Being a gentleman with his finger firmly on the pulse of modern technology, I recently purchased a Wii Fit, the popular video console accessory first released about four years ago and possibly on the verge of being discontinued.
Although it no doubt pales in comparison to the latest mind-controlled, tweet-powered thingamajig currently getting kids giddy, it is a remarkably clever contraption.
In the simplest of terms, it's a plastic balance box you step on which, via magical wireless powers connecting it to the Nintendo Wii, tells you just how unfit you are and offers an assortment of fitness-related games intended to rectify this.
Its purchase was mainly aimed at finding something that could occupy the popular Venn diagram area in which "likes computer games" and "needs to exercise" merge. Here was something, or so I thought, that didn't require a great deal of commitment, that I could use a few minutes a day, probably while still in my pants, that would trick me into getting fit by delivering exercises in a fun-filled game-like package. After a few months, I'd be like Schwarzenegger circa 1978 (although perhaps without the gaping chasm between my front teeth). I saw nothing beyond a win-win scenario.
What I didn't realise was just how obnoxious the Wii Fit would be. Before you can get the games going (and embarrass yourself in front of the window cleaners, something I accomplished a day later), it must conduct a "body test", checking your weight and centre of balance to offer an overall fitness level.
My data showed that while my body mass index was still in the "ideal" category, it was a little too close to "overweight" for comfort (especially considering I used to be something of a scrawny chap). Fine. Having been living in the UAE for a few years, I had been gearing myself up for this result.
The killer blow came when it delivered my "Wii Fit age", calculated by chucking the BMI together with the results of a few simple exercises.
Thirty-seven. Thirty. Seven. Thur-tee sev-uhn.
My body, it seems, is performing in a manner befit of somebody almost 25 per cent older. And with the verdict delivered in the Wii's high-pitched, cutesy, cartoony manner, it felt like I had been punched in my (not-exactly-ripped) stomach by a kids' TV character. My ladyfriend, usually a caring, sensitive soul, could barely contain her giggles.
Then it was her turn. Up she stepped with all the grace of a gazelle. The results were painfully predictable. Bang on the underweight/ideal border. Bang in the centre of gravity. I sat smouldering in the corner as she flirted with the pixelated Wii Fit instructor.
Then came her Wii Fit Age, welcomed by the roll of a drum.
Can you get fit by laughing continually for a week? I hope so.