Egerton Chang, Contributor
I started just under three years ago. That is, when I was almost 60 years old. That is going to the gym.
And I am happy to say that I have been fairly dutiful. Maybe that's because moderate/strenuous exercise produces endorphins. These same endorphins are produced when having sex, laughing and doing other emotionally good things.
It is hard to say whether exercise produces happy/happier people, or whether happy people exercise. One thing is for sure: I have never heard an argument or fight 'bruk' at my gym.
Now, virtually 'every' morning that I attend Spartan, I see a mature gentleman go about his exercise very unobtrusively and with the minimum of fuss.
I have admired this gentleman for his dedication, sense of purpose and methodical approach to the gym, and, I suppose, to his life.
He gets around essentially from memory, by feeling for the walls and using his towel, which he flicks out continuously, to detect/recognise objects in his way. You see, he is blind (pun intended).
After observing this gentleman for a number of months, I was so moved as to one day introduce myself.
His name is Lindon Palmer. He met in a motor vehicle accident in 1990 which left him completely blind, his left side practically paralysed and his hip and both feet broken. It left him in a wheelchair. He spent quite a few months in the hospital. The driver of the other vehicle actually served time in jail.
At the time of the accident, he was a deputy commissioner of police.
Mr Palmer said he went to Professor Golding (from Mona Rehab) who told him he would never walk again. Fortunately, after almost three years, his son recommended that he see Dr Paul Wright, who told him that the nerve in the left leg would eventually return but that it would be useless if he allowed the muscle to die. In fact, there were signs of the muscle atrophying already. Dr Wright told him to go to a gym and to exercise the leg, starting with little or no weight, then adding weights little by little.
It is now more than 19 years since Mr Palmer has been going to Spartan. So long, and with such consistency, that the gym recently gave him free membership for life. He says that all the results that can be seen have been linked solely to his gym work.
Mr Palmer says he treats the gym as his work. He must go to 'work' Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays unless something unavoidable comes up, in which case he reschedules for another day. He enjoys the camaraderie and friendships. It not only keeps him physically fit (witness the number of compliments received - especially from the ladies), but also mentally sharp.
Lindon says that he 'hates' anyone helping him (like opening doors), for it often leaves him disoriented, and in a few instances, it has actually been dangerous to him. He says he 'sees' by faith and has never used a cane. However, he fully appreciates their kind gestures.
He is obviously an old-timer at the gym, for he knows virtually everyone by their voice. And virtually everyone knows him. For he is such a good-natured soul. Always jocular and jovial, he says he keeps himself active by going to his church, association meetings, and the beach.
Mr Palmer, a Methodist, also speaks of this abiding faith in God. He says he talks to God regularly. His motto, he says, is "Think no evil, speak no evil and do no evil." So much so that when the convicted driver of the other car, after finishing his jail time, came to apologise, Lindon gave him words of encouragement and some money.
His gym work has resulted in him looking more than 10 years younger than he is. He jokingly asked me how old I thought he looked. I underestimated by 15 years.
Mr Palmer is exemplary in exhibiting the benefits of doing regular and consistent gym work and highly recommends it, especially for the middle-aged and older, and the afflicted.
In a column titled 'Second-hand smoke and Gov't's dithering" published February 19, 2012, I ended as follows:
"It is similarly ironic that in May 2011, the then opposition spokesman on health, Dr Fenton Ferguson, expressed disappointment with the Jamaican Government's delay in implementing a ban on smoking in public areas.
"Now that Dr Ferguson is the minister of health, can we take it as gospel that the Tobacco Control Bill will become law before Jamaica celebrates its 50th birthday?
"Jamaica demands it!"
Well, this is my last column before the Jamaica 50 celebrations and this bill is yet to be tabled, much less passed.
I suppose Minister Ferguson would say they are 'on it' as he speaks.
Which brings to mind an advertisement I saw on cable a few years ago. It showed a man in mechanic overalls answering a phone. The person on the other line was enquiring for the umpteenth time about her car, which was in the garage for repairs. The mechanic assured her, "Yes, ma'am. They are on it as I speak." Then the camera panned to the car, which had obviously not been worked on for weeks, with two mechanics sleeping 'on it'.
Traffic Ticket Amnesty - Again
On September 18, 2011, I wrote recommending a traffic ticket amnesty. I ended thusly:
"This moratorium should not be restricted to a specific period but should be ongoing. This would relieve the stress of wondering if you could be detained for past ticket(s). If after that amnesty provision is made available, someone is caught in these checks, he/she would have only himself/herself to blame. I predict that this amnesty would produce many millions for the government coffers."
I was about to add this to the list of persons being 'on it' when, behold, the amnesty came into effect earlier this week. Not without its headaches, however. Perhaps we need to put more people 'on it' again.
Egerton Chang is a businessman. Email feedback to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.