PUMPING IRONY: Duct Tape and a Prayer

Act your age, Tony I climbed into the Crapmobile for my morning commute today — not because it was too cold to walk (10 degrees is positively balmy to a devoted walkophile), but because I didn’t have enough time to hoof it across the bridge and still prep for a 9 a.m. meeting. No matter… Read more »

Tony Little
Act your age, Tony

I climbed into the Crapmobile for my morning commute today — not because it was too cold to walk (10 degrees is positively balmy to a devoted walkophile), but because I didn’t have enough time to hoof it across the bridge and still prep for a 9 a.m. meeting. No matter how fast I seem to be walking, it always takes me almost exactly 35 minutes. It’s like there’s some unwritten rule of quantum physics that prevents me from arriving any sooner or any later. It’s a little weird.

Anyway, the Crapmobile is a bit of a metaphor for my middle-aged body. It’s held together by duct tape, bumper stickers, rust and karma (sort of an accumulated cosmic faith in Japanese automobile technology, circa 1991). But it just keeps puttering along, well into its mid-life (180-some thousand miles). It may not look great (thank you very much), but it gets me where I want to go.

I bring this up not just because it’s all suddenly occurring to me as I write this (partially true), but also because I’ve been noticing more anti-aging gimmicks recently. I may be irrelevant in the eyes of the mainstream advertising industry — with the notable exception of ads for Viagra and Cialis (“Now for daily use!!!”) — but there are always enterprising individuals out there advancing the proposition that aging is a bad thing and that you should do everything in your power to deny its hold over your (aging every second) body.

There are plenty of garden-variety hucksters hocking anti-aging hormone treatments, anti-aging diet systems, and other magical potions. Then there are are e-mails from PR flacks promoting 50-something bodybuilders like Tony Little (that’s him above — what, you thought it was me???), who is “determined to whip himself into world-class shape, both as a personal challenge, as well as to be an inspiration to his fans.”

Puh-lese.

I’m sure Tony Little is a very nice person as well as an AWESOME DUDE WITHOUT A SHIRT ON (AKA an ADWASO), but this kind of thinking just gets older people obsessing about the glories of their lost youth or despairing about their sagging torsos or both. It’s not very productive.

Who wants to relive their 20s, people?!?!?!? I mean, think about it, for goodness sakes.

I’m not saying we should just slip quietly into the great beyond, without taking care of our body and mind and whatever other accessories we may have at our disposal. There’s plenty of research indicating that regular moderate exercise, including both cardio and resistance training (and, yes, stretching — jeeze) will keep our cellular power plants, the mitochondria, pumping away happily into the forseeable future. I just don’t want to obsess over it.

It’s not why I’m headed to the gym after work tonight. Sure, all the work I put in on the EDM and the weight machines is good for my body, but it’s even more about the state of mind it puts me in — not young, certainly; more like pleasantly exhausted. Like I’ve just carried a family of four to Ely, by way of Alexandria, without dropping my exhaust system on the highway (another story). And that’s not a bad thing.

Because, when you’re held together with duct tape and a prayer, pleasant exhaustion can be surprisingly gratifying.

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