Today Stephanie calls and asks me to pick up some milk if I get a chance. I decide to go to Staples for a long-delayed ink-and-paper run and buy the milk at the adjacent 7-Eleven. Staples and 7-Eleven (actually, two discrete 7-Elevens) are located just a few short blocks away, so I can walk.
However, this results in me walking home carrying four reams of paper in one hand and two gallons of milk in the other. Paper and milk are heavy things. The 7-Eleven clerk asks me, "You think you can carry all that?" As I am a weakling, it is a fair question. "You're going to be a bodybuilder," he laughs.
On the way home, I pretend I am under the tutelage of a cruel martial-arts master, whose merciless exercises are necessary to prepare me for the hard battles and long journey ahead. The handle of the plastic bag twists into an ever tighter, ever more painful cord against my hand, cutting off all circulation. I must mentally block out the discomfort. Yes, sensei, I will carry the paper and milk all four blocks home.
Finally I set my load down on my doorstep. I fumble for my keys with my numb, purple fingers. What inhuman challenge awaits me next?