Tonight, for the very first time, I will be going to the gym. Naturally, as a man of a more intellectual bent, this will be rather like sending a Hobbit into Mordor. Or, at least, that’s how it feels. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I know that paying attention to physical matters is important for a man, and it’s something I’ve been neglecting for far too long.
Oh, I wasn’t a complete loss. As a young man, Cross Country and Street Hockey were perennial favorites, and I was reasonably talented at both. More recently, Paintball was the physical sport of choice. But these were all matters of endurance and pain tolerance; things I have a natural aptitude for. Strength training is not my forte. I will never be good at it, though I can certainly improve on my current state.
There are many young men today, and a great deal on the Progressive Left, who eschew anything physically strenuous. This is a great mistake, for if there was one thing Cross Country running taught me, it was a tolerance for the unpleasant. A couple years ago, I picked up running again for awhile, and participated in a 5km run here in my hometown. My sides hurt. My legs hurt. I could barely breathe. Yet, as the finish line approached, I broke out into an all-out sprint, much to the surprise of everyone else, barely trudging along. When I crossed that finish line, I spent a minute hurling the contents of my stomach and could barely walk. It was brutal proof that the days of my youth were behind me. Indeed, my time was a couple minutes off from my High School times.
But it was also profoundly cleansing and good.
Sometimes I suspect a great deal of the issues present in the modern world stem from an unfamiliarity with pain. When somebody does something unpleasant around me, that brutal, self-imposed pain floats back into conscious memory. It is a yardstick to measure the unpleasantness of the current situation. Naturally, most annoyances fail to live up to that memory and are categorically dismissed. If, for example, one were to call you a terribly offensive name, you now have a basis for comparison. Does the insulting word compare in any way to the pain felt in the course of your life’s affairs?
Most of the time, the answer to that question is no.
Progressives, however, are far less likely to engage in physical activity at that level. That same 5km run had a number of individuals who took upwards of an hour to complete it (my time was 22 minutes, and even that was disappointing to me). Those people were basically taking a walk. Many of them were far younger and thinner than I. They would not experience the “runner’s high” nor hurl the contents of their stomachs. They would not walk around on rubbery legs. But they, like me, would tell people they “ran the 5k” and feel good about themselves thusly.
Their yardstick for pain is much shorter than mine. Perhaps being called an unpleasant name truly is a worse feeling than what they typically experience.
My Father-in-Law was born in Cuba. He suffered depredations under the Castro regime and continues to tell tales of that time in his life. His yardstick for pain is, perhaps, even longer than my own. Talk to other refugees from tyrannical regimes and you will find similar measurements for pain. KodeTen is in the Army, and naturally military men have a different understanding of the nature of pain. Not only is it physically strenuous, the nature of combat is emotionally and mentally stressful in the extreme. Few Leftists enter the Army. Even fewer leave it. Baptism by fire is the ultimate conversion away from Progressive politics. Construction workers, day laborers and trash collectors also have a different threshold. There is a reason physical labor is often considered good for the soul. Other problems in life tend to diminish as a result of the comparison.
But your typical example of a Progressive leader has been coddled and spoiled. Some months back, I saw a bewildered man in a collared shirt stopped at the side of the road, as a tow truck driver changed his tire for him. It was quite disturbing, for changing a tire is hardly rocket science. These sorts of people need trigger warnings, safe spaces and political correctness in order to avoid exceeding the limits of their pain yardsticks.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. There is a breed of Leftist, populating many seedy parts of town, that is eminently familiar with the concepts of pain. But those individuals are also the recipients of Progressive largess. Their motives are not difficult to discern. They are symptoms. Their feeble enablers are the disease.
If you are wondering how this “fat is beautiful” campaign got started, look no further. These are individuals who do not physically labor themselves (and lack the excuse of advanced age). Since their pain yardsticks are so ephemeral, they cannot countenance the notion that they are not complimented for their beauty. Not only is name-calling a terrible pain to them, so is a lack of positive, self-esteem building treatment from their fellows. Not only must you avoid offending them, you must take steps to actively protect their fragile egos.
The very thing that would save them from their weight and from a tendency to feel poorly about themselves is that which they would never do. Indeed, they often find the notion that they should exercise or tolerate pangs of hunger insulting.
And so, in an example of a practice-what-you-preach approach, I am off to the gym. It will probably hurt. But my yardstick for pain will grow. Each bit of muscle mass added is an extra layer of thickened mental skin. Each bit of fat burned away is a another tiny bit of tolerance for the problems life throws at all of us.
Each session takes one further away from the madness of Progressive politics.