Tuesday, March 09, 2010
A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about the nutjobs who think that the world in coming to an end in 2012. This is all based on a primitive calendar system developed by the ancient Mayan civilization -- a calendar system that inexplicably comes to an end in what we now call the year 2012. There's really no universally-accepted explanation as to WHY the ancient Mayan calendar had an endpoint, but some out there think the Mayans had some extra-terrestrial help in the building of their empire, and maybe these same extra-terrestrials clued the locals on to the End of Days. Why these all-knowing and all-seeing ET's didn't also say, "Oh, hey, and you might want to look out for the Spanish armada" is beyond me, but I digress.
Anyways, some folk (clinical term: nutbags) believe that we've got precious little time to enjoy our remaining Earthly delights (clinical term: Arby's.) A few weeks ago, I sort of ruthlessly mocked these folks in a column. Now I'm starting to realize that it takes a brave man to make fun of the Apocalypse. Folks, I'm here with some bad news. I'm afraid the end may be nigh. Behold, for I have borne witness to a clear sign of the End of Days. Locusts? Nope. Seas of blood? Not yet. It's worse:
I joined a gym.
If that's not a clear sign that the world as we know it's coming to a close, I don't know what is.
I wasn't trying to call forth the Four Horsemen, I promise you this. I was just trying to have a good Valentine's Day. See, Amy (the girlfriend) has been on an epic health kick of late. She's trying to shed a couple unwanted pounds, eat a little better, and adapt to an all-around healthier lifestyle. And the other day, I got the "...and I need your help to do it" speech.
Thanks to my mom, I'd already had practice being at the receiving end of this speech. When I was in junior high, my mom got on a similar health kick. She explained to my dad and I that she was making a huge lifestyle change, and asked that we be as supportive as possible. From us, she needed encouragement, incentive, cheering, cooperation, and love.
But what she failed to mention is that she also needed us to suffer through things like "celery casserole" (shudder) for dinner, as well as outright lies such as "if you cut squash up finely enough and bake it in the oven, it tastes JUST like a french fry!" (Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.)
Still, I wanted to support my mom, so I dealt with it. And in the end, my mom lost 95 lbs. and was nominated as Weight Watcher of the Year, a feat that still astonishes me to this day. So when Amy came at me with a similar speech, I was ready.
"I just need your encouragement," she said.
"Umm," I replied. "You GO, girl?" Not good enough, I'm afraid.
I want to be the supportive boyfriend, I really do, and I'll never knock anyone's efforts to become healthier. That said, as God is my witness, I will NEVER eat celery casserole again. Instead, I figured out the PERFECT way to be The Most Awesomest Boyfriend Ever.
For Valentine's Day, I presented her with a membership to the 24-hour gym that's near my apartment. But to make it super duper romantic, I got memberships for the BOTH of us. I just, umm, never realized a membership usually entails GOING.
But go I have, on several occasions now. I'm not just a gym member, I'm a gym participant. Maybe even a gym-nast. And after my first week foray of fitness, if I had to put my experience into one word, I guess that word would have to be:
As I speak, my legs are two noodles held in place by taut rubber bands. Muscles I didn't even know I had are announcing their existence with painful confidence. If this is what physical fitness is about, I might be better off with my usual sedentary lifestyle and the sweet release of premature death. Why does "getting in shape" have to involve feeling like a truck just hit my shape?
It's a learning experience, and I've been learning a great deal about the gym, such as a few helpful definitions:
STATIONARY BIKE (n.) An ancient torture device. Built to provide you all the fun of biking without all that pesky travelling, sight-seeing, fresh air, and stopping to get in the way.
RESISTANCE LEVEL (n). A setting on aforementioned bike, created to finally answer the age-old question, "I wonder what it would be like to cycle through tapioca pudding?"
RECUMBENT BIKE (n). A scientific and engineering break-through in exercise biking, ushering in a new era of uncomfortability and awkwardness.
ELLIPTICAL MACHINE (n). I'm still not quite sure. I think it's an ancient Mayan nausea inducer.
I'm rapidly learning that there are Care Bears more manly than me. I know that I'm a wuss, okay, and I've pretty much been cool with it my whole life. But lately I've been crossing the line from wussy to outright FAT. At first, I thought I'd wait and make sure the AMA didn't announce that skinniness causes cancer and fat people had it right all along. But no luck. Contrary to my personal belief system, a pizza a day does NOT keep the doctor away.
In my late 20's, my metabolism started going down and my weight started going up. This was when my uncommon sense kicked in and I figured out the answer: Buy baggy clothes in bulk and ignore it 'til it goes away. But it's not going away. My clothes are now so baggy I've got shoulder hems precariously close to becoming elbow hems. I am Fatty McButterPants. And I'm going to stick to the workout regimen, because I'd sort of like to hang around for the next few decades.
Assuming, of course, that there ARE more decades in store for us. At the very least, I'll be in MUCH better shape to dodge the locusts, flying horsemen, and seas of fire.