Friday, July 29, 2016

"Rippin and Roarin"

I'd heard about ab rollers and how effective they could be. Well, I'm not thrilled with my waistline so I figured I'd give in and buy one. Off I went to the store to get the solution to my one remaining problem area. 
There they were on the shelf. Two different models captured my attention. The first was basically just a training wheel with handles. Pretty straight forward design. It's definitely the "no frills" variety and therefore low priced. (What is a "frill" anyway?). 
The second model was a bit more high tech. It looked like a Dyson roller ball with form-fitted handles. It says on the box that it was designed by a Navy SEAL (I have a different theory I'll get into later) and using it will result in "ripped abs and sculpted arms". Another item we will discuss shortly. 

So I get that one, the high dollar one that offers "resistance on the way out and assistance on the way back". I get the device back to my truck and there's some assembly required. Nothing big, just put the handles on. I get it put together and notice the handles are labeled "L" and "R". How nifty. I try rolling it out and it's a no-go. So I open the instructions. 
Sure enough, with a 50/50 shot, I'd just put it together backwards. They labeled the handles because the whole thing has specific sides. Who knew? Boy, I'm off to a stellar start already. Now it's all put together, ready for tomorrow morning's first use. The maiden voyage and shit. 

I get up in the morning, pull out my yoga mat because I don't want my clothes or person in contact with the ground at truck stops. That's a whole new level of nasty. I fold the mat into a decent pad for my knees, grab the handles and I'm ready to start. Now, since I'm in shape (or so I thought until this wretched contraption came into my life) I figured I'd start off easy: 3 sets of 10. I'm all excited to get "ripped abs". 

Yeeeeah... 3 sets of 10 was a bit ambitious. After 1 set of 2 I was pretty sure I'd ripped my guts open. Oh, you'll get "ripped abs" alright. They just don't tell you you'll need to be stitched back up. And that "assistance" on the way up? I looked and there's no "Life Alert" button. There should be. After 2 reps I was half expecting an alien to finish popping out of my stomach like a stripper in a cake. I couldn't go anymore and figured maybe I'm just not used to it so I just laid there for an hour trying to figure out how to stand back up. 
I finally struggled to my feet, yoga mat in one hand, "ab destroyer" in the other. Knowing I couldn't handle lifting them into the truck I put them in my side box then contemplated the 2 steps up into my driver's seat. Maybe tomorrow would be better. 

Day two of my torture I get up, still a little sore, and determined "today is the day". I'll show that thing! So I get my mat and my ball o'death and set my mind to doing a few sets of at least 5. 

After the first one I'm already in pain. The second one isn't any easier and I'm hoping I can reach my phone to dial 911 if necessary. As I stretch out for the third one I'm thinking "so this is what a C section feels like without anesthesia?! Dear God, make the hurt stop!" Ok. Just one more and I'll take a break. I finish stretching out for number 4 and just let go of the handles and fall over. There's no return on this rep. Instead I just lay there for a bit, reconsidering my life choices. 
At this point I'm thinking I should just leave the mat and the cursed roller on the ground because just standing is looking nearly impossible. A Navy SEAL created this? I think not. I'm fairly certain it's a holdover from the Spanish Inquisition. I mumble and cuss as I put away my equipment and look at the steps to my truck wishing it came with an elevator. 

The whole time I'm driving I can feel my stomach. Rather than becoming steel I'm fairly certain I've made the muscles mush. But I keep telling myself it's worth it. By the time I'm done I'll have a flat, sexy stomach. Sure. 
That night I bend over to take take my shoes off and the pain from my exercise reminds me how human I am. I want to curl up in the fetal position but, thanks to my ab carver, I can't. 

Day three: I think I openly sobbed as I set out my yoga mat. With the way it's folded for padding it makes a convenient prayer mat. That's handy as I'm pretty sure I'm finding religion somewhere in these exercises. I've uttered "oh god" more than an overacting porn star. 
After the first one I start to draw a crowd while I'm screaming like a yeti caught in a bear trap. People are standing around watching as I start speaking in tongues. This thing should've come with a warning: "do not operate until you've bought a walker. You're gonna NEED one!" 

I'm 4 reps into it when I start to realize there's no one watching, I'm just lapsing into hallucinations brought on by pain. I'm thinking about random shit like "well, I guess I'll just be sleeping with my shoes on from now on. No way can I bend over to take them off or put them on ever again. They really should've put flip flops in the package with this damned thing." 

I'm laying in my bunk as I write this. My gear is still outside. I couldn't drag it with me as I crawled back into my truck. There's a good chance I'm going to just call off sick for the rest of the week while I heal. I can't even bear to walk into the truck stop because I'm sure I'm walking like I was just used as a piƱata for a group of lowland gorillas. I don't have a washboard stomach yet but I'm pretty sure I'm a couple inches taller now. 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

"Codependence Day?"

It's Independence Day weekend. A weekend of drinking ourselves stupid and eating obscene amounts of grilled items in celebration of America winning its freedom from England after a bloody revolt. It all started off with a tea party and we've progressed to liquor. 

Hurray for our ancestors, they rebelled against a tyrannical government and taxation without representation. Do you know how high that tax was that finally crossed the line? Zero. It was actually a corporate tax break. However, it was the principle of the laws being passed regarding our governance without our input. 
So there was a revolt. We wanted a system in place in which we could have a voice and not be manipulated. Now, 240 years later, we have a system in place in which we have law makers passing laws without regard to what the populace wants. And they're sitting around getting rich off selling our rights and laws to the highest bidder. Passing laws that don't apply to the law makers. Well done, us, right? 
Don't worry, we didn't forget the manipulation part. We just took that away from the politicians and gave that power to the media. We didn't have cable tv back then but we had the Loyalists Papers who condemned the actions of those who would later be known as Patriots. In fact, even George Washington found it to be vandalism and felt the East India Tea Company should've been compensated. 

So why the tax break? It was a government bailout. The British government was trying to save a large company that was failing. Fortunately, we would never do anything like that now, right? Wait. Crap. Suddenly America's auto industry comes to mind. Ironically, the Treasury Department essentially bought shares with the tax payers' money and ended up turning a $2.4Billion profit off its initial $17.2Billion investment. My money, your money, everyone who's paid taxes. The government made billions of dollars yet none of us received a dividend off the deal. They just pocketed it. Politicians got pay increases. Corporate big wigs got large bonuses and golden parachutes. You and me? Nothing. Not even a thank you from the millionaires we just saved. 
Well that's weird. So our government, without consulting us, invested our money in a private business, turned a profit, and didn't share any of that money with the people it took it from? And the revolution in the 1700's started just because of a tax break. Imagine how those guys would've felt today. Even though the majority of citizens didn't want it, the Affordable Health Care Act passed which forces citizens to purchase products from private companies or be penalized. Both of which are acts directly similar to what caused a war for independence. 

Every day lobbyists are up in Washington greasing palms of greedy politicians so that their agendas can be met. Buying votes and purchasing laws that benefit themselves while not caring what the populace wants or thinks. Bribery, extortion, buying votes. Yep, we've established the very government we rebelled against. 
So we now light fireworks as a symbol of cannon fire and musket fire that were daily occurrences during this battle for independence. We sing the Star Spangled Banner. We grill, drink and party to celebrate the day we "won our independence from a tyrannical government". Provided we get permits and permission from the government we've established who is exponentially more tyrannical that the one we fought against. We fought to govern ourselves rather than be governed by people who were profiting by establishing laws that didn't apply to themselves. Isn't it weird that over time we've slowly allowed a system that is against the very things we fought to establish?

Anyway, go enjoy your weekend. Have a beer and blow up a mailbox or two. Let's not think about the situation we're creating for ourselves. Maybe Tuesday we will get back to thinking about the fact our government doesn't make money, the people do. The government spends our money as it sees fit. We don't need the government, it needs us. Though they take our money to pay their salaries, we don't need politicians in order for us to survive. We could do so much better for ourselves if we allowed less corruption of our government. We all them to make us feel that we are dependent on our politicians because we forget we fought for Independence not Codependence.