So, I joined a gym last week. I must be insane. This is going to totally ruin my New Year's Resolution, which is to look like Sidney Greenstreet by the time I'm 50. Good thing I didn't buy a fez.
"Hi, I'm Jerry!" By Jupiter's jockstrap! My trainer was Rip Taylor! He certainly looked like Rip Taylor, and his penchant for throwing confetti when I completed an exercise routine did nothing to alter the impression.
So began an hour of excruciating pain, howls for mercy, and maniacal laughter filtered through a huge mustache. Now I need brushed metal handlebars in the bathroom to squat on the toilet because my rectus (rectus? darn near killed us!) femoris, vastus medialis and lateralis, and my gluteus minimus have been destroyed. Huuh? Huuh? See what I've learned? I'm in touch with my body, but now in a good way.
Stupid things overheard yesterday
From a 20-something young man with ugly tattoos on his neck, smoking a butt in the middle of the Oaksterdam district: "Walnut Creek is sooo crazy! I've never been there myself." On the PA system in the abysmal, wretched little Wal*Mart in Martinez: "Checkout is available in the joo-ree department. Checkout in joo-ree. Also, checkout in lek-tronisss. Joo-ree an' lec-tronisss. My high school English teacher, Mrs. Wolfe, shimmered into view at the returns counter, like the dead Jedi she is, and shook her head dolefully.
On the train to and from work I am reading a riveting history of the creation of the Panama Canal, The Path Between the Seas, by David McCullough. It's a tale of unimaginable suffering, engineering (both mechanical and social) genius, and people of truly heroic stature. The latter third of the 19th century is brought brilliantly to life.
I'm on a David McCullough kick, having just finished his book on John Adams, second President of these here Estados Unidos. Next, I'm going to read his history of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge.
I'm also on an American history kick. When at home, fruitlessly wishing for brushed metal handles so as to sit down on the commode, I'm slowly reading Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. This is the history you probably didn't get in school, told from the viewpoint of the laborer, the immigrant, the disenfranchised. No doubt I'm on a list, somewhere, for having purchased this book.
I'm out of ideas for how to avoid work so I guess I'll get back to it.