Putting the shot

I went out for a tentative shuffle this morning, my first in weeks. Extra very especially short and slow, but highly satisfactory. The offending body part has made its point (“don’t push it, Buster”) and returned to normal. So now it will be a gradual build-up back to the minimum level that seems to yield a noticeable fitness benefit. Which is good, because I’m tired of being Mr. Fatty.

Brits give their weight in stones, an arcane measure that I’ve never internalized, and that always sends me away to multiply something by 14. (Let’s see, if I do 12 times and then 2 times, is that the same as…?) I use the much more sensible shot units.

In the U.S., a girls’ high-school shot weighs eight pounds. The boys toss one that weighs 12. In college and beyond, the men’s shot is 16 pounds. My body weight recently has been a men’s shot heavier that the highest weight at which I usually begin to feel relatively fit. This means, in my mind, that I’ve been carrying around, just behind my belly button, a large, heavy, spherical object that, if I dropped it from that height, would break bones in my foot. This is a gross enough thought to get me to work shrinking that hunk of iron to high-school size, boys; high school size, girls; and eventually to accept the level of slightly chubby and lumbering fitness that seems to be the best I can do these days. (Otherwise I’d have to admit there are actually two Olympian shots in there, a horror I can’t quite bring myself to contemplate.)

The late, great Parry O’Brien puts the shot to its proper purpose.

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