As a newer member of the older-people-walking-dogs club, unless the weather is just horrible, I am out there on the streets every day, with my dog and my poop bags, making the rounds.
Before I became older and started collecting dog poop, I used to walk whenever I could for exercise.
But it was easy to slough off and miss days now and then. Now we have a new high-energy adopted dog and she has needs. Get your dog used to a daily walk and you will rarely miss your exercise again.
After a few hundred trips around your neighborhood, you get bored with the scenery. So you branch out and visit nearby areas. You also begin thinking of all sorts of things to keep your mind occupied while you are walking. Or at least I do. I can’t speak for anyone who might be normal.
One of the things I do is devise rhythms of walking so that I don’t step on any of the lines in the sidewalk. Since I was a kid I have been entranced by the old saying, “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.”
I know it is silly, but why take any chances, I always thought. I always avoid brick sidewalks where you can’t avoid the lines. You also can’t play that game on bad sidewalks that are nothing but cracks, but sidewalks like those in downtown Belleville are great.
Actually, the back-breaking rhyme always seemed a little harsh to me. A broken back? For a crack?
And why my mother? How did Dad get off scot-free from any punishment for my crack-stepping?
A second line suggests “Step on a line, break your mother’s spine.” Back, spine, I’m not sure what’s the difference? Anyway, shouldn’t that second transgression be where father gets his spine broken?
I’m all for a kinder, gentler world, so while I’m avoiding cracks, I like to recite the jingle differently. My way goes, “Step on a crack, give your mother a light twinge in her back.”
That’s one of the curses of an overactive imagination. I’m also usually humming some old obscure song like the 1965 hit from the Castaways, “Liar, Liar.”
The chorus, sung in a piercing falsetto, goes, “Liar, liar, pants on fire. Your nose is longer than a telephone wire.” This classic about a man singing to his unfaithful girlfriend hit No. 14 on the charts back then and charted again later with a remake by Madonna.
Again, a pants fire seems a bit harsh for a little lie. Can you imagine how many pairs of pants some liars would go through in a day? Maybe, “Liar, liar, minor jock itch increasing with each falsehood until your crotch is on fire,” would be better, even if it doesn’t exactly rhyme.
I’ll work on it. l have a lot walking time coming up.
Wally Spiers: firstname.lastname@example.org