Thursday, August 17, 2006

Deck of Cards

Our lives are far easier than they ever have been. There has been no generation of Americans before this one who have had easier, more sedentary lives.

Fifty years ago, most of New Jersey was farms- New Jersey! The work is hard, and the labor is tough. It kept men in shape whether they wanted to be or not. "He who did not work, did not eat". There were no options.

In all of the years before this, America was a wild country, filled with constant threats of war, invasion, Indians, etc. This was a hundred years figure two generations of men ago, there were still Indians to be fought in their back yards.

Now, we fight traffic in a race to a dentist's appointment, or to be on time for a meeting at the office. Life has lost its fury for us. Simply put, there is no enemy left to fight. We who weightlift and work out are the few who are prepared anyway, I guess you could and the right wing militias hiding out in stores of AK-47's in Utah...


Last night I did a murderous workout at work that I was surprised I could even finish. I'm trying to take this week a little light, as my joints have been hurting, namely my shoulder with the bum rotator cuff. Staying away from heavy weights is important for now, but I can't go the whole week without doing anything...I'll feel like a pussy if I do.

In the heat of the August night last night, I read my novel of the American Revolution, hung up on the words of this tale where the ending is already beknownst to me but is enchanting anyway. The way Jeff Shaara writes, you can almost see the long line of farmers and workers, lined up with their rifles facing the greatest army on the face of the planet. They had to go through this to defend their homes, and I...must do nothing. My life is easy.

Of course, one day that could change. I doubt the men who fought in the Revolution ever thought that there would be a war in their own backyards, as there was in 1776. After reading all of this, though, it gave me some sort of inspriration to do the infamous "Deck of Cards" workout that I was planning on doing. I mean, it was half inspiration and half extreme boredom from that mind numbing job, but whatever. Besides this, there is always something inherently noble about working out with your own bodyweight. Don't get me wrong, I'm no Matt Furey, and I'm not under any illusions as to what doing this kind of workout does. However, it is knowing that I can be in reasonable shape no matter where I am in the world or what I'm doing, all with a decent circuit of pushups, pullups, and squats.

Yea, yea, these are the things that comfort me. Fucked up, I know.

Anyway, the workout is pretty simple, and is used in jails all across the country (I learned this from a friend of mine who'd sat in county for a while). You take the colors in a deck of cards, and divide them into exercises. Last night I made black equal pushups, and red equal squats. For every card you flip, you do the amount said on the card. Because I was pretty shot by the time I did this workout, I made Jacks equal 10, Queens equal 14, and Kings equal 15. Aces meant I did pushups to failure.

The results were impressive. Halfway through, I felt my chest burning like an oil fire, and my legs were shaking like a fiend with epilepsy. I could only just keep pushing on, because I knew that I wanted to finish that deck more than anything else in the world.

It took maybe 25 mintues to do the whole thing, but I finally did. It took some rest-pause sets and some light- headed-shit-I'm-gonna-puke sickness, but I did it. When it was said and done, I ended up doing about 175 pushups and the same number of squats.

With that, I tip my hat to the decaying graves of those Revolutionary War soldiers. It ain't much, of course. But if I have to defend my home the way you men did yours, I'll be ready, just as you were.


wallray said...

I like the sound of that workout. You can do alot of variations too. I like your blog and Hunter S is the man keep drinking and writing.

Buzz said...

Damn dude, nothing like getting back to basics! Must have been a helluva 25 minutes.

Murderous indeed!

Here I was thinking my shoulder and bicep workout was tough.

Are you reading "1776?"

Stay strong,


J said...

rue I read 1776 last year, but right now I'm reading Jeff Shaara's book "The Glorious Cause". If you like "1776", you'll dig the Shaara's book, being as it's the same kind of thing, just in a narrative form.

Shaara really is a masterful writer.

And yea, that workout is fucking hard. I'm still sore two days later.