this magazine waited five years for me to find it

Not to get too weird, but I had this amazing coincidence yesterday at the dermatologist’s office. I go for a complete body exam every six months, because I grew up in Florida, was a cabana boy in the sun all the time, and my CT doctor told me years ago that “You have a lot of sun damage here and need to be checked out periodically.” So glad he insisted, because the skin doc found a very deadly melanoma cancer patch growing on my back. By catching it early, I am still alive and healthy over five years later.

Yesterday I was feeling a bit sad in the waiting room, because I remembered just last August I had the most muscles of my life. I was going to the gym two or three times a week for over two years. I was built. Then I did too many pull ups, tore some arm and shoulder joints, became very lazy and stopped the gym completely.

Can’t seem to get back into it, though I am playing lots of tennis and some other sports. I easily ignore the weights resting six feet from where I type. I don’t do push ups anymore. I admire the bodies of muscular men whose pictures I post on this site. But I just have no motivation to do anything.

Until yesterday. When I once again sat in the waiting room and reached for a magazine on the table next to my chair—there have to be 40 chairs and at least five tables of current magazines. Yet this time there was an issue of Muscle and Fitness with a cover story screaming “Abs Special, 11 best ab exercises.” How could I resist, though I never buy or read these kinds of magazines.

It was definitely inspiring. It did not seem to have been read at all. Those postcard-sized subscription cards were still in it, the pages were like new. Pretty understandable, I thought, because most of the patients are old folks with conditions that have surfaced after years of skin abuse. Many have canes and use walkers. Can’t picture them lifting weights or doing crunches. Some are barely alive.

a five year old issue finds me goofing off and shames me

Then I noticed the date—it was May 2005. This copy has been sitting there for over five years!! How can that be? You’d think the receptionist would have discarded it or replaced it with newer issues. But it appeared to be the only muscle mag in the room. Did someone bring it there just to give me a visual kick in the brain? Did the Universe send me a message to lift weights, because it knows how lazy I have been?

You can probably dismiss the strangeness of my collision with this particular issue and its abs cover story. You can also make up 10 other explanations of how a new copy came to be there five years after it was published. But I am going to see it as a sign, an omen, a miracle and an amazing shaming.

I’m going to lift some weights and do some push ups as soon as I post this message…and I did it: 25 push ups and three sets of bent over rows for each arm, 15 reps each time, 35 pounds. It’s a start. Felt/feels good.