This is the fourth in a series of annoying, kick in the ass posts. At this point in the sermon, the faithful reader has been presented with the undeniable benefits of the active and adventurous life, been cajoled with the encouragement that everyone can participate, and then confronted with my proposition that everyone, as a moral imperative, should be participating.
Now, anticipating the affirmative defenses and mitigating proofs of readers so accused, Greyhound, esq., rises in rebuttal with closing argument for the Crown. But fear not, gentle reader. There is mercy to be had at the bench and bar, and that will be the next post. Read on!
My Lords and may it please the court, Greyhound, esquire, for the Crown.
My right honorable friend hath propounded to the Court many and illustrious proofs wherein he claims the Defendant ought to escape the consequence of the charge wherein he stands accused, to wit, that he did knowingly and and voluntarily choose, both by neglect and by willing sabotage, to despoil the fleshly vessel given him. But, the Bard hath said, and methinks 'tis true here, that "oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by such excuse."*
We, here gathered, have heard it said, "I don't have time to exercise." No time? Are we to be given to understand that the Defendant has time to be dead--that is to die five years hence of his self-induced corpulence and be prematurely committed to the earth 20 years before his time? Defendant would trade 20 years of life for five hours each week of exercise and the consumption of some greenery?
Nay, my Lords. Defendant most certainly does have the time for exercise. He simply chooses not to do as he ought. Why his very wife and children took the stand as hostile witnesses for the Crown and most reluctantly admitted that the Defendant doth spend two or three hours each evening of the week on his most prodigious hindquarters consuming televised entertainment. Moreover, he does this so far into the night, whilst consuming such alarming quantities of delicacies not even seen on the King's table, that he is quite unable to rise in the morning. Why the common tradesman or laborer, with none of the Defendant's advantages, is most commonly about with the tools and accoutrements of his trade long before the Defendant so much as stirs an eyelid.
Indeed, my Lords, we have before us a cloud of witnesses, those objectively having much less time than the Defendant, who nevertheless complete extraordinary feats of daring do -- marathons, century rides, triathlons, ultra-marathon trail runs -- all whilst conducting demanding professions, raising children and contributing to the communities in which they find themselves. The law does not demand this of the Defendant, but only regular activity and perhaps the odd fun run. Yet, he refuses.
Time, my Lords? No. That is not the issue. "The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is."** This Defendant has simply made the choice to expend time in neglect and hostility to his own flesh--the very crime wherein he stands accused.
But then we hear, "Have pity on me, my Lords, for I am unable to comply with the law in that my mortal frame will not bear it." The Defendant then proceeds to complain of bad knees, or a bad back, or various and sundry injuries.
Injury? My Lords, the Defendant's plea is silenced in shame, or should be if ever he had any shame. The injuries of which he complains are not excuse for his crime of neglect. Nay, they are the very product and evidence of that crime. Had he been about his business many of those injuries would not exist. Moreover, we see before us the tales of Team Hoyt, Sarah Rheinertsen, Rudy Garcia-Tolson and any number of challenged athletes who, though they be missing limbs or the ability to make them move, are nevertheless in the arena, braced for the fight.
And I need not remind this Court that the Defendant does not stand accused of failing to be Michael Phelps. The charge is only that the Defendant failed to use what he had. In that he stands guilty.
Finally, my Lords, the Defendant doth protest, "but I don't like exercise. I don't like to run." Are we then to understand that the law may be avoided by those who find its duties distasteful? Surely not. And who among us has ever known a child who did not like to play tag on the playground at recess? Nay, my Lords. Properly understood, the Defendant's plea is just as nonsensical. In protesting that exercise is dreary, the Defendant would have us believe that play and recreation are toil. May it never be so.
Which, my Lords, brings me to the matter of sentence for these crimes, here proved and not avoided. Defendant should be sentenced to a lifetime of vigorous activity, without opportunity for parole. And it would the recommendation of the Crown that such sentence be carried out under the direction of the Warden, Trigreyhound, who has been known to say, "Training is recess. Go play."
Which will be the subject of my next post . . . .
*William Shakespear, King John, Act IV, Sc. ii (1594-96).