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This May Be Hazardous To Your Health by Ray Printer Friendly

Okay, Strangelanders, hereís the thing: Iíve started exercising. Swimming. I went down to the pool the other night, jumped in, and swam just like I did when I was a bright-eyed school boy, out of school. Except for it didnít work out the same way at all.

Let me tell you somethingóexercise isnít for everyone. It sure as hell isnít for me. Iím not kidding around, manÖthis...shitÖsucks!

Iím not talking about triathlons or anything, either. Just getting in the pool, swimming a few laps, that kind of thing. My princess is trying to convince me to do some sit-ups, too, but until she gets some sort of electrical prod to force me into it, sheís just dreaminí. The swimming thing, that was my idea. I decided it was time to lose some weightóIím tired of being an eyesore (I could give a damn about being a public eyesore, but if you had to wake up and see what I have to see every morning in the mirror, youíd get tired of seeing it, too. Itís like looking at a pile of uncooked biscuit dough each morning before you hop in the shower, and that can really ruin your day) and this seems like the easiest way to try and fix it. Usually, I get some lame idea, try it out a time or two, and throw it onto the scrap pile. But since I spent money on swimming gear, I have to keep it up for a bit.

That getting in the pool thing, thatís where it all starts to go wrong. Iím big, man. Not Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man big, but more like Jabba the Hut big. And Iím pale. Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man pale.

Almost see-through. Every time I get a new job, every time I make new friends, every time I deal with new people, I am called a vampire, thatís how white I am. Even my mother accuses me of being a vampire, which kind of makes me wonder about the guys she used to hang around with. But whether or not my biological father is a child of the night, some sort of vampire with a penchant for cholesterol-filled blood, is not the point here. The point here is that Iím fat and ghostly white, and very unattractive to look at when Iím not wearing a shirt.

Iím probably not too great to look at even if Iím wearing a shirt, if you want to know the truth, but I talk a lot and use big hand gestures, so you really donít notice. I had visions of pulling my shirt off over my head and hearing screams of terror, or possibly the sounds of tranquilizer guns as a forest ranger of some type tried to take out the shaved bear that somehow managed to gain access to the pool area. Fortunately, there was no one else around when my princess and I arrived. I stripped off my shirt quickly, and jumped into the water. It was cold, and Iím pretty sure that my heart stopped beating for a few seconds, but it was a small price to pay to get my belly out of plain view.

Here are the people that have seen me without my shirt on for the last six years or so: me, because thereís really no getting around it without being called neurotic. Trey and Carey, because once I was really drunk and they dared me to show them. My princess, because sometimes I forget to take a t-shirt into the bathroom with me for after I take a shower, and I have to dash to the closet, screaming, ďAvert your eyes, lest ye be blinded!Ē She hasnít gone blind yet, but Iím pretty sure sheís only one or two accidental peeks away.

What Iím saying is, itís a big deal for me to take my shirt off. And not in a cool way, like the unveiling of a piece of art. More like the way the elephant man covered his face all the time.

Once in the water, I was able to pretend that people couldnít see my belly as long as I kept swimming (Yeah, right. I have visions of people walking up to my princess asking, ďAre you with that guy? Where did he get that giant white whale that heís riding all over pool?Ē Call me Ishmael, bitch.). The thing is, Iím a big, fat, lazy, sack of used-up life. With stretch marks. I canít be swimming all over the place for very long, you know?

Next thing I know, my arms are on fire, my lungs have melted, and my brain is about to explode. Plus, my heartís beating so hard that Iím pretty sure itís destroying other internal organs. When I get out of shape, brotha, I do it right.

But, like I mentioned, there was no one else at the pool, so itís just my princess and I that have to witness this pathetic breakdown. It goes on for what seems like eternity, but really it was only about and hour.

And then, as weíre about to go, people show up. And not just any people, either: river kids. I donít know what theyíre officially called, but I bet you know the type. These are the people that you see in just about every SUV commercial ever made. The kids that run down to the river to do some swimming, some whitewater rafting, some bungee jumping. Then they go climb a sheer rock ledge or some other kind of X-Treme thing to show the world that theyíre intense. And then, just to relax, theyíll work out in the weight room for a few hours and then relax at the pool, maybe swim a hundred laps or so, just to cool down.

Both of them tan, the guyís got his ripped abs, his huge biceps, heís like what the Mountain Dew commercial people have wet dreams about. And the girlís fine, of course, because you canít have the X-Treme guy without his hot girl. Bastards. They start airing up some sort of floatation device, using an electric compressor, which is cool, because as long as theyíre over there doing that, at least they arenít pointing at my enormous gut and laughing at me and calling me things like ďFatty fatty, fat fat,Ē or ďBloated vampire corpse thatís flailing around in the water.Ē

Iím trying to think of a way to get the hell out of there with minimal interaction, but guess what? They come over and talk to us!

You ever hear about the task of Hercules? Yeah, I would have floored him. ďHide the giant belly from the river kids.Ē But do the gods ever ask me? Hell no, they just make my metabolism suck and give me a bad attitude, so that I canít even be one of those JOLLY fat people. Nope, I have to be one of those fat guys thatís all bitter about it, so he canít make any friends.

ĎCept for drunk people. Drunk folks love having a fat guy around, donít ask me why. I think itís because no matter how wasted they get, they can still feel good about themselves because at least they donít look like THAT. (Yes, I realize that I said donít ask, and I also realize that you didnít, but eff you, man, this is my post. You got a problem, write your own rant.)

ďSorry about all the noise,Ē River Boy says.

ďHey, no sweat, man.Ē Just stay over there.

He walks over to the edge of the pool, him and his girl, right by me. Thereís no hiding my gut, but I attempt to scoot up to the edge of the pool anyways, just in case.

ďYeah, Iím on a swim team, and we took it easy today, went and floated the river, and I had to blow up like twenty of those. Iím beat, so I just decided to use the compressor.Ē What floating the river is, is when you get a tube, and you float down the river on it. Itís a hobby for skinny attractive people, who donít have to hide their shame behind massive t-shirts and tears.

ďNo problem.Ē

ďYeah, I just wanted to apologize.Ē

ďDonít even worry about it,Ē I said. Iím being hard on the river kids because theyíre in great shape and Iím a fat slob, by the way. They were perfectly nice people, and I could tell that they were hoping to strike up a conversation, maybe sit by the pool and make some new friends. Thatís the problem with being as ultra-cool as I am, is you have people running up to you, trying to be friends, even when youíre trying to make a quick exit with your fattiness. The thing is, I need clothes on to make new friends. Lots of clothes. So I was probably a little rude, and they soon left.

I jumped out of the pool, pulled my t-shirt on, and realized that because I was sopping wet, it stuck to me like wet toilet paper on a corpse. Donít ask me how I know what wet toilet paper on a corpse looks likeóyou really donít want to know.

We walked back to the apartment, my head was spinning, my eyes were chlorine-burned, and my arms ached. But I felt kind of good.

So I decided to keep doing it.

The thing is, I always thought that exercise was supposed to make you feel better. This shitís killing me, man. I got up at six this morning, walked down to the pool and started swimming. I had a headache all damn day, and it feels like someone stuck a fork in my shoulder blades. And living the life that I lead, thatís a possibility, and it might have even been me. Iíve always thought that I would be pretty tasty.

I got home from work, and felt like passing out. Instead, I went back down to the pool, and did it again! Because this is some sort of ďregimentĒ or something. I donít know what the proper word is for when you decide to kill yourself with exercise, instead of booze and cigarettes, which are so much cooler. But Iím on a roll, I guess, and Iíve got the support of my princess, which probably means that she has finally gotten life insurance on me, and decided that the quickest pay-off would be to encourage me to exercise. She says itís because she loves me, and because she wants me to be happy with myself, and I really want to believe her. But I think I should probably go through the paper work and see what she gets if I die, just to play it safe.

Peace out, Liíl Homies.


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