Still no abs

From the Halifax Daily News, August 15, 1998

Summer’s over. And still no abs – of steel or otherwise.



We each have our own ways to mark the changing of our seasons. My fall, for example, officially begins tomorrow when the latest hopeful crop of wannabe, would-be, will-be reporters arrives at the University of King’s College to register for our one-year journalism program.

But the fresh start of a new teaching term not only means my summer is over, but it also announces more loudly and clearly than I would like that so too is another chance to complete (or, to be more precise, in most cases, even begin) all of those myriad life-expanding-enhancing-transforming tasks I faithfully promised myself last spring that I would finally accomplish this summer.

Yes indeed.

I am very good at setting goals, making lists, dreaming dreams.

I am not quite so good at their execution.

This summer, I was – as I sternly informed myself last spring – finally going to finish that novel that’s been rattling around in the closet of my brain for far too long. Today, it is still rattling around up there rather than having been written down here.

I was also going to sift through the rubble that is my unique personal filing system in search of some meaningful organization that would allow me – at least once – to find what I’m looking for. I was going to clean out the basement, which is the only thing in my life in more disarray than my personal filing system. I was going to paint the front steps. I was going to . . . well, you get the picture.

I did none of the above.

I regret that, of course, but not nearly so much as I regret my continued, continuing, never-ending failure to develop abs.

I’m not sure what my fixation is with this impossible dream of a washboard stomach. I don’t think it’s a search for some symbol of my lost youth – my body went to seed long before it even discovered any of its youth was missing.

Whatever the reason, the fact is that for more years than I care to remember, I have had this quiet obsession with finding out if there really is any there there beneath the soft blanket of my stomach.

I tried the usual methods, of course, but sit-ups proved to be just as boring, and even more painful than I remembered them from high school gym classes.

I was convinced that there had to be an easier, faster way to achieve “firmer, flatter stomach you desire.”

There isn’t.

I could take you on a tour of that still-uncleaned out basement and show you the abandoned litter of my quixotic quest. There, to your right – yes that matte-black mass of pipes and wheels that looks like an exotic bondage device – is the infamous NordicTrack Stomach and Back Machine. Bought at great expense one spring. Injured myself putting it together. Used it twice.

Over there, that’s my Abdominizer. As advertised on television. It worked better on television.

And here’s my latest acquisition, an Ab Isolator, bought this spring in the firm belief that it would make my tummy firmer by fall. It didn’t. Or, to be fair, I didn’t. Even with my own personal copy of Tony Little’s One-on-One Personal Trainer videotape to cheer me on. “Conceive! Believe! Achieve!” Tony screamed from the television. Just listening tired me out. I turned him off and put my Ab Isolator down here with all the rest, in a far corner of the far basement where, I trust, it will not be discovered for a few more generations.

Unless I clean out the basement.

But it’s too late for that now. For this year at least.

But there’s always next spring. And the next one after that. And…