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December 31, 2006

Look Out! Tom's gonna write a novel

Tom McLaughlin

Humor by Tom McLaughlin

Here we go again. New Year Resolutions. The promises I usually give up for Lent. I take an inventory of myself and decide what improvements I should pursue. The first, and always the first, has been and will be forevermore: weight loss.

I joined the health spa a year ago and have been attending exercises at least twice weekly for a year now. I have arm and leg muscles and can run down the beach for about three or four Ocean City blocks without getting winded.

The trouble is I am still fat, especially around the middle. My spare tire will take care of the wheels on a road grader. I decided to read about this problem and noticed it was the number one problem of boomers in the nation.

They make a fortune selling those pills and exercise gadgets. I watched them as intently as I do "Bob" who's peddling male enhancement snake poison. It may not do for "Bob" what it's supposed to, but, my word, look at his teeth! Never have I seen such pure white choppers as his. I should order the stuff just for the whitening ability!

I checked out the best way to remove the unsightly bulge (around my waist) and discovered a run of 17 miles per week will burn it off. I like my tummy soft and round and not as hard as the cold, cold ground, to quote a wiser person.

I also want to read more. I was going to try the new book by Thomas Pynchon, recommended in a review, until I discovered it was over a thousand pages. Then I started looking at the foldouts again.

I also decided to write a novel. I have enough material to compose "A History of Agriculture in Maryland," or "A History of Camp David, or "My Life in Malaysia," all non-fiction. Some publishers have expressed mild interest but I doubt any three will purchase a cup of frapola mocha at Starbucks. Then, with a lightening bolt of insight, I have decided to combine all three into a fiction novel.

How, exactly, I plan to do this is not clear, but I will work with the idea every day for a year and try to come up with something. The only problem is I need to have sex or the book absolutely will not sell. No one at Camp David in the early years, Roosevelt, Truman or Eisenhower ever had sex. Their kids are adopted. I can't even imagine, Eleanor, Beth or

The only thing I know about sex in agriculture has to do with the reproductive stages of pine trees, a unit I once taught in junior high school life science. While in Malaysia I was studying for the priesthood, so that takes care of that. (Not really, but not here)

Now, all I have to do is come up with characters, a plot, weave in some corn, Mamie Eisenhower and an Islamic Republic all while riding the exercise bike at the health spa.

Nora Roberts here I come!

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