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Gluteus Maximus

Published in Miami Today August 20, 2014

It’s hard to be me. My exercise and eating habits are a constant source of aggravation. I go to the gym every day and I eat well, but instead of feeling good about myself I feel miserable.

Every day my sexy 122 lbs. of muscle go through the humiliation of being the skinniest athlete in the Northern Hemisphere. Yes, I’m healthy, but I have yet to encounter a woman in the gym who would ask me about my biceps, serratus magnus or pectoralis major, let alone my gluteus maximus. I keep telling myself that I’m beautiful and strong on the inside, but women at the gym prefer a big gluteus maximus.  
Not only do I worry about myself in the gym, I worry about athletes without diapers. I see lots of guys lifting weights and making faces like they are about to soil their pants. Have you ever seen the faces of babies pooping? That’s exactly how these guys look as they lift the equivalent of a small Toyota. I fear that as they lift some things others will drop, and God knows I don’t want to be there when that happens.
At the gym, I keep looking for something that I can be the best at, but I’m at a loss. For a while I kept thinking that I was probably the most obsessive compulsive person in the entire Wellness Center at the University of Miami. That was a source of real pride, until I saw a couple of guys compulsively recording their every move. They extend an arm, they write it down. They lift a ten pounder, they write it down. They smell their armpit, they write it down. Much to my chagrin, I lost that competition too.
Then I went for the best dressed athlete. That was an easy one. I spent $4,592 on Nike shorts, shirts, shoes, and socks. The only problem was that I had to get rid of all my Adidas shorts, shirts, shoes, and socks. I’ve seen enough people mix Adidas with Nike to give me an esthetic thrombosis. What I still can’t reconcile is the fact that now I’m wearing a Nike shirt that says Pro Combat. For the life of me I can’t imagine anyone taking me for any kind of combat, other than a self-deprecation duel.
In all honesty, that was not a difficult contest to win. Other than women, who spend on athletic wear almost as much as I spend on brown Tumi bags, I knew I could beat the guys. There are two types of guys in the gym: those who don’t know how to match colors, and those who use their t shirts to clean their garage. This one was easy.
But if you thought that going to the gym was tough for me, going to restaurants is a nightmare. There was a brief period of time when my eating disorders were a little out of control (1963 – 2012). Concerned with the unpleasant side effects of white flour (obesity, constipation, and sudden death syndrome), I used to spend hours searching for bagel places that served 100% whole wheat. Much to our son’s mortification, I used to go to bakeries and ask what percentage of the bagel was whole wheat, and if the poor folk at the counter didn’t have an answer, I used to send them to the back to read the list of ingredients. While my wife and son pretended they didn’t know me, I kept pressing for an exact answer.
I’m happy to report that I stopped eating bagels altogether, but not before bakeries in all major North American cities put a picture of me next to the cash register with a warning DO NOT SERVE THIS CUSTOMER.
Being a vegan is tough, especially when you’re on the road. About two years ago we took a vacation in the Blue Mountains of Virginia. We flew to DC and rented a car. On our way to the hotel we got hungry. After a futile search for gourmet vegan restaurants in rural Virginia we settled for a Cracker Barrel. We discovered at the end of the menu a section called vegetables with three items: macaroni and cheese, sugar-added apple sauce, and green beans with pork. Following a conversation with the manager, you can now find my picture next to cash registers in Cracker Barrels all around the country with the warning DO NOT SERVE THIS CUSTOMER.





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