Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Step 9

Yesterday, while on my nightly run, I had an interesting thought.

Have you ever noticed that whenever people start trying to live more healthily, they invariably find surreptitious ways to broadcast their new lifestyle to anyone who will listen?

People don’t want to be perceived as braggy-pantsed-meglomaniacs, so they won’t come right out and say, “I now work out 5 times a week, I’m training for the Olympics, and I no longer eat red meat, processed sugars, or anything endorsed by Elliot (the kid from E.T.). Rather, they go fishing for acknowledgement by cleverly working not-so-subtle references to their laud-worthy activities into random, unrelated statements:

“You’ll never guess who I ran into at the gym this morning”
“I’d offer to give you a ride home, but I’ve only got my bicycle today”
“I don’t know, when’s a good time for you? I have a 5K next Thursday morning, but my afternoons are usually pretty free”
“Stupid pants! They must have expanded in the wash”

Now, let me clarify; I’m not talking about people who have been living healthily for years. This observation primarily applies to individuals (like me) that have, until very recently, been pariah to the world of fitness. It’s a condition similar to that of one who (like me) washes the dishes once a quarter and requires copious praise for the mighty feat.

Having been, many times, on the receiving end of these clumsily veiled braggings, I know how obnoxious they are. Still, being newly converted to physical vigilance, I feel compelled to participate in the very practice which I know to be so irksome. Yes, I see the eyes rolling, the feet shuffling, the ‘glance-down-at-an-invisible-wristwatch’ing, but I just can’t stop myself. I’m not even sure it’s voluntary. Perhaps a reduced calorie diet deprives nutrients to the part of the brain that regulates social judgment.

In any case, I’ve decided to take the advice of the 300 pound bodybuilder I was arm wrestling on my lunch break, and apologize to any of you whom I have bored with conversations woven with allusions to my most recent obsession.