For more years than I am able to remember, I was a regular follower of the Washington Post columns of Remar Sutton. Each week, I was enthralled by reading about his latest exploits. In the late 1980s, he undertook a year-long campaign to get himself in shape, all of which he dutifully recorded throughout the course of his columns.
His efforts inspired me to follow suit, and at the time—now a third of a century ago—I wrote an item describing my modest efforts, humble indeed in comparison to his. Readers might recall that last year I wrote an update on those pursuits. My original column was in the old, pre-internet days, but the more recent one was right in the mix of the current telecommunication explosion.
The result of this technological advancement was that immediately upon its posting on the internet, Remar was able to read the article from his home in the British Virgin Islands, which led him to contact me through the Rappahannock Record. What ensued has been the establishment of communication, which in turn has led me to learn more about this journalistic paragon I have admired all these many years.
Remar divides his time between his island home on Tortola and a farm in Denmark, which country he considers to be the best place to live for those over the age of 65. Health and well-being are the critical focus of Remar’s pursuits. His year-long effort to make himself into what he termed “a hunk” ultimately became his book, Body Worry, in which he gives cogent advice on how to get and stay in shape in a world dominated by fast food, chemical additives, the obsession with grease in one’s diet and the ever-present vice in all of us, lethargy.
Personally, although my attempt to emulate Remar’s regime paled in comparison to his achievements, I learned from the experience, and still practice much of his advice and follow his literary guidance. The cover of Body Worry shows pictures of Remar before and after implementing the new regime—really quite impressive.
Prior to his health focus, Remar wrote an important work, Don’t Get Taken Every Time, based on his early career in the automotive trade. That book tells his readers how to shop for an automobile—in short, how not to have the wool pulled over one’s eyes. He reminds car buyers that for many salesmen, their job is to sell the car for the highest price possible, and to beware of gimmickry.
In recent years in his lectures and writings, Remar has spoken frequently of “blue zones,” those areas that are recognized for being best for longer living, and not only longer, but better as well.
He is a strong opponent of impulse buying, cautioning that money always runs out faster than one expects, and warning that financial distress can be a cause of obesity and related health problems. He advocates exercise, especially walking for senior citizens, as well as a healthy, plant-focused diet.
This coming Tuesday, Remar will become an octogenarian. His weekly columns are now part of literary history, but his books continue to offer sound insights into how to live productively throughout the course of one’s life, and how not to get taken on current fads and whims as offered by the advertising moguls who often are at work to get the best of us. Common sense is the basis of Remar’s approach to life, whether in buying an automobile, eating a diet based on enjoying good health, or managing personal resources. What he has to say is beneficial, uplifting and inspiring to anyone who takes the time to listen.
Happy Birthday, Remar! If one can say that anyone is at the Peak of Youth, one can say it of you. Ad multos annos!