There are neat ways to increase your wardrobe. For me, though I’m a bit overage, I like to be Army Strong.” I’ll omit names of places and people so there can be no retribution. My Army opponent was really a nice guy. He’d put in 8 years in difficult places and was a career man.


And he was recruiting at a local fair.


Beside his booth was a chin-up bar on which a man could demonstrate manhood. But one had to climb little iron steps to reach it.


Tote bags and black “Army Strong” T-shirts were bait.


My goal was a shirt………but it had to be won.


“Can an old guy try this?” I asked after affecting a hobble as I approached his table. “Hip,” I added. “A new one.”

He smiled.


For more use the DOOR.





    “Well, if you think you can…but be careful.”

    “A shirt has to be won, right?”

    “Yeah, we give ’em to young guys for 10 times.”

    “I see.” I let my knee give a bit. “I’d still like to try it, though I’m a bit over my best weight and I haven’t done this in a while. [Both true, by the way, as well as the “new hip.”] “Oh…I just wonder, can you still do this?” I carefully gave him the eye.

    “Tell you what”–he smiled again–“I’m not at my best either, but I’ll do two for every one you do.”

    “And if you don’t, I get a shirt?”


    That was what I was waiting for. “Great. I love a little competition. Wouldn’t take a shirt otherwise.” I removed my jacket and took my cell phone and a ring of keys out of my pocket. “Every little bit helps,” I said.

    He smiled again.

    Slowly I climbed the iron steps and reached up to the bar. I quickly did six chin-ups, said, “That’s it,” and jumped down.

    Now you know what’s coming because you wouldn’t be reading this if things had gone sour.

    Once on the bar, the recruiter did seven, slowing down at eight, making ten, nearly dying at eleven and not getting to twelve.

    So I won my shirt fair and square, and you endured my story¹.


   ¹Readers, you know I’d feel incomplete if I didn’t include a note of some kind. So here goes. Ordinarily, as you age, you have to regularly do chin-ups (which I don’t) to be able to do a serious number of them, or just several of them, and being overweight doesn’t help. BUT, a regular habit of mine seven days a week is to dive in the Lake (the one in the picture on the home page) as soon as I get up, then do a leg-friendly karate form on the dock (any boater passing by gives me a wide berth), and finally “hang” (by my arms, of course) from a chin-up bar for 60 seconds every day. This strengthens my arms over time, helps my posture, and gives my body a chance to remember it can stretch out–for the only time during the day that my body is vertical without pushing down against the Earth. It does wonders, and the other day helped me just enough to win–now, over the years–my third “Army Strong” T-shirt.