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Walking dead got nothing on the living

The kid carousel at the mall is a useful but unnerving marker. (Photo by Brian Matuszak)

So last week I told you about a daily challenge my wife and I created now that we're empty-nesters. As you may recall, this task doesn't have anything to do with canola oil or electric foot massagers (we're saving those for our anniversary), but is a self-imposed assignment where we take at least 10,000 steps somewhere out in the world every day. We wanted to become more physically active and walking seemed easier than grunting and lifting heavy things at the gym. What did became an obstacle for us, however, was the part where we actually walked "out in the world."

For awhile there, we had a spate of warm weather and it was quite pleasant to be outdoors. But Mother Nature pulled the plug and our welcoming atmosphere soon morphed into a tempestuous frozen hellscape of slippery ice sheets, cheek-stinging sleet and bone-chilling temperatures. Or, as we refer to it here in the Northland, "regular February."

Trying to walk outside quickly proved to be as practical as rooting for the Vikings. Sure, you can do it but you'll usually end up disappointed, hurt and wrenching a body part out of place. We needed an indoor area where it wouldn't look weird to see the same people wandering around in circles with glazed, yet determined, looks in their eyes. Which led us, naturally, to the Miller Hill Mall.

The mall already has a history of walkers. Every morning, hordes of seniors gather in the food court and talk about how they're going to start moving as soon as they're done visiting and finish their coffee. This was perfect for us! Sue doesn't like coffee. I don't like visiting. We'd get those 10,000 steps finished up faster than a sight-seeing tourist in Proctor.

What we soon learned, however, is that one jaunt around the mall is barely 3,000 steps, which means in order to accomplish our goal, we're forced to walk the same exact route ... uh, let's see ... 10 divided by 3 ... carry the 5 ... ummmmm ... well, let's just say a bazillion times. As a result, we now know exactly how many seconds it takes before the next creepy song emanates from the kid carousel by Old Navy. We've pinpointed the precise time of day Sbarro meatballs look their sketchiest. We're on a first-name basis with the posters at Victoria's Secret. OK, maybe that one's just me, but it is extremely mind-numbing.

Oh, well. No one said it would be easy. That's why it's called a 10,000 Step CHALLENGE, after all. We just figured it would be our bodies that would be challenged more, not our brains. Come on, spring! We need to get back outside and away from the extreme fart sprayers at Spencer's.

Although, that anniversary is right around the corner.

Brian Matuszak

Brian Matuszak is the founder of Rubber Chicken Theater and invites you to follow him and his theater company on Twitter at twitter.com/rchickentheater, like them on Facebook at Rubber Chicken Theater and visit their website at RubberChickenTheater.com.

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