by Gene Royer - a voice of reason in a babbling society.

September 10 , 2003

My height is around 6 feet, 1 inch; and ever since I was a young man, I have weighed 193 pounds, which is a *perfect* weight for me--give or take a pound or two from time to time. At present, I weigh 192 and 1/2 on my bathroom scales wearing nothing but bi-focals and body fuzz. At age 67, I AM® a muscle-and-sinewy monument to God's *perfect* creative genius.

As is *perfectly* normal with humans, I have always had a tendency to gain fat easily. Early in life I became aware that if I ate more food than my body needed for *perfect* maintenance and operation, a portion of the excess would get stored in various inactive places beneath my skin. Apparently that is a well-kept secret in today's world, eh? Either that, or some have failed to read the subcutaneous warning labels on their fat guts and jiggling butts.

But I tangentize...

Getting back to my point: This morning I joined the newly opened YMCA just a mile or so from my house because they have a marvelous facility with state-of-the-art physical conditioning equipment and a very comprehensive array of fixed-weight barbells and dumbbells--not to mention an expansive basketball gym and half-size Olympic pool to go with their large aerobic room. I wanted an inexpensive and convenient place to work out and maintain my *perfect* physique.

My granddaughter told me I would love the place.

Of course, when I got there I expected to see young, tanned, men and women moving around the building, serving as walking advertisements for health and fitness. I could not have been more in error because with only one exception, everyone was fat. Actually, calling some of the fat ones "fat" is letting them off lightly--no pun intended. The majority was obese.

There were six women working at the enrollment desk, and not one had an ass you could fit in an airplane seat. The manager had to use the entrance turnstile sideways, and another had to step over it.

Of the five young men who posed as conditioning instructors, only one looked as though he had ever burned a calorie in his life. The other four still had each and every one of them visibly hanging around their waists and crammed into the seat of their pants.

Here's the first rub as I see it: This is a physical conditioning establishment; and every expensive piece of equipment adorning the well-lighted and mirrored rooms has "no-pain-no-gain" etched somewhere in the trunk of its mechanical family tree. Yet this instructional corps walks among the machines and racks of weights as if there is no vocational connection.

Somewhere above I mentioned one exception to the herd of porkers being passed off as logical fixtures in the facility. This was a very shapely young woman with long legs and blond hair. She was the aerobics instructor. She was also my granddaughter.

I told her what a nice place it was. "Thanks Granddad," she said. "And, my, don't you look *perfect* today?"

I demurred at her rhetorical compliment. If people weren't watching, I would have pinched her butt.

But here's the final rub: After I signed up, one of the really fat women sat me down in a conference room and gave me parent-to-child instructions about diet and exercise. She told me that even though I appeared to have the *perfect* physique for a man my age, according to the wall chart, for my height I needed to lose 75 pounds.

I gave her the obligatory hang-dog look and pretended not to notice her chubby hand and the flabby stuff hanging below her elbow as she checked off the right foods for me to eat.

I even pretended not to notice that when she got up to leave, her armchair got up with her.

©Gene Royer Houston TX 2003

© 2002 Tocqevillian Magazine