A new day dawns

When I saw my cousin Bobby for the first time in months, he looked like a new man, a combination of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack LaLanne and Mr. T. (Bobby shaved his head, but he still needs some bling for that special touch.)

“I wouldn’t want to bump into you in a dark alley or the olive bar at Whole Foods,” I said. “What have you been doing?” He flexed his muscles and grunted a manly grunt.

“Pumping iron.”

“Pumping iron? At your age? Shouldn’t you be doing Tai Chi or Pilates or the culinary arts? Something a little less intense? How about ceramics?”

I don’t want to give away his age because I’m sure that he, like a lot of guys, including myself, has gone through a few mid-life crises and is at the stage where The Company wants to replace you with a 25-year-old Steve Jobs clone or a robot made in China that doesn’t need dental insurance. But he was so muscular he could take out an entire Starbucks of 30-something guys brandishing iPads and dressed in $125 jeans with shiny mousse-soaked hair.

I was jealous because I’m a fellow who got sand kicked in his face by body builders at the beach when I was young. All the girls in skimpy bikinis would run after the body builders while I sat on the blanket under an umbrella reading Cicero in Latin. (Actually, there was a copy of Playboy inside the Cicero.)

Unfortunately, I’ve never known the thrill that comes from being muscle bound and getting to kick the you-know-what out of bullies in Speedos. Usually, I chose the wiser and more judicious approach — negotiation or payola.

“Sir — you with the rippling muscles — I will give you the centerfold of my Playboy if you stop kicking sand in my face. Or would you prefer Latin lessons?”

Seeing Bobby convinced me I can still build muscles and look like Charles Atlas and attract girls in bikinis, assuming they’re over 55 and they leave their husbands at home.

“Bob, what can I do to become like you?”

“It’s easy,” he explained. “I go to the gym four nights a week for two and one-half hours a night.”

“I can do that. I just have to quit my job and get a divorce,” I said. “When do you find time for important things like arguing with your wife or watching Real Housewives of New Jersey and Honey Boo Boo?”

“I had to cut back on those activities to make time for the gym. Besides, we can argue by email. It’s a lot quieter.”

His workout includes squats and thrusts and lifting barbells that weigh 250 pounds, along with drinking several gallons of a special protein beverage imported from Austria that tastes like plaster of Paris and is guaranteed to give you an accent resembling Arnold Schwarzenegger’s.

As I drove home, I thought, “Yes, I can do that. I’ll go online to order protein drinks, and tomorrow I’ll quit my job and dedicate my life to lifting weights.”

It’s time for me to bulk up or beef up or button up, or whatever those weight-lifters call it. A new day is dawning.

I think it was Cicero, or maybe it was Honey Boo Boo, who said, “I approve of a youth who has something of the old man in him. I am also pleased with an old man who has something of the youth in him.”

Uggh, this protein drink tastes like barf.


Joe Pisani can be reached at [email protected]


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