Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Unending Carnival of Shame...

...that is my life.

So, this year I had a couple resolutions, all of which are selfish and totally lacking in redeeming social quality. But that’s what New Year’s Resolutions are about, aren’t they? It’s all about making promises to improve one’s self and to hell with the rest of mankind.

Screw solving world hunger - - I needs to lose my gut!!!

And, losing my blubberous paunch was number one on the list. I know – not horribly original. It’s an obvious one; everyone makes this one at this time of year. Fortunately, I’ve got a head start on this one because I’ve been working really hard to get in shape since the end of last summer. Unfortunately, I slacked over the last month or so, but I’m back in the saddle and ready to push myself over the edge here. I’m so weary of being a fat ass – especially when I meet people who knew me when I was thin. Yes, I’m married and happy. Yes Mrs. Zombie – besides being totally hot – is an incredible cook. And yes, my gut is out of control. I’m fucking working on it. But it would be nice to be less pudgy, you know?

Here’s where we get to the shame.

So I’m working out at the gym the other day. I’d spent about 55 minutes on the elliptical machine and had taken my sweaty panting self to one of the aerobics rooms to do the daily horror show that is Doctor Zombie trying to do abdominal work. As I enter the room I see four other people are there. Three are doing ab work and one is stretching.

I should note that one of the people there is the really cute, unbelievably nice physical trainer who works at the gym. I register that she’s in the room and also see that one of the other people is – quite possibly - one of the hottest, preternaturally beautiful women I’ve ever, EVER seen. Her hotness eclipsed the others in the room, who I noticed in passing were a black guy and an old-ish 50 year old woman the trainer was working with.

So, I turn my iPod up, and grab a physio-ball. For those not in the know, a physio-ball is a large ball made of rubber that you can do ab work and stability work on. It’s basically a heavy duty rubber ball like the ones that come in the big metal cages at Walmart; only these don’t have pictures of Spongebob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer, and Darth Vader on them.

Anyway, I grab a ball and grab a spot on the mirrored wall, near the supermodel-like chick that really doesn’t needs to tighten up her washboard abs anymore, and proceed to grunt my way through 75 crunches and 30 oblique crunches.

As I neared fifty, though, there was an uncomfortable roil in my gut, further exacerbated by the repetitive clenching of my abs.

“Oh shit,” I realize, “I’ve got to fart.”

Of course, I’ve only myself to blame. You see, I’ve been eating nothing but salad for lunch - everyday - for like two whole weeks. And I’d have normally taken care of it if there hadn’t been two really, really hot women in the room. Had it just been me and the guy who by now had been stretching for something like ten minutes (I suspect he was ogling the Victoria Secret model that had now turned and was facing me), I’d have ripped it off and he and I’d have laughed, reveling in the chimp-like masculinity and eight year old humor of a good BRAP-ping fart.

But I couldn’t.

So I clenched my ass and cranked out my last twenty-five crunches. When I was done I stopped and rested a moment, still reclining on the ball. Thankfully, my flatulence passed and I breathed a sigh of relief. I started to get up, though, and here’s where the wheels fell off of my dignity cart.

I had a momentary lapse of balance and, instead of rolling back up the ball and into a sitting position, I lost it.

The ball shot out from under me, flew across the room, and hit the wall with a ringing POINK! sound. It was the same sound a dodge-ball makes when you bean a fat kid in gym class. I found myself suddenly two and a half feet above the floor, with nothing supporting me. I slammed backwards, bouncing on my back and hitting my head on the wood floor.

“Aaaggghh!” I screamed in a manly fashion, and by manly fashion I mean like a scared girl, as I instinctively tried to catch myself. This ignoble effort only managed to make me kick my arms and legs ineffectually and spastically; further making my collision with the floor seem so much more graceless.

As I lay there, I could feel the eyes of everyone in the room staring at me. I glanced up to see the model trying not to laugh and the cute physical trainer looking at me with concern.

“Are you okay?” I saw her mouth, as I couldn’t hear her over the Ramones that was now playing on my headphones.

“I’m fine,” I gasped, as my back throbbed and I realized that I was having trouble breathing.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“I’m fine,” I repeated as I lay there like a turtle on my back, unable to feel anything but the pain. The pain, and the shame.

I smiled back at her and turned off my iPod, “The only thing I’ve hurt is my ego and any sense of cool I might have had for myself.”

She laughed, but still looked concerned. Like I said earlier, she’s cute and nice. Of course, she might only have been concerned about the possible lawsuit my physio-ball induced injury might have meant for the gym; but I like to think it’s because she really felt concern.

At that point, I felt a little better as I’d actually managed to say something witty and self-deprecating. Laughing at yourself shows an emotional maturity, something I sorely lack. But at least I gave the appearance of insouciance, so maybe I had managed to salvage some of my dignity.

Having felt some sense of victory in the whole debacle, I struggled to sit up.

The gas I thought I had beat into submission, that I thought was gone, suddenly reared up greasily - - and I farted.

And I don’t mean I squeaked out a little barely audible fart that could have been passed off as my shoe, or bare leg, squeaking on the wood floor. I’m talking the kind of effluvium that starts at the top of your stomach and works through your guts like a bullet train roaring through a tunnel. It was a blatting, earth shaking, F16-hitting-the-afterburners kind of fart. It was the kind of fart that only a two week regimen of salad, garbanzo beans, and bleu cheese dressing can produce. It burst forth from my ass like an angry grizzly bear from its den and ravaged and mauled everyone within earshot.

I looked about in mortification and saw the look of shock on everyone’s face.

“My brother!” the black guy said finally, appreciatively.

“I’m fine?” I said after a painfully long and uncomfortable silence. I finally put my head down and limped to retrieve the physio-ball from where it had come to rest across the room. With a groan borne of immense back pain, I bent and retrieved the ball and put it back on the rack.

Moments like these call for strategical retreats, and I did just that. I scurried out of the room and skulked like a thieving rat back to the locker rooms.

Welcome to the carnival of horror and shame that is Doctor Z’s life…

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Faith and Politics


I'm marking myself with a Scarlet A. (How deliciously Hawthorne-ish!)

On the verge of the presidential primary season, when we've got the twin Republican horrors of Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, it's important that everyone realize the catastrophic potential these two represent if elected. We've got a Mormon, who's faith has a history of exclusion and discrimination; and a Baptist minister who feels that it his solemn duty to turn America into a Christian-only theocracy.

Think about it. We've barely survived the last 8 years under a grotesque buffoon who found God after climbing out of a bottle. Bush was responsible for essentialy crippling stem cell research in the US, appointing conservative Supreme Court justices with an eye on overturning Roe v. Wade, all but banning anything but abstinence-only doctrine in sex ed. classes, and giving millions upon millions of federal dollars to faith based organizations. Never mind his Christian-fueled, vengeance-based Crusade in the Middle East.

Can you imagine what would happen if we got some religious zealots who had themselves some real Christian fire?!?

Now - I'm not advocating that the current crop of Democrats are any less the political douchebags than their Republican counterparts are. Hell - I'm as afraid of the liberals' negative views on the constitutionally protected right of gun possesion as I am of the conservatives' intolerance of anyone who doesn't subscribe to their particular brand of bible thumping. (although I do have to say - - Go Obama!!!)

But, the thing is that it's important to realize that religious true believers feel that they are somehow marginalized and discriminated against - they're deluded and act as though there is some vast left wing conspiracy that plans to somehow burn down their churches and violate their women. And yet they are the majority in this country. Something doesn't add up there.

What's funny is that these paragons of virtue and religious tolerance, these disciples of Jeebus, hate anyone who isn't Christian as much as the islamic Fundamentalist hate anyone who isn't Muslim. Oddly, or perhaps ironically, Christians and Islamics believe in the same God and BOTH feel that it is their duty to covert the non-believers.

So where does that leave those who don't believe in god?(and I used a little "g" on purpose, fuckers!)Polls show that the majority of Americans distrust Atheists more than any other social group out there. Somehow, a lack of religiosity is more terrifying to the Christians than gays, liberals, feminists, and people who abuse animals and talk at the theater (for whom there is a very special hell reserved!).

So that leaves us with the Hester Prynn-like Scarlet A I'm emblazoning my blog with. I'm coming out as an Atheist. Of course, my long time readers know that I'm an Atheist already, but I really believe that Richard Dawkins Out Campaign is brilliant and I'm proudly coming out of the closet for all to see.

Visit the Out Campaign site - - Richard Dawkins does a much better job of eloquently explaining what the campaign is about. I encourage anybody who is in the closet to follow mine and his lead and COME OUT OF THE CLOSET!

Freedom from religion is as sacred as freedom of religion.