Here is how abject my life has become: The other day, the phone rang and it was the gym.
"Where the #@*$ have you been?" the gym asked.
Well, I am loosely translating. What they said was, I had not been at Body Sculpt class. There is this deal at the Buffalo Athletic Club that Blue Cross will fund your membership, but only if you go to a prescribed number of classes in an agreed-upon length of time. In my case this means eight Body Sculpt classes in eight weeks. I agreed to that in a moment of recklessness.
For a number of reasons, one of which was that I was channeling all my free time into bothering Leonard Pennario's friends for gossip and information, I had not been appearing at the class.
I have to say this, the gym's strategy worked. Yesterday there I was, back at Body Sculpt. Had the BAC not bugged me, I might not have gone. It's hard to make the time.
I got there late, of course. And this is a complicated class in that you have to assemble all this equipment. You have to get a platform you can step up on, and plastic risers that the platform sits on. Then you need a body bar, and weights. So because I'm late, I'm this disturbance. I'm threading my way among all the other exercisers, getting this and that, setting myself up.
Then I have to make repeated trips to the back of the room to get the weights that I forgot to pick up the first time around. I saw my friend Lenny, who sets up his mat back there by the weights. Lenny runs the Three Stooges Film Festival, at the Riviera Theater. He reminded me recently that it is coming up.
"Lenny," I told him over the pounding music, "this is the secret to surviving this class. The more trips you make to the back of the room, the less exercise you have to do."
The truth is, though, I am not sure how much good Body Sculpt is doing me anyhow. I have been to the class three times and it no longer challenges me. The first class, I was sore for days afterwards, and that felt good. No pain, no gain! But now when I do the class I never feel a thing. My robust German Master Race body has craftily adapted. It wants that extra five pounds. It wants them. It has come up with strategies to hold on to them.
It gives me a kind of satisfaction when the teacher is panting and complaining and I am not.
But darn, I'd rather look good!