My final preparations for The Great Saunter, my epic 32-mile walk around Manhattan island, which I agreed to do because I actually thought I was agreeing to The Great Flaunter, an event in which I could flaunt my knowledge of old Alfred Hitchcock movies:

  • I hurt my right ankle.

While this initially seemed like bad news, since I intended to be using both ankles during the saunter, I came to realize that, in fact, there is a more positive way to look at this. Having an injury on the right side keeps me balanced, since I already had an inflamed tendon on my left foot. I am now perfectly symmetrical, which is a big help when buying clothes from online catalogs.

  • I sunburned my neck.

During training walks, I covered my arms, my legs, my face, my sneakers and much of the bathroom mirror with sun block. (Note: Next time either don’t use the spray can or look where the spray hole is.)

While cleaning off the mirror, I forgot my neck.

Wouldn’t you know, that’s exactly where the sun went.

  • I bought five bottles of Gatorade.

It is important, during The Great Saunter, to keep hydrated and replace any electrolytes you lose. I have already lost my electrolytes and think they may be in the garage or possibly in the dirty clothes bin in the bathroom. They really are hard to find because they’re so damn small.

In any case, to replace them, I purchased enough Gatorade to float the Queen Mary. I bought so much because it was buy-two-get-three-free day at the supermarket. I got all the different varieties, including tasteless, even more tasteless and completely unpalatable.

  • I discovered that the backpack I was planning on using for the saunter, the backpack I had not used in 11 years, the backpack belonging to my daughter, who hadn’t used it in eight years, the backpack in which I would be carrying all my Gatorade, was not in the back of the bedroom closet where I thought it was.

I checked the other bedroom closets. I checked the bedroom closets of my neighbors and of people I saw buying Gatorade in the supermarket.

I found out that I don’t have a backpack anymore. I plan to put my Gatorade in my pockets.

  • I checked the weather forecast for the day of the saunter.

And then I tried to understand how, climatologically speaking, the forecast could call for both a late-spring blizzard and early-summer blazing hot temperatures, not to mention torrential rain. The good news: only a 50 percent chance of locusts.

  • I compiled a sufficiently large barrel of excuses.

For instance, we got lost and ended up in Pennsylvania where we bought a quilt from the Pennsylvania Dutch and didn’t have a backpack to carry it.

It was too hot. It was too cold. The dog ate my sneakers while I was wearing them. I couldn’t boot up my knees after they crashed. There was a Seinfeld re-run episode on TV that I had to watch. I couldn’t find my electrolytes and the electrolyte stores were all closed.

  • I didn’t make any plans for the day after the 32-mile walk.
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