If you’re a regular reader, then you know I’m not your guy for writing advice. I mean what do I know that you don’t? You got the same dictionary I got – pick out the right words, put ‘em in the right order and you’re a freakin’ genius.
The only rule I have is the famous ass-in-chair rule. You gotta sit down and do the work. At least it was the only rule I had.
Problem is this. The ass I was parking in that chair? It gets any bigger, it’s gonna get it’s own delegation at the UN. Something had to be done.
I ain’t no John Hornor – that PX 90 thing or whatever the hell it is he’s doing, that’ll shrink my ass by killing me dead so the thing can rot away and feed a few billion worms. But I like to think I still got a little spring in the old mortal coil, so I don’t think I’ll shuffle the sucker off just yet.
I know the math. Eat less, exercise more or some combination of both. Burn more calories than you consume and you’ll get smaller. Thing is, I know me. Them calories, they’re just gonna keep going in. Something’s gonna have to happen to use some of them up.
Which leads to the other problem. My ass is in the chair all freakin’ day. Ass is in the chair for the day job. Ass is in the chair to write. Ass is in the goddamn chair for Twitter and Facebook and blogging and TV. Ass is in the tub to read, but I don’t think that helps any, other than keeping said ass clean, which I guess matters given its verging-on-monumental size. That thing gets funky, I’ll have the EPA on, well, my ass.
But as of today, I’m taking the ass out of the chair. I can hear the great hue and cry. “No, Dan,” you say. “The world has need of your genius. Steve Weddle needs his Mammon. Chuck Wendig needs more recipes. Hilary Davidson, well, she’s got plans for you, she just ain’t saying what.” Relax, people, I said I was taking the ass out of the chair. I didn’t say I was hanging up my pen. Or should I say my laptop – I haven’t written anything longer than a check by hand in 20 years.
I’ve heard about these treadmill desk things for awhile. You mount your ‘puter on a shelf up front, and you walk along whilst you type. Now, you wouldn’t think it to look at me now, but I used to be a jock, I got sufficient coordination to pull that off. So I started poking around online. A couple of companies actually sell the things, but for a few zillion bucks. Other folks have some funky home-made versions, many of which involve somehow mounting a shelf to the treadmill itself.
Thing is, I like my office. I think you ought to have a nice room to work in. The ready-made versions? Not only are they ridiculously expensive, they’ve got that metal-and-plastic cube-farm mien that’ll suck your soul out just looking at them. The homemade options? They look like mutant shop-class projects. I needed another option.
So here’s my solution. I picked up a couple of bookcase kits and put those suckers together – always need more bookcase space anyway. Attached them with a ledger board to stabilize the whole deal and anchored that to the wall. Picked up a couple pieces of black shelving, made a frame for that, and then mounted it between the bookcases on 4” bolts so I can swivel it up out of the way in case I actually want to run on the damn treadmill (or, you know, walk fast). A couple of clip lights for lighting, a little black spray paint where I used raw lumber and, in the words of the immortal Hans Landa, That’s a Bingo!. The treadmill itself? Used for $399. All in? Less than $700.
I’ve been working at the treadmill desk most of the day and it only took maybe 15 minutes to get the hang of the walking and typing thing. Can’t walk real fast – I’m keeping it at 1.3 miles an hour, but I’ve goosed the incline up to six degrees and I’ve put in better than six hours. Don’t know what that translates into in terms of calories, but it translates into something – and it’s a something I can put in pretty much every day without doing anything other than standing up.
So instead of whistling while I work, I’m whittling – my ass, that is.