March 3, 2011
I’m writing from a Starbucks in sunny southern California. I wanted to experience a real, local coffee shop, so here I am. It’s great, there is no way I could experience something so authentic anywhere else.
For the last prompt I asked, What gym class activity were you best at?
I will use Scott’s answer:
“Easy! Calf stretches and sit and reach! Bring it on! I will still own everyone at both of those!!”
Scott, good use of five exclamation points. Your enthusiasm is clear, I believe you, stop yelling. I believe that the sit and reach was on the Presidential Fitness test. It was during these tests that I peaked at my ability to do pull ups. It has been a downhill slope ever since. Man, in elementary school, these seemed like important tests. I wonder if they’re like math, where you never know when you might need it?
I wonder what a real life Presidential Fitness scenario might be…
Here are the activities:
- Curl-ups (or partial curl-ups)
- Shuttle run
- Endurance run/walk
- Pull-ups (or right angle push-ups or flexed-arm hang)
- V-sit reach (or sit and reach)
In a dark office a phone rings. A man in a military uniform answers the phone through puffs of a cigar.
General McHowser: Howser
President: General Howser, this is the President
McHowser: Yes sir
President: Howser, we have discovered an immediate threat to the security of the United States. Terrorists have taken over the halls of Congress and have planted a bomb, set to explode in 18 minutes.
McHowser: How is that a problem?
President: Good one, but seriously.
McHowser: Then, we need the full force of our military to encounters these bastards.
President: No, we can’t risk this thing going off. They can’t know we’ve come. I have another route.
President: This office hasn’t been requiring the Presidential Physical Fitness for countless year for no reason at all. We’ve been doing it to find the most physically fit person in the United States for times such as these. We…need…to call…Scott Kirchner.
McHowser: How do we get him here in time?
President: We already alerted him. He is already endurance walking his way here from Missouri.
McHowser: Sir, with all due respect, there’s no way he can get here…
McHowser’s office door is thrown open
Scott: I’m here!
McHowser: You don’t even seem winded.
Scott: I’m wearing New Balance.
McHowser: Let’s get to work. I’ll explain everything in the car.
The two arrive at the Capitol building
McHowser: Okay, the bomb is under the speaker’s podium. You’ll need to go in through the secret page entrance that hasn’t been used for years. We’ve put a wire on you so can speak to me on the outside the entire time. And son…
McHowser: Our country is depending on you.
Scott (calmly): Well then it’s a good thing I’m physically fit.
Scott walks toward the entrance
McHowser (mumbling): I’m not sure he’s coming out alive
Scott (still walking): I can still hear you.
Scott opens door slowly revealing an unlit hallway. He reaches the end of the hallway and is unable to open another door.
Scott: Sir, I can’t get this door open!
McHowser: There is a secret lock. You need to wedge your toes under the door to trip one part. Then, there is a button that hangs two feet from the door, and two feet off the ground, but it won’t work if you use your finger. Son, you’re going to have to use your forehead someway.
Scott: I got it! I’ll wedge my toes, then do curl ups, hitting my forehead on the button.
McHowser: What is a curl up?
Scott: The same as a sit up.
McHowser: I don’t mean to alarm you, but you’ve got to hit that button 90 times in 60 seconds for it to open.
Scott: No problem!
Scott gets down and manages to open the door through his prolific ability to do curl ups.
Scott: I’m through!
McHowser: Good. You’re almost there. Run, son, run! You’ve got to make it to the next door in under eleven seconds!
Scott: I’m off, like a shuttle!
Scott makes it through the door just in time.
Scott: Oh no, they’ve spotted me! They’re shooting at my feet down the hallway.
McHowser: You’ve got to get high!
Scott grabs a water pipe and pulls himself up.
Scott: Oh know! They’re alternating between shooting high and shooting low
McHowser: You are going to need to pull yourself up and down opposite of what they’re doing. A standard machine gun clip will run out of bullets after 10-12 rounds. So you’ll have to do 10-12 pull ups.
Scott: On it!
Scott accomplishes the harrowing feat and charges after the terrorist. He pulls out a square scooter and slides between the terrorist’s legs. The terrorist falls over and is knocked unconscious. Scott approaches the next terrorist.
Scott: This is something I learned in kickball! Kick. Ball.
The terrorist doubles over in pain.
Scott: I believe I have subdued the terrorists!
McHowser: Kid, according to our infrared sensors, there’s one left in the balcony with a sniper rifle. Quick, get to the bomb before he sees you.
Scott slides behind the podium.
Scott: I can’t reach it sir. I just can’t reach it. I’m going to have to lay down to reach it.
McHowser: No! Kid! If you lay down, the sniper will see your legs and shoot you.
Scott (giving up): I don’t know what to do…
McHowser: Kid, I don’t either…
They sit in silence
Scott: I need to sit…
McHowser: Go on…
Scott: And reach
McHowser: Yes! Get it son.
As America the Beautiful plays in the background, Scott extends his legs and reaches forward with this hands. His hands keep moving forward further and further, impossibly far, well past his toes. He reaches the bomb with 30 seconds left on the timer.
Scott: Got it! How do I know which wire to cut?
McHowser: The red one, cut the red one!
Scott: I can’t tell colors apart!
McHowswer: Are you color blind?
Scott: No! They cut funding for art in my school district and I’ve never had an art class. I don’t know the difference!
McHowser: Damn! You’ve got to cut one! Just cut one!
Scott cuts one at random
Next prompt: What is the last thing you said to somebody?