The Five Million Dollar Man

I looked it up. It was the Six Million Dollar Man, but what if the feds didn’t have the last million in the budget to rebuild him? They did their best with five, but the cut corners sometimes show. With $5M’s under the hood, he still vanquishes evil, but not every time. He listens from a great distance but not all the words are clear. The mix-up has the team arresting the wrong man. He spots two evildoers on a ridge, aims a rocket at the one on the right and hits it (but what he hit turns out to be a ghost created by double vision and the bad guy gets away). And so on. A sometimes super-hero. This is a show that would speak to me at my current stage of life.

I am deep into my 50s and probably on the decreshendo side of the slope, but I can still get things done. I don’t think I will ever swim across a lake, but years of practice has me cooking some very satisfying meals. I won’t likely hike the Long Trail, but I’ve walked with Violet five miles a day, almost every day, for the last four years. I still don’t work on cars, but I am pretty good at fixing things without combustion engines. I am getting softer in ways both undesirable and desireable. I struggle to do even one pull-up (and I haven’t tried for at least two years), but feeling vulnerable has made me slightly kinder and more patient. And I would gladly trade my last pull-up for even more kindness and patience.

I am now afraid of diseases and have altered my diet in hopes of staving off or lessening the effects of the preventable ones. Twenty-one years a vegan and counting. It is fun, easy, delicious and it feels so much better hugging Violet without critters in my colon. I now only drink one measured alcoholic drink every-other-day. I could easily give up the every-other-day treat if I formed the desire. Once you don’t let yourself drink enough to get buzzed, the point is mostly lost. Have you tried NA beers from Athletic Brewing? So many delicious varieties and most are under 100 calories a can. I still eat chips at lunch every single day. There is no food I love more.

I am getting to an age where parents are struggling a bit, struggling a lot, or even dead. I like to point out that we are next in line for that process. One generation away. Wakes a person up!

I still pay close attention to all the things the younger generations are teaching us and try to keep up. I know I am letting some of them down. I can see it in their eyes when I say something that I hope is still on the edge of acceptable (but for all I know it was totally offensive). I don’t let it bother me too much, though. Time marches on and they too will one day get to sit with that discomfort.

I ordered a big bottle of liquid wrench that I will pour down the stuck seat tube of my 1985 Cannondale mountain bike. The one with the 26″ front wheel and 24″ rear. I think it was Blue Lug that showed me the possibility of tightening a quill stem in the cut off seat post and using long handlebars to twist the stuck seat post out. So far it just slips, but maybe after a long chemical bath. Fingers crossed. It is such a swell bike.

I have manna baked tofu in the oven for lunch (and the timer just sounded). One of those dishes that I loved when I ate it every time at a veggie restaurant in Omaha (when there was no such thing as a vegan restaurant in Omaha). I can’t even remember the name of the joint, but they were kind enough to share the recipe with me. And I just noticed their receipe calls it Mana Baked Tofu. Not Manna. Two different things. Not that interesting. Feel free to look it up, though. Do you have a food from long ago that no one likes but you or your family or old friends? Isn’t that funny? How nostalgia influences taste?

I hope you are well.

Love from your budget constrained Steve Austin,


8 responses to “The Five Million Dollar Man

  1. “You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.”
    ― George Bernard Shaw
    Thank you for this most delightful story that brought me both a smile and laughter.

  2. Lacey Koota Putnam

    I love your ideas and projects!! Also love you!


    This was a great post, Randy, you are such a great writer! Eli wants to know if he can be included as a recipient of your blog? He really enjoyed it , too. Your cousin, Debbie

    On Sat, Aug 7, 2021 at 11:02 AM Randal Putnam Loves to Pedal wrote:

    > Randal Putnam posted: ” I looked it up. It was the Six Million Dollar Man, > but what if the feds didn’t have the last million in the budget to rebuild > him? They did their best with five, but the cut corners sometimes show. > With five $M’s under the hood, he still vanquishe” >

  4. Javier Michael Tuma

    Randy- Your blog is very impressive -BRAVO! Your name came up while chatting with mutual friends from Lincoln Southeast. None present knew where you were. (I thought you were in maybe in Omaha). I stumbled upon this and, well, here you are! This is Mike Tuma from Swing-In/Marian’s Short Stop & the days of road trips in your Golf (sweet!) to Hastings concerts. (Don’t forget ‘burger madness’ at Lisa Kearn’s) I thought about contacting her to investigate your whereabouts but will now have to come up with another excuse. If interested send me a text with your number and we can catch up. (310) 704-9191. (An email might get overlooked, and Facebook is -more than- somewhat neglected)

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