Jogging in Place with a Cheeseburger

If I’m correctly judging Facebook activity from the past few weeks, it seems half the people in my hometown are running from a plague of cicadas and the other half are eating them by the bowlful. While it may be sad I’m missing out on the once-every-13-years bowl of cicada ice cream, I’ve already adapted my eating habits to that of my location. Though I might be tempted if someone bugged me to try Ted Drewes Frozen Custard a la swarm.

Along with enjoying daily authentic Asian cuisine and avocados topped on nearly everything, I’ve discovered the legendary fast food joint of the West:

Not Pictured: California's Favorite Fast Food

No! God no! I’m talking about THIS:

Pictured: What God eats on a day out.

This is good news for the teenage appetite in me but bad news for the body I’m hoping to sculpt out here. When I was 16, yeah, I could eat this and then run a couple miles right afterward without a problem. I could eat a few trays of this a week and stay a cool size 30-inch waist. Five years and six inches later, I cannot say this is true for me now. The saddest part is that I couldn’t even finish the damn fries.

THIS CLOSE. To be fair, the fries WERE “animal-style”.

I have good reason to be self-conscious; this town, from what I can tell, makes a big deal about appearance. We’ll save the rant about shallowness and whatever for later, but the bottom line is that it’s not just about what’s on the outside; how much is on the inside plays a role too. Whether I’m in a restaurant, waiting in a line or taking a stroll through a mall, I could always count on overhearing a conversation a) how fit the talker is and b) how badly out-of-shape the absent colleague/acquaintance/friend is. Yeah, I’ll admit, a lot of those conversations come from the girls with the big sunglasses, but you just know that the powerful people have the same thoughts.

Heck, even the producer-guy Ashley and I eavesdropped on at In-N-Out today ordered his burger “protein style“. And no, we couldn’t understand much of what he was talking about. He was sort of speaking in code about the work and people he was involved with. The point is, they’re everywhere and they’re judging you.

So my plan now, before I really start working, is to start shaping up. I want another point of conversation in my small-talk arsenal when the big hot-shot starts chatting about what his personal trainer worked with him on earlier that day. I want that little bulge of bicep to push up my shirt sleeve when I shake that producer’s hand. If I can’t immediately prove that I have creative power and discipline, maybe I can charm them with my sex appeal.

Pictured: Sex Appeal

Now, according to my friend Bart Baker, scriptwriting instructor at Webster University, and this pretty awesome book I’ve been reading, gym membership is an excellent way not only to get a great body but make great connections. Hordes of equally savvy people crowd, sweat and pump iron/yoga mats to get a beautiful, trim and firm body. The trick, it seems, is picking the right place. In the meantime, I’m just working on not getting winded during my walks up the hills in my neighborhood.


About Max

I make puns and movies.
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