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Laughing Through the Pain

February 23, 2010

Sometimes I still feel semi-guilty that mom and I were thrown out of the emergency room for heckling dad while he was being treated. Now before you go judging us and thinking we’re horribly cruel people, I should explain that he started the joking his self. And it wasn’t a life-threatening injury, but an off-hours, weekend issue that just needed to be dealt with before the regular doctor’s office would re-open on Monday. It all happened when I was in college, and dad had gone to the emergency room with what I’ll just call an unusual problem (I’m perfectly ready to spill the beans – but dad didn’t decide to write this, and he asked me to leave him some modesty, though he might just wish he’d let me tell the whole thing, because you’re probably imagining even more embarrassing ailments now than what the problem actually was).

Anyway, after his initial examination with the doctor, mom and I went in to visit him, and his own deadpan description of his diagnosis involved certain body parts that shall remain nameless being turned “damn inside-out.” Well, that’s all mom and I, who share the same inappropriate sense of humor, had to hear before we both started going into fits of hysterical laughter interspersed with tears and comments that just made everything worse.

Truth be known, the patient was laughing, too, but he played all “whoa is me” when the doc walked back in, and with us unable to bring the laughter to a similar screeching halt, the rather military-esque ER chief asked to see mom and I in the hallway in a sharp command that was eerily reminiscent of a high school teacher doling out a detention. Sure, we got a lecture from Dr. Stickupass, but we coped with an otherwise challenging situation in a way that our family has always done well – by laughing. Laughter is how I’ve always been taught to get through difficult times – just recognize the ridiculousness of the situation, laugh at it, and move on. And that’s served me well on this weight loss journey, too.

That being said, I knew without a shadow of a doubt this weekend that I had found the perfect personal trainer to get me through this sometimes difficult experience with exercise. “It’s like there’s a nasty toilet behind you, and you don’t want to sit on it, but you’ve really got to go, and since you’re in an amusement park bathroom, you’re just going to hover! You got it! Gimme two more!” That’s how I learned the proper form for doing squats on a balance board from my trainer, Anna, this past Saturday. Once I regained my balance, and my composure, it worked like a charm, too. Not to mention, we had fun!

When you’re new to exercise, you feel ridiculous anyway. Your torso’s twisting in ways that seem destined to knot up your digestive tract, your arms are flailing around everywhere, and you’re putting your legs are in positions you haven’t seen since you and your middle school buddies put the gym class model skeleton into rude poses with a baseball cap on its head. So why the hell shouldn’t we just embrace the ridiculousness that goes along with exercise and laugh at ourselves?

Let’s face it, a fat guy like me with no flexibility doing squats on a balance board is funny. Period. As is the image of me holding a twenty pound kettlebell in the air with one arm while trying to do a “windmill” with my other arm (imagine already bad interpretive dance spoiled by an arm being gradually drug down to the floor by a chunk o’ cast iron the size of your head). That’s the goofy reality of what it’s like for a beginner to get the hang of exercise. So I just laugh at myself. Everyone’s been a beginner and felt just as oafish putting their out of shape bodies through these entertaining motions, and laughing is a heckuva lot better than getting self-conscious and being miserable through your workouts.

My genes may predispose me to being on the heavier side, but there’s no way I would trade my fat genes for skinny ones. Not if it meant I wouldn’t have learned from my parents and grandparents how to laugh my way through life’s challenges. Even when a doctor decides that laughter deserves a lecture.

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  1. February 23, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    GO, CHAD, GO!!! I’m glad you got chubby genes so we can laugh along with you. Don’t lose your sense of humor when you’re a stud!

  2. February 23, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    Some people look so serious when they’re working out that it’s ridiculous! I always take a few moments to talk and laugh with my friends at the gym. I think it makes it much more fun! Today I fell over doing the one legged dead lift, I banged my head on the overhad tricep press rope, and I tripped on a mat – it was pretty funny!

    • February 25, 2010 at 10:58 PM

      LOL, Carla! I’m prone to exercise snafus like that, too.

  3. February 23, 2010 at 8:23 PM

    Sometimes I find it hard how to put even a smile in times of pain. I guess there are people who are gifted with this blessing–like you. But still, maybe it can be developed. šŸ™‚

  4. February 24, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    We laugh because it hurts sometimes. I think it’s better than crying myself!

  5. February 24, 2010 at 11:54 PM

    You know they say laughter is the best medicine. It’s certainly better to go to the gym anticipating fun than dreading pain.

    • February 25, 2010 at 10:56 PM

      Amen to that!

  1. February 26, 2010 at 8:47 AM
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