There is a hole on the floor in my office now. You’ll have to look closely, but it’s there. There is a small gray stain. That’s a cut. The larger gray stain is almost a divet.
Fitness did it. If I had been content with my general form, my carpet would be pristine. But I wanted more. More than the relaxed fit Levi dad jeans. More than the inevitable middle aged spread and endless spare tire jokes. See what happens when you want more out of life? Broken carpets and lost security deposits.
I’m not a clumsy man. A lot of people that meet me think that I was once an athlete or soldier or something. They’re always kind of shocked to find that my body isn’t the result of years of neglect of a once more finely tuned frame. My body is an example of equilibrium. Give or take 20 pounds, I’ve always looked like this.
Those holes in my carpet came from a kettlebell. I’ve been dabbling with them for years. I’ve taken private lessons from a guy in Philadelphia named Steve Maxwell, and I bought a book by Pavel the crazy Russian whose last name I can’t pronounce.
These guys have distilled the ancient art of the Russian strongman to a science worthy of Olympic athletes and housewives alike. In their expert hands, kettlebells offer safe and efficient paths towards no frills fitness. But sometimes fitness just isn’t enough. When I took the kettlebell in my hand I was playing with something dangerous and new.
Have you ever heard of kettlebell juggling? It’s a real thing. There are videos showing fit men throwing around kettlebells bigger than mine, behind the back, through their legs and spinning sideways at eye level like flying saucers. And like everything else, there are tutorials to show you how to do it.
The first rule is, do it outside. I violated the first rule. Nothing good ever comes when the first rule is broken. Horror movies have been inspired from such hubris.
So I shouldn’t be surprised by the divet in the carpet in my office. I should be glad it wasn’t a shattered computer screen or a broken foot. But I’m not. I won’t be happy until I’ve successfully made a kettlebell dance from one hand to another.
I add the carpet to a short list of things that I broke in the name of fitness. When I was younger I had a Total Gym. This is the thing that Chuck Norris to maintain his toughest man in the universe status. I had set it up in my kitchen. A screw became stripped by my awesome fitness-ness, the board with wheels on it, that is the core of the Total Gym system, went into free-fall. I slid to the bottom and then kicked a hole in the paper thin drywall, Chuck Norris style.
I threw out my back at Aikido. I wasn’t actually doing aikido at the time. My teacher and I were pulling the mat across the gym floor so that we could begin practice. We made it less than a foot. I still remember the pain.
I was kicked in the face at Kung Fu class. I let the punching mitt slip a fraction of an inch too low. The guys foot was fast like a whip. Water came to the corner of my eyes, but these weren’t tears. My eyes were simply trying to see if my face still worked properly.
Speaking of which, I broke my face while rollerblading. My mother thought that I had gone to an anti war protest and been beaten up by the man. I hadn’t. My bloody cheek was the result of gravity and my high school parking lot.
That is an incomplete list. The thing that sets the dent in my floor apart from the other injuries and damages, is that this one was totally my fault. I ignored the disclaimer. Violated the fine print, in a couple of obvious ways. And my carpet suffered for it.
I’m not a fitness guy, but I’ve written about it before; particularly the kettlebell.