My friend, Milton, is trying to come to grips with having to climb 79 steps to see the Broadway play, The Realistic Joneses, from the balcony of the Lyceum Theatre next month. Looking as if he’d just seen Donald Trump pre-elaborate comb over, he groused:
Milton: That’s like climbing five flights.
When Milton mentioned five flights that struck a chord with me. I have climbed up and down five flights every day over the course of the nearly ten years I have been employed at The Grind. During any given work day I scamper up and down those stairs several times. When I left on Friday night with my colleague, Godsend, we counted the steps. They numbered 84. That’s a heart attack waiting to happen for those that do not ride a clothes rack that doubles as a spin bike.
Excluding weekends, vacation time and holidays, I whipped out my abacus and calculated that I easily climb 50,000 steps every year at my place of employ. Multiply that by ten years and the total is half a million steps. And that’s a conservative estimate. But why stop with the stairs I climb while at The Grind? What about the stairs I climb on my way there, leaving my sanctum sanctorum (a third floor walk-up: 34 steps) and entering the 72nd Street subway station (26 steps), then exiting the Franklin Street subway station (26 more steps)? Coupled with doubling those numbers for my return trip, that adds another 40,000 steps to the equation. In essence, over the course of the past ten years, I have climbed at least 900,000 work-related steps. In reality, the number is probably much closer to a million steps. Too bad I’m not paid a dollar per step.
Then, I turned my focus to my third floor walk-up apartment, where I have resided close to 31 years. I calculated that I have easily climbed up and down over three million sanctum sanctorum-related steps these past three decades.
What about my childhood? My childhood home had three levels and my room was on the top floor. There were approximately eighteen steps in that climb, a climb I made numerous times over the course of twenty-one years. The conservative estimate is a million steps climbed. Impressive for a slacker.
As for when I was an undergraduate Film student at NYU(seless), my dorm room was on the fourth floor. I took the stairs, so let’s toss in another 40,000 steps scaled there. I recall that I rode an elevator to get to most of my classes. That’s about all I remember from my illustrious film school education and probably explains why I make my living labeling tile today.
When I worked a completely thankless job for eleven years in broadcast news, my office was on the sixth floor. I would ride the elevator up but walk the six flights down when I took my lunch break and left for the day. I never thought to count those steps possibly because my attention was focused on how much I hated working in broadcast news. Today, my friend, Coco, lives on the top floor of a six-floor walkup. I asked her to count the stairs to her lair.
Coco: There are 80 lovely steps. I pray there is never a fire.
Over the course of those eleven years I worked in broadcast news, often six-day weeks, I climbed down approximately 80 stairs twice a day. If I worked a five-day week, factoring in three weeks vacation and time off (we always had to work holidays in news) that would be at least 440,000 steps climbed over eleven miserable years. The figure probably well exceeds 500,000 steps considering how many weekends I had to work.
In conclusion I have calculated that over the course of my entire life thus far, I have climbed the following steps:
Childhood Home 21 years (excluding from birth to age two): 1 million
College dorm room 1 year: 40,000
Manhattan apartment 31 years: 3 million
Miserable broadcast news job 11 years: 500,000
The Grind (including commute) 10 years: 1 million
Miscellaneous: 2 million*
*Figure pulled completely out of thin air.
It seems that I have climbed in the vicinity of 8 million steps in the course of my life. This achievement reminds me that the staircase is a great design wonder like the wheel or the shoebox, coincidentally another name for my apartment. Possibly after Milton reads this post he’ll feel less grumpy about having to climb 158 steps (79 up and 79 down) when we see that hit comedy play. Or, this will further remind him about how much he resents the theater’s lack of another great invention: the escalator.