Saturday, January 13, 2007

Why I Go to the Gym

There are many clinically sound reasons to go to the gym—to look good, feel healthy, have more energy, fight stress, blah, blah, blah. There are also socially sound reasons to go to the gym, the most common one probably being to pick up dates and to have the opportunity, after seeing them in their tank tops and fitted sports attire, to get a good idea of what they’ll probably look like naked, thus avoiding those oh so fun surprises that suddenly make you remember that you have an early meeting in the morning or that you have a spouse and kids.

My reasons for going to the gym are clinical but mostly social. But I suspect that they differ from most social reasons. You see, it is very, very important to me that I outlive everyone in my family, especially my mom, and even some of my friends. The thing is, I’m generally a nice person and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Especially if they had to throw up every morning for a month and then push all seven pounds of me out of their vagina in a gory blood bath, pooping and peeing on themselves along the way just to give me life. The fact that she was simultaneously screaming about how she hated my dad and never wanted to see him again and that he had better have his things packed and be out the door before she got home and about how I was already turning her life into a living hell, once again forcing her to admit that grandma was right, dealing yet another lethal blow to her ego I consider completely understandable given the mitigating circumstances. So, as reasonable, kind, generous and lovable as such a person might sound, you can understand that I would never want to hurt her. And yet, she has left me with so many things that I feel I need to express, to get out on paper, but don’t ever want her to have the possibility of finding out about lest the things she said about me at my birth (devil’s spawn etc.) seem justified to the outside world.

I need her dead, but love her too much to actually murder her and don’t much care for the idea of facing life in prison or the death penalty. So instead, I like to send her little packages containing DVDs and transfatty baked goods that I made in my own oven. And I always enclose a little note saying how much I’m thinking about her and how I thought she’d adore the movie and deserves to relax on the couch and have a treat. Then I do indeed think of her and imagine myself accumulating these “brownie points” as I pedal away at the elliptical trainer.

These measures may be extreme, it’s true. Biologically speaking, it is already very likely that I will outlive my mother without any form of intervention. But the thing is that I need to outlive her by A LOT. Unfortunately, I can’t really begin to explain why until about 2040, maybe 2035 with the help of Pillsbury’s roll-out dough, maybe 2050 if Congress ever gets scientists back on track with stem cell research. And to think of all of the scientists pining away at the thought of all the lives they could save if only. Probably among them is some genius in eugenics named Eugene. Eugene, you genius! Have you ever met a Eugene who wasn’t really smart? It’s a little bit freaky that they’re always so geeky--and that I’m sounding like Dr. Seuss on drugs. I kept some of the special brownies for myself. No, not the ones you're thinking of, the ones made with transfat-free oil.

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