November 13, 2002

The “life of the mind,” uhhh, I mean THIGH

Category: Humor — Biella @ 3:52 pm

University of Chicago’s slogan is “Life of the Mind.” Though dramatic, this tends to be true being that there is not much one can do in the isolated neighborhood of Hyde Park. The university’s gothic architecture and Chicago’s gray skies reinforces that you are there, for one purpose, and one purpose alone, to cultivate that feeble mind of yours. It takes only one excursion to the athletic facilities to really know why the University of Chicago is a place that can only cultivate the mind. It is a dungeon of a place, with no windows, gray interiors to match the lovely weather. It exudes an oppressive and depressive atmosphere, and contains only a smattering of exercise machines for those students who feel that though indeed they have good hearty minds to cultivate, they have also come to the amazing intellectual conclusion, that they too have, bodies. And I am one of those students so when there, I grudgingly make my way to the gym. Yet, I find a means to still cultivate my mind by scheming imaginative stories about other students who dare to use the dungeon. My last two visits to the U of C have been marked by this indulgent fascination with this one particular undergraduate student who has this very, well, now I can say for certain, pathological relationship to the “Precor” elliptical trainer, a relationship borne of the desire to thin her thighs.

Every Time and there was no exception, I went to the gym, she was there, whisking her legs with unnatural, yet highly effective, elliptical movements, as fast as humanly possible (she would indeed win the “World Precor Championship”, if there were such a thing). With a sour expression gripping her face just as tightly as her hands on the sidebar, she could only be thinking one thought. Though a lovely young woman, with only a minimal layer of of horrendous blubber on her physique, I know she was thinking with every whisk of her legs:

“I HATE my thighs, MUST skinnify my thighs, I HATE, wait, no, I mean LOATHE my thighs, must, must thinnify my thighs” the noise of the swishing and swoshing of the machine the backdrop of her religious mantra.

My keen sociological and anthropological mind felt that there was no other explanation but thigh thinning for her crabbed expression and unmatched Precor intensity. So as I whisked away on my own Precor, probably not all that happy about my thighs, I created a whole fake persona around this young woman who did have nice thighs, though I have to admit, they did lack a certain tight definition. Along with creating fake childhood scenarios as to why she grew to hate her thighs (like her supermodel mother denying her Twinkes in the name of “The Thigh”), I found myself perplexed as to how she managed to stay on this ungodly machine for well over an hour when the rule in the dungeon is that you have 1/2 hr slots although there are small exploits enabling a 45 minute session. It was an exploit that allowed me to stay on the Precor the day that I finally clashed with this woman who was growing to inhabit a figment of my imagination. What I was to discover was that everything I concocted about “the World Champion of Precoring” was in fact, true.

I arrived at the gym at around 11:35 am, dutifully signed up for the 12:00 slot and after I changed, I hopped onto my machine 15 minutes early at 11:45 as the 11:30 person was a no-show (I know, a lame exploit, but still an exploit). 5 minutes later, “thunder thighs” arrives, and makes an immediate dash to the sign-up board, and is utterly dismayed that there was NO 12:00 slot for her, I mean for her thighs. It was as if God had told her: “Ms Precor, on average your thighs will grow 1.3 inches per year and the goddam Precor ain’t going to do anything about it.” She paced back and forth from the black board to machines, destabilized by this tragic turn of events. At the time, there were three unused machines (lots of 11:30 no-shows), so she hurriedly gets on one and 10 minutes later is promptly kicked off by the next user. She then decided to externalize her despair and anger towards, yes, me, the woman who obsesses over her obsession. My endless imaginative machinations of what caused her tragic compulsion with “thigh thinning” led to her attack of me, an attack based on that 1/2 hour rule. She trots over to me and asked why I have remained on the machine given the The Rule. I was… aghast. How did miss thunder thighs have the nerve to accuse another fellow Precorista of rule bending when she is the Queen of such exploits. But then using my rational mind that has been delicately cultivated by the University of Chicago, I concluded that those who obsessively want to thin thighs and, on the Precor, are not reasonable creatures, even those from the University of Chicago. So, I explained that like the lady next to me I got on my machine 15 minutes early as there was a no show. And then I reminded her that she too was privy to such “shady” practices. She humphed, snorted, and using her strong thighs to turn around in defeat, she then paced around for the next half hour in disgust of me and I am sure her thighs growing thighs.

What I could not understand for the life of me is why she would not get on one of the other many willing exercise machines: stairmasters, bikes, treadmill, rowers. It was as if she made a pact with satan himself (or the CEO of Precor) that she would not use any other machine if her thighs were kept, you know, “just right.”

At 12:30, she trots back to me and demands my immediate departure as my time is OVER. I was not in the mood to fight with her pathological obsessions so I did just that–dismounted.

I am back in San Francisco now where I don’t have to go to a dungeon to par take in my inner obsessions or see her outer obsession. But I am sure Thunder Thighs is relieved that I am, gone. You see, I am convinced that she lived up to the great Chicago tradition of cultivating her mind by scheming a usage and statistical model of the “best time” to use the Precor based on numbers of people attending at certain time segments. After carefully collecting data over months, and running them through some statistical software, she picked the time slot between 11:00-1:00. I being a mere visitor for the week, ruined her entire scheme. Although, being that she is a University of Chicago student, I am sure she is back at work, cultivating her mind by integrating “random visitor” variables into her statistical model so that she never has to face the prospect of a 1/2 hour off her beloved, her Precor Machine.

1 Comment »

  1. [...] any middle class lady (you know, the type who spends 5 days of the week working out at the gym, wishing her thighs were just a little thinner), would feel morally repulsed in seeing that sort of image, that is if they even bothered to go to [...]

    Pingback by Interprete » On the Caveat, Better than Well, and HOT Latino Bodies — April 18, 2007 @ 10:19 am

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