RIP, Jack LaLanne

Workout day 42. Blog day 24.

@postaday, #postaday2011

Everyone has a Jack LaLanne story, this one is mine. My mother is young. She just turned 70, plays tennis daily, swims, walks her German Shepherd, Helga, who is often referred to as one of my sisters. The dog weighs more than my mother, who I guess is shrinking thanks to osteoporosis and age. As for aging, she’s kicking and screaming and refuses to go there. She looks good. She has impossible standards about weight and I’ll never measure up, which might explain my daily fitness quest. At least I’m doing it for me and not for her. Anymore.

The Jack LaLanne show started airing on television in 1959. My earliest recollection is watching the show with my mom in the morning. We’d get on the floor in front of the black and white TV and follow the exercises in our pajamas. It was 1963 or so, because I remember having my little sister there and my brother was a baby. Mom was driven to lose the baby weight.

One thing stands out in my mind: Jack gave someone off camera hell for not doing the exercises. I don’t know who else could be in that studio way back then, but I doubt it was more than a camera man and some other technical people. I asked my mom why he was yelling. Anyway, as we all grew up it became apparent that Jack was legendary for having a temper and being a showman.

I don’t know what it was about those coveralls, but Honolulu had a mayor who would wear them as well: Frank Fasi. Both of these guys were a bit small in stature but big in personality. Napoleon Complex? Whatever. RIP to both of them, and of course the world is a better place because they passed through.

Jack died at 96 years old, or years young, depending on your perspective. Spunk and drive might just keep us all alive.