The January 1999 Left Lane

January 1999

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The start of a new year means the same thing for most people -- new year resolutions. Unfortunately, it’s typically just a matter of time before we break these resolutions. (In an ideal world, we wouldn’t make resolutions, we would make life changing decisions. And we wouldn’t wait until a new year to implement these decisions -- we would do them immediately. Fortunately for most of us, we live in the real world, not in an ideal one.)

The most popular resolution is to lose weight. I’ve avoided this for some time, but not because I haven’t gained weight. It’s just that I never cared too much what my weight is. One cares about weight for either aesthetic or practical reasons. I don’t care too much about my appearance, because if someone likes me by the way I look, for example, then by definition that person is blind, and why would I care how I look to a blind person?

Dressed To Kill

Caring about my weight then falls on the practical side. I have two practical reasons for keeping my weight down. The first is I don’t like to shop for clothes too often. That means that I probably have underwear older than some of my younger colleagues at work. If I happen to gain too much weight, then I have to buy new clothes (hey, call me an engineer). The second is for sports. It is simply easier to move my butt up and down the court if it weighs less. Not being athletically gifted as, say, Curly from the Three Stooges, I have to work harder to perform as well as those with whom I compete against.

After this past sybaritic holiday, it has become a practical imperative for me to keep my current clothes. I’m not one for starving myself to lose weight, and exercise is a four-letter word (they just spell it funny). So I need serious motivation to fit back into my pre-holiday wardrobe. I think I found it.

Someone has pointed out to me another area where weight is important -- driving. The rule of thumb is 10 lb = 1 hp. This means that the instructor you carry around in your car during a driving school is sapping your car of anywhere from 15 to 25 hp, depending on your instructor’s, uh, horsepower-sapping abilities. If you want to drive faster, lose weight!

Like Water For Chocolate

Which brings up an interesting situation at your next all-you-can-gorge yourself buffet. Do you come back with a plateful of spotted owl drumsticks, or do you remove all of the carpeting from your car? A third helping of barbecued ribs, or remove the passenger seat? Extra butter on your corn, or take out your stereo system?

I’ve developed a new rule for monitoring my weight: my weight in pounds must be less than my fastest speed in mph. That means a threshold for me of 156 lb since I haven’t driven faster than 156 mph. Hopefully, I can manage this without buying a new car or changing over to the metric system (71 kg vs. 251 km/h -- lot’s of leeway here!).

Deep Impact

So consider a different resolution this year. Don’t think of it as losing weight -- think of it as going faster. (As a side benefit, you’ll also save money now that you don’t have to get a bigger engine or buy that Snickers bar at the checkout line.)

Don’t buy a new chip from Autothority (or Ruffles) -- just put down that peach cobbler you had your stomach set on. There! That’s a tenth of a second that you just gained on your next lap at Waterford Hills Race Track.

Snowstorm '99: Part 1
I came back to Michigan so I could shovel this!?


(The BahnStormer is the official newsletter of the Rally Sport Region (Detroit area) of the Porsche Club of America. You can contact the editor at .)


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