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Its not wise to kick your group exercise instructor
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Put this on the list of things you shouldn’t do: Kicking your group exercise instructor.

Jennie - one of the In Shape exercise leaders who have had to contend with me for the past 20 years - got tapped with my foot while she was leading the class on Tuesday. It was during side leg extensions done while stepping on to a step. I believed I tapped her on the shoulder. She says it was on her cheek as in her face.

I was embarrassed to say the least. I need some credit, though, for making only one “contact” with someone else in an aerobics/group exercise class after 25 consecutive years of scaring the dickens out of people.

I say that because a lot of people think I’m a maniac in the classes. I thrive on high impact aerobics which apparently went out of vogue sometime when Jack LaLanne was in his 70s. People, for some unknown reason, give me wide berth in group exercise classes especially when aerobics, jumping, and other such moves are employed.

It could be the fact I’m completely blind without my glasses. Or it could be that I make Steve Martin and Jerry Lewis seem graceful by comparison.

Also on my list of things not to do:

•jumping out of a shower in a half bathroom in a garage while yelling fire.

My ex gets laughs to this day out of that one. Someone had plugged in an old canning stove in the garage that was supposed to have been unplugged. I picked up a plastic bucket on the floor and put it on the stove top like an idiot as I was getting ready one morning to take a shower. After a few minutes I smelled smoke, got out of the shower and saw the bucket on fire.

I started yelling “fire” which brought Cynthia running. As she opened the door I was jumping around like a maniac trying to smother the fire with a towel. Naturally the first thing she did was hit the garage door opener just as a couple was passing by on their morning walk. Did I mention I was completely naked? The couple just kept walking after staring into the garage. Needless to say the neighbors had come to expect such things.

•cutting down two 30-foot cherry trees just two days after a hernia operation.

What can I say, I’m crazy. Dr. Jerry Weiner said no exercise or heavy lifting. He said nothing about cutting down cherry trees. It helped, of course, that I refused to keep taking Vicodin more than 24 hours after the surgery and was having an interesting time trying to block out the pain. The reaction of the wife when she came home and saw the backyard completely covered with two fallen cherry trees was priceless.

•trying to kill a gopher with an ax while dressed as a basketball referee.

I was dressed in black slacks and striped shirt and on my way to officiate a Manteca adult recreation basketball game when I turned the corner and saw what was to become the first gopher in a string of dozens. I pulled over, ran to grab a hose, turned it on and started sending water down the hole. While the water was running I ran around to the back yard to grab a shovel forgetting the shed was locked. So I grabbed the best weapon I could find - a wood ax.

I was standing with my back to the corner when the gopher popped up. I started swinging away repeatedly like a madman when I felt someone watching me. I turned around and there was a late model BMW with five people staring at me with their mouths dropped open. I found out the next day it was the preacher and his well-dressed family who were christening a new church that very Sunday in the former Mormon meeting house just down the street from us. Needless to say they thought I was the neighborhood crazy.

•running with a male Dalmatian that hasn’t learned to hike (and I don’t mean as in football).

Years ago when we lived in rural Ripon I was jogging along the edge of an almond orchard along East Highway 120 with my Dalmatian named “Zebra.” Someone going by recognized me and honked. I turned to wave and just as Zebra decided he had to get some relief. Not only did I go sailing over Zebra but I managed to hit my head on a low hanging branch.

•using a tread mill in a health club while wearing jewelry.

I was 30 minutes into a workout on a treadmill when I went to reach for my water bottle as someone called out my name. I turned slightly, got my wedding ring caught on the edge of the bar and ended up landing on my rear end before being sent sailing off the treadmill that was still moving.

I wish I could say those were among my most embarrassing moments but they don’t even make the Top 20.