the enchiladas and the spinach dip? Yeah, Ma, you looked just like a rug.”
The doctors then conducted a battery of tests on Nana to try to find out why she fell down in the first place, although none of the professionals seemed to think that her three-inch high heels might have been a contributing factor.
One of the doctors then examined Nana’s bones and asked her if she exercised. I really don’t know what he expected her to say—“Oh yes, I’m a lightweight contender on the kickboxing circuit,” or “I can bench-press more than your IQ”—but after a careful ponder, she looked at the doctor and told him, “Well, at the mall, I walk a lot in between stores. It’s a long way from Easy Spirit Shoes to Sears.”
“That doesn’t count,” he apparently answered, and told her to begin a routine on a regular basis. “You have to be more active.”
I guess that doing a load of laundry, making your bed, pulling weeds in 114-degree weather, vacuuming the entire house six times, and pounding chicken breasts into paper-thin cutlets every day isn’t considered a “regular, active routine.” My nana keeps a house cleaner than a Gap store and has the endurance of a short, compact athlete. You could easily perform a triple bypass on her kitchen counter using her pizza cutter and salad tongs without the slightest risk of infection. In my book, that’s more than active, that’s called “extreme clean sports.”
I mean, come on. The woman is eighty-two. When I’m eighty-two, all I plan on doing is sitting in a chair, spitting on people, and gumming bits of chocolate until they’re soft enough to swallow whole. Push a vacuum cleaner? I’d spit at you.
In any case, what my mother heard the doctor say was that Nana needed to get in shape, and since Nana doesn’t drive, the gym needed to come to her. And it sure did.
In the shape of an enormous brown box.
“I still don’t understand,” I said as we looked at the box in the carport. “What is it?”
“Oh, it’s one of those
” Nana tried to explain. “I don’t know. I get on it, put my feet into slings, and walk without touching the ground like the astronauts.”
“I don’t like the sound of that,” I answered honestly, and my sister agreed.
“I have a feeling it’s the same E-Z Glider you bought me after I had my insides ripped out as I was giving birth to your son,” she said, pointing at her husband, who just shrugged. “It was almost as good as the diamond ring I was expecting. I got on it once, fell off it once, used it to hang sweaters on and then sold it at our garage sale for seven dollars. It was a great drying rack for bras, though.”
My brother-in-law hauled the box inside, cut it open, and started putting the pieces together. Along with the skeleton of the E-Z Glider was an instructional videotape that Nana popped into the VCR.
In the video, a squat, buff little man with the tiny arms of a T. Rex was pumping away on the E-Z Glider, spouting off on how easy it was to operate.
“Just get on and go!” he proclaimed as his legs swung back and forth, and his petite squirrel arms pulled the handles in opposite directions. “Let’s get to know one another! Tell me something about yourself! Tell me why you want to enhance your life with the E-Z Glider!”
Dear God, I thought as chills ran up and down my spine. Why do I have a feeling that the E-Z Glider will be listed next to “Cause of Death” on a coroner’s report with my nana’s name on it? I could just see her hanging on for dear life as her legs swung wildly below her, her little Nana voice crying out to the video in between panicked breaths, “MY NAME IS CONNIE! I WALK AT THE MALL BUT THE DOCTOR SAID THAT WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH!! I CAN’T FIND THE OFF BUTTON!
I CAN’T FIND THE OFF BUTTON!!!!
On the TV, the video cut from the midget-arm man to a scene with a couple making love in the frothy waves of some beach, to keep Nana motivated, I suppose.