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Fitness guru Jack LaLanne is dead at 96 and I miss him. The old guy kept me company for several crucial years when I was melancholy.

LALANNE AS HE LOOKED ON MY TV IN THE 1960S
LALANNE AS HE LOOKED ON MY TV SET IN THE 1960s

See, my older brother started first grade in 1963. I was 3 and suddenly stuck at home all day without my best pal.

For the next three years my days consisted of sitting in front of our little black-and-white TV set until my brother got home from school.

TV was still in its infancy back then. Only two or three channels were available and the programming was spotty at best. In other words, no cartoons on weekdays! My mornings were spent watching Romper RoomThe Jack LaLanne Show and Divorce Court.

I sometimes followed along with LaLanne as he performed exercises. One in particular I’ll never forget. LaLanne said the eye was a muscle and could therefore be exercised, and his routine included rolling the eyes up, down, left, right, over and over again. Later, after my parents discovered I needed glasses, I practiced those eye movements in bed at night, hoping I could exercise my eyeballs back to 20-20 vision so I wouldn’t have to wear my dorky horn-rimmed glasses to school.

It didn’t work.

But I didn’t hold it against LaLanne. He was such an enthusiastic guy that you couldn’t help but like him.

So rest in peace my dear old babysitter. I couldn’t have survived my blue period (age 3 to 6) without you.

lalanne-ii

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