February 28, 2005


Along with my diet, I'm supposed to walk for 30 minutes every day. It took me a couple of days to work out a nice route, but I've been keeping up with it pretty well. The two big obstacles have been the rain and boredom. I solved the rain problem at the end of President's Day weekend, when it rained pretty much non-stop--I went out and got us a family membership at the local YMCA. On days when it rains I can go in and use a treadmill for half-an-hour instead. It's not the same, but I guess it's better than nothing.

So far as boredom goes, well, I've got my iPod. While walking, I prefer to listen to something with a bit of a narrative thread to it, so I started with my Monty Python albums, followed by Flanders & Swann (At the Drop of a Hat and At the Drop of Another Hat). At that point I was in danger of running dry, and so I decided to check out Audible.com's collection of audiobooks. And just on the off-chance, I did a search, and wonder of wonders, what did they have but....

Well, you see, one of my favorite books is The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis. And it so happens that ten or fifteen years ago John Cleese, of all people, recorded an absolutely wonderful two-cassette reading of the book. Our copy died of old age, and I've never found a replacement. I've checked Amazon occasionally, and they will indeed get you a used copy--for $100. That's One Hundred Dollars. When last I checked, they had 1 copy for sale and two buyers waiting. So when I went to Audible.com, I naturally took a look. And in fact, they have it available for download for $10. That's Ten Dollars. (You do the math.)

So this last Friday it rained, and I went to the gym and used the treadmill to Flanders & Swann, and that evening I downloaded The Screwtape Letters. And the next morning, my two boys decided to go on my walk with me. And on Sunday, my younger boy, James, wanted to come again. And he wanted to come walk with me today, too. And while we've been walking, we've talked about all manner of things: flood control dams, and wells, and the water table, and how we learn, and power generation, and wind mills, and hydro-electric turbines, and salmon, and golden retrievers.

Meanwhile, ol' Uncle Screwtape is languishing on the iPod, unlistened to. But I'll tell you, I'm not bored. If necessary, Uncle Screwtape can languish until the next rainy day.

Posted by Will Duquette at February 28, 2005 06:27 PM

Craig Clarke said:

I love that recording, even his inimitable pronunciation of the word Screwtape. That introduced me to C.S. Lewis and, while I haven't really enjoyed anything else of his to that extent, it has never left my memory.