Shutdown in three ... two ... one ... by Cindy Beck

(Based on a grain of truth ... which means this story kinda, maybe, sorta happened. Or not.)

© Cindy Beck, 2009

(Keywords: Cindy Beck, exercise, treadmill, Olympics, Newton's laws of motion, physics, Big Gulp, humorous blog, Ray Stevens, jogging, funny, smile, humor, Latter-day Saints, LDS, yourLDSNeighborhood.com)

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

"Oh look, a treadmill,” I said to my husband, Russ, as we wandered through the home furnishings store.

He lifted one eyebrow. “And you’re telling me this … why?”

“Because I’m thinking about getting one. Between the wind and pollen count, I can’t get much exercise outdoors. A treadmill is the perfect solution.”

Russ snorted. “It’s perfect, all right. Perfect for gathering dust. I bet you’ll never use it.”

I gave him my I’m-a-superior-woman-and-you’re-a-piece-of-lint look. “I will too use it. And I won’t be the only one. I’ll teach the dog how to run on it.”

The sports equipment salesman standing nearby must have been watching TV, because I thought I heard him give a muffled chortle. When I looked over, though, all he did was clear his throat and smile.

“The dog? You're going to put your pet on a piece of exercise equipment?” the sales guy asked.

“Yes, our dog, Corky Porky Pie.”

The man must have been hard of hearing, because he stood and stared at me for a minute. Just as I was about to tell Russ that the guy needed a hearing aid, the sales clerk said, “Would you like to try the treadmill?”

“Sure.” I stepped onto the machine and gazed at the vast array of buttons. The dashboard looked like the console of an airplane. I wondered how Corky Porky was going to figure out which buttons to push.

Using my immense powers of deduction, I decided the big red button meant stop.

But the rest were up for grabs. I reached over and pushed one.

“Power Level 10—Speed Hill,” I explained to Russ as the motor started in a slow grind, and I stepped onto the moving belt. “It shouldn’t be too bad. I can handle—“

“—thiiiiiisssss!” The machine flipped into high gear, and the belt scrolled rapidly under my feet. I stumbled, accidentally flinging my fifty-six ounce Big Gulp at the salesperson. Soda splashed over his suit, and the cup ricocheted off his head, like a tennis ball at Wimbledon. Then it skittered under the elliptical machine nearby (the cup, not his head). The salesman turned and strode toward the partially lit sign that said, “Rest oom.”

I righted myself, hit my stride, and looked at Russ. “This is cool. I probably look like a seasoned sprinter, huh?”

Russ nodded his head. “Yup, just like an Olympic runner with an inner ear infection.”

A small crowd gathered around us—one the size of the population of Boston. I figured they were all marathon fans.

The machine gave a thump, followed by a beep, and I wondered if that meant my jog had ended. Suddenly, a whirring sound echoed off the nearby wall, and the front end of the treadmill rose in altitude, resembling the nose of the space shuttle at blast off. My feet tripped over each other. “No need to worry,” I shouted to the murmuring crowd, as I flapped my arms for balance. “I used to run track in high school.”

I noticed a little boy selling hot dogs among the masses. At the side door, a bearded man hawked tickets to people.

“There must be some big sale and a raffle going on.” I hollered the news to Russ over the whir of the machine and tilted my head toward Mr. Bearded, who appeared to be pointing people in our direction. The head tilt made the room spin and for a minute I almost lost my equilibrium, but years of conditioning—gained by watching NASCAR races on TV with Russ's dad—brought me through it.

Another beep sounded and the belt’s speed increased. I grabbed for the treadmill’s handles. Not that I really needed them, of course, but it seemed like a good time to check my heart rate with the machine’s specialized apparatus.

“Warning! Warning!” A mechanical sounding voice exploded from the front of the machine. “Your heart rate is 562 beats per minute. This machine will shut down in three … two … one—”

Clunk! The belt stopped.

Newton’s first law of motion states that a body in motion tends to stay in motion. As I flew over the top of the console—proving that Newton’s first law still holds true—I thought I heard the crowd cheer. And I gave a victory wave just so they’d understand I was no novice to physics … or to the pole vault.

What's playing in my head: Jogging, by Ray Stevens

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G. Parker said...

lol! I remember the first time we talked about getting a treadmill, and my hubby talked me into one of those other type of machines...the same kind you see in everyone's yard sales? grin. I finally got my good quality treadmill, and while it did go through a stage of no use, I do use it more frequently now.

Karlene said...


I experienced something like that on my Wii Fit

Girl Tornado said...

Thanks for my daily chuckle... you didn't really DO this, did you??!

Cheri J. Crane said...

Your aim was superb. (This in reference to beaning the sales clerk with your Big Gulp.) Wish I could have been there to see you in action. ;)Maybe I could've sold candy-coated pretzels to the gathering crowd. =D

Dave Beck said...

You are hilarious. Thanks for the laughs.

Cindy Beck, author said...

The comment you left had a problem, so it hasn't been posted. However, I've done a copy of what you said, and have pasted it below. Thanks for stopping by ... do come by again!



I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Britt said...

LOL! Very funny.