Exercise and Anglerfish

Healthy me
Sick me

I intended to exercise this morning but my pets conspired against me. I haven’t exercised for twelve days due to a bout of bronichiitis that shows no sign of improvement. I fear that all my weight-lifting gains are fading fast. Compare me twelve days ago (left) to me now (right):

Notice how the glow is gone?

Being under the weather, I decided to resume my exercises slowly. I rolled out the yoga mat, turned around to put in a DVD, and presto, here comes Charlie.

She’d been missing that mat these past twelve days.

I am a marshmallow, plus I feel a bit guilty on behalf of all humanity, so I defer to most other species. If my dog wants the mat, she can have the mat. 

I turned to the treadmill. Nothing challenging enough to set me coughing, but maybe a moderate walk up a hill. Just enough to generate a glow. Or so I planned.

I went to fill up my water bottle and wouldn’t you know it? The cat and dog are clearly in cahoots.

I figured this was a sign, from nature if not from God, that I should stick to mental exercise today.

Again not wanting to challenge myself too much, I began with a picture book.

Here it is: Bizarre Beasts by Beatrice Fontanel. I thought it would be cute — just look at the cover. That is one cute frog.

Alas, this picture book contains the stuff of nightmares. Specifically, the nightmare that is the anglerfish.

Okay, everybody knows the anglerfish is the stuff of nightmares.

But most people expect nightmares like this:

What Nemo did not discover is that the worst nightmare is on the other end of the fish. Let me quote from the picture book:

The male anglerfish, which is only a tenth the size of the female, attaches himself to the skin of a female with his jaws and remains there permanently. Once he is attached, all his internal organs apart from his testicles weaken and become paralysed. A female anglerfish can collect a number of males throughout her lifetime.”

Aren’t picture books the best? Only a kids’ book would say something like that in exactly the same way it might say, “The peregrine falcon is the fastest animal on earth” or “Unlike most mammals, a female rat is capable of becoming pregnant even while she’s nursing.” Those are fun facts. Kids’ books love fun facts.

But getting your face stuck on some giant and remaining stuck there slowly atrophying for your entire life, watching others — perhaps brothers — approach and latch on and suffer the same fate, living out your entire life as a sort of sentient sperm bank — ooh, that’s not fun. Just imagine it. Hmm. Is that enough mental exercise for you yet? I think it’s enough for me.

I shall leave off all forms of exercise for the day and go look at my own picture book, My Cat Isis. The full-colour illustrations arrived in the mail two weeks ago and I cannot stop staring at them. The artist, Virginie Egger, has gone beyond my wildest hopes. I will post the cover as soon as I get a green light from Virginie and Kids Can Press. The book is due for Spring release. (It contains plenty of fun facts but no nightmares — well, nothing as scary as an anglerfish.)

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