It is not hard to imagine what happens when you have 250 pounds of metal sitting on your chest.
All you have to do is think about the time you walked over to the bench and loaded two 45s on each side and then slid ten more on each side.
It was the tail end of your workout and you got this wild hare up your behind that said it would be cool to finish it off by throwing around another 250.
Hell, you had done more than that and figured that it didn’t matter that it had been a few years before.
You didn’t ask anyone to spot you, didn’t even occur to you that you might need a hand.
Guys like you weren’t built for grace or walking quietly through a room and that was ok because tossing iron around didn’t require stealth.
It was just brute strength and hell, you were proud of being called an uncivilized barbarian.
Do As Your Grandfather Would Do
Grandpa Wilner must have been around 90 or so when he told me he didn’t have any plans to die soon.
He was in the hospital and I was visiting him during my lunch hour.
“I am going to fight like hell. If death shows up I’ll punch him in the throat and then I’ll break his nose.”
He said it with a smile and we both laughed.
“Grandpa, what if he doesn’t have a nose. What if he is just a skeleton?”
“That is why I’m going to punch him in the throat. I don’t run very well anymore but I can still throw a good cross and if my cane is close…”
We both laughed and I knew he was serious about sticking around but I made a point to talk about a few things that were important to us.
The problem with being 90 is you know the end is a lot closer than the beginning.
Somewhere in between the kidding around and the silence he told me not to worry about the stuff I couldn’t figure out.
“Don’t worry about that stuff. You’ll figure it out as you go and whatever you don’t, you will.”
I smiled and told him that is the sort of contradictory advice my dad might give.
“Suppose it is proof he is related to you. Might as well go home and share the news with your great-grandson.”
Grandpa smiled and asked how he and his great-granddaughter were doing.
“I never thought I’d live this long, I should have taken better care of myself.”
He smiled at me and we shared the kind of moment that only grandfathers and their grown grandsons could share.
“You know that is between us.”
He nodded his head and I walked out the door and walked down the street back to my office.
Hanging Out With Walt
Mr. Whitman and I have been spending time together engaged in one sided conversations in which he refuses to answer my request for help.
“Walt, don’t make me compel your ghost to leave the spirit world and return to earth. Just answer the damn questions.”
The silence isn’t broken by the sounds of chains or the wailing of a banshee but there is a clickety-clack inside my head.
Words fall upon the internal movie screen:
“What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life.”
“We were together. I forget the rest.”
“Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you/ That you may be my poem/ I whisper with my lips close to your ear/ I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.”
“Thanks Walt, that is not the question I asked nor the answer I seek. That question is one I know how to answer.
This time the silence is deafening and it isn’t broken by the clickety-clack of a dead man’s typewriter.
I shake my head and mutter words I would like others to hear but refuse to say loud enough to be noticed.
Asking For Help Should Be Sexy
The first two reps go as expected with the bar rising and falling as it should but three is weak and four doesn’t quite happen.
Exhaustion kicks in and my arms don’t want to cooperate.
Doesn’t take long for me to wonder if this is funny or frustrating. Can’t really see if anyone is close by and I refuse to yell for help or even grunt for it.
Figure if I take a moment I’ll find a way to get this thing off of me.
Minute or ten pass and a guy comes hustling over telling me I am going to hurt myself and saying I ought to ask for help.
“Yeah, I ought to.”
I don’t mean it but I am not interested in getting lectured by a guy who doesn’t know me.
Fast forward into the future and the older and wiser version of that guy stares into the mirror and asks questions he already knows the answers to.
Wonders again if he is chasing a cat that doesn’t exist and how to reach someone who should respond but doesn’t.
Maybe it is genetic.
So he reaches back into the echoes of his mind and tells his grandfather he’ll guard the door and give death a reason never to return.
“You’ll figure it out.”
He wonders if that is true or if it is time to ask for more help.