In a recent episode of Community, Jeff Winger (played by the wonderfully smarmy Joel McHale) was dismayed to learn that even though he clocks regular time at the gym and avoided donuts, to do all the right things to stay healthy and fit, he still registers a high cholesterol rate during a routine health exam. An existential fugue clamps down on the man who has cultivated a visage of sublime fitness. Jeff realises that even fit folks deteriorate and eventually die as part of the human condition. (I couldn’t find the appropriate clip, so instead enjoy Abed, Troy and Jeff krumping).
Jeff’s epiphany scene held resonance after a woman I’d recently met asked if I did cyclo-cross racing like my husband. Mountain biking? Any cycling? Running? Jogging? Weights? Kick Boxing? All were met with a flat negative response. She became involved in athletics as a child and considered them important. By that reasoning, I should have asked her if she had a Ph.D. Master’s Degree? Bachelor’s degree? No to all of the above you say? Education has played an important role in my life, but I sure don’t expect anyone else to have taken my path or to share my priorities. Plus how big of an asshole would I have been to level such a line of questioning in the first place? There’s a considerable spectrum that arcs from an athlete down to a sedentary couch potato. While I’m in neither end of the distribution, the hours I log with the pooches surpass the scope of what most folks perform in exercise. And I’m hardly overweight by any means of measure.
Let’s dial down the judgy impulse, ladies.