Confessions of a Skinny Guy

26 Nov

The patterns of life never fail to amuse me, once spotted.

That sounds like just a platitude of some sort, but it really isn’t. Or at least, it isn’t meant to be: it’s what I want to talk about. I’m not going to get terribly deep here, because that’s my first confession: I’m not very good at it. At least, I don’t think I am. Sometimes, I hold my own, sometimes I sit and feel very distinctly like my origins, which is to say fairly shabby and simple. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind.


I frequent Jen Nipps’ blog Confessions of a Fat Chick for a couple of reasons. First, because she is a wonderful person, and second, because she takes an interesting subject and writes about it with clarity and humor. It gives me a perspective I don’t otherwise have, that I enjoy paying attention to and learning about.

The patterned part of this is, I coincidentally started reading Jenn’s blog shortly after my wife got me hooked on watching this year’s season of The Biggest Loser. That’s not the end of the pattern, but hang on a moment.

I really intensely dislike reality TV shows. So frequently, they are tawdry examples of worst traits that humanity has to offer. From cheap backstabbing and gossip, to vicious swearing and bad-mouthing, to sheer and utter greed, they are filthy things. It’s sheerly disgusting. Awful, awful.

I like the Biggest Loser, then, for the opposite of those reasons. For one thing, it’s people trying to accomplish something. There is competition between teams (and the show spends a lot of time trying to heighten the drama and competitive edge, which is silly), but mostly, we’re cheering for everybody. The show invariably leaves me happier than it did when I sat down. I enjoy watching this people working toward something they want, and occasionally achieving it. I feel that the show’s poorest moments have been when they spend a lengthy time focusing on the game and competitive aspects. Those just aren’t the important bits. It’s not the competition, it’s the accomplishment that’s important and worth paying attention to.

(A side note: The above more or less describes how The Great Tea Debacle works, and will continue to work: it is absolutely not about the smackdown, it is about the lift up and the accomplishment. It’s worth remembering.)

The final piece of the pattern occurred about a month before I watched The Biggest Loser or started reading Jenn’s blog. That piece was realizing that I was horribly out of shape, because I haven’t spent very much time walking this past year — for various reasons — and that was a big part of my exercise. I don’t like being out of shape.

When I say “out of shape,” I don’t mean I’ve gained weight. I weigh one hundred and twenty-five pounds. I have extremely little body fat. Mostly, I have a lot of muscle. That was fading, and I was unhappy about that, and that’s why I started doing workouts inside the house.

Exercises in the house are easy, and necessary because I don’t feel like bundling up Zach to go downstairs to the exercise room, in this apartment building. What I do is: twenty-five to fifty sit-ups a day (depending on how I feel). As many push-ups as I can do (currently, about thirty). One hundred jumping jacks. As many chin-ups as I can do, carefully, off the edge of a doorframe. (currently about twenty-five).

I don’t do this every day, but a lot of days. It helps twofold, in that it gets me back into good shape (which is important to me: it’s part of my neurosis) and which gives me something to physically get moving in the mornings. Guys in prisons work out, guys at home with babies work out.

(Another aside: There is a wonderful exercise called a “burpie” which I alas don’t seem to have the coordination to properly do. Which is a shame, because it’s a great workout.)

How this all ties together, sort of (in my head) is this:

I was out of shape, as it were, and said “I need to get back into shape,” and so I came up with something and started working out. It was that easy.

Some things are that easy for me, and it’s because I have no middle ground in my brain. I have a huge amount of trouble with addictions; I can get addicted to anything interesting. It’s no damn wonder I want to throw the internet out the window some days. I am, on the flip side, horribly terrified of being addicted to anything. I don’t like being dependent on something. (This part is the reason I get so frustrated at some things that can’t be done away with).

What this means is, I’ve sort of learned that when something needs doing, I’ll either do it, or I won’t. there’s no half-assed ground. So if I need to exercise, I will either continue not doing it, or I’ll do it all the way.

The point is, I needed to exercise, so I started working out.

It isn’t that easy for some people. Different bodies work different ways, and with that comes the brains, and they work differently too. I know people who are healthy enough and exercise enough, and they still have the appearance, to the undiscerning eye, of being overweight. They’re not.

I observed, on The Biggest Loser, that there were a couple of guys who weren’t ‘fat’ per se, and it’s why they were winning the games. They were just big bear-men, mass instead of hampering fat, if that makes any sense.

It gets me thinking about weight, that’s all, and how it affects people and how they think, and how they sometimes justify its continued existence, and how sometimes there’s nothing to justify. Some people are naturally bigger (and I mean “bigger,” and not “fatter” here) than other people. I am naturally at or below one hundred and thirty pounds.

Some people are fat out of laziness and a poor attitude, and I have little pity for them. There were some of them on The Biggest Loser, and I was happy when they were sent home. One of my favorite movies is Super-Size Me, with the wonderful Morgan Spurlock, whose show “30 Days” you should check out, those rare times its on the air.

Beyond weight, what it gets me thinking about is patterns. It interests me that everything weight and exercise related entered my thinking at roughly the same time. Or did it? Sometimes I wonder if it’s a real pattern, or if my mind just turned to the matter and found the patterns. Probably the latter. We know the brain finds patterns and faces and shapes and things. It’s called “matrixing.”

And Matrixing is a lovely tie-in to my next blog entry, which has to do with phrases like “matrixing” and “evp” and stuff.

Probably, the other reason all of this is on my mind is that I just ate a huge plate of rib tips from Famous Daves and I am so excessively full that food and the heaviness of my stomach means that weight is ever on my mind.

How does Confessions of a Fat Chick tie into all this, you ask? Well, partially it was an excuse to give you the link, if you didn’t have it. Partially, it’s because I was thinking about weight, and she provides a fascinating dissertation and discussion about it. And partially, because I was reading it just as I opened this window and started typing. What a well-assembled article this is, isn’t it? Everything tied together so nicely. Even if I had to use duct tape.

1 Comment

Posted by on November 26, 2007 in Uncategorized


One response to “Confessions of a Skinny Guy

  1. MidnightMuse

    November 26, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    Her blog is great, isn’t it? I’ve only just discovered it myself. I’ll say this about the patterns you’re discussing – which is possibly one reason you were thinking along these lines – that I myself have been feeling “out of shape” in relation to my writing habits.

    And that’s why I knew I needed to challenge you, upon Lori’s suggestion, to a race… which became The Great Tea Debacle (and then some). In comparison to The Biggest Loser, our GTD is absolutely not about any smackdown of any sort, but a mutual lifting-up. A comaraderie of like minded writers with one goal in mind: Complete a novel for publication. And if not for immediate subbing, then at least Complete a Novel in seriousness and earnest. We cheer when each of us steps on that scale, and we uplift when each of us is craving a midnight snack. And we applaud when each of us reaches a personal goal.

    That, is what The Great Tea Debacle is all about.


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