Pasteurizing oneself in '94

January 05, 1994|By KEVIN COWHERD

Nineteen ninety-four is going to be my year, yes sir, and already I am unlocking my Inner Child and empowering myself through a program of meditation, visualization and other neat things most people couldn't begin to understand.

There will be so many changes in me, it'll make your head spin.

For openers, I'm starting a new exercise program, a kind of ultra-Nautilus thing. I'm shooting for a 32-inch waist and 68-inch chest -- by May. My wife says that's ridiculous. We'll see.

They laughed at Louis Pasteur, too. Louis Pasteur didn't lift weights, but he talked about the role of micro-organisms in fermentation and the people in 19th-century France thought he was nuts.

Or he'd hold up a test tube and muse: "Perhaps disease is spread by living germs, such as bacteria" and his lab assistants would roll their eyes and make tiny circles around their temples with their forefingers.

But Pasteur didn't care what people thought. I don't, either. Go ahead and laugh. It'll just make me more of a madman in the gym. You watch, in four months I'll be able to bench-press a Buick.

Let's see . . . what else? I resolve to cut out the fat in my diet. Not some fat, all fat. I will eat nothing but fruits and vegetables, along with wild grains, roots, etc., all of which I'll wash down with natural spring water.

The next time you see me, I'll have the body fat of a greyhound to go with that sculpted physique, which, again, is just around the corner. I'll bet you wish you had my kind of discipline and resolve, but you don't, so don't even try getting into that kind of shape.

I promise to improve my mind as well as my body in '94. I'm going to re-read the classics: "Moby Dick," "Anna Karenina," you name it, one per week. Or maybe one every three days, if it's not too thick.

It's funny, four days ago I was reading a People profile on Luke Perry; now I'm devouring Joyce's "Ulysses." Well, maybe devouring isn't the word. Quite frankly, though, my IQ has probably risen 30, 40 points already.

Here's one I bet you don't think I can keep (but I can): I promise to never again scream at my kids. Ever.

When the 11-year-old gets the 8-year-old in a headlock in the back of the car, and she starts screaming like someone just hacked off her arm and he yells "Well, she started it!" and my wife, who is driving, turns around momentarily, allowing the car to veer into the path of a road construction crew, I will remain calm.

"Kids, kids, kids . . . can't we all get along?" I'll say. "How 'bout we pull into the next rest stop and talk it over?"

Emotionally, I will be a rock in '94.

When someone cuts me off on the expressway, instead of slamming the steering wheel and sticking my head out the window and screaming: "I HOPE YOU ROT IN HELL, YOU MISERABLE PIG!" and then leaning on the horn and flashing my lights and tailgating him for miles at speeds in excess of 75 mph until that final, violent confrontation with a tire iron on the exit ramp, I'll just take a deep breath and say: "That's OK. We're all brothers. You have a nice day, hear?"

From now on, I will practice one random act of kindness per day, depending on the weather. Maybe I'll go over to old man Withers' house after the next snowfall and shovel his driveway.

(This is probably neither here nor there, but you wonder why he couldn't shovel it himself. It's not like his arms are broken or anything. Plus the guy is a retired stockbroker -- he could pay some kid to clear his walkway. But . . . whatever.)

In '94, I promise to make time for me. When I come home from work each day, I'll slip into a room with a sturdy lock on the door, something with a dead-bolt or even a time-release mechanism.

Then when the kids start pounding on the door and screaming: "I need help with my math homework!" or my wife yells "You have to run to the store for me!" I'll smile and crank up Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers until it drowns out their pathetic voices.

Ironically, if you take away the CD player, this is very similar to what Louis Pasteur used to do. People think that, given his tremendous accomplishments, Pasteur was all go, go, go.

They figure he was stuck behind those beakers and test tubes 18 hours a day, never relaxing except when he'd take in the occasional public beheading, witch-burning or affair of that nature in his blood-stained lab coat.

But the truth is, Pasteur would often find a quiet place and pour himself a glass of wine and shut out the rest of the world, if only for a few minutes.

I don't know where I read this, or maybe somebody mentioned it to me, I forget.

That's another thing: I'm not getting hung up on details anymore.

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