December 03, 2012
Balancing Lifeís Ledger

Here is yet another system for living the healthy life, this one designed for people who are prone to giving up the bad for the worse. According to this system, living is treated as an accounting ledger, a series of additions and subtractions the sum of which will tell the story.

This is nonsense, of course, but itís a lot easier to understand than Immanuel Kant. Hereís how it works.

You reach certain points in life, some of them fairly early, where you have to give up things. But, when you give up one thing you often are tempted to substitute another. For instance, I gave up drinking and replaced it with ice cream. A debit offset by a credit, you might say. One thing balances the other. The trouble here is that the ice cream also adds pounds. You debit drinking but credit ice cream and now you have to credit pounds as well. The columns start to get out of balance.

To counterbalance the added pounds I added squash ó the racquet sport, that is, not the vegetable. Now, with the ice cream offsetting the drinking, the squash would offset the pounds. Shortly after adding squash, I subtracted from my life-ledger chocolate fudge sauce, which I had also added when I added the ice cream. But the chocolate fudge sauce had added even more pounds and now I needed to move some of the pounds to the debit column before my balance sheet got completely out of kilter. I expected to accomplish this by joining a gym.

At first, the gym offset the chocolate-sauce pounds. The ledger was getting messy, but balance was restored, more or less. Then my back started to act up, forcing me to lie down. Itís very hard to meet life head-on when youíre lying down, so I had to subtract whatever it was that was hurting my back. I identified the problem as the squash.

I gave up squash so I didnít have to lie down all the time and the elements of my life began to come back into alignment. Then I added Snickers bars and the figures once again started to go awry. The Snickers bars added more pounds and to counter the pounds I increased the weights on the machines I pushed and pulled at the gym. The added weights caused my neck to spasm and I had to lie down again. I was back in a place where I didnít want to be and the debit and credit columns were still out of whack.

I decided to subtract the gym to save my back and neck. This was good asset management, but as soon as I was able to get out of bed I quit smoking. Overnight I developed an insatiable appetite for chocolate mousse pie. The debit of not smoking was more than offset by the credit of chocolate mousse pie. Credits were accumulating around my waist faster than I could let out my belt. Other credits were oozing though my cardiovascular system like Elmerís Glue, clogging arteries, gumming up valves. In no time I began to look like Fats Domino and sound like the Little Engine That Could.

I subtracted all of the Snickers bars, half the chocolate mousse pie and added a stationary bicycle, an inspired piece of double-entry derring-do. Although I still looked like Fats Dominoís brother, I could now walk all the way across the living room without stopping for a breather. I felt good. Things were in balance, more or less. My figures checked out. I was beginning to look like a pretty good investment and I started thinking of putting out an annual report, maybe going public.



Posted by Paul Duffy at December 03, 2012 09:02 PM
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