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 piñata 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.