Friday, March 07, 2008

Mummies, Dive Bombers, and Tyra Banks

I did my annual photo-shoot in Patty’s classroom. Her 6th graders study ancient Egypt and make life size mummies to culminate the Egyptian history section. My job is to photograph each student and mummy. The pictures go to their parents.

When the photo-shoot is finished, Patty assigns the class to interview me. I sit on a stool in front of them and they raise a hand to ask a question. After answering, I'm allowed to ask a question back. They are well mannered but at that age they can be pretty blunt.

First question: “Mr. Franklin, I’m Joey Smith (not his real name). How old are you?”

“I’m 71," I answered. A pause followed . . . I could almost hear their youthful minds working: Whoa, this guy’s older than Methuselah.

Remember when you were 12? Anyone over 35 was OLD! Imagine what 71 sounds like. One student asked what I did with my time. I said that I had written two fitness books. Another hand went up. “How many have you sold?” I could imagine the next question might be about my annual income. Barack Obama gets off much easier.

When the interview was finished, I showed them an exercise to develop upper-body strength. I must say that they seem impressed that this guy their grandparents’ age could knock out a set of Dive Bombers. I asked some of them to come forward and try a few. They did pretty well, and there is always a gymnast or two (usually girls) who have no trouble at all.

Then, it was time for their P.E. period. I followed them out to the playing fields. I got my dog Tyra out of the truck and gave the kids a short demonstration of fetch. Tyra is quite a performer. She doesn’t just go after the ball and bring it back. She has the ability to catch it over-the-shoulder at full speed, before it ever hits the ground. We named her Tyra after Tyra Banks, because she is brown and beautiful. It's suits her, but so would have the name Jerry, after Jerry Rice.

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