“I Can Still See” or “I Need a Sharp Stick…”

I can see.

I can see a lot of things, actually, both physically and metaphorically.

Like, I can see that keeping up with regular blogging is difficult in this season.  Even though I don’t blog as often as I’d like, please rest assured that I’m still working out, still observing, still vomiting after a tough session.

Nothing changes.  But I promise I’ll try to update more regularly.

I can also see pretty well physically.  I eat a lot of carrots.  The 8th grade teacher at the private elementary school I went to growing up used to tell us that carrots would make our eyes strong.  He knew because he was color blind.  And although he insisted that we should eat our carrots, none of us liked the rubbery carrot sticks that came on our styrofoam lunch trays (you’re welcome, environment!), and so we’d all go running into the 8th grade classroom clutching our carrots for Mr. Rogner to eat.

And eat he did.

Now, take a step back.  Imagine that scene.  A bunch of smelly 1st graders with their grubby petri-dish fingers palming carrot sticks, now warm from body heat, running into a classroom, “Here you go!  Have my carrot sticks!”

With fear in his eyes he’d nibble on one, the end of it disappearing under his red mustache.  “Mmmm,” he’d say.  And we’d all smile pleasantly.

I found out later that all those carrot sticks ended up in the trashcan by his desk.  As well they should.  They were no doubt the number one cause of the flu at Trinity Lutheran School.  “Your kid got the flu, too?  Musta ate a carrot stick from a 1st grader…”

But I can only see “pretty well.”  I do require glasses.

I discovered I needed glasses my sophomore year in college.  I mean, I guess I realized all the text books were blurry, but I just thought it was because I didn’t really want to read them and my body was rebelling.  But, nope.  Turns out I was a danger on the road.  My mother, a nurse at an eye clinic, was mortified the same way a Democrat is horrified to learn their only child registers as a Republican.  “I should have known!” she cried.

She was the shame of the eye clinic for about two seconds, until we realized that none of the other nurses even had kids who made it to college.  Middle-class pride was restored.

I’m not as blind without my glasses as some, though.  My college roommate Chad (or Chadwicke or just “Wicke”) can literally see nothing without his specs.  If I was short on cash I’d take away his specs and steal money from his wallet.

Actually, I never did that.  Because I know Jesus.  But if I didn’t know Jesus, that would have been tempting…

And Chad is the smartest guy I know.  Literally, he’s the most intelligent person I think I’ve ever met.  He has a photographic mind.  I would watch him pick up a finance book, read it for 15 minutes, and then slam it, sit back, close his eyes, and that would be that.  Studying done.

But, we all have our kryptonite.  Without his glasses, there was nothing to mentally photopgraph.  He’s as helpless as a turtle without a shell without his glasses.  That’s why I made a deal with myself early on in my college career: should Chad and I ever be on a game show together that had mental as well as physical challenges, my only goal would be to protect his specs.  It would ensure our victory.

Protect the specs!

And should they get broken in the course of the game show, I would defect and go to the other team.  It really is his only attribute (love ya, Wicke!).

But I don’t wear my glasses when I work out, and this sometimes poses a problem.  I have to squint really hard to keep track of the time (because no one born after 1979 wears a watch anymore, we just use our cell phones…thanks, post-post-modernity!).  I have to squint really hard to add up the amount of weight I’m lifting because those numbers are hard to see on the trays.  And, let’s be honest, I’m not looking too hard because, well, I hate disappointment.  And it is always disappointing to imagine yourself lifting in excess of 150lbs only to realize you’ve barely benched 75…

But there are some things I can see.

Like, I can see that “V-Ups” are obscene.

What are “V-Ups” you might ask?

Ok.  I’ll paint the picture for you.  But I have to start out by apologizing.  The picture that you will have in your brain will disturb you, but it is nothing as disturbing as the truth of the exercise.  We begin…

Imagine a person lying flat on the floor, arms straight over their head, legs together, straight as a board.

Now, imagine that person lifting their straight arms up, as if doing a dive, while simultaneously hoisting their legs up and apart in the shape of a “V”.  Now imagine, as a final move, those arms thrusting between those “V” legs in a crunch motion, and then having everything go back to laying flat.

Recap: legs fly up in a “V” and arms thrust up and through the “V”.

Now imagine all 6’4, 230+lbs of Critter doing that.

Oh man, I didn’t need grubby carrots or glasses to see that I would not be doing this exercise.

Even though it was just after 7am, the gym was already getting crowded when he introduced me to this technique.  I told him it appeared as if he was trying to give birth.  That was not appreciated.

As I laid down to begin the exercise I was filled with such immense laughter, that I couldn’t even begin.  I mean, please.  Unless I’m training for the Russian gymnastics team, I think that particular exercise should be made illegal.  The only thing more ridiculous than a 6’4 man doing that move would be for a 6′ man to lay next to him and do it as well.

Oh the humanity!

Suffice to say, I did not complete 4 of them because I was so filled with laughter.  Luckily laughter works the abs, so I felt as if I had already done that workout.

As punishment I was made to do “morning glories.”

They are anything but glorious.

You lay on your back under a weight cage with the bar at the lowest level, and you basically do a reverse pushup.  20 of them.  In a row.

It was gross.

And because I had laughed (and pointed) so hard a Critter’s “V-Ups,” I wasn’t allowed to do the modified version with bent knees.  Nope, straight out, lift, grunt, release. (That’s what she said)

So, kids, what can we learn from today’s story?

1) Get your eyes checked, especially if your mother is an ophthalmic nurse.

2) If your roommate is blind as a bat, it is still not OK to take money from them when their glasses are absent, and you should always wrap up in a towel after exiting the shower because, well, no one is that blind…

3) If someone does “V-Ups,” search for a sharp stick.  And if you can’t bring yourself to poke your eyes out in response to it’s hideousness, poke the person with the stick until they stop…


Weight: 228

Flossing: Still regular

Running: 5 miles a week or so

Lifting: 2x a week still…even though Critter got a dog and now claims he has to stay with it 24/7 or else it will crap his rug to pieces.  The dog and I are not on speaking terms…