The mayor of North Adams recently kicked off a fitness challenge. I declined to participate, as I'm not really an expert on fitness. The main thing I know about it, from hearing people boast about things being very fit, is that the pinnacle of fitness is to resemble a fiddle. While I don't actually play the fiddle like some of my friends do (by which I mean both "well" and "at all"), I am fiddle-like insofar as I am somewhat round and make sounds that delight and annoy, depending on the audience. Although a fiddle is much more likely to have a G-string.
Regardless, while I prefer to cast out the fiddle demons and exorcise, I know there are plenty of other people who find lots of enjoyment in exercise, from running in place, to lifting heavy weights, to running with heavy weights. I'm more likely to be heavy weight than enjoy lifting one, which was exceedingly inconvenient last weekend when I had to move to a new house.
While I may be surprised how many people enjoy exercise, pretty much nobody enjoys moving. Packing up your entire life into boxes and then taking it somewhere else is incredibly stressful. So much so, in fact, that a recent survey found that moving to a new house was life's second most stressful thing, surpassed only by a family member dying. (Your own family member, naturally. Other people's family members die all the time, and you usually don't even notice. Shame on you.)
This is why I've never liked the old saying, "Friends help you move, but real friends help you move bodies." After the past few weeks, during which I have had to move everything I own across town, I have come to the conclusion that real friends help you move. It would have been much less effort to move bodies: I grab the legs, you grab the arms, body moved, done. That's true even if there were multiple bodies, which probably wouldn't happen unless I had served my Crunchy Crawfish Surprise(tm) at a dinner party. But unless you're a mass murderer, probably you only have one or two bodies to move, which pales in comparison to the amount of junk in a regular move.
Sadly, being a Mass. homeowner can be more work than being a mass murderer. After two solid weeks of moving boxes, the only person I'm likely to have killed is myself. If the physical exhaustion wasn't enough, there's also the mental effort required in looking at everything you own and trying to decide which half of it you should throw away. It's easy when you unearth the expired coupons from 2005, but the gummy bears from 2005 are probably still good, right? Gummy doesn't really expire, because it's not really food. And what about those business cards? If these people are still alive, they might be able to help my career if either of us recalls ever meeting.
Eventually, you reach a point where you can't be bothered to sort things. There's a table filled with old papers? Dump the papers into a box, clearly you wanted some of them at some point. Or alternatively, dump the papers into the trash, clearly you haven't needed them in ten years, why move them? The important thing is not to actually look at the papers, so you can keep your streak alive for another ten years.
Ten years, of course, is how long it feels like I've been moving for. I know, I know, tiny violin. But I'm trying to stay fit, so, tiny fiddle.
Seth Brown is co-host of the "Problem Solvers ...ish" podcast, co-writer of the "Simpleton" musical, and co-dependent. His website is RisingPun.com