Jill and I turn 65 this year, and we always make plans for a special trip when our anniversary or birthday year is divisible by five. We’ve visited four continents together and I have been lucky enough to get to another two, but there’s still more to see than can ever be seen, as the song goes.
While the list of faraway treasures is seemingly endless, I’m considering someplace much closer to home this year. I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower—both in Pisa and in Niles!!—and Coit Tower and Willis Tower and the tower of cars that used to stand at Harlem and Cermak.
In 2018, though, I want to see something even more exotic and legendary: my abs. Like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster and UFOs, my abs are rumored to exist. Thus far, however, no sightings have ever been reported. Once, while standing in the bathroom and inhaling very, very, very deeply, I thought I saw a glimpse of one, but it turned out to be a streak on the mirror.
Hope springs eternal, much like delusion, and I am convinced this is the year it will happen. Like Edmund Hillary and Stanley Livingstone, I will see what no man or woman has ever seen before. (Well, with Hillary and Livingstone, it was no white European men, but the concept is the same.)
Yes, I have attempted this journey before, only to fail again and again. This time will be different, though. I have been exercising pretty regularly for almost two years now and my calves are now almost visible. Then, on to the biceps, triceps, foreceps, and finally the holy grail, my abdicators, or abominables, or whatever abs is short for. (Probably absentia in my case.)
I know they exist, because they hurt like hell after I’ve done a set of planks or Russian twists or Albanian gerbils. The pain is a lot like a heart attack, although you don’t get the relief that comes from losing consciousness.
I’ve done the math and this is doable. The flab on my gut is my most loyal of friends, guaranteed to stick with me to the bitterest of ends, so I’ll need to lose about 30 pounds before the hidden gems begin to show themselves. At 3,500 calories per pound, that’s a mere 105,000 calories. If I want to do this over three months, all I need to do is consume roughly 1.200 fewer calories per day. So, I’ll be taking in about 1,000 calories per day, every day, for the next 90 days, including weekends and benders.
Piece of cake, or maybe two pieces of cake, depending on how you slice it. No problem giving up the cake, which I almost never eat anyway. No problem giving up kale, either, or Brussels sprouts or quinoa or ramp. These aren’t really food, anyway, just repackaged tree bark they sell at Whole Foods.
But what about jalapeno poppers? How can I jeopardize the security of already impoverished popper farmers in southern Costa Rica? Can I really give up Cheetos if it means that Chester Cheetah will lose his job and starve in an urban jungle? How can I force thousands of tiny pretzel twisters onto the street, just because I want a six pack. And what about the people who make six packs? Don’t they have dreams, too?
Suddenly, I realize how many people are depending on me for their careers and happiness. In truth, I am like Atlas, holding the entire world of food industry workers on my incredibly ripped shoulders. I dare not falter, or even shrug.
All I need to do is consume 5,200 calories per day and I can be the savior of pretzel twisters and popper pickers everywhere. It’s a major sacrifice as my abs remain enshrouded in mystery, and fat, but that’s the price of making others’ lives more fulfilling.
I know my incredible buffness is in there, somewhere, buried deeply and safe, and that will have to suffice.
Anyway, I hear Willis Tower is lovely this time of year.