Award-winning writer: Jackie Papandrew

Airing My Dirty Laundry!

Boot Camp

Like many people entering middle age with an ever-expanding midsection, I really need to get in shape. I joined a gym earlier this year to fight the battle of the bulge, paying the membership fee and buying an adorable workout outfit. Then I waited for the blubber to be gone.

Apparently, though, there’s more to it than that because my body continued to balloon, as I discovered recently when I tried (and failed) to find a bathing suit that would render me somewhat more attractive than a whale.

So, unwilling to actually show up at the gym, I turned to televised exercise. I have fond memories of TV fitness from college, when my roommates and I wasted valuable study time watching Jane Fonda prance around in leg warmers while encouraging us to feel the burn. Although we rarely actually did her workout, we definitely toned our young tummies with all our hearty laughter at poor Jane’s expense.

I still can’t listen to Jimmy Buffett’s Changes in Latitudes Changes in Attitudes without experiencing a strong urge to do buttocks tucks. Thanks for the memories, Jane.

Being older and wiser now, with a tummy in need of more than laughter, I decided to seek out a new queen of calisthenics to show me the way.  And I found her in the form of a fitness show called Boot Camp led by a woman in stunningly good shape named Cathe.

Yes, that’s Cath and then an e that is set off from the rest of the name, italicized and gussied up with a different color. This kind of name confidence impressed me. Surely that e stood for exercise, and surely this military-style Jane could whip my flaccid form into shape.

I spent about a week watching Boot Camp from the comfort of my couch, wishing Cath and her fancy e would wear leg warmers and put on some Jimmy Buffet. But they stayed clad in teeny, tiny shorts that wouldn’t go past my knees, jumping, pumping, pushing and crunching their way to muscular perfection -- all to the frenzied beat of some disturbing technosweat music.

Cath and her e were relentless in urging me to end my inertia.

“Are you ready for this?” they’d ask at the beginning of each show. Then they’d rather arrogantly respond to their own question, never giving me time to think it over.

“There’s only one answer,” Cath and her energetic e would chirp, “and that is YES!”

Eventually, feeling the pressure, I put down my chocolate, put on some sweatpants and stood in my living room, ready to give it my all.

Cath and her e looked pleased. We spent what seemed like an hour on spine-popping stretches, shoulder-knotting arm swings and thigh-cramping knee bends. I was elated, thinking I was going to sail through Boot Camp, when Cath and her slightly sadistic e announced that the warm-up was over. Worn out, I collapsed on the carpet.

A few days later, I decided to try again. Cath and her increasingly annoying e looked skeptical, but seemed willing to give me another chance. After the warm-up, they explained that we’d be doing eight cycles of training designed to strengthen my heart and tone problem areas. My numerous problem areas protested, but I pressed on, making it through an awe-inspiring two cycles before succumbing to exhaustion.

I gave myself a good week or two to recover before making another attempt.

By now, my children had sensed an opportunity for amusement and gathered around like vultures to watch, cruelly eating Cheetos and Oreos in my presence and placing bets with each other on how long I could last.

Cath and her drill-instructor e were openly dubious, but I assured them that my problem areas and I were now united in the cause. Unfortunately, those faithless flabby regions turned traitor during the first cycle, refusing to soldier on. I barely survived Cycle Two before my arms and legs went AWOL, quivering like mutinous mounds of Jell-O.

Cath and her sneering e threatened a court martial.

That’s when I decided to dig up that old burn-feeling video and return to Sweet Lady Jane. Even her buttocks tucks would be better than Boot Camp. If I could just find some leg warmers.

~  © Jackie Papandrew 2007 ~

Jackie Papandrew is an award-winning writer, syndicated humor columnist, coffee addict and mom to a motley crew of children and pets who provide a steady stream of column ideas and dirt. She's also wife to a very patient man who had no idea, years ago when he still had time to escape, what he was getting himself into. Visit her website at:  JackiePapandrew.com

[ by Jackie Papandrew Copyright © 2007, (me@jackiepapandrew.com) -- submitted by: Jackie Papandrew ]


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