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October 2, 1996

Copyright 1996 - Greg Bulmash - All Rights Reserved

YOU SAY IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY?: Today's the one year anniversary of GBHP on the web. It might seem like a shabby birthday to have, shared with such notable people as Tiffany and Rex Reed. But it's also shared with Groucho Marx and Spanky from "The Little Rascals." GBHP's in good company, and to celebrate, here's my personal favorite column from the past year!

There are many muscles in our body that we never realize we have... until they hurt.

Let me start from the beginning. Last week, in a fit of disgust with my level of fitness, I decided that I was going to get in shape. It was late at night and I planned to join a gym the very next day, but that wasn't enough. So I decided to do push-ups. And when I couldn't do any more, I rested and then did some more. And when I couldn't do any more after that, I got on my knees so I could do more. And now, to put it succinctly in a term more familiar to women than to men... my tits hurt.

Yes, I'm not afraid to say it. My tits hurt. Now I'm not so heavy that I've developed those manly dollops of chest-fat that made the chubby kids in school dread playing skins in a gym class basketball game while the coach (a man who proved that you can get a job with a degree from a second rate college and a C+ average) shouted "hey, Finkelstern, you got boobs like a girl." But in the area where tits generally occur, I am experiencing pain.

And it's not like I wasn't forewarned. I've been to the gym before. I even spent one summer going to the gym six days a week. I had my lat pulldown up to 170, my max incline bench up to 280 (insert appropriate Tim Allen grunt here), and I got semi-buff. But I also learned that if you take previously inactive muscles and work them hard, they will get sore and stiff a day or two later.

I just have to wonder. What the hell happened to my good sense? I don't ski. If I'm going to go hurtling down a mountain at 30 mph, I want a car around me. I want a driver's side airbag. I don't skydive either, lest gravity get biblical with me and make the ground rise up to smite my ass the first time my parachute doesn't open. But knowing full well that I risked debilitating stiffness and soreness in most of the muscles of my upper body, I did a couple of quick stretches and then did as many dang push-ups as I could.

It's been helpful in one sense. I can't move my arms enough to even raise food to my mouth. I never really appreciated the term "full range of motion" until now. And, as much as I have mulled over the various reasons behind this predicament, one reason for it is running way ahead of the pack... I'm a guy.

Deep down, hidden in every man's testicles, is a little gent who I'll call Willie J. Satanegger. He works in this big office full of switches and buttons and lights. When the "blonde with a nice ass" light starts blinking on the eye monitor panel, Willie switches everything to standby and starts gearing up for launch. If the "hey, it's a guy" light starts blinking, he powers it all down. Most guys will remember puberty, when Willie J. was in training. He was new to the job, nervous, jumpy, and he kept on flipping that "erection" lever at the slightest provocation.

But Willie knows his job now. In fact, he's gotten so familiar with the systems that he went exploring and found the one switch we all dread... Brain Over-ride. And occasionally, if Willie's bored and you get a stupid-yet-manly thought, he'll flip that switch and take over from the autopilot. He doesn't actually put thoughts in your head, instead he makes thoughts like "hey, I haven't worked out seriously in years, so why don't I add another thirty pounds to the weight stack and really go for the burn" sound reasonable.

Oh, Willie J. is a prankster. He lets you think you're Conan The Barbarian when you're really Elmer Fudd. And a couple of days later, you'll feel like Wile E. Coyote (dorkus stupendicus) after riding his ACME jetmobile off the latest cliff.

As we grow older, the brain gets wise to Willie J's tricks, and tries to caution us with a "why the hell do you want to do that?" But Willie is not unprepared. There's a secondary over-ride code that he knows. "Women will dig you." Willie just relays that up to the brain and all the common sense circuitry shuts down.

And as I sit here, writing this, unable to even unbutton the top button of my shirt without grimacing in pain, I am thankful that I can say that I'm thinking clearly. Willie's too busy laughing to push any buttons... at least for the moment.

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