People get away with it all the time: Twenty years of drinking, carousing, riotous living and morbid obesity culminate in a rare, teachable moment at the doctor’s office. The guilty party promptly loses 125 pounds in a year and runs a marathon in three hours flat.

Better living than the alternative? Absolutely. The safe, smart way to go about reclaiming your glory days? Probably not, particularly if there’s a rampant history of sudden cardiac death in your family during those two decades. Slow and steady wins the marathon that matters most.

That’s where I’m trapped in my perception of Boston Celtics boss Danny Ainge’s summer channeling of Ty Pennington, Caroline Rhea, insert your preferred 60-minute makeover reality host’s name here.

Torn between enjoying the inevitable cosmetic improvement and lamenting the rotting carcass that is the inner sanctum of what was once the greatest franchise in professional sports.

Together as one, the All-Enigma Team of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen could hook up with two dudes from Brandeis and win an extra 15 games by accident in the shallow Eastern Conference.

For the 12-year-olds in the readership who’ve had no choice but to adopt Miami, New Jersey or Chicago as “your” team once Game 82 is in the books and we find out how many ping-pong balls Boston will have in the draft lottery, by all means, go ape. Do cartwheels. Spend half Dad’s summer earnings on Garnett gear.

But if you’re an adult fan who remembers what it was like when the Celtics were the only Boston sports enterprise that mattered from October to June, please don’t tell me that’s acceptable.

Winning more games, getting more ESPN/TNT airtime than the 76ers and losing to the Pistons in the conference semifinals won’t mask the reality that the C’s are a franchise treading water.

There’s no dead weight to throw off the ship, so Ainge continues to dump the hired hands who collectively could row the team to safety, if New England fans had more patience than the 200 minutes it takes to watch “Titanic.”

Jeff Green. Delonte West. Al Jefferson. Gerald Green. Ryan Gomes. Gone, like Chauncey Billups and Joe Johnson before them.

None of us know if they’ll amount to a hill of beans once they hit professional puberty. All we know is that collectively, left in place as Pierce’s supporting cast for the 2007-08 season, their destiny of 35-47 and fourth place in the division equaled Ainge and Doc Rivers’ professional doom.

So we’re left with three 30-ish dudes with 20-ish scoring potential, at least by themselves. My heart sees Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant. My head sees Adrian Dantley, Orlando Woolridge and Kelly Tripucka.

Three quick fixes. Not a true lifestyle change.

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