The Wheel: An Under Desk Peddler Odyssey

Going nowhere fast

Moss may grow fat on a rolling stone, but you can grow both fat and mossy by simply sitting at a desk.

This is an issue for many a writer, this writer included. Unless you’re an embedded war correspondent (or, with the risk of being redundant, a White House reporter), writing is mostly a sedentary gig. You don’t move, sans a few wriggling digits over the keys. It’s like the old phone book ad—you let your fingers do the walking. And that’s about all the exercise you get.

Add to that all the requisite binge drinking and the sourdough conspiracy that defined the early quarantine (a sinister plot to keep us fat, dumb and happy), and your waistline becomes a wasteland. 

Like most Americans, I put on a few pounds during the quarantine. This is why I finally clicked the “Buy Now” button on Amazon and awaited delivery of my industrial-grade Deskcycle. It’s essentially a stationary bike stripped of every aspect of bicycleness except the pedals, and it fits under a desk. Ergo, it’s an “under desk peddler.” The Wheel, as I call it, began our immobile journey at my desk but I later relocated it under a coffee table near the TV so we could watch Nordic Noir series together.

It’s like a spin class but without the commute, contagion and class. And implacable Swedish police detective Kurt Wallander is there. The basic tenet of my wheel-based weight-loss program was “go nowhere fast,” which eventually became “go nowhere at a more sustainable pace.” In addition to pedaling the Wheel, I added a calorie-tracking app for good measure. Like me, you might be astonished to learn that a bottle of red wine contains around 600 calories—basically a meal in itself. Vanity, I’ve found, inspires moderation.

And yes, I acknowledge that I’m basically turning a rat wheel made for a human, but it keeps me away from the cheese. I also accept that even if I win the rat race I’m still a rat, but I’m also a leaner, meaner rat who, in a few months, shed 25 pounds.

I can now play the lead in the motion picture of my life—rather than my own paunchy sidekick. They will call the film The Pedaluman and it will be about how I best a rival Deskcycle gang—basically The Wild One meets a Jane Fonda workout tape. They should make it soon, since I’m all out of Wallander … and the Wheel keeps turning.

Daedalus Howell puts the pedal to the meddle at daedalushowell.com.

Daedalus Howell
Daedalus Howellhttps://daedalushowell.com
Daedalus Howell is the editor of the North Bay Bohemian and Pacific Sun. He is the author, most recently, of Quantum Deadline and is the writer-director of the feature film Pill Head.
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