Tag Archives: working out

Live Free. Die Hard. Use Gym Equipment Properly.

Live free or die hard.

Live free or die hard.

There is a gym at the intersection of 2nd and Danforth in Edmond, Oklahoma. Edmond is a suburb of Oklahoma City and is like most other suburbs in the world except maybe a little more spread out and far from major bodies of water. We don’t even have a river.

The gym used to be called Aspen. It was fun to say, “I’m going to Aspen,” and imagine that you were going to the mountains to ski wearing a white mink coat. It was also fun ask people, “How’s your Aspen?” It almost works because most people would go to the gym to do something to their Aspen, to shrink it or firm it up or make it more bubbly.

I’ve spent many cumulative hours in this gym, though it is no longer called Aspen. It was purchased by Gold’s some time ago and now has all those really annoying signs around it with attractive people wearing shorts and sports bras lifting 5 lb. free weights or stepping in a puddle: “Pain is temporary. Quitting is forever.” “Your body can stand almost anything. It’s your mind you need to convince.” “Work hard. Work hard.” I don’t really get the last one.

Growing up, visiting the gym was usually a bit stressful for me. I was uncomfortable with strangers seeing me sweat or exert myself in any way. I was convinced, incorrectly, that I was not athletic because I was not thin. If I could have exercised in a dark room away from the glaring fluorescent lights and television screens broadcasting Fox News and Maury, I certainly would have chosen it. In fact, I would have paid a premium to hide the shame of my perspiration somewhere even I wouldn’t have to see it.

My teenage gym dream has come true. There is now a cinema room at Gold’s Gym. A cinema room is a darkened enclave within the larger gym complex. It is so dark, in fact, that if you walk directly into the room after having been outside in the noonday sun, you won’t be able to see anything, and you’ll have to grope each piece of equipment to find out if it’s an elliptical trainer, treadmill, or stationary bike. This is probably what aliens feel like when they probe people.

The machines are arranged in front of a movie screen that is showing  – unsurprisingly – a dude movie of some stripe. Granted, I’ve only been in there twice, but the first time they were playing an Adam Sandler film (not Punch-Drunk Love), and the second time was Live Free or Die Hard.

I visited the gym today and was very excited about getting to use the Cinema Room and experience the joys of working out in the dark. True to form, when I walked in I almost immediately ran into a machine in the pitch-black room. After touching every piece of equipment, I finally found an elliptical trainer and placed  my feet on the landing pads and started to ellipticise. At that moment, I looked up and saw Bruce Willis, covered in dirt and sweat and blood, giving another man a wiener-withering glare. This is what I was working for, that kind of power.

I’d burned 235 calories after being on the machine for 17 minutes. Sweat had completely soaked the back of my shirt and my chin was dripping too. On screen, I watched Bruce single handedly break into a federal government building and throw a Russian assassin through a turbine. He was doing everything he could to save his sassy but still kind of wimpy daughter. I pushed my mph to 7.5.

At 43 minutes, everything on my body was soaked in sweat. I was going backwards now since my toes had gone numb and I thought, “Should I end it here?” But Bruce had just commandeered an armored semi-truck and caused millions of dollars of damage to Baltimore’s infrastructure while fighting off a fighter plane before shooting himself through the shoulder in order to kill the man who was holding his daughter captive. So I kept going.

Soon the movie ended and for the last seven minutes of my workout, I was held captive to the DVD intro as it looped.  It was kind of painful, but then I thought about what Bruce had gone through to save his daughter, and what I’d gone through to find that Moroccan place for lunch, and I knew that my body could stand almost anything, including this DVD repeat torture in the darkened Cinema room at Gold’s Gym Edmond. Needless to say, I stayed. If I live an extra two minutes because of that workout, Bruce will have saved yet another person from dying too soon.

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Look Right Into My Ocular Spheres

5 “lanes,” 40 mph traffic, no respect for crosswalk, hospital on the other side. Impossible? No. 

An update on my daily street-crossing life:

I see you. You’re sitting in your car. You’ve got your buddies with you, all lined up in a pretty little row like pretty little ducklings lurching around in giant metal cages made of steel and glass. I see you too, Mr. Motorbike Delivery Man. I know your kind; you’re the most lawless of all. You believe you can fit anywhere, especially the foot wide corridors between moving cars that young pedestrian lasses like me like to squeeze through.

But let’s all admit the hard truth: I need to cross this street and you’re going to let me do it. It’s something none of us want to think about, but it’s reality. What you all don’t know is that I’ve got a secret weapon, a hidden asset, an invisible advantage, a clandestine tool. And I mean invisible in the figurative sense, since it’s actually as plain as the nose on my face, the arms on my sides, or the goose on my head. I’m talking about my eyes, friends. That’s right: My peepers. My lookey-loos. My soul-windows. My ocular spheres. Too many synonyms? No apologies: the power that lies within my seeing globes deserves an inappropriate amount of description.

With this weapon in face, the crossing begins. My eyes are refrigerators, and the eyes of every driver in Cairo are magnets. My gaze sweeps across the expanse in front of me as I hop down from the curb. My vision pierces the car closest to me. Schlooop! We have made an avatar-like connection. The deepest desires of our hearts are now known to one another: you want me to get out of your way, and I want to live. Paralyzed by the power of ocular bond, you let me pass in front of you. I look to the next car and the connection is made again, equally powerful, and equally effective. Eventually, moving car by car, I reach the other side of the street no worse for the wear, though this cough isn’t getting better.

Discovering this power was the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my entire life, aside from emergency delivering a litter of baby platupuses in a bathtub. After weeks of perfecting the stare, I feel more confident than ever when crossing the street, especially in the height of traffic. Furthermore, I have gained moral ground because the driver, should she hit me, will have my piercing gaze emblazoned on her mind for the rest of her commute home, and that’s gonna spoil dinner.

May I have continued success in this daily activity, because the only other alternative is injury or death.

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