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)
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