A satirist is a man who discovers unpleasant things about himself and then says them about other people. — Peter McArthur
For a while, I thought: I’m destined to be a fat old man with a hairy belly when I’m older, what’s the point of exercising nowadays?
But then I was struck with an epiphany:
There exist pretty girls.
And wham! Suddenly, getting into shape seemed like the most brilliant idea in the world. Future, fatty Jake could wait his turn! Once he’s married and his wife loves him so much she doesn’t care what he looks like (…I like to imagine future Jake’s life optimistically), then I can make the permanent switch to sweatpants and the absence of belts. Until then, there are still people I need to woo.
My mindset then transformed from hating exercising and making up excuses to avoid it, to hating exercising and making up less effective excuses to avoid it. Sure, “living healthier” is important. But what really convinced me was the great bathroom lighting that gave me the artificial sensation of a six-pack.
Furthermore, after all my arduous weight lifting, running, training, I would finally be on track to challenge my younger brother to a wrestling match, where the outcome wouldn’t be complete emasculation of my self-image.
And then I sprained my ankle.
Going up for a rebound, I came down hard on my left ankle, my dunking foot (that’s right, I can…well, could still dunk) and am now hobbled up at home. Replacing ice packs every twenty minutes. Popping ibuprofen like I have an addiction. And, in general, bemoaning my ultimate patheticness to anyone who’ll listen.
Hence, this blog post.
However, just because I’m out doesn’t mean I’m down. But in this case, I’m both. Depressed, irritable, limping (every time my dad sees me, he calls me “gimp;” you know I love that), I’ve been doing everything I can to rehabilitate it.
From Epsom salt soaks to leeches—we had a few leftover from when I stubbed my toe—I’ve tended to my ankle like it was my own. And although it’s still swollen, bruised, and in need of more people saying “you poor thing,” it’s getting better.
Just like when I get sick, though, it has reminded me of how much I take my health for granted. It’s reminded me how my stories can be rejected from dozens of journals, how I can still be draining my bank account without any form of sustainable income, how I can total two cars within eight months, and as long as I’m healthy, I’m golden.
Well, maybe a little tarnished, but under those scuffs, it’s still gold, baby.