Something very odd has happened.
You know the competition I entered at the gym when I walked in to lose weight and everyone was like “you should probably gain some weight” and so I joined the biggest gainer and have been working out harder than I ever have before in my life to gain tons of muscle mass?
Well, I’m winning the competition. By like, a lot.
Normally, this kind of thing would be really awesome in every way! But, I’ve been having some difficulties. It pretty much boils down to this: I have no idea how to respond normally to praise about athletic accomplishments. And it’s getting ridiculous. I think my trainer is wondering if I might actually be an idiot savant.
It’s easy to explain why this is happening. I mean, when I was in high school I was three Magic the Gathering cards away from being the kid who literally ran from class to class like a bull with his head down knocking people over as he went.(Clarification: I never actually played Magic the Gathering. But I probably should have. Because it might have taken me up the social ladder.) I just had so many strikes against me. I mean, I was a violinist who wrote poems and sang in the choir and was a lead(ish) in the school play and did not play sports and cried a lot and had a menstrual cycle and did I mention that I’m currently married to a beautiful woman? Because I think that’s important to emphasize at the end of that sentence.
When this is what high school (i.e. the glory years of youth) looked like for you, then when you start winning weightlifting competitions in your early 30’s you have exchanges that end up looking something like the following:
I am at the gym, working my butt off. I’m in the middle of flipping a tractor tire across the gym floor. I am not training with Brandon, my trainer, today but the results are posted in the entrance, indicating that I’m number one. Suddenly I hear his voice.
Brandon: (whoops from across the gym) Who is number one!!!????
Me: (looks up like a deer sensing danger, unsure of how to react)
Brandon: (bellows as he approaches, starts addressing everyone on the floor) That guy right there looks the type of beast that takes first place!
Me: (looks around at everyone on the gym floor nervously)
Brandon: That guy over there flipping the tire? He’s the kind of guy that’s NUMBER ONE (hoots)
Me: *curtsies daintily*
Me: *bows deeply realizing the curtsy was all wrong*
Brandon: (now having gotten over to me) You’re doing awesome, man! Good job. (gives me a high five)
Me: (Completely misses Brandon’s hand in the high five and stumbles forward due to the momentum while uttering) Top of the mornin’ to ya!
Brandon: (deep breath, head shake)…So, you almost done working out?
Brandon: (stares at me in confusion)
Me:… well, this tire isn’t going to flip across the entire gym floor itself, so I best get to it. (stumbles forward)
Brandon: Hit it hard!
Me: (actually hits the tire hard)
Brandon: Your work out. Hit your workout hard. (Pats me on the shoulder)
Me: (flinches like a girl at the shoulder pat) Oh, okay. Yeah. I totally will hit it hard.
Brandon: (walks away baffled)
I’m pretty sure even the gym machines feel uncomfortable for me during such exchanges.
But what’s worse is I have no idea, whatsoever, how to talk trash. Apparently the guy right below me is some young punk who’s at the gym all the time and Brandon’s like “yeah, him and his trainer are talking a lot of sh*#, saying they’re gonna take you.”
I know my response should be something really bad-A, like maybe “you tell that young whipper-snapper that he’s certainly got his work cut out for him coming up against this jokester!” *jolly fist pump* but instead my brain short-circuits and has a fear reaction, and all I want to say is “TELL HIM NOT TO HURT ME. I don’t actually mean to be getting stronger. All this new muscle is just for decoration. You tell him to leave me alone.”
It’s all very awkward, and makes me subconsciously want to self sabotage and start eating ho hos like they’re going out of style. (NEWS UPDATE: ho hos are 100% out of style.)
Tomorrow I go in to see the newest results. I really want to win this thing because I want the $. But for reasons I think are obvious, there’s a part of me that kinda hopes the young whipper-snapper has taken his place at the top, and I can then feel comfortable back in my zone of mediocrity, totally out of the line of sight of anybody’s trash talking or high fives or loud bellows.
Maybe then I can have a conversation with my trainer that doesn’t end in him thinking he’s Tom Cruise and I’m Rain Man.
BREAKING NEWS BULLETIN:
You might assume that I am referencing the fact that the Dow Jones just dropped 500points, but I don’t give a crap about that! That won’t affect me!
My news is even more important.
The results are in, and I’m still in first place in the competition. Imma take this thing.