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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Physical Education (Part Four)

My first day back at the gym, I was really motivated. I was determined to kick it up to a level I had not even been at before I quit going. Like most instant gratification junkies, I wanted the weight off, and I wanted it off yesterday. I stretched out for a full ten minutes and then got on the exercise bike for an hour. After that, I hit the circuit training weights and did two reps on each machine instead of the one rep that my trainer had programmed. Then feeling great, I played a pick up basketball game with some teenagers, who were in hella good shape. I was feeling the touch, and everything I shot seemed to go in. Inspired by my victory, I played another game, and another, and another. Finally, I had to leave to go pick up my son. On the way out, I realized I had been exercising in some fashion or other for a full four hours. Though physically exhausted, I felt on top of the world and couldn’t wait to do it all again tomorrow.

So the next day I was apparently paralyzed as I could not even get out of bed. I was as stiff as the time when, as kids, my cousin and I climbed up a tree and rocked it back and forth in an attempt to bend it enough to ride it to the ground—only to have the trunk break midway and send us crashing twenty feet to the forest floor.

Being unable to even stand in front of my class and deliver a lecture, I had no choice but to call in sick. Luckily, the flu was going around, so I blamed it on that rather than admitting to my boss that I had come down with an acute case of stupidity.

The next day wasn’t much better, but at least I made it into work. The third day I was brave enough to venture back to the gym. Using a more common sense approach, I didn’t try to lose all twenty pounds of my goal in one day.

Over the next few weeks, I settled into a routine and consistently made it to the gym. There were new faces than from the year before. During this time, I got to know some of them and simply observed some others from afar.

The first person I refer to as Mr. Angry Penis. He and I would usually end up in the locker room the same time each day; as he was finishing up his workout and showering, I was usually getting changed to start mine. In that span of five to ten minutes every day, our conversations evolved from polite hellos to talking about animated topics such as sports or local politics. The latter subject is one that got Mr. Angry Penis very excited, no pun intended.

OK, I am mature enough to have a conversation while changing in the locker room, but please don't approach me to emphasize a point while your junk is out. If I am sitting down putting on my socks and you are standing up, full monty, then I don’t want to raise my head up too fast and get a concussion from your shillelagh. I almost fell over backwards in a mad escape attempt to get away from the impending penile assault. After that, I was very conscious to sit on the opposite side of the bench from Mr. Angry Penis—at least until after the local elections.

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