When Paul puts his mind to something

Published 5:25 pm Thursday, December 27, 2012

My own succinct observations, otherwise known as naggings, regarding Paul’s common choice for breakfasts, “You realize eating smoked gouda and bread is basically starting your day with a big helping of saturated fat, right?” and lunch, “Peanut butter again? You’ve got to eat more vegetables.” pretty much went unheeded.

I realize, being a beanpole, there’s nothing more annoying to people than to have someone who looks like me point out unhealthy habits, especially when I often imbibe in kind, but it truly was coming from a place of concern. I was also grateful that Paul decided to take advantage of a new ‘wellness check’ in his insurance policy and went for a long-overdue medical tune-up. When his own doctor, another beanpole, showed him the results of his cholesterol test, my man leapt into action. Or rather, jogged.

He ran his first half marathon last weekend.

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When it finally occurs to him, Paul has a startling ability to zero in on a goal like a predator drone and remain remarkably self-disciplined. This is a man who went from, in a course of three decades, studying aerospace engineering at Austin, dropping out to attend Comedy del Arte in California, where he learned mime and juggling (on a unicycle!), transitioning into stand-up comedy, writing and producing late night television and finally embracing his inner gardener and becoming an internationally-known ‘Rosarian’ (knower of all things rose).

He’s just that kind of guy. He can’t simply enjoy wine; he has to learn everything about it: regions, vintages and history. He can’t just enjoy the pride of having the ability to cook a signature meal on the grill- he has to learn to make a rustic tomato tart from scratch that takes two days to prep.

And this winter’s homemade beer batch is currently cheerfully fermenting in his office.

So when Paul decided he had 30 pounds to shed, by gum, they would be shed in 10 weeks. Case closed. No more questions, your honor.

This undertaking began with cruelly turning his back on his former great love, flour, and steadfastly creating one meal a day that was nothing but vegetables and protein- generally a salad that rivaled a pile of raked leaves in the front yard and topped with a can of tuna. No more chips, thank you very much, during television viewing- raw almonds now arrived in bulk. Cookies and cakes were simply sneered at but the two nightly martinis remained.