A Visit from the One Percent Demon

As I drove into the local high school parking lot on Thanksgiving Day, I found myself the only car in the parking lot. The school is normally a very busy place, so it felt a bit odd to be the only person there. I had a little window of time to burn off a few of the calories I was going to consume later that day, and was taking advantage of the opportunity. It was my same usual work-out routine. I run the bleachers, do a bunch of lunge-walk steps, I run 6-8 200s, and then finish with a couple of miles. Not bad for an old dude, if I do say so myself!

As I was just finishing my 200s and was walking around the second corner of the track, a heinous-looking Liberal Demon came and perched itself on my shoulder. Without even a “hello” or a “Happy Thanksgiving” the little demon started in on me.

The demon, which also smelled something like a putrid budget rotting in the US Senate, says, “Don’t you feel guilty about this?” I thought it might have been referring to my taking time away from my family, so I said “No, I spent the morning with my daughter, and she needed a break from me anyway.” It responded, “No, no, no. I am not talking about relationships; I am talking about your excess fitness.” “Excess fitness?” I responded. “Yes. My boss, Barney Frank, has determined that you are in the top one percent of fitness for old guys, and that is simply not fair. He wants to fix this situation before he retires.”

After an exchange of philosophical thoughts on fairness in general, I asked the demon, “Well, how would you propose that we make this situation more just and fair?” With the usual “You must be a dimwitted conservative” look he says, “With a fitness tax, you moron!” He goes on: “We take the results of all your discipline, pain and hard work, and the related fitness you have acquired, and put a tax on it. We then redistribute that fitness to others who are less fit. It is really just that simple.” I was very confused as I pondered the possibility of the government’s ability to tax literally anything and everything. So the only retort I could come up with was, “So who are you going to redistribute my fitness to?”

“We have three categories of people we redistribute to – and this is all a matter of political and social justice. We redistribute to fat people, lazy people, and people who can’t for reasons of physical disability, attain any level of fitness.” He goes on to tell me that in order for an appropriate level of fitness to be redistributed, half of my workouts would need to be taken from me.

“I get the disabled part, and I am happy to allocate part of my hard earned fitness to them. That sounds like a good idea. But I am not sure I get the part about allocating part of my hard work to people who simply lack the self-discipline, as an act of their own free will, to earn their own fitness. That doesn’t seem fair to me. More importantly, if you give them my fitness, they will never need to learn the essentials of personal discipline. And you are going to be effectively asking me to quit working out…and use that time and energy to eat large numbers of hot dogs and watch Seinfeld reruns.” He got really angry with me at that point and said, “Just because we tax you, doesn’t give you the right to quit producing. You are morally obligated to use your fitness for the benefit of others who are essentially needier.”

The conversation was getting increasingly hostile as the Liberal Demon flew out of sight. “You are a very mean man, Mr. Nygaard” were the last words I heard the demonic spirit mutter. And it sounded like a little chorus of fellow demons (who were off in the background) was directing a chorus of Lyin’ Axx Bxtch right at me.

After he left, I took the trash bags that I had brought to the track, and collected two large bags of trash left over from the football season. I wonder – can my civic attitude be taxed too? I guess that might be Maxine Waters next job.

 

 

About the Author

Mr. Nygaard is a Managing Director with Atticus Advisers, a marketing consulting firm in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

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