Like Hell You Could
I need to make it clear that I'm not a freak, not by a long shot. In strict competitive bodybuilding standards, I don't cut it.
It probably has just as much to do with personal choice as it does my height or my unreasonable reluctance to Roger Clemens my ass with a lot of illegal chemicals. Since I'm well over six feet, I'd have to weigh about 30 pounds more to even come close to the modern, hulking, competitive bodybuilding esthetic.
In other words I'm no fireplug, but that's perfectly okay with me. I like looking good in a suit, even though it still has to be custom made. I like being relatively light on my feet. When I'm naked, I prefer it that women gape at my grossly enlarged and veiny pecker instead of my grossly enlarged and veiny pec.
Neither can I haul, hoist, lift, or press enough weight to win any serious powerlifting contest unless I deceitfully hacked, wheezed, and phlegmed my way into one for powerlifters afflicted with tuberculosis or emphysema.
If I had to describe my body type or physique, I'd have to say I look more like a football player, maybe a tight end, the rare in-shape quarterback, or even a linebacker. I am, however, by regular-folk-on-the-street standards, a big guy, a "built" guy, a "buff" guy, an in-shape guy.
Non-lifting friends want me to go to the IKEA store with them so I can help them lift unpronounceable Swedish furniture into the backs of their SUVs. Non-lifting friends often point at me in any number of situations and say, "See that guy? He'll kick your ass."
I'm somewhat of a physical novelty to these people, probably a lot like a girl with really big tits is to her friends. Just as her flat-chested buddies tease her by hoisting up their tiny tits and pushing them together to make one good one, my non-lifting friends will often greet me by "making a muscle" with their arm or, worse yet, hitting a sad most-muscular pose.
Of course, with the big-breasted girl and her friends, they probably all strip down to their panties and have a pillow fight afterwards, so it isn't all bad.
But with the guys who "make a muscle"? They just snort and snicker at their wit.
Oh yeah, it's a riot. Humor at its best.
I feel like striking them.
Likewise, I'm big enough that strangers look at me and think meathead. The brave ones try to make conversation with me by talking about sports or the latest steroid scandal.
Mongo know very little about ways of world, so Mongo thank you for trying to relate to him on simple level. Mongo hungry now. Mongo want to know if you carry any lunchmeat in your pocket.
I'm sure a lot of you fall into the same sturdy Dreadnought of a boat.
The thing that bugs me the most, though, is the line the non-lifters, the Zach Braff clones, lay on me at least once a week. It's their attempt to provide a plausible but woefully untrue excuse for the condition of their ectomorphic or gelatinous body. Here is that rationalization, the one I hear all the time, the one I'm sure you hear all the time:
I'd look like you too if I had the time to work out all day.
Like hell you could.
But I don't say that. I usually respond with a tight-lipped smile and go on my way, but in their minds, "my way" is off to a long day at the gym or to the wheat grass stand to quaff a liver, barley, and whey protein shake.
It's okay, though. It doesn't matter.
Still, if I were a vindictive or snarky kind of guy, I might not let that rationalization pass so easy. I might, if I were a vindictive or snarky kind of guy, say something like the following:
"Hey Mr. Seacrest, listen up. First of all, the notion that I spend my entire day in the gym, eschewing all worldly pursuits like women, assorted passions, friends, hobbies, business dealings, areas of study, etc., is offensive to me.
"But maybe your view of me is more charitable than that, maybe you think that I can spend the entire day in the gym and still enjoy worldly pursuits because I'm some sort of multi-tasking savant on the order of the Clive Owen character in Shoot 'Em Upwho could fuck Monica Belluci while simultaneously engaged in a rollicking gunfight with a number of hired assassins without breaking pelvic stride.
"Fair enough, Soy Boy, but the truth is I only spend maybe five hours a week in the gym. I can do that because I know what I'm doing.
"Sure, sure, maybe you have your own little exercise program. Maybe it's some leotard wearing, mat-sniffing yoga class you joined so you could see women make bizarre but strangely arousing pretzel-like contortions where they aim their herbal-tea infused hoo-hahs at the celestial heavens; maybe it's your Tap Kwan Doclass where you learn the ancient but hugely gay Martial art of emotionally disarming assailants through the enchanting beauty of tap dancing; maybe it's the 10 half-assed naked push-ups — the ones where your shriveled pecker barely grazes the Berber carpet — that you never fail to do upon rising...except on holidays or weekends when you really need to rush down to the cafe before they run out those yummy raspberry white-chocolate scones, but none of that's really a workout, is it?
"To know what I know, to do what I do, you'd have to actually read, study, think, and practice. I'm as in tune with my body and the precise motor-movements it takes to do even the simplest biceps curl as Tiger Woods is when he nails a chip shot out of the rough or when Dirk Nowitzki drains a 3-point shot from 25-feet.
"When you try to do a squat or deadlift or curl, you might as well be trying to perform a handstand on a balance beam. Oh, you may be able to approximate the motion, but your muscles are retarded by inactivity, a sluggish nervous system, and tiny little vestigial testicles that fossilized a long time ago, whereas people like me are as in tune with their muscle fibers as one of those strange Tibetan monks who can slow their heartbeat to a standstill.
"We can get more out of one set of barbell triceps extensions than you can from an hour of Nautilus pushdowns or pressdowns or whatever machines you have in your 24 Hour Fitness center.
"You have virtually no knowledge of your body, either conscious or subconscious, technical or intuitive. You're like a drunken chimp that was given a car and somehow learned to crash it forward into the outhouse by pushing on the gas pedal with a long banana. It may not look pretty, but yeah, you're driving...sort of.
"So don't tell me you could look like me if you spent all day in the gym.
"Besides the factors you've mentioned, I doubt you have the drive; I doubt you have the character; I doubt you have the concentration to fully apply yourself to working out the right way for five hours a week.
"I think you have to be a bit of a killer to work out correctly. I don't exactly mean that literally, but I mean you have to have the makings of a killer who, by the Grace of God, was able to redirect his warped passions into something other than slitting throats.
"You want to know how most of us feel? Okay, here's a random snippet from the hard drive of our brain, apparently from a historical file:
'The greatest pleasure is to vanquish your enemies, to chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth, to see their near and dear bathed in tears, to ride their horses and sleep on the bellies of their wives and daughters.'
"It wasn't Hillary Clinton who said that, Slacker Boy, but one Genghis Khan. By the sounds of it he could have been a pretty good lifter. We don't of course hold with the conqueror's sentiments 100 percent, but it kinda feels right, you know? And maybe we're not really warriors in the standard sense, but do yourself a favor and don't test us. We tend to get a little irritable with people like you.
"People like us have a dynamism you can't comprehend. Go ahead, call us elitists; we relish the term. With apologies to the Constitution, we were not all created equal. Some of us are just plain better. What are you gonna do about it?
"Maybe we're not really better, but what business do we have doing anything if we don't go into it thinking we're the best, or at least have the capability of being the best?
"That's the mindset it takes to do what I do, Princess.
"So the next time you feel like telling us you could look like us if you spent all day in the gym, either shut your pie hole or prove it.
"Have a nice goddam day."
Maybe the next time I'm given the "I could look like you" line, I'll just print this rant out and staple-gun it to the offender's forehead.
You know, just to save time so as not to detract from all those long hours I need to spend at the gym.
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