March 9, 2001
Who would have guessed that those gym
teachers were right?
I avoided gym as best I could all though
high school. It didn't matter if it was ballroom dancing or health
- if it got me out of the locker room, I took it. By the end
of high school I had a better theoretical understanding of human
reproduction than Masters or Johnson. And trust me, that information
has ended up being a whole lot more useful to me than knowing
how to kick field goals.
So after avoiding exercise all my life,
I've recently started a modest program of sit-ups every morning.
I want to make it clear that I'm not
doing it for health reasons. I know that people who exercise
live longer - although some studies suggest that if you deduct
the time spent exercising, showering and looking for the perfect
jogging shoes under $200, you actually end up minus a few years.
And it's not like I'm trying to fend
off the Grim Reaper. I may be over 40, but there's life in the
old boy yet. And the way the value of my RRSPs has dropped through
the floor lately, I can't afford to die, let alone retire.
No, my decision to get into shape is
pure male vanity. Let's face it, vanity is the only thing that
ever gets a man to do anything difficult or unpleasant. For example,
it's impossible to get a man to do something relatively easy
like hit the laundry basket or rinse the sink after shaving.
But when it comes to getting painful hairplugs or slicing a few
millimetres off their eyeballs so they don't have to wear glasses,
men will head off without a second thought.
I still have a full head of hair and
can spot a nickel across the room, so my own vanity is in other
areas. It started last summer when I realized I was always wearing
a shirt to the beach. I said it was because of the sun, but let's
face it, what real man is afraid of third degree sunburn or a
little skin cancer?
Why did I start wearing a shirt with
my bathing suit? Simple - my chest has slowly been moving down
to join my stomach. I didn't realize I was even doing it, but
I was covering up the fact I was gradually getting a little doughy
around the middle.
Then I noticed that when I ran down the
stairs, my stomach kept running for another ten seconds.
So with summer only a dozen or so blizzards
away, I've decided I need to exercise before they start fitting
me for a flowered beach muumuu.
To prove this is a matter of vanity and
not health, I steadfastly refuse to exercise anything that will
not be visible in a bathing suit. If my heart was on the outside,
I might consider a cardio workout, but since it isn't I'm concentrating
solely on sucking in my flabby belly.
And don't get the wrong impression -
I haven't turned the house into a gym or bought another membership
in a health club I'll never visit. All I'm talking about is a
couple dozen sit ups every morning.
After all, I wouldn't want to overdo