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what am i weighting for?
and why does it hurt?
by roger striffler

This may not be the best time for me to be writing. I'm in a pretty foul mood at the moment. On the other hand, there's not a whole lot else that I can do right now. You see, I hurt my back tonight and frankly, I'm pretty pissed off about it.

Now, don't get the wrong idea; I'm not the kind of guy who gets all bent out of shape and angry about little things and I think most of the people who know me would say I'm pretty laid back. In fact, right now I'm probably not actually all that pissed off, just really, really annoyed.

So I hurt my back. Big deal. Why be so torqued about it? Well, I'll tell you.

It's not because I leave the day after tomorrow for a weekend of partying and dancing in Philadelphia, and being a cripple would put a bit of a damper on that.

It's not because of the excrutiating pain I experience when I bend over to pick up one of the many things my three dogs have knocked off the coffee table or dragged out of a closet into the livingroom.

It's because damn it, this is not supposed to happen to me.

I've been putting in time, taking precautions. I spend hours every week at the gym. I drag myself out of bed too early in the morning, or home too late at night, because I go to the gym. And why? Certainly not because I like it, and not because I'm trying to impress anyone (let's face it - I'm 5'9" and 160 lbs. There's only so much you can do with that.)

I work out because it's supposed to make my body stronger. More flexible. More resilient. It's supposed to allow me to get more out of life by letting me be active. The whole point of working out is so that my body can withstand the wear and tear of daily life. It's my insurance policy to protect my health and secure my freedom, and tonight it's letting me down. So I'm kinda pissed off.

But wait, it gets better. To add insult to injury, as my dad is fond of saying, guess where it happened. That's right, at the gym. Alanis Morrisette would say this is ironic. It's not. It's just a bummer. She needs to look up the definition of that word. But it really gets my goat (dad says that a lot too).

I won't go into details about the events leading up to the injury. Suffice it to say that it involved situps, a wobbly inclined bench, and a 45 lb. iron plate. Oh, the things a guy will do to get a six pack...and not even the cold frosty kind. In fact, in spite of the cold frosty kind.

Anyway, the point is that hurting yourself while working out is the equivalent of burning your house down while changing the battery in the smoke detector. Or, if you're a geek, trashing your hard drive by installing anti-virus software.

I mean, really. Give me a break here. Why do I bother, if the very act of trying to improve my body to avoid illness or injury, injures it?

I asked this question of my good friend Janet, who is a physical therapist. Her response was that although I may still get injured, I'll recover faster because I'm in good shape. I guess I can take some small comfort in that. And I suppose that as soon as I'm able, I'll return to the gym. If Janet is right, it won't be all that long.

If I think about it for a while, I suppose I am seeing some benefits. I operate pretty well (not in a surgical sense) on a fairly small amount of sleep. I climb 10 flights of stairs every morning without breaking a sweat, and can usually hang at circuit events dancing until the sun comes up. Still, this is not really the caliber of payoff I'm looking for from all of that gym work. Then again, if I didn't work out I could sleep more, I can take the elevator up to my office, and nothing says "party all night" like a couple of Vivarin™.

Of course with my luck I'd throw out my back trying to reach the remote without getting up off the couch.

So I'll keep trying, keep convincing myself that it's all worth it, and keep making my little investment in my own future. One thing is for sure though, the next time I have to choose between going the gym after work and meeting the boys for a beer, it's going to be a real tough call.


See that job title? Check it out: "Spy". How cool is that? I know, you're probably wondering what it means to be a spy for an international organization like Intrepid Media, huh? Well I'd love to tell you, but I can't. It's all part of the spy game, baby.

more about roger striffler


lost, is a lesson
bringing it all home
by roger striffler
topic: general
published: 12.20.00

cold hands, warm heart
memories, seasoned and seasonal
by roger striffler
topic: general
published: 12.21.01


tracey kelley
1.21.02 @ 9:18a

Now that you've weighed the matter, I'm sure you'll see you have the strength to move on. So pump yourself up, big guy!

Sorry. It's the best I can do before breakfast. :)

matt morin
1.21.02 @ 5:54p

I always thought all the bad stuff about turning 30 was a total wive's tale. And then literally the day I turned 30, I felt like I couldn't do as much as I used to.

In my mid-20s I could club 2-3 days a week until 6:00 or 7:00am. Now if I do it once every 3 months it feels like a lot. I can't drink as much or stay out as late either.

Then I remember is that this is supposed to happen to you. It's supposed to happen to all of us. It's called aging. And none of us can stop it.

Oh, and do all dads get the same Handbook of Quips? My dad says those exact same things.

michelle von euw
1.22.02 @ 9:32a

Matt, I got depressed when an ad for "Total Pulse Live" -- a CD full of tunes from Real McCoy, Haddaway, and LA Style, came on last night, because I realized that I hit my clubbing stride eight years ago, and I'm never going to have those days again, never mind just once every three months.

And Roger, while I hope you are feeling better, I am giving you bonus points for pointing out that Alanis Morrisette does not know the definition of ironic, and has miseducated millions of Americans in the process.

adam kraemer
1.22.02 @ 9:53a

Even still, I was under the impression that hurting yourself while attempting to avoid hurting yourself was, in fact, ironic.

roger striffler
1.22.02 @ 12:00p

I suppose I have to concede that aging is supposed to happen, and is in fact inevitable, but I think we have a LOT of control over the rate that it happens, or the degree to which we succomb to it. I think Attitude and perspective really do have an effect. You can "get old" long before you're "aged".

(As the story turns out, my back was better by Friday, and I was out dancing until 4:30am Saturday, 6am Sunday, and 3:30am Monday).

matt morin
1.22.02 @ 2:44p

Michelle, LA Style!! Oh my God. I know I still have that CD around here somewhere.

"James Brown is dead."

Roger, one of these days you'll have to make it out to SF. There are some great parties out here.

roger striffler
1.23.02 @ 10:09a

I'd love that Matt! It's a blast to go to parties out of town/state. Fun to meet people, and the energy is so high because it's a special occasion for everyone visiting.

adam kraemer
1.23.02 @ 11:03a

Speaking of which, everyone getting excited for IntrepiD.C.?

roger striffler
1.24.02 @ 3:21p

When is IntrepiD.C.? I might try to come up for it.

adam kraemer
1.24.02 @ 4:31p

I think we're aiming at Feb. 23.

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