Thursday, January 15, 2015

Woe is Mii

The Globe and Mail published another of my stories last fall.

I hope you enjoy it.


Woe is Mii as I Wii into shape for my son’s wedding

I recently became engaged! To be a mother-in-law. I decided it was time to lose weight and get in shape to go along with my new title.

Ah, titles; I’m already a mom, wife, banker, daughter – and my husband was once the president of his horseshoes league, which makes me the Former First Lady of Horseshoes. But let’s get back on topic.

I went out and bought a Wii Fit, then sought out the assistance of a person to whom I gave birth 20-odd years ago; a person who, due to his romantic streak, was the cause of my miserable weight-loss quest. I have explained to him many a time that as a result of this life-giving thing I did for him, he is obligated to assist me with all things electronic. Forever.

We got it hooked up to the television and working. I had to create a Mii, pronounced ME, and mine looked just like me – complete with glasses and blond hair, though I believe she may have been a natural blonde.

I stood on the platform that comes with the Wii Fit, and the screen told me that it was going to weigh me and calculate my Body Mass Index. After a few moments, I heard a little “bloop,” and suddenly my Mii was fat!

My son was greatly amused. He was also dismissed from the room.

The Wii asked me step on and off the platform and mimic Mii on the screen while it sounded out a rhythm. Understand me, now: This is simply walking to a beat. I scored 62 per cent. Apparently, 38 per cent of the time I walk like an idiot.

Next I tried the balance program. It involves a lot of standing on the platform on one foot while doing stuff with other parts of your body. I am 57 years old: If I am standing on one foot, I am paying close attention to simply balancing so that I won’t fall and break my ankle – or worse, my wine glass. I am not capable of doing other things while impersonating a drunken flamingo. It was time for something different.

I pushed a button on the remote and nothing happened, so I pushed some other buttons and still nothing happened. I pushed all of the buttons and the Wii turned off and nothing I did would make it come back on.

I hollered for the aforementioned kid to return to my queendom for a moment, and this time not to bring anything he might leave behind for me to pick up. After the usual Old People Versus Electronics harassment, followed by the Parents Possibly Not Helping to Pay for Said Kid’s Wedding discussion, he turned the Wii back on and found the strength-building program for me.

Those Wii folks are nuts. I was worn out watching my Mii do one-armed pushups, let alone doing one myself. I tried a regular two-armed pushup, and if my arms had little faces their mouths would have smirked sarcastically.

It hurt so much that I thought I should stop and make a note for my family, just in case. I wrote on a Post-it note, which I stuck on the controller, that should I die from excessive exercising my final wish is that I be cremated. And, since I am afraid of the dark, I would like to have my ashes scattered under a light post at a 24-hour Walmart. (I doubt this is legal, but I will be dead and therefore ineligible to be placed under arrest, so this will not be my problem.)

Then another thought occurred to me, and I wrote another Post-it note and stuck it to the platform. I have spent more than $7,000 straightening my teeth, closing a big gap between my two front teeth and capping a couple of back teeth. Before they cremate me, they are to embalm me and suspend me from a coat rack so it looks as if I’m welcoming folks to my funeral. I asked that they ensure the undertaker arranges my mouth to show off my perfect smile.

That ought to help knock down the wedding-guest numbers a bit for my son. Surely a few of my older, equally out-of-shape relatives will collapse at the sight of me greeting them.

I walked to the kitchen, no doubt for 38 per cent of the time looking as if I’d just got new feet, and found a bag of stale potato chips in the back of a cupboard.

I returned to the living room, parked my generous backside on the sofa and fiddled with the Wii controller until fat me disappeared and was replaced by Charlie Sheen, who looked pretty good considering he has allegedly done much worse things to his body than I ever have. Maybe this whole getting-fit thing wasn’t necessary.

Then again, maybe I need to lace up my sneakers and take a walk to the store to return that insulting, blooping Mii maker and her evil little platform.

My son tells me I look fine and shouldn’t worry about dieting. I am onto him, though; he is afraid. When he told me about the engagement, he was emphatic that there will be no speeches at the wedding. I begged to differ: There will be at least one speech, and I’ll need at least five minutes, no more than 20.

Now to decide which of the embarrassing stories I will tell, and which I will hold back as ransom for further assistance with electronics.

Sharon Gerger lives in Waterloo, Ont.