this weight. I think. To be honest, I have not actually weighed myself, because it’s a scientific fact that you do not gain weight if you don’t know for a fact that your number is bigger than it used to be, as long as you still fit into the same pants. Your weight is always whatever it was the last time you weighed yourself. Ask anybody. Ask anybody how much they weigh, and see if they immediately get up and go weigh themselves or they just tell you whatever number they had the last time they weighed themselves, whenever that was. Then try asking them what time it is, and see if they do the same thing.

But what should we do? Well, for one, we could give up grazing.

Fact: Animals that graze are all fat. Animals that sit down to family meals are not as fat.

Another fact: The animals that sit down to family meals are all eating meat. The ones that graze are all eating vegetables. But that’s not my point.

Idea #1 is that we can wear masks to our meals. Kind of like Avraham Avinu’s camels. We’ll definitely eat less when every time we want to put something in our mouths, we have to move our masks with the other hand. Maybe we should go on a juice diet and put a straw up through the bottom. Just walk around with that straw hanging out all day, for convenience. And for air.

Idea #2 is fast days. Fast days are great (for diets; not historically speaking), as long as we don’t eat more than we normally would at that one meal afterwards.

But unless we want to tack way more fast days onto our calendar, chas v’shalom, we should work out. At least in addition. I do have some creative ideas for how to work out, but oh, would you look at that! We’re out of space! I guess we should start next week.


Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He has also published seven books and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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