Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Industrial Revolution Wasn't All Progress

My gym is much like any other shi-shi suburban chain. There's a laser that reads my fingerprint at check in, a wall of super protein mega power bars and a 'roid rage corner I can't for the life of me understand. Sir, your neck and your head share the same circumference. Who is dating that? I'm there (in theory) five days a week and there is a certain pleasure I take in the 60 minutes I'm working out and not thinking about Bloggle or men, or whether my 401k is growing at a healthy rate. But lets be honest, the gym is pointless. Hear me out on this one. I'm assuming we're all smart enough to understand the concept of activity that's multifunctional. For example, biking to work, (which by the way I refuse to do until I can find a stylish Pope-mobile type protective bubble that keeps me from an early death at the hands of California drivers. That column sticking out from the wheel operates these things called "signal lights". Try them sometime.) The point is, we more or less acknowledge that some physical activities are of the 2-bird-1-stone functionality yet we've deluded ourselves into thinking that somehow the "fitness center" of the 21st century provides some superior purpose. I am here to tell you, it does not. Whatever evolved scientific method you think you're obtaining with your monthly dues, let me inform you, you've been misinformed.

I had an epiphany last year back east while taking a toning class called "Smart Bells". It's for stupid people who have too much money. For the record, my east coast gym was more shi-shi, and expensive than my current one and it included a full line of spa services. I loved it. Hypocritical? You bet. So, I'm in the middle of this class involving a flattened kettlebell (cause ya know if you flatten it, it's... smarter) and it hits me. This fancy, new age, total body transformation program is nothing more than farm labor minus the dirt. Now I don't have extensive farming experience but I've done enough to know what hoeing, weeding and shoveling feel like. So instead of being outdoors adding much needed oxygen to our sad deprived urban brains we were inside pantomiming the activity with ridiculous rubber-covered steel, Britney Spears in the background. At the end of the class all we had were sweat-stained (overpriced) Lululemon tank tops. If we'd been outside on the dirt square (farms, they're called farms) we'd at least have lunch to show for it. Not to mention a couple extra bucks after we sold what we couldn't eat.

At the end of the day I'm not saying we should swap out our yoga pants for Carhart coveralls. Personally, I rather like the airconditioning, sauna rooms and flat screen tv's...and I hate bugs (really really hate bugs). I just think it's worth noting the baseline of ridiculous on which these particular establishments are built.

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