Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Push-Ups and Other Torrid Love Affairs


 I am  40 years and I have a collection of injuries accumulated from my younger days.  I have broken  all my fingers and toes  at least once, broken my arm, broken my leg, broken  several ribs. although technically those were broken for me. I had a  fellow dislocate my  shoulder one night.  I've gone face first into the rail of a pool table. My nose has been broken  at least 4 or 5 times.  I shattered all the bones in my right foot and walked home on the  broken  bones.  I  cracked my leg bone  one night  on somebody's trailer hitch and although I never went to the doctor , that spot  ached for months and I now have a weird little  dip in the  leg bone there. I experience, apparently,  the long term effects of  multiple concussions, which include night terrors,  memory loss and  headaches. Once when I was working on a tree farm,   I got my arm caught in the machinery and  broke my right wrist.  As if that wasn't silly enough, I cut myself out of my own cast and as a result, that arm didn't heal properly, so my wrist doesn't bend the way it should. I was bitten once by a pygmy rattler while trying to impress some girl. I fell off the top of a moving  van and  hit an oak tree. I sewed myself up once, just to see if  I could do it.The list of cuts and gashes and injuries was extensive enough that the Navy recruiter suggested I only list the ones where I was actually hospitalized.
  Right or wrong, normal or abnormal. a  good portion of my life has been defined by pain and discomfort.  While everybody else is  championing the  cooler weather in the fall, I am taking an extra 15 minutes or so to get out of bed and enduring bone-deep aches, the continuing  price exacted by youthful foolishness.  I'm not complaining, I  deserved all this.
  Even before I joined  the military I  exercised quite a bit, mainly because I was fighting all the time.  I did  push ups and sit ups and ran, not because I enjoyed any of those things but rather because I  wanted the  results.  Since I'm neither tall nor genetically given to bulk, my two aces in the hole in a fight were that I was  fast, and that apparently I could take a pretty viscous beating without stopping.  Exercise helped with at least one of those.  After I joined the military  ,of course. they made me do those things, and now that I'm 40, I don't run anywhere because I don't want to.  I haven't been in a fight in years, and unless my life is threatened, I don't anticipate that changing. If I did a sit-up now it would  merely be out of curiosity to see if I still could since I never enjoyed them.  But I still do the push ups.
  Due to the aforementioned  wrist injuries I have to do the push-ups on my knuckles, and have had to do so my entire adult life. My reasons are as much mental as physical. There has always been something about the push-ups. They hurt, pretty much every time, more so in the winter.  I do them because they hurt. I do them because  it is a very simple exercise of pushing against  myself, of  making myself  go through the pain and past it.  I do them for the sheer discipline of making myself do them.  I don't enjoy the pain, but I enjoy using the pain to prove something  to myself.
  It's the same thing with  my Bible reading.  I read my Bible all the time not because I get a life-changing revelation  from it every time, but for the sheer discipline of making myself do it.  I know most people don't read their Bibles. I also know most people  my age, unless they are health nuts ( which I am not) don't do push-ups.  I don't have to  do either one, but at the same time, I do because to not do them would be to admit  defeat at my own hands. It would be the  mental equivalent of getting knocked down and  failing to rise again, the highest of crimes in my book.
 There isn't a whole lot of tangible physical evidence for these acts of discipline. I'm not  ripped with muscle and barrel-chested, and  I'm certainly not a Bible genius.  But I do them because I should. I do them because , a lot of times, I don't want to.
  I have observed that most people do not seek out discomfort on purpose.  Most people seek out pleasure , and it may be  proof of my  mal-adjusted nature that I do not.  My wife often comments that I  don't know how to relax, and she's probably right. I don't look for a softer bed, I look for a harder back.  It's not because I  enjoy these things, but rather I enjoy the effort of pushing myself through the discomfort and coming out the other side.  This also makes me rather difficult to live  with as I despise weakness in myself and  don't tolerate it very well in other people.
  What is the point of all this?   Why am I telling you this? I'm not sure. Maybe what I'm trying to say is that it is  possible to channel a warped personality into something positive. Maybe it's possible to take something  broken and make something useful out of it.
  Or maybe I'm just crazy. Functional, but crazy.
  What do you think?
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