Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Finding Irony in a Sporting Goods Store Hurts

(photo @ soulmazal)

Mega sporting good stores, like Sport's Authority or Dick's Sporting Goods, are a great place to go if you need to buy a major piece of exercise equipment, become confused/indecisive about what brand of basketball you should buy, or just want to feel generally lethargic and fat.  It is also a gigantic death trap for a kid with undiagnosed attention deficit disorder and the coordination of newborn colt.

That is why it was probably not a good idea for my mom to allow me to wander around one of these stores at the age of 13.  We had gone in to buy something (probably aerobics equipment for her or ridiculous shoes I thought would make me jump higher) and I asked if I could look around.   Despite the fact that Mom was normally overprotective of me to a fault, she saw no issue with allowing me to freely roam through a place that included loose pieces of metal that weighed more than I did.

During my self guided tour of the facilities, my hyperactive brain became enchanted with a row of treadmills.  The gleaming metal and blinking lights were like a siren's call to a boy that could easily be distracted by shiny things.
"...it's full of stars!"

I stepped onto one of the machines that happened to not be turned on...I was 13 and wanted to be the one to click the 'POWER' button and make it come to life.  When I did, the screen burst with beautiful lights and colors.  It then began informing me of the multiple speeds and fat burning programs that I would one day find many brilliant excuses not to do.  But as a teenage boy, I was most definitely up to the challenge.

I decided to start out relatively slow to make sure that I got a feel for the equipment.  I clicked on the button marked 'Manual,' turned the speed up 2 notches, and pressed start...and waited...

...and nothing happen.  I could not understand this.  The machine was humming and the lights were on; it had even given me a countdown so that I could prepare for my stationary triathalon.  But instead of the treadmill moving, it stayed still while the timer moved forward the the calorie counter blatantly lied to my face.

You've earned none of this!

In my frustration, I did what any teenage boy that grew up in the 80s did when faced with a technological impasse:  I began frantically pushing all the buttons that I could find.  Still, nothing happened.  In an act of pure defiance I moved the knob that controlled the treadmill's speed all the way up to maximum, daring God to strike me down.  Despite the fact that I should have been running at the speed of a gazelle on crack, I remained motionless.

At the exact moment I was about to give up, I noticed a little piece of plastic dangling from a string.  It suddenly dawned on my that in my A.D.D induced fervor to begin my indoor marathon, I had skipped a very important step in making the treadmill operate correctly.

"Oh, the safety key!"  I exclaimed without a hint of irony.

Right up there with "Oh, there's the fuse connected to all this dynamite!"

And yes, I actually said that out loud.  I was truly excited to have found the solution to my current problem, never for one second considering the future problems (the future being in about 3 seconds) that I had created for myself.  I confidently plugged in the key...and the world promptly around out and flew away from me.

At this point, I'll switch to the point of view of my mother, since I honestly don't remember anything except a rush of pure fear followed by immense pain.  Mom had spotted me and walked over to tell me that it was time to go.  She was only a few feet away when I made my great "safety" key discovery.  After I plugged it in and valiantly attempted to take my first stride, I was launched like a missile into the wall behind me.  My body went horizontal and airborne at an insanely unnatural speed, slamming with one loud thud against the wall and another when I collapsed to the floor.  My dignity, however, made absolutely no sound as it had completely disappeared from existence.

And my loving and nurturing mom, who still to this day calls to make sure I am eating my vegetables and gets concerned when I am sick?  For the first and only time I can ever recall, she openly cackled at my suffering...and I totally deserved it.   While my mom could be overprotective at times, she also repaid my honesty and generally good behavior with trust and small freedoms (like the ability to wander alone in a huge sporting goods store).  But no amount of good parenting can overcome the deadly combination of A.D.D., a severe lack of coordination, the and curse of being a complete spaz.

There's no way I would have survived this music video.