Remembering Jack LaLanne


Puberty, with all its ridiculous vanities, was still ages away when I discovered Jack LaLanne.

Weight loss issues were as foreign as Adolph Hitler.  But I learned from him that we can drive our bodies or let them rust.

Each summer, I spent a few weeks with my grandmother who lived outside Memphis.  That meant she got a grand total of TWO television stations as opposed to our half days of television in West Point.


Our “rabbit ears” weren’t reliable and the picture on our old black and white set would go snowy about every five minutes – but we watched and squinted and pretended to see a picture.

At my grandmother’s house, Jack LaLanne came on each morning without interruption.  Mam-maw and I  dipped and lunged and followed his directions just for fun. It was a novelty.  But a message was planted that finally germinated decades later for me: “We move it, or lose it.”

On Sunday, LaLanne died of complications from pneumonia. He was 96.  To the end, LaLanne worried about the devoted public he had inspired. Dying, he once said, “would wreck my image.”

Not so, Jack.  Your image is intact with me even if your juicer was no better than my blender.  You tried to make us healthier. I think you did.

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