In the twilight of my years I have been overtaken by madness.

I have signed up for a membership at a local fitness center.

It has been pointed out by some friends that this will be about as productive as banging on the hubcaps of a rusted-out sedan with 200,000-plus miles on it hoping for better performance.

I certainly have engaged in this with considerable anxiety.

First, the equipment looks like it might have come from the Marquis de Sade’s yard sale. It is cunningly designed to make one ache in places one did not even know existed.

Also, most of the people at the gym look like they really don’t need to be there. Sometimes it looks like a Marvel casting call, these folks are in such great shape.

I, only the other hand, can barely press a couple of Big Macs. It’s all the more intimidating when I find many of the weight machines set to 175 pounds or even more (I try to surreptitiously resent the machines to a higher number after struggling with my baby weights but don’t think it’s fooling anyone).

Then there is the gym attire. On most it looks good but I fear I would give the impression more of being like an anorexic mime without the white face. Or, after a few minutes on some of the equipment, with a very white face.

I suppose I should not complain because I have already achieved results: I have lost enough weight to cause my pants to unexpectedly drop to the floor occasionally, but not so much weight where I need to lose it.

And I am gaining strength. I have not injured myself trying to pull open the door to a public building in more than a week.

All cynicism aside, I have received tremendous help from the staff at the gym and do feel some sense of accomplishment. The test will be whether I can stick with it, but, yes, I have learned that exercise is good and diving in extremely late is still better than never. I recommend it.

After all, what have I got to lose?

Actually, about 10 pounds around the waist and I hope I do lose it

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