You’re Just Fooling Yourself by Kelly Crigger
Every time I think I’m doing okay, someone is there to remind me I’m just fooling myself. On top of that I am a recent addition to the quadragenarian club who needs Nutrisystem to drop my love handles and suddenly life isn’t nearly as glamorous as it once was. The inevitable spiral into inconsequence that claims us all has officially begun, just as it will for all of you too. Before you morph into an irascible curmudgeon, look for the warning signs:
It all started with RU Nick. He was here in DC a few months ago and I mentioned to him that I had recently run five miles in my fastest time ever – 38:30.
“Hmmph,” he snorted in that, ‘I’ll be polite and not say anything, but I really want you to notice that I just said hmmph’ way.’ I should have ignored him.
“How fast have you run it?” I asked, knowing full well I wasn’t going to like the answer.
“Oh…something like 3 minutes,” he said. I think he actually said twenty-four minutes, but all I really heard was, “I laugh at you, old man.”
Shortly after that I was in Boston training Muay Thai at Mark DellaGrotte’s Sityodtong gym. Afterward a skinny welterweight asked if I wanted to grapple. Inside I snickered. I was an above average grappler and had rolled with some very good people. But just two minutes later this feral whelp had handled me like a naughty dominatrix clad in skintight leather with a riding crop. Despite my seventy-pound weight advantage, I had no answers for his skill. He didn’t submit me, but the only move that saved me from it was brute force – I reversed direction and bench-pressed him across the mat. Once again RU Nick was there to scoff at me from the sidelines.
I’ve been into Crossfit for years. I’m good at it. Then I did a Tim Kennedy workout. Soon you’ll soon see a blog from me entitled “Fuck Tim Kennedy.”
The final mortal wound to my vapid self-confidence came last weekend when I entered an intramural swim meet to support my unit’s quest to win the Fort Belvoir Commander’s Cup. I swam competitively for years and have continued to swim nearly two miles every week so I entered the competition convinced of my own superiority and sure I would leave the meet with a slew of middle-aged bikini babes asking “who WAS that guy?” in my wake. After all I was in the 35 and up category. How many decent swimmers could there be in this age group?
Apparently a lot. I got smoked. Smoked isn’t even the right term. I was the meet’s dog bone – chewed up and buried in my Speedo’s. It was beyond embarrassing. Oddly, I finished in 12th place out of 20 entrants in every event and did nothing to contribute to the team except frighten children in the stands by screaming “FUCK!” when I lost. I have since tossed out my Speedo’s because my pathetic performance was surely caused by inferior textile engineering. Thankfully RU Nick was not at this event or there would be a picture of me on the Rhino Den in my Speedo’s and we would no longer have any readers.
Now, I’m under no preconceived notion that I am able to match the physical feats of my youth. After all, it’s called getting old for a reason. But lately it’s gotten ridiculous. It’s one thing to lose a step, but losing ten seconds off of my fifty-meter swim time is a soul-crushing bitter pill that undoes all the hard work and therapy I’ve endured just to believe in myself.
Besides being a lamentation on the natural order of things, there really is a message to this rant. All you young studs out there partying all night and running a five miler the next morning like it’s nothing – your days are numbered. The specter of death might not be loitering at your front porch, but the aches and pains of age, which can be considerably worse, are coming. The mysterious joint popping, uncontrollable flatulence, and out-of-breath groaning after a mere flight of stairs are anxiously awaiting just around the corner and if you don’t think so, there will almost certainly be someone there to prove that you’re just fooling yourself.
Probably RU Nick.