Roger Marolt: Roger This
The only antidote to pumpkin pie is sweat. I’m sorry. That’s the way it is. I used to think that eating vegetables for breakfast or downing a smoothie with some exotic fruit like cumquat and plain yogurt mixed in would do the trick, but these only give a false hope and make you want to eat more pie for lunch.Now, I’m not suggesting that you drink sweat, your own or anyone else’s, in order to counteract the effects of sugared-up mashed pumpkin smothered in whipped cream served in lard-laden crust. What I mean is that you have to produce sweat through exercise top burn off the pie that goes down that wrong tube in your throat that leads directly to your belly or backside depending on your unique genetic makeup. After you produce the sweat, I actually recommend letting it evaporate or toweling it off your face. There is no sense saving it.Usually getting a workout in on Thanksgiving weekend is as easy as waking yourself in the middle of the afternoon after a leftover binge and hefting your leaden body off the sofa during halftime of yet another football game or a classic movie playing on A&E, digging out your workout clothes from the back of the bottom dresser drawer, squeezing your body into them, brushing your teeth to get the doze film off your teeth and tongue, combing your hair, finding the car keys, warming up the car, driving to town, circling the block to find a parking spot so you don’t have to walk too far to the gym, reserving one of the treadmills once you are there, and then finding something to do that won’t kill your motivation while you wait, like perusing eight month-old magazines in the damp, mildew-smelling locker room. But, when you are traveling the process of getting a workout in can be difficult. In an unfamiliar town it is challenging to find a new gym and then figure out how to use it. Most of us with health club membership cards and a workout routine probably don’t realize it, but our exercise is a habit, not unlike smoking. As with any addiction, we hardly realize partaking in it and waste far more time with it than we care to admit. We end up in the cold parking lot, coughing and mopping our brows wondering how it has happened again. It’s Fat Friday and I am in Midland, the Tall City of God’s country, the Babylon of West Texas, and the old gym I worked out in the previous 36 times I have been here was closed recently, I think by the sanitation department, but who can be certain of that? … I loved that place. Anyway, I had to find a new gym to burn pie and mashed potatoes in. After much research I realized that my choice here was limited to either the men’s or women’s side of Gold’s Gym. I chose the men’s as the women’s consisted of only hardwood floors and an oversized stereo system with a hands-free microphone draped over a rack of two-pound pastel-colored hand weights, which is not intimidating until you come face to face with it.With that decision made, I filled out the requisite questionnaire before I was allowed into the men’s side. It was comprised of simple questions and multiple-choice answers like: 1. What is your fitness goal? A) to get big; B) to get bigger; C) to be the biggest. 2. Is it most important to you to be able to: A) tear a phone book of a medium-size city in half with your bare hands; B) hoist a barstool with one arm by one of its legs to shoulder height; C) lift the front end of a Volkswagen Beetle an inch or two (not a separate question) off the ground. 3. Which body part do you wish was larger? A) biceps; B) triceps; C) pecs; D) other (above the waist only, please) 4. Do you consider the use of performance enhancing drugs to be for professional athletes only? A) no; B) hell no. Then, at the thought that you need to gain some weight and add a few inches to the circumference of your arms occurs to you for the first time since you were a sophomore, they turn you loose into a vast jungle of iron and contraptions that look like they were salvaged from an archeological dig beneath the walls of a Medieval fortress. My impression was that most of the giants wandering around the room intermittently throwing large steel wheels around held down night jobs as jailers, bouncers, and WWF wrestlers.I’m intimidated, I’m hesitant, I’m utterly forlorn in this new frontier. As I feel my way around and tentatively try to squeeze a 30-minute workout into an hour and a half by not getting in anybody’s way, I inadvertently meet a few of the regulars. I am happy to report that none of them bit off my nose or even punched me in the gut. It turns out that most of them are actually friendly, and Gold’s Gym in Midland, Texas is great!Between sets one of the guys asks me what I do for a living and I tell him.”Huh,” he says. “We had you pegged for a merchant marine.”
Roger Marolt’s stomach hurts today. Most of the morning he’ll be at Gold’s Gym, then you can contact him at email@example.com.
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