Friday Read – Book Excerpt

As promised on Monday, here is another excerpt from A Dead Tomato Plant and a Paycheck, my humorous memoir. Back when I was writing the weekly newspaper column, from which most of this book is taken, I didn’t shy away from poking fun at anyone, including myself.

Today, let’s share some chocolate, chocolate chip muffins. Who’s got the milk?

Long before it became chic to hang out in fitness centers, have a personal trainer, or lose 130 pounds eating Subway sandwiches, I knew the importance of regular exercise. When the kids were little and my days were spent in overdrive just keeping up with them, I didn’t have to worry about getting enough aerobic exercise. But once they passed out of the terrible twos, and threes, and fours, my daily mileage was significantly downsized. Plus I started noticing bulges where I didn’t really want bulges.

So I decided to join a local fitness center.

On my first day, I was greeted by a bright, enthusiastic young woman who tried to convince me this was going to be a fun experience.


She didn’t know how long some of my muscles had lain dormant. Waking them up was going to be about as much fun as disturbing a grizzly bear during hibernation.

Thirty minutes later, as the bear was breathing down my neck, she came back with a cheerful little smile. “Don’t you feel just great?” she asked. “I always have so much energy after a workout I just want to run out and mow my lawn, trim hedges, and weed flower beds.”

At that point, I wasn’t even sure I had the strength to breathe, and the only thing I wanted to do was drown myself in a hot bath. Or maybe drown that all-too-chipper woman.

After I staggered out to my car and drove home, I swore that I would never return to that torture chamber, but being the undaunted spirit that I am, I went back a second time, determined to stick it out until the screams of agony from my body became mere whimpers.

It was during that second visit that I figured out one of the reasons I was not “just loving” this experience.

I wasn’t dressed for the part.

All the women, who were decked out in cute leotards and tights with coordinated leg warmers, weren’t straining a bit. They even sported the same kind of cheerful smile as the instructor.

Was there a store where one bought a cheerful smile?

And to top it off, they weren’t even sweating!

What is it with these designer women? Is there some medical procedure to stop up all their pores?

Obviously, I was at a disadvantage in my warm-up pants and sweat-soaked tee shirt, huffing and puffing through clenched teeth.

Then I noticed something else a little strange. None of those other women looked like they needed to be there. Picking five at random, I didn’t see enough excess fat to make one good tummy roll.

Wasn’t there one more woman in town who could have made a personal loan to each of those five without making a dent in her “spare tire?”

After careful consideration, I started to wonder if I was at the mercy of some creative marketing mind. Maybe the sight of all those slim bodies was supposed to give me incentive, making me think if I stayed with the program, I too, would look so good.

Perhaps they were even getting paid to work out and never sweat.

Then I realized that was a silly idea. How could the company stay in business if all those people were paid staff and there was only one member?

That’s when I came up with a creative marketing approach of my own. Maybe they’d consider hiring me to hang around with all my bulges. That way the next woman who walked in still carrying the evidence of multiple births wouldn’t feel so discouraged.

That’s all for today, folks. I hope you have a great weekend. And if said weekend involves a trip to a local gym, I hope you have more fun there than I did at mine.

Be safe. Be happy.

And don’t forget to enter the contest at the Kindle Book Review for your chance to win a 10″ Kindle Fire, Amazon eCard, and a Bookworm coffee mug.


2 thoughts on “Friday Read – Book Excerpt”

  1. Valiant Stephenson Vetter

    Different health clubs (“Gyms”, etc) come with their own style of clientele. Sounds like you are at one of the urban, “beautiful people” places. (Is it near Central Market?)

    At any rate, the women you describe might be “gym bunnies” (I think only guys are “gym rats”) and no – they don’t look like they needs gym.

    As for your feelings about you belonging there, you may need to find a gym where real people hang out. You know, one where theyknow what a “live handle” is, and some of the people actually eat between visits. 😛

    1. This fitness center was in Plano, Val, and it is probably gone now. Yes, I did only go for a couple of visits, but remember, the secret to good humor is to stretch the truth just a bit. 🙂

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