Tuesday, August 31, 2010

At the Gym

While I was getting a drink of water someone stole a 10-lb plate from my barbell. In ignorance I began my fourth set of bench press with an unbalanced bar and in surprise nearly dropped 195 lbs on my chest. Racking the weight proved difficult--in part because my motor skills couldn't quite figure out how to move this unfamiliar lop-sided thing, and in part because I had an instant image in my mind of how ridiculous I must have looked.

These kinds of images sometimes arise at inopportune moments. I'll notice the comedy of my bruised-strawberry face at the bottom of a squat and my legs will go wobbly, or I'll be struck by the absurdity of the gym in general, or perhaps a particularly-deadly-serious bro will walk by.

Florian and Marianne, my German farmers, heaped scorn on the idea of the gym. They couldn't believe that people spend money to push things around or run in place after work. They, of course, pushed things around and walked and dug and planted and so forth 70-100 hours a week as their work.

Our sedentary economy and our sedentary culture quite literally kill us (we need not talk about creation here). Our jobs and our diets make us fat immovable objects. You need take no action; it will simply happen to you. If you wish not to be a sedentary sack you must act with purpose and dedication. Go out of your way to eat healthy. Run, jog. Join a gym: a place where people run in place, contort their bodies in weird ways, move around large and oddly shaped paperweights, constrict themselves in cords and cables and then try to get out. It's absurd.

I don't want to demean the gym. As I say, everyone in the gym chooses, against the way of things, to be more active and healthier. That's good. But it's a sign of a sick culture that most of us need such a place to avoid killing ourselves.

PS: I just saw a Droid commercial. There's a dude texting. Droid's innovative keypad transforms the fellow's arms into the arms of a Terminator-style machine. The voice-over promises to turn you into an efficient instrument. Hell.