Dancing Without Ruining Your Life
Dancing is a great way to get fit, but it can also ruin your life. Getting dry humped by an immigrant at the Rockin Rodeo? I’d need at least two shots of Chardonnay in my system to enjoy that, and wine has calories, so I think I‘ll pass. Ballroom dance classes? Also awful. The instructor looks like Andy Warhol sans acne, and I always get too distracted to keep up with the steps when I begin mentally re-casting Singing in the Rain with members of The Velvet Underground. And also Mary-Kate Olsen. And Sienna Miller, who, like public attempts at dancing, ruins lives. So to dance without Sienna-ing my life, I shut my blinds, deadbolt my door, and unplug my webcam just in case of e-peeping toms. I usually begin with The Etch-a-Sketch, in which I frantically shake my entire body until my short-term memory is completely…Who turned out the lights? Who downloaded “Livin’ La Vida Loca”? Is that a noose hanging from my ceiling? Oh, phew, that’s just the neighbor’s boa constrictor, Roberto, who slithered in through the air vent again. Roberto, you silly goose. My other go-to move is The Thelma, inspired by the opening credits of the highly underrated cartoon series A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. To do The Thelma, I go slack-jawed, slouch forward, and let my arms hang limp like Ramen noodles, all the while moving my feet like Riverdance. Not to brag or anything, but I’m getting pretty good at these dances, and I’m really looking forward to the day when I meet a boy at, say, Applebee’s or Cracker Barrel and can invite him to my bedroom and show him how I do. No peeking, Roberto.
Dieting Without Ruining Your Life
Begin the Shrimp Diet of Pure Protein and Sin. Munch on bags of chili-coated dried shrimp from the Mexican snacks section of the Liquor Plus. Si, amigo, the Candy of the Sea. Daydream about a video game about shrimps who can shoot guns and also communicate telepathically with alien grays. Draw a comic about a shrimp named Skip who inhabits the human world, wears a baseball cap, and says sassy comebacks. Bitch, you got shrimp served. Notice that my skin is taking on a pinkish hue, and become increasingly convinced that flamingos are The Missing Link. Write of my theory to National Geographic. Don’t flip a nut when those cocky, know-it-all bastards ignore my eloquently-written email. Remind myself that many Great Thinkers were cast aside in their own time. Shut my eyes, rock rhythmically on my shag carpet, and sing, “Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone” repeatedly to myself. When that tried-and-true self-soothing method doesn’t lower my cholesterol, think instead about that Gap commercial in which Claire Danes looked like a dancing shrimp. Chuckle, but still feel distressed. Go to Endless Shrimp at Red Lobster to cheer myself up. Coconut shrimp! Buttery shrimp! Teriyaki shrimp! Wake up at 3 a.m. Night terrors? Nope. Food poisoning. With my head in the toilet, apologize to Lazarus or Dan Brown or whoever the heck wrote the Bible. Apologize to everyone I’ve ever wronged: to my ninth grade nutrition teacher, to my mom for “borrowing” her credit card to pay for dinner, to the Pomeranian at PetSmart that I glared at for drooling on my shoe. All is forgiven, presumably, because I don‘t die. Life not ruined. Go back to eating regular healthy foods like Diet Coke and Weight Watchers popsicles.
Going to the Gym Without Ruining Your Life
If you can ignore the burly men making sex noises, the gym is a good place to stroll around, chat with real live ex-high school athletes, drink free purified water out of waxy paper cones, and look at your muscles in the mirror. Oh yeah, and do exercises. The problem, though, is that I can’t ignore the sex noises as I am just extremely attracted to anyone who bears even the slightest resemblance to Mr. Clean. Head: shiny. Shirt: pressed. Arms: ripe and slick, like two healthy baby seals. It’s just a thing. Therefore when I go to the gym, I have to make a real effort to avoid making eye contact with any of the buff grunting men because the prospect of Success in Life makes me anxious. I mean, what if I blow my one shot? Like, what if I’m doing my thing on the treadmill, jamming to “Dust in the Wind,” and paging through the latest Reader’s Digest when my Mr. Clean tries to chat me up? I know myself well enough to know that in such an instance, I would reflexively rip out my earbuds and yell at my potential soul mate for spoiling my Me Time and also for being a fucking tease, and “save the sounds for the bedroom, buddy.” But not my bedroom, sadly. Not after I call him a “Beefaroni Bastard” right in front of that guy who looks like Saddam Hussein and always hogs the good elliptical. Then I’ll never get married and the only pleasure I will know will be that of KFC buckets and I will die alone next to the dumpster full of irregular flip-flops behind the Old Navy. Ladies-only gym membership? Check.
Taking Diet Pills Without Ruining Your Life
Swallow pills. Watch music videos on YouTube. Get that song “LOL Smiley Face” stuck in my head. Run over to my parents’ velour sofa to trace smileys all over its surface with my finger. Decide it might be a good idea to climb on top of the dryer and play around with the circuit breakers. (To this day, every time my grandma comes over and clicks her dentures like she does, the lights sort of flicker.) Remove all the books from my bookcase, unscrew the shelves, and use, among other found objects, my brother’s Navajo dreamcatcher to construct a “Knott’s Berry Farm for Cats.” There are no cats. Go for a drive and somehow end up at the mall, where I power-walk the place like a retiree being chased by a black, gay, Jewish liberal zombie with leprosy. But this sort of behavior is par for the course. It’s not until my seventh lap around the mall and my out-of-body experience in front of the HoneyBaked Ham that I realize what bad news diet pills truly are. Float. Look down on myself angrily demanding that Hambee, the half-bee/half-pig mascot character, tell me where the hell ham really comes from. Float. Shout. Float. Shout. It’s not pigs, don‘t lie to me, Hambee, it’s too melty. What is it, really? I need to know. I need to know right now. Is it people? Is ham people? Float. Shout. Float. Shout. Do you even read the news? Then why are you guys going around crushing bees to make honey when we are having a bee shortage? Come back down. Stop taking pills. Life not ruined, just complicated. Many mysteries remain.
Letting Yourself Go Without Ruining Your Life
Here’s a fable: Once upon a time when I was teaching English in China, this guy Andy invited a few teacher friends of mine to dinner because he had some Very Important News. At the end of this meal, later referred to as The Last Supper, Andy cleared his throat for his big announcement: He had Herpes and was moving to Shenzhen! Tomorrow! Don’t tell anyone! And then in a total dick move, he skipped out on the bill. But I say all that to say this: There was no magical Herpes Colony in Shenzhen where the wart-afflicted could freely frolic, nor was there any other discernible V.D.-related reason for Andy’s abrupt move. The Herpes was obviously a cover-up. I mean, for starters, no one ever would’ve made the sexy time with Herpes Andy because Herpes Andy had a weird haircut and talked too much about RPGs. After giving it much thought, I discerned the real reason Herpes Andy decided to move away: He had let himself go. Yes, after indulging too heavily in delicious Chinese stir-fries, prawn-flavored crackers, and moon cakes, he was unhappy with his subsequent weight gain and wisely decided to move somewhere–in this case Shenzhen–where he would be the New Kid and everyone would just accept him As Is. And if he gained even more weight in Shenzhen, he could just claim a new STD and move elsewhere, like Macau or Idaho. What a system! So the moral of the story is that I don’t care what anyone says. Herpes Andy was a genius who had the right attitude about things: When it comes to your body, forget fad diets and weird exercises, right? Just do what makes you feel good, and fuck everybody else–but not really. Because you might give them Herpes.