First Things First

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The good stuff is so good

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I can't help but note today's date. Six months have passed since we started 2018 and life bears the same grin on its deeply etched face. I see the expression as a smile, tentative and faint, but agreeable. Humankind, life's players, pad along like little kids, curious, playful, busy, productive and mischievous, in hopes of finding a good thing -- amusement, comfort, satisfaction, and perhaps a puddle of naughtiness or a loose thread of tomfoolery. Oh, boy!

The good stuff is so good and enduring it outweighs, overcomes and outshines the bad. A grin is the best life will offer us this day; a broad smile will surely come later. Today we must lift the iron and respect the steel and recognize our cause, our inalienable right, to build muscle and might.

Only the strong smile or are worthy of its shine. The unworthy eventually smirk or sneer or wear a mask with upturned lips.

Few things prevent us from going to the gym and having a satisfactory workout (an overturned tanker on the freeway containing hazardous waste, femoral bleeding, misplaced propeller). Let's face it, that's what it's all about. Iron! Gravity! Force! Some folks think there's more to life -- like, what are we here for... what's it all mean? By the time they come to zero conclusions, we have half a workout done, a good burn and a decent pump.

Lord, have mercy! July 4th, 175 days till Christmas.

Tans are well under way; the guy in the tee shirt dropped 12 pounds, his girl in the shorts, 14. Gyms R Us parking lots are full at 5PM, promising cleavage and abdominals by the end of the month. Warm breezes, long weekends, beaches, barbecues and beer. Things are looking up. I bet people watch less news during the summer, freeing their spirits, like long-tethered dirigibles, to rise in the fresh air.

The goal of the smiley, wide-eyed gym member is no deep secret: to look good. Power is nice, but slice it, dice it or stand it on its head and the main aim of the game is the same: to look good! One might elaborate upon one's emphatic or faint gestures at one's spa and health club, conveying messages of health, athleticism, inner strength and discipline, but the story is the same short story: to look good.

Maybe, when the sun's shadows shorten and the temperatures drop and fair-weather festivities fade, people notice health is wealth and discipline builds character; the oneness of lifting weights and the magic of hocus-pocus focus. More power to them, but right now, looking good tops the charts.

Nothing's changed. It hasn't gotten better. The swelling of the swollen, having swelled swells on. The same folks who vowed and sought to look good a year ago are back for more... or less. A few are absent (having succeeded or surrendered) and more are present. Alas, the crowd is growing bigger along with the individual.

Nothing's changed. It hasn't gotten easier. Losing bodyfat, building muscle and accentuating curves -- looking good -- is not an easy gig. The way may be clear, but those with no will have no way. No courage, nowhere. No discipline, nothing.

Nothing's changed. Take hold of the iron, set your mind to the steel, make the metal move and good things happen. Muscle and might are born, strength and health come alive and the mind and spirits awaken.

While shadows are yet long and the sun pours down like molten gold, let us cast a pair of pure and precious bodyparts. Chest and back have always been my favorite grouping, unless we're to consider bis and tris, whereupon we just might agree those two are a handsome and accommodating couple.

Shoulders and arms, on the other hand, are a mean alliance devoted to long and deliberate torture. The truth comes out before the first reps, but the truth isn't enough. In charge of the brutal act, we, the frantic lifters, seek the essence of life: another dimension, a portal in time, a bold glimpse of the future. We also seek bowling ball deltoids, lightening bis 'n thunder tris.

Call us crazy.

Here's one (don't ask me why, it just feels good), a powerhouse leg workout (squats, squats, squats) followed by a closet-size arm workout... just big enough to rack four or five pair of well-pressed close-grip benches with matching Olympic bar curls. Nothing sophisticated, basics only; moderate impression with subtle effects.

The last time I did a split routine -- half in the AM, half in the PM -- was in the spring, summer and fall of 1970. The reason, as I recall, was upcoming pro contests that involved duds like Zane, Katz, Columbu, Arnold and Tiger Woods, I think. Did I say duds? I meant dudes. Honest!

I was 28, going on 12-to-life. (That's what you get, if you get caught and don't have a good defense lawyer.) I escaped shortly thereafter and fled LA to hide out in the vast, bewildering forests of Central California.

Funny, the things you remember without really trying. Funnier yet, the things you cannot forget after really trying.

We press on. We never let go. We never quit.

God's Might... Dave


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