Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2006 | 8:21 a.m.
Tom Gorman's column runs Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (702) 259-2310.
Tuesday morning I went on a walk with the mayor of Las Vegas and he didn't stop even once at a bar. I'd say he even walked in a straight line, except that he was on a path that curved a lot, and he navigated it perfectly.
It was 8 in the morning, and Oscar Goodman was leading more than 50 people on something called a "power walk" outside the Doolittle Senior Center. In about 15 minutes, we completed two laps on the one-third-mile walking loop. It was meant to promote health among people 50 and older.
For the occasion, Oscar wore Nikes and a $450 gold pinstripe Bachrach suit.
I didn't realize that the mayor was much of a walker, and I sure didn't imagine him as a physical fitness advocate. So I was teased by the city's promotion of the event, which included this quote from Oscar: "Fitness is important for people of all ages, especially seniors. I encourage our seniors to participate in this walk to help them get on the right track to good health."
A good-health admonition from a guy who says he won't eat anything until he has his first gin martini of the day?
Now, I know how you're supposed to start the day. I watch all the relevant TV commercials about healthy living.
Orange juice is good, of course. So is Muselix and bran-and-nut cereals. Cream of wheat and oatmeal are good, and whole grain bread. Other good stuff includes bananas and prunes and yogurt. (I prefer Honey Ohs and brown-sugar Pop Tarts, but if Jeanne is nagging me about my fruit intake, I'll eat Pop Tarts filled with apple paste.)
But nowhere have I heard that the first nutrition of the day should come from distilled juniper berries.
How fit can the mayor be?
Normally, I get my morning exercise by walking our big white poodle, Duke, to the base of the driveway. We pick up the paper and head back. My theory holds that you've only got so many heartbeats and you don't want to waste 'em.
But here I am, walking around the track with Hizzoner, and I have to tell you that he's setting a brisk pace. It makes a better photograph, of course, if the mayor is leading the pack rather than schlepping in the middle of one.
You would have thought he was chasing a martini glass the way greyhounds chase mechanical rabbits. But nope. And he didn't even have showgirls on each arm, holding him up. This was a man on a mission.
As we started out, I asked a woman next to me how many laps the mayor planned on walking. "He might do just one, then go home for his gin," she said, allowing herself a giggle. "He is walking pretty fast," she added, as if to suggest the mayor wanted to get home in a hurry.
After the first lap, Oscar the coach offered a pep talk: "Good job! We're going to sprint now."
Ah, just kiddin', the mayor said. But he kept his pace and after the second lap, he was done. "I try to walk three times a week," he said afterward to folks hanging around him. "But I've got a bad foot -- arthritis and gout."
And I figured he just had a wooden leg.
Someone asked Oscar if he enjoyed walking around Red Rock. I assumed he didn't, because it's outside his city limits. I was right. "I don't like Red Rock," Oscar said. "You have to look down to watch where you're walking. Here, you can just walk, and look around at all the grandeur."
Oscar signed autographs and posed for pictures. A trio of 90-year-old women snuggled up to the mayor for a photo. He loves the adoration.
"Let's do this twice a month," he announced to the crowd. "Some stupid magazine said we're the second-fattest city in the United States. That's a big lie!"
A woman in the audience agreed. "There's more to this town than showgirls," she said loud enough for Oscar to hear.
And for the first time Tuesday morning, Oscar winced.