Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Middle-Aged Workout

On Learning to Come to Terms with the Need to Age Gracefully...

A Woman's Story

(from an email forwarded to Anne from a friend the other day)

Dear Diary,

For my birthday this year, my daughter (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me.

Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try.

I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Belinda, who identified herself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear.

My daughter seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.


Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Belinda waiting for me. She is something of a Greek goddess -- with blonde hair, dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!! Belinda gave me a tour and showed me the machines. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which she conducted her aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring! Belinda was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time she was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!


I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door.

Belinda made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then she put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. Belinda's rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT! It's a whole new life for me.


The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot.

Belinda was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. Her voice is a little too perky for early in the morning and when she scolds, she gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying. My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Belinda put me on the stair monster. Why the Hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Belinda told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. She said some other s*** too.


Belinda was waiting for me with her vampire-like teeth exposed as her thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late, it took me that long to tie my shoes.

Belinda took me to work out with dumbbells. When she was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. She sent another skinny b**** to find me

Then, as punishment, she put me on the rowing machine -- which I sank.


I hate that b**** Belinda more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic little cheerleader. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat her with it.

Belinda wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the damned barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich. The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher.

Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?


Belinda left a message on my answering machine in her grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing her made me want to smash the machine with my planner. However, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.


I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my daughter (the little s***) will choose a gift for me that is fun -- like a root canal or a hysterectomy.

I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!

A Man's Story

(taken from The Best of Bad Hemingway: Choice Entries from The Harry's Bar & American Grill Imitation Hemingway Competition)

A Lean Well-Tighted Space

It was early and those in the exercise room were still in the aerobic dance class except for a man older than the others who sat at the Nautilus machine for bulking up the pecs. On the wall was a poster of the great Stallone. The great Stallone's skin glistened with oil and his pecs bulged like the backs of boxer's gloves and his abs rippled like two croissants pushed together. The man was sweating but his skin did not glisten and his pecs did not bulge. He sat breathing hard for several seconds and then got up and wiped his face with a towel and walked to the machine for making the abs ripple. He walked holding his stomach in and tried to look at the aerobic dancers without turning toward them.

An attendant across the room spoke to another attendant who was adjusting the sound system.

"We ought to stop him from coming here."

"He's all right."

"It is a thing of concern to the girls. They come here to meet young men. They do not like to look at an old man. They do not like an old man looking at them."

"He's not so old."

"He must be forty-five at least."

"A man of forty-five may still like to look at girls."

"Let him go to the `Y.'"

The second attendant shrugged. He finished with the sound system and began to check the bulbs in the panel of colored lights. It is not the same, he thought. Here the girls are lean and wear tights cut high to show the body on both sides of the groin. The girls at the "Y" have thick bodies and wear baggy sweat pants and are not good to look at like the girls one sees here at Harry's Bar & American Grill. A man should be able to choose his own space. It is important that the girls be lean and well-tighted.

The man finished with the last machine and picked up his towel and walked toward the showers. He walked like a man of forty-five but with dignity. He passed a group of girls wearing tights cut very high. He looked at the girls. The girls did not look at the old man.

It is all body, the second attendant thought to himself. Body y pues body. Our body who are in body. Body be thy name. Hail body full of body, body is with thee. Pues body. Pobre Viejo. There must be many like that.

-- Fred D. Baldwin


cowboyangel said...

Very funny. Both pieces. Especially enjoyed the diary, though.

Joe said...

Recognized that! I still pull out the Best of Bad Hemingway to have a good howl now and then. Thing is, this essay suddenly hits very close to home and below the (ever growing) belt!

Thanks for the breather...

Another unrelated question (my own fault for not getting here regularly enough): Posted anything on Peak Oil?...not entirely unrelated to my last question about Iran

Pues, un abrazo from Madrid.

Jeff said...

William and Joe,

That Hemingway contest provided me with a good laugh.

Thing is, this essay suddenly hits very close to home and below the (ever growing) belt!

At least you don't suffer from a groin pull, "like the great Earl Campbell of the Oilers of Houston."

Speaking of oilers, what is "Peak Oil" all about? You mean the price? Is that related to The History of Oil?

Jeff said...


Oh, I see. You're talking about when the wheels finally come off the bus. The crash.

Joe said...

"Crash" - Yes, kind of... There's a lot of alarmist crud out there and as usual its tough to separate what's worth paying attention to and what's not. In any case, I'm afraid it requires wading thru a bit of everything to get the gist of it all. I will try to reference a few. I think its another case of selective awareness (conscious or unconsciously) on behalf of the masses. The semi-informed alarmists scream "we're going to run out of oil" and its fairly easy to write them off because its easy to show that that is not the case: The natural resource will not just disappear. But, the exponential growth on demand (growth that is accelerating exponentially as well) together with the achievment of peak oil production/availability and subsequent decline of production & availability (not disappearance) could have a tremendous effect on things. Most everyone seems to agree, including Bush/Cheney and cronies, that "peak" has occured (2005?) or is about to occur and that gradual/slow decline is to follow immediately thereafter...even including new field findings. Not long ago, 90% of "peak" quantities met 100% of demand. Since demand has grown exponentially (from developed countries together with giants like China etc), the other side of the peak/curve, again at 90% of peak will leave at least 10% of demand unattended to. Just what is that 10% going to be? Who is going to volunteer to not demand? Yet, even still, demand will tend toward growth for at least some period of time (its called "development"). As (even slow) decline of production/availability will cause an equal/opposite growth in unmet demand, etc... So, what's it mean? Who really knows. I guess it ain't good though. There is an interesting analogy to the human body: if we are 70% water it means a man wieghing 200 lbs is 140 lbs water. He doesn't need to lose 140 lbs of water to be in crisis. A 10% water loss will be enough to stop him in his tracks. Anyway, you get the point.

Remember a few years ago I told you, rather enigmatically, that I think we'll be seeing some major challenges in our life time and that of our children? Well...

In any case, I feel we owe it to ourselves and to our kids to look at this type of thing and try to understand it and eventually make a call on it. If its something to be written off, great! If not, well its an opportunity to put things in a different perspective.


(this 2nd one is definitely a bit sensation/alarmist, but if you read through it and beyond the bushwacking etc, there are some interesting points.)

un abrazo,

Joe said...

sorry, meant to add at the end... the wikipedia source info (apparently) leaves the emotional stuff out and probably provides a cleaner look at the topic...though I don't know what slant finally prevails in wiki. Have a look at the sections on Reserves, Concerns over Stated Reserves, Unconventional Sources, Production, Demand and The Hirsch Report (issued by the US Govt't Dept of Energy)

No particular desire to be dismal here. Just think we spend a lot of time looking the other way. I'm guessing we'll get the chance to discuss.


Jeff said...


(Sigh) I miss the Cold War. Things were so much simpler and we had the run of the global economy to ourselves.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

Read a great book by Kirkpatrick Sale about the Luddites a few years back called Rebels Against the Future: The Luddites and Their War on the Industrial Revolution: Lessons for the Computer Age. The author spent the last few chapters trying to apply lesons learned to a modern context, and was openly speculating on what would happen when sleeping giants like China and India statred living the way we do. He basically came to the same conclusions. It just won't be sustainable. It was pretty sobering, and he was somewhat ahead of the curve on this.

I think that 'lifeaftertheoilcrash' site might be somewhat sensationalist in style, but I thought the evidence layed out in the content was pretty good. It was compelling and convincing.

It's good fodder for a longer post, Joe. I'll mull it over. Stay tuned. Thanks.

Joe said...

great Jeff. Look forward to it. G'night from los Madriles!