A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

Infomercial Resolutions

January 28th, 2002

January 28th. Twenty eight days into the first page of the calendar. Typically, this is the week our New Year’s resolutions say hello to reality.

A few years ago I saw an infomercial for a Power Rider. I knew that if Minnesota Vikings Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton said it was a great machine then it had to be exactly what I needed. The best part, I told myself, was I wouldn’t have to go to the gym anymore. It always bugged me. Being at the health club on a treadmill for 30 minutes with every TV monitor in the place tuned in to “Oprah”. Ugh. Having my own Power Rider meant the privilege of parking it in front of my own 27″ Toshiba where I could ride my way to health while watching real man programs like “Bass Masters Championship Fishing” and Australian Rules Football on ESPN.

I rode my Power Rider everyday and it did for me exactly what Fran said it would. My legs got stronger. I felt more energy throughout the day. Maybe, just maybe, Fran was right. This Power Rider would be the way to a brand new me.

After about a month or so I reasoned that exercise equipment didn’t fit the decor of the living room. I began appreciating other features of the machine, like the uniquely engineered fold-up design and handy wheels that allowed me to whisk it away into the spare bedroom. When I was ready to ride my way to health, I could wheel it right back out.

It was a one-way trip. The truth is I got tired of feeling guilty every time I looked at this stationary torture device with a padded seat. I rode my Power Rider everyday for three weeks because Fran Tarkenton said it was the way to the new me. But really, what does Fran Tarkenton have in common with me, except that we can both point to Minnesota on a map? The old me that ordered this hunk of black metal forgot that Fran wasn’t going to ride it for me. I had to do it.

Oh, and those muscular babes and dudes on the infomercial? The bronzed gods and goddesses in neon spandex, Power Riding at light speed without breaking a sweat? One word: Genetics. What they don’t tell you is that their DNA code is programmed to buff. They would be the picture of health and fitness even if they worked at Dairy Queen for 30 years and were their own best customer. Me? If I rode this pony all the way to Tierra del Fuego, washboard abs would be in Antarctica. My Power Rider turned into an expensive towel rack. The wide handle bars are perfect for drying those bulky knit sweaters. Throw your Grandma’s quilt over the adjustable seat and you’ve got yourself a piece of avant-garde furniture.

We’ve all learned from personal experience that there is no magic in the turning of a calendar page. The challenge with every new year is that we take our old self into it. Yet every December 31st as the ball drops in Times Square, our hopes rise. This year will be different. This will be the year I persevere. “This year I resolve to…”, fill in the blank. A new year brings the promise of a fresh start. A chance to begin again.

God likes fresh starts. Fresh starts were His idea in the first place. He talks about them all the time. Fresh starts are a big thing with Him. You’d think God, Who is perfect in every way, wouldn’t understand the challenge of taking an old self into a new year. But God really does understand how difficult it is for us to persevere. To hang in there and keep riding. Because He created us. In His words, He “knows our frame and understands we are but dust.”

28 days into the new year. Resolutions meet reality. If you’re riding yourself for not riding your Power Rider, ease up. Then begin again. Better that 2002 be a year of starts and stops and starts than a year of start and stop. God has no limit on fresh starts. He’s always there to help us begin again.

I still have my Power Rider. It’s in the garage. Since Fran Tarkenton isn’t around to use it, maybe I better start.


“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for he knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.” – Psalm 103:13-14