Being over fifty and in bad shape, Clever Wife and I have been talking about getting more exercise. Actually, we've been talking about it since we were forty and in bad shape. Usually, I'm able to kill such crazy talk through clever use on misdirection (Look! A kitten), but this time Clever Wife stayed focused and signed us up for a Tai Chi class. As exercises go, this is about as close to the perfect exercise for me as we are likely to find. It's quiet, non-competitive, low impact, and we each move at our own speed. If the studio was air conditioned and they served beer and calamari, it would be perfect.
The class takes place in a studio owned by a local Kung-fu club. We start our class in one end of the studio and a bout a half hour later the Kung-fu guys come in and start working out at the other end of the room. While Tai Chi is a martial art with no hitting or shouting, Kung-fu has all of the hitting and shouting.
For the last half of our class, I get to listen to their cries. Contrary to what I expected from teevee and movies, they just don't cry "aiee" or "heeyah" as they go. Each move appears to have its own cry. While I concentrate on my moves, the rhythmic cries of their workout inevitably begins to intrude on my thoughts and I begin humming old blues and doo-wop songs. For example, during one exercise a sort of block and punch one-two move, the Kung-fu guys shout "hoo! Hah!" After about three repeats, I start to hum, "That's the sound of the men working on the chain ga-a-ang..." Another move is accompanied by rapid repetitions of the syllable "dit," which leads to, "dit, dit, dit, dit, dit, dit, dit, dit, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run. Get a job. Sha-na-na-na, Sha-na-na-na-nah." Other exercises work well to "Runaround Sue" and "Yakkity Yak." I'm still looking for exercises to match up with The Diamonds' "Little Darlin'" and The Marcelles' version of "Blue Moon."
Meanwhile, I keep it all to myself. I can't imagine that the Kung-fu guys will see this as the right attitude. They are so serious.