Slavery to a pedometer and Striking Distance

I never thought I would end up like this.  I’m a slave to the numbers on my pedometer. 

Everyday my self-worth is at risk.  It’s like academia’s mantra, Publish or Perish.  I must walk 10,000 steps or I’m a failure.  This all started, as I’ve written before, when I purchased a Japanese-made digital pedometer more than a year ago.   (Does America make anything anymore?)  The instrument has slowly but surely taken over my life. 

At one time during the past year, I coined a walking term.  Striking Distance.  Striking Distance is the number of steps I need to take before midnight to reach my goal of 10,000.  It is something I usually assess around 6 in the evening.  It has to be something within reason.  If I need 5,000 steps, it is futile, not worth the effort, and I accept the horrible truth about myself. 

 Striking Distance has changed recently.  It once was 3,500 more steps before midnight.  Now it is 4,500.  I even have a 4,500-step route that I know I can achieve even if I wait until 11:15 p.m.

Now a new Striking Distance emerged.  I realized tonight on my way back by car from The Gelato Spot that I am within Striking Distance of 4 million steps for the year, by the end of December.   Two scoops of gelato, by the way, is what the monthly loser buys the champion, and tonight I collected my August prize from Nebra, who won in July.

For the year, I have walked 3,136,051 measured steps.  That means I have to average a fraction more than 9,390 steps a day through December 31, a number that doesn’t at all frighten me.  I averaged 11,824 last month.  Nebra has a much more difficult task to reach 4 million.  She will have to do 12,223 a day.

Anyway, to see how ridiculous this pedometer thing has gotten, here we were driving home from gelato and as we approached the house I asked Nebra to stop the car and let me out.  It was after 11 o’clock and I was still 600 steps short.  I must, mandated almost by my little black instrument, to walk two more blocks.  No problem.  Another 10,000 is now in the books, a 32nd straight day I have not felt like a failure.  But it was victory and slavery at the same time.

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