E.S.P.---Exercise Stress Points
Have you ever enrolled yourself in an exercise class where you know immediately that you are in over your head? Over the years, I've done this more than once, and here is a funny story to prove it. (*Note: Please remember that the dated exercise references merely reflect my maturity and lack of flexibility.)
I have devised a point system similar to that scale used to tell when a person has too much stress in his or her life. My scale is designed to warn you when you have signed up for an exercise class that is too difficult for you.
On the life stress scale, a marriage, divorce, new baby or death in the family might equal 100 points. On my exercise stress point scale, you are assigned Exercise Stress Points (ESP) to signal when you are in a world of hurt. (Which, unfortunately, you usually do not realize until you have paid your money and reported for class.)
For openers, you can always tell if you're in serious trouble if you are the only one who looks like they really need the class. In the old days, you'd be the one without the leg warmers. Today, you'd be the one without ear buds sticking out of your ears attached to some device to play songs while you exercise....class or no.
Class assembles. Instructor leads vigorous calisthenics for a full 20 minutes. You are exhausted and turning blue. Just as you are about to collapse quietly in a corner, your group leader---who always has a name like Bambi or Heidi---chirps happily, "Now that we're all warmed up, let's begin our first set of exercises." This question flashes through your mind: when, exactly, did her exercises become our exercises? Was it when the check cleared? Have you also signed a living will without knowing it and all proceeds go to the establishment?
You discover that the rest of the class has been working out at home. Some have been using Jane Fonda's Advanced Exercise tape. Some have been using Christie Brinkley's "Walker, Texas Ranger" machine. You have been using a Debbie Reynolds record and "Sweatin' to the Oldies," by Richard Simmons, because you're an oldie.
Your pants split up the back as you attempt to do a backwards roll. It's so difficult in this day and age to decide what is appropriate exercise garb. The gigantic headphone thingies I used to wear when walking still work, but the children on our court begin snickering as soon as I appear.
Woman next to you on your left looks at your beet-red face and comments, "I see you're flirting with Old Mr. Blood Pressure." You respond, "Lady, I've been married 45 years. I haven't flirted since Woodstock!"
When you are supposed to check your pulse to see if you have achieved your level of aerobic fitness, you cannot find your pulse. No one else can, either. You hope this doesn't mean that you have been declared legally dead at some point during the last 20 minutes, as you still are not sure about that Living Will thing they shoved at you during the sign-up process.
You begin to hyper-ventilate and are forced to put your head between your legs---no easy task! Later, it takes 2 class members to help you remove your head from between your legs.
Food fantasies occupy your thoughts. Complete this sentence: "Gee, after all this, I can go to the Haagen Daaz store and..." "Jog around the block" is not the phrase you would use to complete this sentence.
Woman on your right, having made contact with the funny bone in your right elbow with her exercise wand, says, "Excuse me. I'm a little out of practice. I just got out of the hospital yesterday. The quintuplets are doing fine, and I've even received an offer to pose nude for 'Gentleman's Quarterly!'"
As the pain escalates, you try to decide whether to (a) steal her exercise wand after class and burn it as an offering to the Exercise God (if She exists), or (b) grab it out of her hand RIGHT NOW and break it over your knee. You opt for (b) : grabbing and breaking. And, while you're at it, you deflate her exercise ball with a scissors you carry for protection at all times, even when in exercise garb. You know it makes you look like a loon, but who can predict when you might need a giant scissors for some reason?
You are ejected from the class and the club for willfully and wantonly destroying another class member's exercise wand and deflating her giant exercise ball. As you leave, with your pants gaping wide, you are heard muttering about the population explosion.
Your husband hits the roof. He discovers that your $500 health club membership is non-refundable once you have begun class AND you are billed $50 for the broken exercise wand and $50 for the punctured exercise ball! (At least they didn't tell him about the time you were asked to "lead the class" and led them into a wall.)