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T.J. Simers

Downsizing hasn't affected every area of newspapers

The new year and Mike Scioscia can make one reflect on more weighty issues.

January 06, 2009|T.J. SIMERS

She was so cute. I remember waiting eagerly for the day when the granddaughter might speak and I might understand what she has to say.

Then she does speak, giggling at the same time, "G.P. silly," she says, while announcing in front of everyone at a restaurant that her G.P. has placed a balloon under his shirt just to tease her.

OK, I'm fat, you little whippersnapper. Why don't you say it louder, and when we go home I'll tell you how "Marley & Me" ends.

It just happens. I weighed 150 pounds when I went into the Army and now I've got a leg that weighs that much.

Tell me it isn't a great day when you notice the vending machine stocked with packages of miniature chocolate doughnuts? Probably cost me any chance I had with Salma Hayek, but it's no balloon. No kid, just lots of me. Wanna see?

I had no idea a little girl could shriek like that, although she wasn't any louder than her grandmother the first time I asked her whether she wanted to see it.

Now I know there's nothing wrong with being fat, which reminds me before I forget: There were reports Monday the Angels were doing a deal to extend Mike Scioscia's contract somewhere into the next century.

I wonder if Scioscia put the squeeze on Arte?

I wanna be like Mike, but I'm beginning to look more like Andruw.

And the thing is, I try as hard as Oprah. I bought a membership to Family Fitness, paying $17 a month for the last 10 years just in case I ever wanted to go.

And I'm still paying monthly dues, although I just had my knee fixed by the Raiders' team repairman, Dr. Nicola, who told me I'd never be able to run again. I'm beginning to understand why the Raiders play like they do.

If I can't run, I can't exercise, which brings me to Kari Franks, a Newport Beach physical therapist, and look at the watermelon she swallowed.

She's eight months pregnant and taking it out on me. She wants me doing exercises all the time like I have any spare time between meals.

We have two closets at home, his and hers, each filled with stacks and stacks of NutriSystem meals ordered a couple of years back. They ever drop the bomb -- I know one family that's going to come out of the closet fitter or sicker than any other.

No question, this is the toughest time of the year, because it's a new year and folks think about getting in shape. Seems easier just to send the big-mouth grandchild off to Arizona, but there's still the question of just how important it is to lose weight.

Is it really that important to be in shape? And why is the grandkid going after me? Her father's bald.

In the last couple of weeks, the oldest man living in the U.S. died at 112, and the oldest person living in the world died at 115. The oldest living person now appears to be Gertrude Baines of Los Angeles at 114.

The heartbreak that comes with living in the same city as the Dodgers apparently has not impacted Gertrude.

She is 114, I'm 58, and it gives me hope I might still have enough time remaining in my life to see the Chargers win a Super Bowl.

Sarah Knauss was something like 119 before she passed, and probably thought that was plenty of time for the Clippers to rebuild, so obviously there are no guarantees here.

That's why I called Stephen Coles, M.D, PhD, and director of the Gerontology Research Group, which tracks supercentenarians -- folks who have lived to be 110 years or older while still waiting on the Chargers to do something special.

I wanted to know whether my chances of reaching 112 or 119 depended on whether I lost weight, got into shape or stopped reading e-mail from USC and UCLA fans?

"I devote full-time tracking these people and finding out the secret for their long lives," Coles said, including doing autopsies on supercentenarians who have passed in California.

"Their long lives don't appear to have anything to do with exercise, if that's what you're asking. Or lifestyle. They don't care about that. In many cases they smoke, drink and some do both -- heavily."

That would suggest many of our athletes stand a very good chance of living very long lives.

Coles said there are 91 people who are 110 and older. Only nine of those are men, and I think we all know why.

"The supercentenarians have good genes," Coles said in offering the best explanation for their longevity. "The DNA inheritance from their parents is so important. They escape from all diseases that come with old age and just keep on living."

What if both of your parents were goners early on?

Good news, Coles said, if they died in accidents -- and I'll betcha this guy's a lot of fun to be around. But don't put off a vacation if they were claimed by some kind of disease.

By the way, I will be taking a week off this month.

"You don't have the good genes you would need to be a supercentenarian," Coles said, and I thought the grandkid was a killjoy.

"If you don't have good genes to start with -- you better take care of yourself. If you don't have the right DNA magic stuff, you really do need to exercise to give yourself a chance for some more healthy years."

So now I have to start dieting and exercising if I want any chance to see the Chargers win a Super Bowl.

Great. Here I am hopping on one leg with a therapist about to go on maternity leave, the 7-Eleven Kid asking to go for doughnuts, and it's already Jan. 5.

Way too late for any New Year's resolution.

--

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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