Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

Walking tall

February 15, 2013

If it were up to me, waiting rooms would have treadmills in them.

I am on a “movement” kick. Because of the nature of my job, I sit at my computer for hours upon hours. I try to move whenever I can. I park far away. I take the steps, unless it’s more than six floors. I still want to be able to breathe when I get to where I’m going.

I even watch most of my favorite television shows standing in front of the TV moving side to side. I walk up and down the hallway during commercials. Trust me, it’s a lot cheaper than buying a treadmill.

Obviously, this started when “The Biggest Loser” began its new season. I can’t sit and watch Jillian Michaels. I’m afraid she will come out of the television and shout, “Drop and give me fifty.”

I’ve come a long way since the first season of the show. I used to watch it while enjoying a Snickers.

I do sit for “Downton Abbey.” The best lines are usually said in whispers, or while the music is swelling. So, you have to pay attention.

Last week, I showed up an hour early for my dental appointment (see last week’s column). I paced in the hallway, up and down, back and forth, the entire time. It was a good mini workout. The dental student came out and got me. This week, I went back for a follow-up appointment. The same dental student found me in the waiting room pacing.

He said, “So, do people think you’re crazy when they see you pacing in the waiting room?”

I told him, “I don’t care what other people think.”

It was a half truth. You develop a thick skin when you stand up in front of strangers and tell jokes, especially when you’re telling not-so-good ones. Strangers have no power over me.

I may not have cared about people in the waiting room, but I did care what the dental student thought of me. He was someone with whom I interacted. He wasn’t a random stranger. And he must have thought I was crazy if he thought other people might think I was crazy. Of course, we all know the truth. I’m one hundred percent certifiable. I don’t care if strangers know it. My friends and family all know it. I just don’t like acquaintances to know it. Insanity is harder to justify to people I barely know.

Also, I have a feeling that if I had a flat stomach, no one would question my working out in public. It would almost be expected. Back when I lived in Los Angeles (my friends would attest that I have a lot of stories that start with this phrase), I used to see men and women in Venice doing chin-ups on the playground and squats in the sand. They ran and/or roller-skated up and down the beach. Venice was the home of Muscle Beach, where people worked out in public all the time. In Hollywood, nothing counts unless people see you doing it (ask any screenwriter in Starbucks).

I am not likely to stop pacing anytime soon, but, in the future, I guess I’ll be a little bit less obvious about it.



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