Working Out A Pointless Exercise

September 10, 2008 by trooce · Leave a Comment 

Wayne Chans I just came back from the gym and I feel great. I’d say ten percent of my euphoria is due to the typical reasons people feel great after working out – that my body feels refreshed and healthy. The remaining ninety percent of my enthusiasm comes from the knowledge that it’ll be another 47 glorious hours before I have to subject myself to the torture of working out again.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the benefits of going to the gym. The irony of it is that I have always been a very active person, whether I was playing tennis, volleyball, basketball or “Marco Polo” in the neighborhood pool. The difference with competitive sports is that there is a point to the activity – literally.

How many points can I score against the other side? I just won another point! Now it’s match point! I won the winning point! Yahoo! Look at everyone pointing at me, they’re saying, “You’re the point master!” Now it’s off to Wimbledon to win some more points!

I could go on, but I think you get my point.

You don’t earn any points when you’re working out in a gym (and just in case you think I missed it – brownie points don’t count). Of course, the reason why I go to the gym is to stay in shape. It’s just that the actual activities you partake in at the gym seem so unproductive.

You run around a circular track as long as you can only to end up exactly where you started. Running on a treadmill is even worse. You start from point A, and forty minutes later you arrive at point…well, actually, you never left point A. Some treadmills will actually tilt upwards during the routine so now you’re panting just trying to catch your breath as you try to scale a Himalayan mountain traverse that leads nowhere.

At least when you’re hiking up a mountain you have some sense of control. Picture someone (OK…me) who’s on level ten on the treadmill, with the machine at a steep pitch, barely keeping up with the machine, when all of a sudden, without warning, you have an overwhelming urge to…sneeze.

It’s like someone installed an ejection seat on my treadmill. One minute you’re running on the treadmill, the next you’re body-slamming the gym floor like a professional wrestler. And of course, let’s not forget…I’m doing this all for my health.

Lifting weights is the toughest exercise for me. You spend an enormous amount of energy to lift a really heavy object into the air. There’s no objective to lifting the weight except to put it back down on the floor so that you can do it again and again. Your mind knows why you’re doing it but your body clearly doesn’t understand. You can almost hear your body speaking to you.

I’ve been patient with you on these weights, but enough is enough. You are now beginning to experience severe muscle spasms up and down your arms and legs and this will continue until I’ve made myself perfectly clear. Unless someone is paying you to lift these weights, you will soon experience what it’s like to visit Cramptown, USA.

When I travel to Asia, I do my best to keep up my exercise regimen. The problem is, everybody there apparently has the same mindset towards working out that I do. You don’t see many people exercising, and I suspect the reason is that they eat healthier, and have more active lives than we do.

The few times I’ve tried going for a jog in Asia, you see all sorts of people staring in my direction. They’re not really staring at me, mind you. They’re looking directly behind me to see who might be chasing me.

The Year of the Adorable Rodent

September 7, 2008 by trooce · Leave a Comment 

I’ve been asked to write a column celebrating this year’s Chinese New Year.  As with other columns celebrating the New Year, I thought a festive poem might be in order.  Unfortunately, I’m having some problems with it.

My main concern (and I could see it coming), is that I’m having a hard time waxing poetic about the animal we are celebrating this year.

You see, this year is the year of the rat.

To give the rat it’s due, I did some research and the rat is highly regarded in its place in the Chinese Zodiac.  The rat is active, pleasant, and quick to see opportunities.  They are sociable, family minded…and able to withstand global thermonuclear explosions.

OK, I threw that last part in, and therein lies my problem.  Wait, instead of explaining it, why don’t I just show you the poem.  I call it, “Ode to Rat”.

Ode to Rat, by Wayne Chan

Oh, blessed rat, so misunderstood,
One thing to avoid, I know I would
You scuttle away, scampering here and there,
With your long bare tail, and scrubby gray hair

You’re honored this year, and while that might seem screwy,
You weren’t half bad in the film “Ratatouille”.
Perhaps there’s more to you, than pestilence and fleas,
After all, you do have a penchant for a nice fine cheese.

They say at a party, you’re the center of attention,
How you end up being invited, is beyond comprehension.
They say that beauty is only skin deep,
Yet from what I’ve seen, that’s a pretty big leap.

So here we are, in the year of the Rat.
And from what I’ve been told, you really are all that.
I’ll give you your props, but I don’t want to be vague,
This may be your year, just don’t give us the plague.

This is not exactly a poem I’d likely submit to the Readers Digest, if you know what I mean.

I’m not sure, but it might be the first time that anyone has ever incorporated the words “pestilence” and “plague” in a poem.

Seriously though, as with every New Year, it’s a time to appreciate what you have in your life and to look forward to the blessings of a new year.  Happy New Year to you and your family, and may a year of health and happiness be right around the corner.