«…Pilates said, as he finished his dark beer, that he sees more backaches today. “We sit wrong! We work wrong. That is how a cripple begins. In Russia women are pushing 200-pound wheelbarrows. Why don’t we make our bodies strong instead of throwing a ball?” Pilates sat back puffing at a small cigar he had set into the bowl of his pipe. But he leaned forward at my last question isn’t tension the single biggest problem in modern living? “Of course! Of course!” he shouted. “Noise! Rush! Worry! Soon we could put a wall around the United States – one big lunatic hospital!” He shook his head. “How can we have world peace? No one is happy. No one is healthy. Not one man in the United Nations can do my first five exercises!”
After lunch we walked out into the winter sunshine. Pneumatic drills hammered in the streets, taxis honked. Pilates said, “I couldn’t stay alive if every weekend I didn’t go to the country.” He took a deep breath of Broadway air, as though he were already in the clearer atmosphere of his home in the Berkshires. He patted me on the shoulder as we parted and encouraged me to do his “first five”…»
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