​​​Because humor is funnier when you know it's true.

Rabid squirrels and other perils of exercising

My heart goes out to people who need to lose a lot of weight—and I have the utmost admiration for anyone who successfully loses 50, 70, 100 pounds or more. What makes me feel this way? Probably the fact that I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to lose the same 12 pounds for the past 23 years. Yes, you read that right. Twelve pounds, 23 years. Apparently, my motto when it comes to portion control is “I don’t wanna.”

I used to be able to use the excuse that it was baby weight. Not anymore. Even my youngest kid is 15—and that one was adopted. The last time my uterus actually grew anything useful was 23 years ago. I wanted to find some way to take off those 12 pounds—some way that didn’t involve portion control.

I use an elliptical five days every week. Clearly, that hasn’t been enough, so one of my daughters suggested that I try her big blue exercise ball. I rolled the ball into the sunroom, hoping for a little privacy. Sadly, one of my sons got curious and decided to tag along. He stood in the doorway, silent but smirky.

I cranked up the volume on the instructional DVD that came with the ball, determined to keep up with the perky, uber-fit woman in the program.

She sat on her blue ball, put her hands behind her head and started doing sit-ups. Looked pretty straightforward. So I sat on my blue ball, put my hands behind my head and leaned back. That’s when I noticed something odd. Her blue ball was just sitting there underneath her, immobile, like a big, rubbery chair with no back support. My blue ball had clearly been filled with rabid squirrels. It shook and shimmied and squirmed side-to-side until, with a decidedly fart-like sound, it shot out from underneath me and rolled away.

I retrieved my squirrel-infested ball, told the laughing gnome in the doorway to get lost, and decided to try again.

Now the lady on the DVD was doing a sideways sit-up thing. She was lying on her right side on the ball, hands behind her head, lifting her whole torso up toward the ceiling and holding it there while she counted to 10 billion. So I gripped the ball with both hands while I got positioned on my right side. Then I let go of the ball, put my hands behind my...

The rabid squirrels weren’t done with me, yet. The ball shook wildly, as if we were in the throes of an earthquake. Then it shot out from underneath me and I landed, quite hard and quite painfully, on the tile floor.

The gnome in the doorway was bent over laughing, but he kindly kicked the ball back to me so I wouldn’t have to stop.

I decided to give it one more shot. The woman in the video was now lying face-down on her ball doing some sort of yoga stretch (a “reach for the ceiling” kind of thing). It looked like something even I could do. So I flopped face-down down on the ball, planted my toes on the floor and reached for the ceiling. I was able to hold the pose for two blissful seconds before the ball rolled forward an inch, my toes lifted off the floor and I turned into a human teeter-totter. My legs shot up in the air and my face and chest slammed into the floor. The rabid squirrels freaked, the ball fired out from underneath me and I landed, belly-flop style, on the floor. At this point, the gnome in the doorway was laughing so hard he was wheezing.

I’ve returned the blue exercise ball to the kid who uses it daily, and I’ve gone back to the elliptical. No, I haven’t lost any weight, but at least I’m avoiding any more brain damage.

—Brenda Kearns

Brenda has written over 4,000 articles as a freelance journalist (primarily for Woman’s World and First for Women magazines). She’s also published five books for kids (you can find them here). You can follow Brenda on her blog, and you’ll find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. She also has LinkedIn and Pinterest accounts, but has no idea what to do with those.