The Backhanded Compliment

Do you know what “trainer” said to me today?

During a conversation about what qualifies as a “real” pull up – yes he and I have these kinds of convos at work – we were comparing the two standard varieties. There’s the US Army standard of pulling up from a bent arm position and the US Marine Corps standard of pulling from a complete dead hang.

Guess which kind he does. That’s right.

Hey, I’m working on it.

“The dead hang,” he said, is the only way to get it done.”

He’s transforming…”

Then he went on to regale me with his prowess at how he had once done 170+ of these in a single day. OK you already knew I was impressed. Thing is, he wasn’t. He went on to speak at length about how weak he felt and how he wished he could have done more.

For the record I can do like three of these.

Here’s the kicker…

pull ups

Neither Army nor Marine Corps; these are the REAL deal here.

He continued, “One time in college my suite-mate saw me doing the Army kind. He told me those weren’t real pull ups.  We had seen each other shirtless before and here’s the thing. He really didn’t have room to talk. I mean I looked – well, I always look good. He was, well,” he said “He was transforming.”

This is when he went on to say that the guy was basically a fatty who was “trying to get in shape. “Eventually,” he added, “he got to looking somewhat decent.”

The implication is, of course, that us lower beings have no business addressing the genetically superior.

Why didn’t I think of that?!

Here’s why. I’m just transforming or is it transfiguring? Maybe I’m just transitioning as in from fat to not quite as fat but never be on the same level. Perhaps one day I’ll be in the ranks of the “somewhat decent”. I’ve poured my heart and soul, blood, sweat, and tears into this effort for almost a year now. I’ve gone from not running to running several miles at a stretch; from one push up to dozens; from a carefree diet to a rigorous regimen loaded with veggies – the bane of my existence. But I wonder if that’s ever going to be good enough.

I take his words for what they are – the advice of a friend and he’s been really helpful too. If not for him I’d be nowhere near as healthy as I am now. So no offense taken.

One day, though, he’ll be somewhat decent at lifting people up. And I’ll be somewhat gracious (and possibly an inch closer to somewhat shredded).


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