And I confess that I’ve been a little worried about my heart in the last week or so. Its not exactly something I feel any need to confess but I have mentioned it recently to one board member who makes my heart race a bit. My paternal grandfather, for whom I was given my first name, keeled over of a heart attack at age 49. My Dad was so convinced that he would follow suit that I think he used to try to convince me that this fate would skip my generation and me. He always pointed to my Mother’s long lived clan to show me the way to a long life.
I was so inspired that I was sure as far back as elementary school that with all the advances in medicine I’d make it to my centennial so long as I didn’t carelessly step in front of a car.
That’s not really what I set out to write about but I’ve just come in from exercising my heart a bit. I didn’t feel like swimming with the hour of gathering my stuff together driving to the pool, showering, swimming showering again getting toweled off and driving home. It consumes an hour and a half at least and that doesn’t count time in the sauna when I choose to warm up after the swim. I started swimming about the time I was leaving the School Board because I had seen a couple good friends leave the Board and balloon up because of what I took to be less activity. I was darned if I was going to let that happen especially because of my family medical history.
After my first year of fighting the Red Plan I gave up swimming even though doing so was breaking a pretty well established three-year habit. I simply didn’t have the time. As the Red Plan fight progressed I gave up seven hours of sleep too. To counter fatigue I got hold of a drug called provigil or modafinil which apparently made your thinking more keen and, like amphetamines, made it possible to get by on less sleep without any addictive properties. With three hours of sleep or less many nights and the burden of an intense sense of responsibility to tens of thousands of Duluthians who were upset about the School District I tracked them down on the Internet. I ordered them from the Internet because of one very short lived prescription. They were God awful expensive. Ordering them from India was not something the FDA or the FBI favored so I played a little cloak and dagger to stockpile it.
Even now I’m not sure it worked but it may have had placebo powers. At no time did I take more than a very modest dose. Claudia fretted about it and I eventually gave it up about the time my fight with the District petered out three year’s later.
I didn’t take up swimming again but I wasn’t under much stress so I stopped fretting about my heart. Then I started thinking about running for the School Board again six years after Ralph Doty sabotaged my school board campaign at the last minute in 2006. The stress of anticipation made an unwelcome return. I began waking up with a racing heart dreaming about the School District and the dire problems I believed we face. Darned ticker!
But there will be no more modafinil for me although I just read an interesting article in Discover Magazine about how just plain nicotine sans tar might help stave off Alzheimers. Alzheimers is said to be brought on by stress and given a choice I’d take a nicotine addiction over losing my marbles any day.
So, stress is still part of my School Board equation. I won’t swim, I won’t modafinil, I may not nicotine so I decided to go back to an old form of exercise that I had practiced prior to my swimming laps at Miller Dawn – kicking a hacky sack around solo. I just came in from half an hour of footing it in 18 degree weather. I have the perfect place to kick a hacky sack around – the cleanest driveway in Duluth.
Yes, I do get a lot of winter exercise shoveling snow never having gotten into the snowblowing habit. But shoveling snow is infamous for causing heart attacks and at 63 I’m no spring chicken. Charlie Bell was only a year older and shoveling snow is what killed him a week ago even though he looked more fit than me.
I have good reason to want to keep fit. My first two months on the school board has given me more confidence than ever that just about everything I’ve ever suggested or postulated about our schools has been pretty damn close to the mark. This school Board, this community, our children need a little clear vision and I don’t want to go anywhere until I’ve set things right. That could be heaven or hell depending on your point of view.
I’m in no hurry. Since a sprint could kill me I’m more of a marathon man. After being humiliated in my losing 2006 school board race I patiently waited until my predictions were borne out before running again. I wasn’t eager to have my critics accuse me of having made unhinged predictions. My patience bore fruit. Over the five months of my recent campaign not one single person saw fit pluck a single passage from this blog’s million plus words on the Red Plan to say I’d been wrong. Oh, someone tried to get the press to report I had a pedophile for a campaign manager but I think that says a lot more about one semi-anonymous poison pen than it says about me.
I’ll quote Jesus of Nazareth here as the words seem appropriate:
“Be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16.
To that end of being wise as serpents Claudia and I have just finished watching the second season of Netflix’s House of Cards. Whoooo! Vladimir Putin is a wimp compared to Frank Underwood. F.U. for short.