Fitness Test

How to find out whether you’re fit or not?

Easy: go run in one direction for 20 seconds.

Done? OK, how do you feel?

If, like me, you experience shortness of breath, shooting pains in your shins, and generally feel like dying at the mere thought of running for 20 seconds then you, like me, are definitely out of shape.

Once, my wife and I went to the bank to pay a traffic violation fine. The security guard informed us we needed to present a photocopy of the violation ticket to the teller. We didn’t have a photocopy. I looked at the wall clock – 15 minutes to closing time.

I asked the guard where the nearest photocopying machine was. Somewhere down the street, he mumbled. Great.

So I left my wife and made a dash for the photocopy shop before the bank closed on us. At first, I walked briskly. No need to panic, I told myself. It can’t be that far.

I was right; it only took me five minutes to get there. I whisked myself to the counter and presented the ticket. Unfortunately, the owner was busy trying to figure out certain photocopying settings and, with her back to me, her head buried in the machine, she told me to hang on a sec.

I’m a polite guy and I hate rushing people. But “just a sec” turned into at least a minute. I started getting antsy. The bank would be closed in less than 10. I’m a paying customer – I’m not forking over P1.75 for this!

Soon enough, however, she photocopied the ticket. I bade farewell and returned to the street which suddenly seemed strangely long, as if stretched by unknown forces, warped forever in every direction. The time was about 2:55… I knew that a brisk walk back wouldn’t cut it.

So I ran.

Well, it was more of a fast jog than a bid for Olympic gold. But those 20 seconds of sudden energy were all it took to make me realize that 20 seconds was all I was gonna do. For not only were my shins exploding into tiny fragments with every pounding step but my belly was climbing out from under my t-shirt making people on the sidewalk wonder how on earth a man so skinny could actually have a gut the size of an American football.

I stopped before my heart crapped out on me. If the bank closes, the missus won’t be happy. But at least I won’t need bypass surgery. I turned a corner, breathing as if on Mars, and saw the bank in the distance. The security guards outside were craning their necks in my direction.

What, you’re gonna close? This very minute?? I began to pick up speed.

When I got to the bank the guards courteously opened the front door, which is just as well because I would’ve careened right through and had a spasm on the marble floor. I managed to find my wife, thrust the photocopy into her hands, and watch her scram to the teller while I curled into a sweaty ball on a nearby chair.

Fitness First beckons.

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