My doctor told me that to stand a chance, I needed to make some changes.
A chance for what? A modeling career? Olympic athlete? How about an ironman competitor. Not a winner, I’d just like to be one of the guys that limps in just as the light in the sky is taking on that hazy purple hue and the organizers have folded up he card tables filled with cups of Gatorade. My family is there to greet me and allow me to fall into their arms as I contemplate having my lower half amputated because of the terminal case of monkey butt that I developed on mile nineteen. That kind of chance?
The doc looks at a chart and then gives me a look over the drugstore reading glasses that I’m sure that he buys because he leaves them all over the hospital. Germs probably get on the nosepiece and freak him out. “No, a chance at 47.”
The short visit and conversation seemed a bit over dramatized to me, but I don’t have to be told twice to raise my hands when there’s a gun pointed at me… I’m lying, have to be told many times. My arms get tired, I lose interest, my nose starts to itch. There are a thousand reasons that I can think of to drop my hands, or dismiss advice on any number of other warnings that bring me impending doom.
The crux of my problem today is that I am obese. The wii fit confirmed it back when I was married to Marion and to this day it still says it. The little girl that proclaims it is unyielding in her assessment. The doc also said that my alcoholism is not winning me any bonus points in the longevity department, so I think that we will approach this next phase with a two tiered attack. He doesn’t think that my male patterned baldness is much of a factor, but with my narcissistic tendencies, I will probably want to deal with that later.
Sorry, now maybe I’ll get to the point of my essay. I joined the gym this week. Just the 24-hour fitness place a couple blocks from the house. I walked in and led myself to an innocent looking treadmill. I can walk OK. The other machines intimidated me a bit. The motions looked unnatural to me. The slide gliding and the high stepping seemed like I needed extensive dance lessons to stay in rhythm. The bikes were going nowhere for me. I already touched on the chaffing of the sensitives. The treadmill, yea, I can do that.
The first day was filled with the typical rookie mistakes. I had no towel for the brow, no water bottle to hydrate every fifteen, and most importantly, no ubiquitous iPod to thump my way to fitness bliss. I gazed through my sweat soaked eyes at mute screens trying to tell me more about MJ, announce Obama’s new health care package, or describe the top ten plays of the day. I need a system for this.
The real workout dilemma started for me on day two. I fixed the apparent problems. Towel, check. Water bottle, check. Baby powder, check. It was the iPod that created the snag. Brought it no problem and even remembered the headset, a beautiful pair that snuggled into the ear canal offering hi-fidelity over the wheezing and the puffing my exertion extolled from my lungs. The music player holds an amazing amount of music. One hundred and sixty gigabytes. Twenty four thousand three hundred and forty five songs. Almost a years worth of playing without ever hearing the same song twice. That’s a lot of choices.
The problem stated with the ladies. It always does. Three beautiful women, girls really, wander down the aisle toward those fancy rolling multi training slide stepping cardio pumping machines that I’ll never master. They put those machines in the front row closer to the big screens and the action as thought there is a class system in place. I’m running in steerage. I don’t mind, now I have something to run for, a carrot so to speak.
Then it dawns on me. My music, it is a sure give away. My mind is racing fast than my legs. The iPod is filled with everything from Glen Miller Orchestra to Wu Tang Clan. I’ve got They Might Be Giants in a stranglehold with Philip Glass. I blush to admit there might be a little more Air Supply and Manilow that I would like to admit.
I’m heading up a virtual hillside at a 4.1 clip and my heart is beating out of my chest. I grab the silver heartbeat monitors and the LEDs flow to and fro trying to get a reading on my heartbeat. My nerves are frayed as I watch the numeric display flash the number before me. 193. 193. 193. I realize that my heart could explode at any minute. It’s not used to this kind of exertion. But I keep moving focused in front of me at the there perfect asses running away from me, taunting me with their synchronized gliding strides.
And in a moment of clarity I size up the situation perfectly and I grab the iPod and quickly flip through. I’ll never catch these beautiful young women, but they may catch me. They’ll catch me lying face down on the sweaty tiled floor, thrown clear of the treadmill but with the earpiece of the iPod still clinging to and ringing in my ears. They are too young to know how to administer CPR. Too absorbed in the drama to run for help, and I’m sure they just applied lip gloss so mouth to mouth is out of the question. But they have the presence of mind to pick up the iPod. It gets passed to each one and their bright young smiles tell me I know I made the right choice. Jason Mraz. Over my dead body, it’s all good.