First Things First

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Perplexed, Bothered, Bewildered and Silly

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Clinky, clanky! It’s me again, D. P. Doolittle, just in time to remind you to roll out the weights and knock out the reps. Let’s face it, kids, it’s got to be done.

What was once an action to build a strong frame has become an act to maintain a sane brain. The world, it appears, is coming apart at the seams. While randomly switching TV channels to catch the closing of the Sochi Games on Sunday, I instead caught an image of a fiery Ukraine fighting for freedom. Incredible contrast, barely 500 miles away from the Gold, Silver and Bronze.

A press of the button and I was witness to the Venezuelan populace in bloody conflict with their government over the same issue. Freedom, it seems, does not grow on trees either side of the equator.

Another click and Syria, that ancient Mediterranean civilization, is piling its dead on hillsides and in ravines, wherever there’s room and for whatever cause, liberty and justice at the root of the rotten madness. Iraq and Afghanistan are raw and throbbing on CBS; Iran is a catastrophe about to happen on NBC, and a swath of northeastern African nations smolder according to ABC. America, the grand United States I love, has the Affordable Care Act and knockout criminals randomly maiming pedestrians in big city streets, thank you, FOX.
Did I mention marijuana is legal? Swell! Mary Jane may not kill you immediately, but she sure makes you stupid. Trust me on this one! I suspect the Pentagon has been smoking the weed by the key cuz they’re hacking funds for all things powerful, protective and defensive.

I know. You don’t need a global-news update from a B-71 Bomber, though, globally speaking, I was Mr. America, Mr. World and Mr. Universe less than 50 years ago. The trouble is (you sure you want to know what the trouble is?), I’m older today and cannot hit the iron daily to streamline the stress. You know, soothe the beast, calm the nerves, conquer the enemy, fight the good fight or bend over to tie my sneakers or stand upright to adjust my snickers.
Ah, the good old days: Got a problem? Take it to the gym. Fight with the sweetheart? Take it to the gym. Can’t pay your bills? Squat. Lose your job? Deadlift. Car on the blink? Bench press.

Now look at me, a sitting duck, a lame duck, an ugly duck, a daffy duck. Quack! And, I’m not alone. In mirrors to the north, south, east and west there are reflections similar to mine looking back, aghast. And the only thing this bird can do in defiance is waddle alongside the weight rack and ruffle some feathers. Quack, quack!

Nothing’s changed, after all.

So here’s my indisputable and original plan to survive: First, before all else, drink your Bomber Blend … you might want to wipe your face with the back of your hand -- ya got one of those goopy BB mustaches. That’s better.

Now, enter the gym, go directly to the pulleys, grab the seriously thick rope, kneel and tuck. (Oh, no. Not rope tucks again!) Repeat the haunting quasi-worship maneuver for 25 tight repetitions. Examine, adore and fear each repetition, extension and contraction. There are a multitude of muscles at work and the more you still your mind and focus on the action, the more you can separate, target and appreciate the convoluted convulsed condition. Upon the last rep, without unmanning the rope, assume a sitting position and pull mightily for six full-range-of-motion reps, completing the core action as you engage the bis and back as well.

Three or four sets, with deliberate, high-rep calf stretches squeezed between, put the machine in motion and advance the blood flow, inspire discovery and prevent boredom, daydreaming and tweeting.

Rule 1. Anyone caught tweeting in proximity to the iron gets hung from the nearest chinning bar.

Pushing and pulling is what we do best, and combining the two back to back is twice as good. I leave the remainder of the workout to you and your creative imagination. On some days this diminutive dopey-ropey combination is just enough to satisfy our needs and wants, abilities and constraints.

In precaution to overextending my desire and capacity, I apply the subtle methodology of Weight Whispering (WW). I sidle up to the iron, emit a hushed prayer (Lord have mercy) and whatever leaps into my hand, I command.

Popular push-pull pairs (only kids may apply):

Dumbbell press and pullovers
Barbell press and wide-grip pulldowns
Barbell curl and lying triceps extensions
Dumbbell curl and pulley pushdowns
Seated lat row and dips
Chin and dips
Press behind neck (PBN) and pulldowns or chins behind neck
Incline dumbbell press and side-arm lateral raises
Coffee and donuts
Pizza and beers

Time to go.

You watch my back, I’ll watch yours. God’s got us both covered.


[P stands for Gertrude]


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