It happened two weeks ago while I was performing an improvised back exercise-a sort of herky-jerky, up-and-down dance while clutching a 25 lb. weight. In theory, bending over then rising my torso repeatedly while cradling that aforementioned steel works the lower back-to include recently gelatinized parts like my rear quarter panels (love handles). Sweat was everywhere. I had a particularly beastly grunt going. All was man-tastic in my world. Then suddenly...TINK!
"Ouch," was my first thought. "Hmm...The ole' crotch-n-rocks sure feel a bit funny." But it wasn't late-night Cinemax at age 13 funny. Ah! Nein mein Herr. This was something akin to post-"punched-in-the-junk" funny. And just how the hell does one pull his sacred junk? I mean, I understand that all men of adult age from time-to-time will experience groinal tugging, yanking, and in extreme cases, strangulation. That's the price of the glory packaged with each shiny new "Y" chromosome. No biggie. But a groin "pull?" I thought that was something that happened to ballet freaks and over-the-hill football players. And besides that, my twig-n-berries were scientifically-proven to be indestruc...Oh, shit...I'm really getting old.
I've ascertained that this "old" crap started the night of June 2nd, 2007. I was in the bathroom cleaning up for the evening's festivities. Some friends were taking me out to dinner that night to celebrate the dubious milestone of a 30th "earthsurf" around the sun. As I peered in the mirror, yanking out an errant nose hair and willing away an escape attempt by a lone, subsequent tear, something seemed...different. The man staring back in the reflection was not the Aubrey of eyebrow-cocking lore. This guy looked a little more worse for wear than I remembered. And dare I say it-slightly out of shape.
It was a similar face, but a pudge-packed turkey neck had seemingly sprung out of nowhere. The remnants of a once mighty Velcro-mane sang a sad, pitiful, hair-restoration product jingle-a figurative chorus of failing follicles declaring their vehement disapproval of my mother's genetic contribution. And ohhhh my poor stomach-once gravity for girl fingers globally-now on the path to becoming...(sigh)...a belt blanket.
Swearing to make any bar we visited feel the financial brunt of my sudden self-loathing, I vowed to cut my alcohol intake in half. So, I nursemaid-ed my way to the bottom of nine Heinekens. While stewing in lard-induced guilt deep in the snug of Fanny Anne's, I would've sworn the cutesy bartender was beaming concentrated disgust from her eyes at me. "Nice twenty-four pack, Slim," was all I could hear with every glance into those pools of suspiciously store-bought-looking green. "Keep this up, and we'll tap that belly and cut ya a check." This normally would've elicited a cobra-quick and appropriately venomous response, but even my subconscious self languished in lethargy only cheese-covered meat pies can bring on. I took my internalized lashing like a man and ordered another round-thoroughly defeated by fettuccine and ale. Later that night, I slept like I'd curled up inside a child's Christmas drum set. Don't believe the hype, ladies and gents. Women and gay men aren't the only ones capable of developing insanity-inducing body image issues.
Which brings us to the now. I've iced and treated my wounded crotch-socket and am back to chasing imaginary Bratwurst on a treadmill. Twelve pounds have gone missing in the past three weeks and the youthful energy that had left me has slowly returned, coaxing me into feeling something like old self again. Hopefully I won't punch anyone today. Life really comes at you fast, doesn't it? I just can't remember how I got to that point-all squishy lump-lump and Shar Pei-eyed. It probably had something to do with those last two years in college I spent digesting pizzas and pissing Pilsner. Anyhow, since my recent transmogrification into calender-fearing gym Nazi, my left knee has gone gimp-ster on me, my left ankle is collecting water and my hands feel arthritic. As I get richer in wisdom, God raises the taxes on my body. Such is life.
I gimped into a gas station the other day, arms outstretched and fingers flexing. A toddler stood near the check-out counter, latched to his mother's leg like a snot-nosed koala with a bowl-cut. "Look mommy, a mummy," said the boy, pointing. "Good one kid," I said to myself. Little fucker didn't bother me one bit. I was looking good. I was feeling good. And I got my beloved groin back. As a single man, that's all that really matters, isn't it?