Today … I feel like a superhero. Yeah, SuperRubberMan. My arms are like Jello, but they’re exposed to Kryptonite, so they’re totally useless. We’ve totally changed the regimen at the gym – except for the damned pushups. Instead of three sets of 12, now it’s three sets of 15. I did 38 full body, but the last seven I am sad to say, were executed only from the knees up. You know I see old farts like Clint Eastwood doing one handed pushups in the movies & I now have a whole new respect for that cranky old bugger! No wonder he can get ’em young. Have a good day – I’m going to be fitted for prosthetic arms now.
As Remembrance Day is upon us I watch the news & see some wonderful tributes by young people who actually try to understand what Remembrance Day is really about. These wonderful people bandy about terms such as “fallen heroes” and “ultimate sacrifice”. I have to wonder, do they, or any of us, really understand what Remembrance Day is really about? Those who died did not die the Hollywood death of John Wayne & other heroes of the big screen. Most of those who died were young people, in their late teens, twenties & the odd few in their thirties. By my 58 year standards, that is young. Did they remain stoic until the end? Not likely. They were likely terrified, fearing and fighting the Death that was overtaking them. Flashing thoughts of their wives, husbands, children, parents, siblings – the myriad of people that they are going to miss, while Death stalked them with a finality as certain as any finality can ever be. Terrified because they’ve seen their buddies maimed, or are missing parts themselves. There is no turning back from Death and unless you have tremendous faith, it is no doubt terrifying. Death in war is rarely heroic, and even more rarely, dignified.
But can the ones who died can be the lucky ones? The ones left at home are every bit the heroes as those who died. They have seen their loved ones, their children, their mothers, their fathers, go off to put themselves in harm’s way to defend our way of life. They don’t have the benefit of the sudden quiet at the end of that journey into Death. They are left behind to feel their hearts torn asunder, shredded by grief, by the loss of one who is dear to them. Ones who they missed as soon as they walked out the door, but miss even more so knowing that now they will never return to them. They have to endure the daily struggle of knowing they will never again hear that voice, feel that touch, share that laugh or that tear. If that doesn’t make them heroes, then there are no heroes.
And then there are our soldiers who did not die. They may have come home, but many of them have left a part of their souls behind them. Parts of them died with their deeds and are buried on a plain, or under rocks on a barren mountain somewhere most of us will never see. The things they have witnessed other humans doing to other humans? The things they have been called upon to do to other humans? Anyone who has ever lined up the rear sight with the fore sight then ultimately with a living, breathing, target that they know has a mate, children, knows that with one squeeze of the trigger all of that ends for that ‘target’ and for all that the ‘target’ is, was or ever will be. When the bullet leaves that chamber, it takes with you a large part of your humanity because you will never be the same. If you’ve never had that experience or any of the other experiences that our soldiers see, hear and feel, then you are blessed. But in the same breath you can never really understand what that returning soldier is going through. You have not earned the right to sit in judgement on that soldier. But these soldiers, these guardians of our lives and our life, have earned the right of your support, your honour, and above all, your respect.
So on this Remembrance Day 2012, wear your Poppy, honour our fallen and crippled heroes – all of them both in and out of uniform. And when you’ve done all that and the day is behind you, not only should you continue to Remember, but now you should take up the fight for them. Help them all to get them the benefits and pay that is commensurate with their sacrifice, which I have to say, is a damned sight higher sacrifice than anything, absolutely anything, any of our over paid, over benefitted politicians and their petty bureaucrats have earned.
Well, this morning’s regular workout was replaced by a review of my progress. I hate progress reports! Really, I bust my derriere so I can feel better, and I do. Then I get the news that I’ve put on just about 5 more pounds! Keriminee. But the good news is 3 of those were muscle (according to the BMI thingy). So all is not too bad. Plus I was eating restaurant food for ten solid days, which will screw up any good workout regimen. I can do double the pushups that I could in the beginning, about 12% more situps & about 7% more in squats PLUS I can walk for bloody ever (provided there are no nubile wenches wandering about to distract & kill me). Naw, overall I am just very pleased to be feeling better. Next will come the weight along with wind. Me & my lungs are not friends – never have been. I’m one of those people that go to beat hell for a hundred meters, you’d be hard pressed to keep up with me. But after that my oxygen levels can’t keep up with the usage & I go down like a hooker at Grey Cup. Ah well, onward & upward.
Well Monday & Tuesday were interesting back at the gym. Monday I was introduced to a 1980’s torture machine called the “Elliptical Trainer”. What a nice, well rounded name. Our good friends over at Wikipedia define “ellipse” as “In mathematics, an ellipse (from Greek ἔλλειψις elleipsis, a “falling short”) is a plane curve that results from the intersection of a cone by a plane in a way that produces a closed curve.” Quite frankly they lost me at “mathematics”, but that’s another story. I like the Greek – “falling short”, because as an exercise machine it is my personal view that “falling short” is the polite way of saying “what a horrible freakin’ machine.” You stand on these two foot pads, grab hold of these two ‘poles’ & ostensibly, you are supposed to run, allegedly simulating cross country skiing, while thrashing all four limbs about willy nilly!. I have skied cross country my friends & I am afraid somebody sold somebody Mr. Whalen a bill of goods on that machine. While your feet, knees, hips and arms are going great guns, the rest of you remains absolutely stationary, but in about 15 seconds your calves & thighs are screaming at you to get the hell off of this machine! But the mistake is trying to get off while the damned this is still moving. I slipped & got my foot jammed in between one of those horrible foot pads & the ski pole thingy. Fortunately that was a far as it went & with some gentle pulling of the levers I was able to dislodge my foot. And there wasn’t even a curvaceous creature around to blame for my daintiness.
On the upside, Tuesday was upper body day & I actually finally managed to do three full repetitions of 12 full body push-ups. A total of 36 push-ups – and no bra! I went home & congratulated myself with a glass of wine at 08:30 – didn’t go well with the porridge, but what the hell eh?
Friday is my six week evaluation day! I’m expecting some recriminations but hey, baby steps. I’m happy with the push-ups & feeling so very much better!