Exercise

Certain names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.

It all started in Connecticut. I was standing outside the Stamford train station waiting for my old friend Bruce when a colossal creature came barrelling towards me. I stood transfixed, it was like a Michelangelo statue come to life, an ideal of the human form. After it lifted me bodily with one hand and placed me into a car with extreme care, my luggage hanging off its pinky by a strap, I began to wonder, “Could this be Bruce?”

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“Sam, it’s so good to see you again!” exclaimed Bruce, extending his arms for a hug.

Indeed, after a few more days of contemplation over the weekend staying at his house, meeting his family and hearing him tell me, “yes, I’m Bruce,” I decided that this must be none other than Bruce himself! I sputtered and blurted my surprise at his transformation, and he only smiled the burly smile of the ultra-bro. “Sam,” he intoned solemnly, “You, too, can be like me. Let me take you to my Dojo.”

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The dojo was unmistakable. What else but sinewy glory could be found in a place such as this?

As we approached the dojo, Bruce stopped me. “We are not yet worthy of the front door. We must go to the back.”

As I descended the stairs into the basement, a man stepped out of the darkness. This was the man Bruce would refer to only by a name I later forgot. Flexing his athletic fingers, the man sized me up. When I looked at him questioningly he said, “Tonight we fight to the death. Don’t worry, we’ll go easy on you.”

Two weeks later I was out of the hospital and getting ready to put together my dissertation proposal. My neck ached from staring at the screen, and I wondered what I could do to keep my body from falling apart while I stared at a screen and typed on a keyboard for twelve hours a day, seven days a week. My answer came in the form of another hulking beast, who grabbed me with both hands and threw me fifty feet into the air, leaping like a gazelle to catch me and place me gently back onto the ground. “Hello, Alice.” I smiled, “I think I need an exercise coach.”

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This is an undoctored photo of Alice.

Alice looked at me like she was seeing me for the first time. “Sam,” she said, in muscular tones, “Ever since I first met you I have dreamed you would one day ask me that.”

And so my fitness regimen began.

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