Wednesday, December 8, 2010

#288: Two Guys Naked

You come here often?
 The Things You Hear in the Locker Room

There's just nothing like meeting someone when you're both naked. "Locker Room" conversation gets a bad rap, I think. Maybe the younger guys are talking about booty and brews, but we gentlemen of a certain age are a bit more lofty in our conversation. More cerebral. There we were, two wet, naked men sitting on a wooden bench. Our discourse went something like this...

"Oh, man. That almost killed me."

"I hear you. I wanted to do an hour today, and I barely made it 30 minutes."

"I haven't worked out in so long."

"One day at a time."

"That's the only way to do it."


And that's how I met my newest friend. Turns out he had prostate cancer about five years ago. We told our stories. I told him about some resources I had discovered here in town, he shared some with me. We both laughed about how strange it was to complain about a hard workout was after the things we'd been through. I wonder if this is how it feels when old veterans meet. We may not have known one another, but there was enough to make an immediate connection.

My friend Alex left me a great story in the comments for yesterday's post. It's about a teacher in seminary.
The instructor walked into class, looked around the room and asked, "Who here has a fatal disease?" None of the shocked class raised their hands. Then the instructor put his hand up, to the surprise of the class. After a moments pause he said, "We all do. It's called Life."

Yes, having cancer makes us unique. But in another sense, we're all confronted by death every day. We don't know when it's coming or how, but we know it will come. We can all ask the questions, "What would I do if I thought I only had a few months to live? Why am I not doing that right now?" In a way, surviving is more of a responsibility than an achievement. I have a responsibility to live the rest of my life as if it was worth the fight.

Maybe that's what it means to be a Christian? If we believe that Christ's suffering delivered us from death, maybe we have a responsibility to live our own lives as if they were worth the fight he fought. As if there were a reason for us to be delivered. Maybe that should be the measure of the way we treat other people and take care of ourselves? I'll have to mull that one over a little more.

The Day at the Gym

I did not want to go to the gym today. I was tired and grouchy and sleepy. I felt like I had had a full day yesterday and worked hard the last two days and earned myself a day off. Then I remembered all the time I spent plotting out my routines for the next few weeks. Problem is, I put them all on my calender. Taking a day off today would have meant rearranging six weeks worth of workouts. I figured it would just be easier to go lift weights than to do all that paperwork. Once I started lifting, I was glad I decided to go.

I made just a couple of changes to the workout I did on Monday. I took a little bit longer breaks today, and paid a lot of attention to form. I finally put all those mirrors to use, checking from the side to make sure I wasn't bowing my back on some of the deeper lifts. Changed a couple of exercises. I got rid of the weight on the lunges, and used an exercise that John Izzo recommends for training your body to do them properly. Here's a video guide that I cited back in October of last year. I think it is going to help me get on the right track with lunges, though I did lose my balance again, at least I had the good sense not to fall into anything today. More on that later.

I also combined the crunch and reverse crunch into super sets. That's when you do sets of two different exercises back to back, without stopping. I ditched the Swiss ball for the crunches. The ball at the gym is pretty squishy. Under my weight it was less like exercise equipment and more like a bean bag chair. Don't get me wrong. I had some good times in bean bag chairs back in the 'seventies, but my goals have changed slightly since then. Going to the floor and combining the two movements seemed to work my guts a little harder. I could certainly feel them burning by the end of the last set.

Battered, but not Beaten
Oh, this little thing? Just an
old dueling scar, my dear.
Remember how I told you I fell into the dumbbell rack on Monday? I have the most awesome bruise on my right shoulder!

How cool is that? I am fascinated by the way blood thinners affect injuries like this. Now the truth is, I didn't fall very far and I didn't hit very hard, but this thing is really swollen and ugly. Even Mrs P was impressed, and she's seen some stuff. I haven't noticed any soreness or weakness, though it is tender to the touch. It's just nice to have an injury that's so harmless, and at the same time so impressive looking. It appeals to my under-developed sense of machismo. Of course it also reminds me how much I need to protect my head. This hematoma would not be nearly as much fun were it inside my skull. And I don't even want to think about what would happen if I cut myself very badly. Better to avoid hard edges.

Not a bad rule in life, now that I think about it. Avoid hard edges.



  1. Yes, avoiding hard edges is excellent advice! And I totally am with you on the bruise thing. I fell hard on my hip on a rock and the beach last summer, and ended up with a simply spectacular bruise that I watched with great interest for a couple of weeks. Nice to know I am not alone in wearing my wounds like trophies. :)

  2. You make me have good feelings in my heart. I miss you and would love to do another play with you. Quince,1995


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