Leander emerged from the azure waters of the Dardanelles, shaking the salt drops from his golden locks. Hero looked on in rapture and ran to meet him at the Greek shore. “Oh, my love,” said Hero, “To think that you are risking life and limb so that you might win my heart!”

“Alas, no,” he replied. “Aquatic exercise is supposed to be extremely beneficial to the metabolism.” And before she could answer, he dove back into the famous strait and breaststroked off again.

The marble porticos of Athens gleamed golden in the light from the setting sun, and the magistrates were deep in session when a cry arose from the city gates. It was the messenger Pheidippides, having just arrived on foot from the battlefield at Marathon.

“Pheidippides!” exclaimed the assembly of Athens, “Have you come to tell us of the outcome of our war with the Persians?”

“Don’t be ridiculous!” said Pheidippides. “Now don’t delay me, for I need to gauge a consistent average time or I will have wasted my money on this electronic ankle pedometer.” And with that, he jogged away in the direction of Megara.

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,” crooned the fair prince, and so Rapunzel did. In full armor, the prince shimmied up the tresses, but when Rapunzel moved to kiss her suitor, he just as quickly shimmied back down. Then back up.

“But what on earth are you doing?” cried the vexed princess.

“Why, developing and toning my bipeds and quadrilaterals, of course,” retorted the fair prince. “How else do you expect me to qualify for next year’s Olympic team?” And he continued to shimmy for the rest of the day.

The beetle-green phial had scarcely left Romeo’s lips when his love awoke with a start, bolting upright on the cold sarcophagus. “Oh, no!” lamented Juliet. “If only I had woken but a moment earlier, then you wouldn’t have drunk that quickest poison! Now I shall surely be forced to follow suit, such that we may at last be reunited in whatever lies beyond this vale!”

“Oh, pshaw.” sniffed the Italian prince, and proffered the phial for his paramour, pointing in particular to the printed FDA label. “It’s only a vitamin supplement. Don’t be so melodramatic. I can’t keep up all these duels to the death if I remain a ninety-seven-pound milquetoast.” The Capulet fainted dead away.

Glancing resignedly at the flap of the tent, Captain Oates grimly put aside his strand of pemmican and addressed the remaining members of the expedition. “I am just going outside and may be some time,” he said, turning away from his three companions and heading out into the harsh Antarctic blizzard.

Captain Scott stood wearily and saluted. “Your sacrifice will live on in history, I will assure it.”

“What are you going on about? Haven’t you any idea of the advisability of cold-clime Nordic-style power-walking? They say it’s better even than an elliptical machine and is eighty-seven percent calorie-efficient. Now, if you’ll be so kind, please hand me my ergonomic, rubber-tipped, telescoping carbon fiber sauvakavely poles.” And he trekked off into the six-month sunset.