Sunday, December 26, 2010


Amidst the hoopla of resolving to eat right or exercise more—because January 1 is upon us and we all must now make numerous and uncommitted promises to ourselves to turn from the slippery slope of bad habits on which we are currently slipping—I fear a contraption has entered my home. This was somewhat surprising, as I fervently work toward nothing entering my home. Ever. I am a minimalist, and stuff is my Kryptonite.

It happened like it always does. Someone says, “Hey, I’ll give you [thing]. I’ll bring it over, set it up, provide supplemental parts, etc etc etc.” This is said in an excited tone of voice and you are swept over by the notion of now owning this thing you didn’t know you didn’t need.

There are some cases in recorded history where this did not end in fiasco. I can imagine Ben Franklin dropping off a lovely ink pen set to his friend Thomas Jefferson rather than selling it at his neighbor’s garage sale. Good ol’ Tom could then have used it to write the Declaration of Independence. Sure, this turned out great for the rest of us, but it was still one guy dumping his junk at his pal’s house.

And what of the Wright brothers, you are probably asking yourself right now. Would we be happy to know that their first flight would not have been possible without a collection of scrap gears (and maybe airplane schematics) that others gave away rather than throw away?

Every time, either in these historically inaccurate stories or in real life, such presumed “helpfulness” is really the transfer of crap from one place to another, and I have learned to pathologically fear participating. I have stood firm for many years now. Why, then, is there a twenty-year-old Soloflex in my spare bedroom?

I could blame Kate for moving out and leaving an empty room in her wake, but that was destined to happen at some point, one way or another, so perhaps I should have had a better plan. I suggested to Kristin that we set up a home brewing operation in the room, but the combination of open flame and gallons of fermenting liquid was a deal breaker.

I was talking about fitness with this guy I know, and how running and bicycling is serving me well below the belt, but that my upper body is beginning to wither. Nearing a half-century of use, and no longer doing the heavy lifting common to a younger man. Now I get one of the kids to move the furniture or hoist the box into the garage loft, or I avoid the task entirely.

Helpful Guy said, “Hey, take my Soloflex.” He helped load it in my car, he helped me understand how to set it up, and he helped himself to a good laugh as I drove off.

One heavy piece of stuff that he would no longer need to deal with.

Mind you, he had upgraded to a better workout machine years ago, and had kept the Soloflex in a corner of the room. It was doing well as a dirty clothes organizer but he was happy to get rid of it. The only question was would it turn out to be a sensible thing for me to have acquired, or would I rue the day.

Let’s consider the past. Kristin and I purchased one of those silly riding machines many years ago. I think it was called a Healthrider or something like that. We used it for about a week. Then it started to collect dust and dirty clothes and eventually we found some poor sucker to take it. We inherited a rowing machine at one point and spent far more time stepping around it than we ever did sitting in it.

I had an old barbell from my teenaged years that was shoveled off to one corner or another in one room or another. Kristin’s parents have given us a mini trampoline or two, and Kristin has purchased Pilates DVDs and those big balancing balls. None are ever used.

The fact is that these kinds of items aren’t used in 99% of the homes that have them. They become “stuff.” And everyone ignores their own stuff before they find an easy way to make it someone else’s stuff.

The Soloflex, then, just might be doomed. Kyle and I looked over the poster-sized operating directions and have identified certain exercises we enjoy. Moving the bars and the rubber straps that provide resistance is mildly annoying, so if we have a plan to do exercises that minimize the number of adjustments we are more likely to use the machine.

First, of course, we have to open the door to the room where it hides, and we have to actually use it. So far we are not batting a thousand.

Hey, you wouldn’t be interested in a fine piece of home exercise equipment, would you? I’d be happy to bring it over . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment