I’ve always had a Love/Loathe relationship with exercise – mostly Loathe. But there have been times in my life that I have actually loved it, even though that love was an Angry Love. Let me explain. The first time I recall ever consistently exercising, I was 20 years old and in desperate need of an exercise regimen outside of lifting beer mugs and slices of pizza to my greasy lips.
I was living and working in a college town, having been ousted from the college itself with a .8 grade point average. My dad had promptly pulled the plug on financial support, but I stayed in town because I was dating a townie who worked at JC Penney. VERY promising. I got a job working as a drug store cashier to continue paying my rent, and my roommate happened to work at Pizza Hut, so her free pizza perks kept our grocery budget down. It didn’t, however, have the same effect on my weight. I gained thirty pounds in the span of a year and a half, and even though my ass was the size of Texas, I couldn’t get it up and motivated to do any exercise at all. Until I got dumped by Mr. JC Penney.
Mr. JCP was one of the Dipshidiots I mentioned in my Mama’s Boy post. You might recall that one of them was a seminarian? Well, Mr. JCP wasn’t a seminarian during the time we dated, but he went on to be one, I’m told. Back when we were dating, he kept breaking up with me so that he could stay celibate in preparation for his dream of becoming an Anglican Priest. That’s the kind, by the way, that can get married, so, uhhh, let’s not kid ourselves. My guess is 90 percent of the straight guys who enter the seminary in their twenties have bagged at least one babe or two, and God’s not gonna hold that against them. I mean, being a guy, God’s probably even going to high-five them for it, with one of his gigantic hands. Anywho. Mr. JCP would break up with me every other month or so because he said that’s what God wanted him to do, and I didn’t get too upset because who can get pissed off at God, for chrissakes? The last time he broke up with me, however, I found out that the Big Man Upstairs had nothing to do with it. In fact, it was the Little Man Downstairs that was calling all the shots, since Mr. JCP had been banging half the desperate bimbos at Penneys, including the married ones!
Devastated, crushed, and completely Looney Tunes, I didn’t show up for work, I wouldn’t leave my room, I stopped showering, I drank a lot of Natural Light, and I gorged myself on everything that Pizza Hut’s expansive menu had to offer. After about a week of this abuse, I looked in my full-length mirror and said, “Aw, HELL naw!” I shimmied my fat ass into some sweatpants, blew the dust off my sneakers, headed outside, and ran faster than Forrest Gump the day he took a bullet to the butt saving other people’s asses in Vietnam. Of course, I only made it about a block before I passed out and had to receive mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from a random pedestrian. (Not really, but you get my point. I was out of shape).
That day, though not exactly epic in terms of miles run or calories burned, was a hugely pivotal day because on it, The Angry Exerciser was born. The Angry Exerciser was a fat-burning persona of vengeance who APPEARED to the casual onlooker to be running, stair-climbing, or ellipticalling herself to death, but internally, she was kicking ass in a mixed martial arts cage match with cheaters, liars, various JC Penney employees, and the occasional clergyman.
In six month’s time, I was able to shed the extra thirty pounds, buy a new wardrobe, move out of the college town, and start taking community college classes so that I could eventually go back to a four-year-college. I dialed my exercise regimen back to a maintenance level of twice or three times a week, and eventually I noticed that The Angry Exerciser had packed her bags and gone on vacation.
That wasn’t the last I would see of her, though, not by a long shot. She would be back many, many, many more times in my life, when some Ass Hat would dump me, cheat on me, tell me I was gaining weight, flirt with one of my friends, stop calling me, stand me up for a date, do the White Man’s Overbite with some other girl on the dance floor, or all of the above. Eventually, The Angry Exerciser just decided to unpack her travel suitcase and move in with me, because being the co-dependent type, I woke up one day and found I couldn’t do a lick of exercise without her.
Even now, nineteen years (oh, for Eff’s sake, really? NINETEEN YEARS?), one husband, and three kids later, though I don’t have any cheaters or liars to currently fuel The Angry Exerciser’s rage, I still desperately need her in order to work out. So I trick her, coax her out with her old memories, put ear buds in her ears, and make her listen to Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5, Miranda Lambert, Cee-Lo Green (you know the one), Florence + the Machine, and yes, shudder, Miley Cyrus. (I can’t stand the little twerker, but who can resist “Wrecking Ball?” Who)?!
I do whatever it takes to get The Angry Exerciser back, because even though the Mind and Heart can heal themselves from Dipshidiot Rejection, the Ass never forgets.
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