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Thursday March 6, 1997

Monahan's Well

By Jerry Curry

300 pounds of Jello-like conundrum

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In the past week or so I suddenly have been forced to find an answer to
a conundrum which, I am told, many people have wrestled most of their
lives but, until now, I have not been faced with this.
We shall call it. "300 pounds of Jello-like conundrum." That title is
not quite correct. It is more or less an approximation. Actually, it is
302 pounds, according to the scale, and it doesn't wiggle, or squiggle
in any way like Jello (which the federal government recently has decreed
is an adequate equivalent of prime rib) but it does describe the riddle
which I must resolve.
First a confession. I am the 300 pounds of Jello-like conundrum.
For centuries, I have weighed a svelte 255 pounds. Ever since I was a
sophomore in high school, that has been my weight. Two-hundred-fifty
five pounds has suited me and my disposition admirably. True the ages
did bring some changes - a more aggressive waist line is one.
Now, for those of you who do not know we are in the midst of Lent, the
40 days of Advent before the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus
Christ. In Lent, it is both tradition and obligatory to take on a
discipline which you might otherwise not contemplate, no matter how late
in Lent the discipline begins. We must note that my Lenten discipline
this year did start late. It started Sunday night when my mother called
from the United States and asked about my discipline this Lenten season.
Alas, I did not have such a discipline but I had one ready to order, a
303-pound one which not even Val knows about but which my loved one
might have made comment. I do not know. But such comment may have been
when I switched to wearing suspenders rather than belts. I made the
switch because suspenders are more comfortable.
The Lenten mission then is this: Turn 300 pounds of Jello-like conundrum
into 255 pounds of svelte contentment. This will be, I have decided, not
all that difficult.
On Sunday night after the conversation with my mother, I began. Val has
joined me because she has ballooned up to something like 125 pounds and
which she says is too much. On me 125 pounds would mean I had spent
several years in the Hanoi Hilton where room service was (possibly still
is) not all that prompt and they did not place roses on the breakfast
dishes. Still no one was expected to tip, I am told by some who enjoyed
the accommodations there. Personally I have never had the honor,
principally because I have a high survival instinct and am very good at
avoiding things I do not want to do - like acknowledging I weigh 303
So my Lenten discipline began a couple of weeks late.
It started on Sunday.
I am going to lose the excess poundage by Easter. I am going to do this
and not die. Because I can focus quite well. Val has a little more
common sense than I do, therefore she does not focus.
First two or three items of background. Once upon a time I was involved
for a length of time in things military. One of these things military
was an inordinate fascination, bordering on the fanatical, with staying
fit. Staying fit means proper diet and excessive exercise.
When you have fallen from the altar of fitness, you must pick your self
up immediately and climb back on. You must focus. You must become one
with the mission.
On Sunday, the first 48-hours of the old military diet began. This
initial 48 hours involves taking no solid foods and drinking only pure,
clean water. This process also is called urging the body and the soul of
all impurities. It also means intensifying your exercise regimen, if you
also have not neglected this, or starting an exercise regiment if you
have been so remiss as to have limited this.
No problem. Except.
Val also is involved remember. She jumped wholeheartedly into the
exercise part of the discipline. But she had questions about the 48-hour
purge. And, like Eve in the Garden of Eden, we did not make it 48 hours.
Sometime Monday night we broke the initial 48 hours of focus. Val says
any doctor in the world would tell me I was insane if I had continued. I
felt so guilty Tuesday morning. I added 30 minutes to the Ti Chi before
dawn and did an extra 20 push-ups which has nothing to do with Tai Chi
but a lot to do with the U.S. Marine Corps.
But I have had my revenge. She now complains of muscular aches and
pains. She does not understand why she must do stretches before she
begins the regimen. And she does not understand why this regimen must be
done to the strains of Beethoven.
We continue our attack on the bulges she does not have and the bulges I
do have.
In three days, I am down to 300 pounds. By Easter, I will be my pleasant
thing 255 pound self and, if I fail, she asks. That is not likely I
reply. It is possible I will fail. It also is possible the sun will
explode before Summer.
But neither is likely.

Letter from the Editor

By Steve Patterson
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Spring is in the air and it won't
be long until bees are buzzing,
flowers are blooming and (gulp!)
diamondbacks are rattlin'. A couple
of weeks ago, my buddy Alan
Chandler told about a place called
Rattlesnake Cave.
This past Tuesday I took a ride
out to the landfill with City Man
ager David Mills. I asked Mills if
he would show me the cave and he
readily - almost too much so-
agreed. I'm here to tell you that the
rattlin' started before we ever
reached the cave... it was the rattl-

in' of thousands of keys.
At any given time during his work
day, our city manager is in posses-

sion of more keys than the Hilton
hotel chain. The amazing thing is,
David knows where every key goes.
I suspect David's job is very secure
since it would take a substantial
investment in a mainframe com
puter for the city keep track of the
According to David, Rattlesnake
Cave is the only known cave in
Ward County. During the city's
acquisition of land for a municiple
dump, it was required by the state
that the cave be surveyed and
mapped. Two high-dollar spelunkers
were brought in and they crawled
on their bellies like - well, like
snakes through the narrow entrance.
Apparently, one can almost stand
up and walk once you squeeze
through the mouth. Up until Tues
day, I always thought that to be a
professional cave explorer would be
a glamorous job. After seeing the
cave and a few of its namesake
occupants, I'm convinced those
spelunkers were probably on a
waiting list for lobotomies.
There, at the mouth of cave, were
at least three medium-size rattle
snakes sunning themselves on some
flat rocks. They were still very
sluggish from our recent winter and
only one showed the slightest
movement upon our approach.
As I stood there a safe distance
away from the snakes, I had a
strange feeling that I have only
experienced a couple of times in
my life. Once was many years ago
off the coast of the Yucatan Penn-
ensula in Mexico when I actually
paid to go on a scuba diving trip to
the Cave of the Sleeping Sharks. I
remember thinking to myself, "Am
I stupid for being here, or am I
stupid for paying to be here?" After
I surfaced from that dive, I put
myself on a waiting list for a disco-
unted Mexican lobotomy.
But there, at Rattlesnake Cave, I
took comfort in the thought that I
was just stupid for being there and
that I had not paid to be there.
David was explaining how there
was no telling how many snakes
were in the cave. "Could be dozens
of them, or it could just be those
three... who knows, unless you want
crawl on in there and see."
Now, anybody who knows David
Mills belives that he is a smart and
rational man. He has shown himself
to be well qualified for the many
challenges of being a city manager.
City manager is not a job for hot-
heads or half-wits. So, having said
that, it is completely beyond my
comprehension why an otherwise
rational city manager would take
leave of his senses and toss a little
rock at one of those sleeping snak-
(A note to those animal rights
activists among our readership:
David did not toss this rock with
the intention of hurting or killing
the snake... although I think he
should have.)
The little rock bounced off the
back of the snake and the reptile
did not move, at least not right
David was saying something to
the effect of, "See there, it's still
asleep. It probably doesn't even
know we're - YOW! LOOKIT!
You must realize that several
amazing things happened at once
out there at the mouth of Rattle
snake Cave on Tuesday afternoon.
As a trained journalist, I will try to
my best to recreate for you what I
Our usually rational and sane city
manager was bending down to pick
up another pebble to toss at the
sleeping snake when the snake
decided that it did not like being
awakened from its slumber by
having rocks chunked at it.
The little devil, measuring about
two and a half feet, snapped itself
straighter than a walking cane with
such force that it flew off the rock
in the direction of - yep, you
guessed it - City Manager David
At exactly that same nano-second,
David put about four feet of air
between the soles of his shoes and
the ground. Those of you who
know David, know that he is a man
of substantial porportions, and to
see a man of his size move with
such speed and agility was - well -
nothing less than amazing.
I wanted to snap a photo of the
scene with my camera, but I found
it impossible to take attention away
from the buzz of an angry snake
looking for something to bite.
In the spirit of the moment, David
and I had a little walking race back
to the truck. I suggested to David
that we could take one of his key
rings and seal up the mouth of the
cave, but we decided it would take
a third man to help us carry it.

I know I promised in this space
last week that I would write about
the Monahans News on the Net, but
the above story was too good to
leave out. Next, week, I promise...
Get-well wishes go out to a good
friend of the paper, Police Chief
David Watts.
Happy birthday greetings go out
to Carolyn Cunningham, who
doesn't mind saying she has reac-
hed the FIVE-OH and "it feels
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Copyright 1997 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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