31 OCT 06: WELL, WELL, WELL???
Something told me I needed to visit the Phenix City Walgreens Monday. I didn't really need to go there. I'd seen the coupons for chocolate in the Sunday newspaper ad - but chocolate will be half-priced all over town Wednesday, while all sorts of children grow tired of eating it.
I listened to that voice inside me, drove to the Phenix City Walgreens - and stumbled upon a touring bus called the "Walgreens Wellness Tour." Rock music was playing from it, so perhaps they hired an out-of-work D.J. from Club Roc across the highway.
The Walgreens Wellness Bus offered five free health screenings, along with all sorts of helpful pamphlets on health topics. One of the tests was for my body fat amount - so it somehow didn't make sense that the bus was sponsored by Hershey's chocolate.
I climbed about the wellness bus behind a woman whom I think said she was 80 years old. She needed help going up the six steep stairs - but she made it, so maybe all those screenings for her were beside the point.
As I waited for the screenings to begin, I waited at the back of the wellness bus. Walgreens spent plenty of money on it, putting an Aquos high definition television against the back wall. But you can't really appreciate HDTV when it keeps showing commercials for Tums and Os-Cal.
The wait was less than five minutes before I was invited to a nook of the wellness bus for the first screening. I'd call it a "cavity" of the bus, but they weren't checking people's teeth....
The first test of the day required a stick in my right middle finger, to draw blood for a cholesterol check. I wouldn't be told the number until the end of the screenings - so the bandage around my finger served the same purpose as an old-fashioned string.
"I understand it's a really nice TV," the attendant at the next screening area told me. Her job was to check my blood pressure, so she doesn't really have time to look at that HDTV on the back wall. And she probably goes shopping on Sundays, while the men involved with the wellness bus hold the fanciest tailgaring party in town.
For the second time in recent months, my blood pressure measured on the high side - 132 over 78. That's right at the border line for "prehypertension." So maybe it's time to buy caller ID, to screen the annoying telemarketers.
The attendant quickly rattled off several possible reasons for my high blood pressure score. "You may be on medication, you could have just eaten lunch, you're a little bit nervous...." The right answer appeared to be the second one -- only I call a few chocolate chip cookies a snack, thank you.
Then the screenings became personal, as the wellness tour team checked my body fat. Years ago, this was done by pinching your side slightly above the waist. The older I get, the more I wish nurses and attendants still checked this way....
But no: nowadays, your body fat somehow is figured by holding the "Omron Body Fat Analyzer." It's like holding a video game player far in front of you - only there are no buttons for shooting at space aliens.
The Omron Body Fat Analyzer somehow determined 28 percent of my body is body fat. I can almost see a doctor taking that device to a Halloween party tonight - and either being the talk of the room, or tossed out for ruining everybody else's fun.
Based on this analysis, I have a very high BMI for my age of 28.9 percent. That stands for Body Mass Index - not someone else trying to compete with the Burkard Bulk Mail Index of spam.
The attendant suggested I can lower the body mass index with "more exercise." OK, I did it - running 3.5 miles non-stop Monday night, for the second outing in a row. Now if Walgreens will offer discounts on fat-free potato chips, as well as the regular kind....
The last stop inside the wellness bus was a bone density screening. All I had to do for this is take off my right shoe and sock, and place my foot in a white ultrasound device. If it was so brilliant, I should have asked it to name my shoe size.
The good news is that I have "desirable" bone density, according to the ultrasound test. My "T-Score" was a positive 1.8. A negative T-score would be bad - so this must work the exact opposite way of golf.
I climbed off the wellness bus, but there was still unfinished business. The wellness team handed me an envelope with my cholesterol score. Part of me wondered if I'd won a Walgreens gift card, for being their millionth customer....
Inside the envelope was a pleasant surprise. My cholesterol level was 176, which is considered desirable. Considering my body fat (and I've known for years I'm overweight), I expected the cholesterol score to be much higher -- something closer to Andrew Jones's batting average.
For going through these screenings, the wellness bus team presented me with a Walgreens bag full of stuff. In fact, it was two bags combined in one - so I have twice the coupons for nicotine patches and gum, which I should give to the next people who hit me up for cigarettes.
The Walgreens bag also contained coupons for Beano, booklets on reducing your risk of heart attack - and between the combined bags, I took him three small tubes of toothpaste. Either the wellness team had heard the same voice about me showing up, or the team realized it was in Alabama.
BLOG UPDATE: Advance voting for the general election began across Georgia Monday. So if you think you're going to die before next Tuesday, hurry to the polls and vote....
An early problem developed at the Columbus advance voting locations. The state's computerized database of voters apparently was out of service for about an hour. It's at times like this that Secretary of State Cathy Cox may actually be glad she ran for Governor, and not reelection.
GPB Radio reported Governor Sonny Perdue was an advance voter Monday. In fact, he mailed an absentee ballot from the Governor's mansion. At least he had the brains to avoid mailing it from the land he owns in central Florida.
But here's the strange thing: wife Mary Perdue plans to vote the old-fashioned way - by going to a polling place on Election Day. So if the Governor shows up with her for TV cameras, won't that prove he's NOT an absentee? Or is he going to be breaking ground on two new factories, even while the polls are open?
And while we're asking questions: what was Governor Sonny Perdue thinking, by accusing Mark Taylor of having a history of illegal drugs? The Republican has avoided personal attacks in all the public appearances and commercials I've seen -- so he didn't have to take the "high road" like this.
Governor Sonny Perdue answered a question about illegal drugs in Georgia during a Sunday debate, by saying Mark Taylor used alcohol and illegal drugs in front of his children. Maybe the incumbent has seen the polls showing he has a big lead - and this is his idea of compassion, to let his opponent back into the race.
Sonny Perdue told reporters outside the debate room that Mark Taylor admitted drinking beer while driving a car with his children, about 20 years ago. Yeow - even the Kenneth Walker case has a four-year statute of limitations.
The alleged "low blow," as WDAK radio called it Monday, overshadowed a new and potentially clinching campaign commercial for Sonny Perdue. It actually shows former Governor Zell Miller endorsing the incumbent Republican. Mark Taylor hasn't even given us an ad with a comment from his wife - much less Cathy Cox.
As for other campaign races, did you hear Rep. Lynn Westmoreland's opponent on the evening news Monday? Democrat Mike McGraw said when it comes to the voters, "They can think I'm Tim McGraw; they can think I'm Dr. Phil McGraw...." But if the National Rifle Association doesn't endorse him, he must not be Quick Draw McGraw.
You're probably overdosing on campaign commercials anyway, so we'll stop there and check other news from the last couple of days:
+ A public hearing was held on future plans for the Army Reserve building on Macon Road. Some nearby residents are concerned that it might be turned into a homeless shelter. Others were stunned when Assistant City Manager David Arrington listed seven interested parties in the land - and none of them was named Wal-Mart.
+ A new national survey ranked Macon among the ten most dangerous small cities in the U.S., and the 20th most dangerous metropolitan area overall. Columbus was NOT on any "most dangerous" list - so if Jim Wetherington loses the mayor's race, maybe the officers backing him should move to Macon and help restore order.
(The survey found the most dangerous city in the country is St. Louis. I'm not surprised by this -- because a group of Tigers went into that city last week, and failed to get out alive.)
+ Columbus State received a number-four seed in the NCAA women's soccer tournament. But WRBL reported Armstrong Atlantic State received a number-three seed, even though C.S.U. defeated A.A.S.U. in Sunday's conference finals. So you see, Coach Tuberville?! Playoffs don't always get it right, either....
+ Former Georgia running back Terrell Davis was nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I think he deserves to go in - if only so his mother can serve Chunky Soup to everyone at the induction ceremony.
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