As part of a cardiology rehab program, I've been advised to walk every day. I'm supposed to talk with a companion while I'm walking as conversing is supposed to help control my breathing. Well, what if I don't have a companion one day? What am I supposed to do? People will see me walking along chatting out loud to absolutely no one. They'll lock me up! They'll think that I'm one of those conspiracy dudes and someone will call Homeland Security. I'll be in "Gitmo" before nightfall. Why does it always have to be me to point these things out? Can't you just hear the observations as I pass people on the bike trail?
"Don't look at him, Violet. Just nod and smile and keep going."
"Oh, oh, it's one of those rehab wackos. Avert your eyes, Frank!"
"Look at the funny man talking to himself, Tommy. Quick, take a photo of him."
"Keep Brownie on a short leash, Walt. This guy is really out of it!"
If I see animals, I try to engage them in conversation but they all scurry away. It's probably because they saw me talking to myself a hundred yards off. You know what the worst part is? It's when I say something that cracks me up and I start laughing like a buffoon. That's not right to most pedestrians. They really get alarmed, grab their cell phones and start dialing 911.
So, now I carry a dummy with me when I walk and practice ventriloquism. Now, I'm not the dummy—the dummy is. Now, I can walk without being scorned. All people need is to understand another's actions.
"Oh, look, Martha, it's a performer rehearsing."
Now I'm viewed as somewhat normal and I can get my exercise done in peace. I'll never walk alone again. And I managed to pick up requests to perform at two birthday parties yesterday.
Nice talking aloud to you.
Mr. Millspaugh lives in a log cabin and works in the forest.