Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Very Powerful Tool Meets the Squat Thrust

Some guy I know pretty well recently remarked how the “mind is a very powerful tool.” Now, call me cynical if you must, but I didn’t consider this particular proclamation anything close to profound. It was not one of those moments when I took a step back and exclaimed, “Yeah…yeah…man, that’s powerful.” Nevertheless, as I was talking the streets of the Bronx today, this very powerful tool of mine saw something that reminded him of something else…and the floodgates opened.

It all happened so innocently. After purchasing powdered iced-tea mix and Drain-o at a Rite Aid drug store—and receiving a three-foot cashier's receipt along the way—I stepped out into the mean streets and immediately spotted a man working on his car. Something was clearly amiss, so he decided to have a look-see underneath the vehicle. It was what he did next, in bringing his entire body down to the asphalt grounds, that greased the skids of that very powerful tool of a mine. Somehow his movements resurrected the squat thrust in my brain—a high school gym exercise I performed faithfully from 1976 through 1980. One, by the way, I have never executed since. In fact, I have never even heard the phrase "squat thrust" mentioned. Funny, but in the high school years, I always thought the exercise’s moniker a bit odd, and maybe even slightly suggestive of things beyond physical fitness, but then that was then and this is now.

Anyway, as I continued on my journey away from Rite Aid and their mostly high prices and uber-long receipts, the squat-thrust exercise, courtesy of that very powerful tool, was indelibly stamped on my brain. I heard now a certain gym teacher’s voice in my head counting out that infernal exercise: one, two, three,, two, three,, two, three, four. Everything it seemed in high school physical education was four-count. But it was that final four-count of what were usually ten repetitions of an exercise, including the squat thrust, which was particularly special and memorable to me. It went something like this: one, two, three,, two, three,, two, three, four...until the culmination—that number ten—one, two, three, FOOUUURRR! Galootish and ear piercing, the mettle of a gym teacher. That mind…that very powerful tool…can it ever take us places.

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