First Things First

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Night Moves, Dancing in the Dark

Fun in LaJolla

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It was dark, my feet got tangled up in a tight space and I fell suddenly, hard and full body onto the floor below. That it was 3 AM and I was groggy and on my way to the bathroom has nothing to do with it. I yelped -- a deep, resonating manly yelp -- and something went gush gurgle bwang in my bent left elbow, the point of impact.

Before you call 911, that was the day before yesterday (yes, I made it to the john in time) and today it appears there is no major damage. I have a nasty, throbbing goose-egg swelling on the underside of the joint, which I dare not engage cuz of pain, uncertainty and cowardice. I can breathe, there's no blood or protruding bones, I know my name, I can spell it and I can count from one to 13.
The thing is, I wasn't having any fun before the incident occurred. The other thing is, how do I train tomorrow, my favorite workout day?

Sundays at the gym are cool, quiet and subtle. I can make old-guy noises, freely lurch and stumble, use girly weights and whine unselfconsciously, without being mocked and ridiculed, stoned and spat upon.

Withholding Sunday, it could be Wednesday before my next workout. As you well know, should a certified musclehead miss a workout, everything he trained for since childhood disintegrates and deteriorates and he destructs.

Delirious 3D devastation, who can sustain it?

There is a way to survive, to endure, to press on. Hop in the ole Hudson Hornet and zip to the gym with the head held high, wearing, of course, a baggy vanity sweatshirt to hide the absurd goose-egg wound. Honk! The journey alone, courageous, hopeful and well-intentioned, lifts the spirits and begins the healing.

Isn't it funny how something really stupid can be rationalized and disguised as something courageous and hopeful and well-meaning. Mankind, oh boy!

Once there, perhaps by virtue of the nearness to, and association with the iron, an automatic pump and involuntary burn will emerge in the bellies of the muscles. Listen closely and you can almost hear the restlessness, a faint rumbling, a muted roar... a call to action. Onward, bombs. Follow me!

Upon the first available bench press I'll position myself rear-to-front with my heels on the racked bar before me and proceed to do crunches in a variety of tight, soothing contractions. Wow, we have sets and reps, muscle engagement and blood flow, focus and form and action-satisfaction. God bless us, one and all.

Which reminds me: Man was created in two parts, the upper body and the lower body. This was arranged in case one part was injured, the other part could be exercised. Obviously, as the elbow is conveniently located in the upper body, the lower body is my remaining option and, when your squats are wobbly, the leg press is the exercise of choice.

Light-weight, high reps and aptly stimulating action for sets should be, if not welcomed with drooling lips, at least a healthy and restorative for a dinged and dented out-of-sorts B-71.

Between sets I can approach the utterly adorable end of the dumbbell rack and grasp a pair chrome 2.5-pounders for the fun of it and to say I did. Testing, dive-bombers, one, two, three. It's what pro-active, curious and probing musclebuilders do, the impervious captains of anxious and frustrated airheads, those dauntless squadrons of force and space.

Lift the dumbbells and let them pull; stand and walk, lug and tug; feel the force, direct the effort, calculate the stress, determine the risk. Next test: increase the weight and observe the worth of the farmer walks and the variety of what I call barn-door pulls and hay-loft hunches.

You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy.

Work is good for the soul. Slow but sure beats a lot of not.

Go... Godspeed... The Bumpkin Bomber



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