They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again while seeking different results. What does all that mean? It means I joined the gym again.
I go right after work, because if I go home first, I will crawl up on the couch and lie there as if the dern thing was growing out of my bottom.
Changing in the locker room is where it starts for me. I wear knee braces to support my old arthritic knees, and the other men look at my braces as if I were Franklin Roosevelt. It's like they have never seen neoprene before and they're hoping I'll trade them for a few animal pelts. But the funny part is they never seem to notice my girdle.
Dressed, I venture out into the huge workout room busy with others who are trying to avoid looking like me and I head for the stationary bikes. I slowly pedal while trying to be cool with my secondhand MP3 player.
And I can't do it.
I don't envy the thin at the gym, I envy those who can walk around with these plugs in your ears and look cool doing it. I am so challenged when it comes to modern gizmos. My cell phone has a string attached to it so I won't lose it. Texting is like a trip to the dentist for me because I have the thumbs of a primate, and so operating my MP3 player is similar to defusing a bomb.
But I pedal on until I'm completely bored out of my mind. Sure, they have that horizontal row of TVs, but it's tedious to sit there and read the close captions as I pedal to nowhere. Reading is the last thing on my mind as I sweat like I'm going into a math test.
After the bike, I hit the workout machines. You know, the adjustable weight devices spread throughout the gym. I have yet to learn how some of them operate. Without my glasses, I read the instructions on the side of the chest pull-down machine as if I were the fat one of the three blind mice.
I work out at a low weight and will work up to heavier weights. This is a good truism, but it's embarrassing to me, curling a 3 pound dumbbell as if it were a 50.
It's embarrassing right now because I do things like work out on the bench press. I'm working out with just the bar. No weights added, I struggle as if I was lifting a 2-ton workhorse.
But I'm starting slow. Chest press, triceps machine and the dreaded butterfly curls put me through my paces. And I'm now sweating as if I'm being questioned by the IRS about my so-called writing deductions. But it feels good in a strange and sick way. Isn't it Copernicus's Law that states a body at rest will hurt like heck once put under the rigors of repetitive motions?
I always end my exercise routine about 100 feet from the last thing I do. Walking the gauntlet, it looms like an Iron Maiden that I will get into. It's the stomach-crunch machine. It's a device of shame and humiliation. Folding yourself into an incline, you then do sit ups. Crunch is a good description because you crunch your stomach, your back and your sense of well-being.
I have to do something. With my not smoking weight over-taking me, I need to do something drastic exercise, eat right and get plenty of rest. Heck, I sound like the end of an old Hulk Hogan interview. Not smoking and back at the gym -- yes it's a Christmas miracle that came early. Or is it?
So after the crunching of my ego, the slaughter of my waistline has begun anew. Four days a week I thrash about dripping with sweat as if I'm under cross examination from the wife about coming home late, again. I keep trying to get my body in order. It's so hard because I haven't moved around in years through laziness and sloth. But now I'm back, unable to lift my arms over my head and ready to conquer the new Battle of the Bulge.
Johnnie Carrier is a freelance writer who wonders if it's still cool to wear leg warmers to the gym.