Squatting in a School Parking LotApril 12, 2019
Excuses are monuments to nothingness. They build bridges to nowhere. Those who use these tool of incompetence are masters of nothingness.
This quote hung on the wall of my fifth-grade teacher, Mr. G. Anytime a student forgot his homework, he had to stand up in front of the quote, recite it, and remain standing until he felt like letting you sit, which is usually when our lesson was done and the classwork began. By the end of the first quarter, I had that poem memorized.
I was a master of nothingness, for my excuses ran long and deep, built with exquisite detail and emotional manipulation. Honestly, it was my true medium. God, I hated that f***ing poem, yet I failed time and time again to bring in the homework.
By the end of the year, I would walk into class assume the position, wait until everyone had been seated, and then recite the quote. Mr. G. would ask me why I didn’t do my homework and I would just respond. “I forgot to do it, sir.” or “I didn’t want to do it.” My excuses were gone and I accepted my fate. At the age of ten, my training in fatalism had begun.
Now, here I am, thirty-one years later, and I have returned to my artwork, my master level excuse building has been bolstered by a vast vocabulary and Shakespearean drama classes.
“I’d love to come workout with you, but Yoga seems to really aggravate my cervical spinal area. I’ll have a tension headache for a day or two. I think I’ll just walk instead.”
“I don’t think I’ll go for a walk today. I hate that I can’t just walk in our neighborhood, that we have to drive to a park or another neighborhood because there are not enough sidewalks/the sidewalks are blocked/it’s cold outside.”
“I don’t want to use the elliptical downstairs, I’m afraid the cats will get under it and hurt themselves. Just the other day one of their tails got right next to the mechanism, I was so scared!”
Bullshit. I’ve called bullshit on myself. It’s time to reject my fatalism and embrace . . . Optimism! *hurk*
God, that sounds so terrible. Like some sort of perpetually happy Yoga trainer. But 31 years of my dark fatalism and realism has given me diabetes, a fused spine, and a permanent furrow between my eyebrows. I mean, have you seen a Yoga trainer?! So, I’ve decided to call BS on myself, and I’m realizing there are opportunities everywhere to exercise and to be my best person. Ya hear that Melania! Try using a pronoun and infinitive! *ahem* Sorry. #NotSorry
One of the excuses I’ve been using is timing. My work hours let out at 3:15, I have to leave to pick up my daughter by 4:15, then between boy scouts, martial arts, cooking and everything else I have to do with my children after I get home, I told myself (and anyone who would listen) that I only have that one sweet hour to exercise and get my “healthy time” in, and if I stay late at work it just doesn’t work out. BS.
Last week, I left to pick up my daughter, but as what often happens I left later than 3:15 and I only had about 25 minutes to workout at the gym. I did my 25 minutes and went to the parking lot where her school bus drops them off. The parking lot is outside of my son’s elementary school and there’s a nice big field there. I arrived and thought to myself, sitting in my van wearing exercise gear and watching all these other parents just sitting in their cars, “Why am I just sitting here? It’s nice out and I’ve got walking shoes on.” So I got out and started walking in the field. Along the way, I saw there’s one of those tractor tires people use for Crossfit and I realized I’ve never flipped one of those, and it looks like so much fun. So, I did. And it was fun! But I see why it’s used as an exercise technique, it wasn’t easy. After a few flips, I kept walking. I walked around the whole field, and the bus wasn’t there yet, so I started doing calf lifts on the curb by my van.
Then a weird thing happened, a guy who had been sitting in his car in the parking lot put his car in drive and came over. He put down his window, held out a bottle of water that was sitting in the car next to him and said, “God bless you, brother! I’ve been there myself. You need water?” I politely declined the proffered lukewarm water and he drove off. I had so many conflicting thoughts. Where had he been before? Did I look that thirsty? Wait, why was he just chilling in the elementary parking lot? Because he just left, no kid in his car.
As I pondered all of this, I noticed that the bus still wasn’t there. I silently cursed the bus driver, because I could have been exercising at the gym this whole time. But I was still exercising, I was will moving. Since my daughter’s bus still wasn’t there, I decided to do some squats, because my ass has always been an area I’ve been unhappy with. Imagine being Latino, with some African heritage, but no ass. I am half Irish after all, but come bear-1666306_1920on! Anyway, I started doing squats in the parking lot of the elementary school waiting on a bus full of middle schoolers, which had somehow pulled in behind me without my noticing. I was probably grunting louder than I thought, resembling more a bear squatting in the woods than anything else. So I awaited my daughter when it occurred to me that it was Thursday, and she stayed late after school on Thursday, which means she wasn’t on this bus. Dammit.
Kids started getting off the bus, a few looking my direction and snickering, because they’re middle schoolers after all and I am a chubby middle-aged dude doing deeeeep squats in the parking lot in some snug exercise gear, so I picked up what dignity I had left off of the asphalt with one more squat, got in my car, and drove off, fully aware that I too had no kid in my car.
But since then, I’m finding lots of ways to sneak in a little exercise. Squats in odd places, pushups, and arm dips whenever I have a minute, even the way I move around the classroom can have extra movement in it, and I feel a difference. I don’t see it yet, unfortunately, my diet slipped this week too. But one thing at a time. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my son looks like he needs a planking challenge.
Originally published on Stupid Optimism
Here are more ways to become a part of The Good Men Project community:
Request to join our private Facebook Group for Writers—it’s like our virtual newsroom where you connect with editors and other writers about issues and ideas.
Click here to become a Premium Member of The Good Men Project Community. Have access to these benefits:
- Get access to an exclusive “Members Only” Group on Facebook
- Join our Social Interest Groups—weekly calls about topics of interest in today’s world
- View the website with no ads
- Get free access to classes, workshops, and exclusive events
- Be invited to an exclusive weekly “Call with the Publisher” with other Premium Members
- Commenting badge.
Are you stuck on what to write? Sign up for our Writing Prompts emails, you’ll get ideas directly from our editors every Monday and Thursday. If you already have a final draft, then click below to send your post through our submission system.
If you are already working with an editor at GMP, please be sure to name that person. If you are not currently working with a GMP editor, one will be assigned to you.
Are you a first-time contributor to The Good Men Project? Submit here:
Have you contributed before and have a Submittable account? Use our Quick Submit link here:
Do you have previously published work that you would like to syndicate on The Good Men Project? Click here:
Join our exclusive weekly “Call with the Publisher” — where community members are encouraged to discuss the issues of the week, get story ideas, meet other members and get known for their ideas? To get the call-in information, either join as a member or wait until you get a post published with us. Here are some examples of what we talk about on the calls.
Want to learn practical skills about how to be a better Writer, Editor or Platform Builder? Want to be a Rising Star in Media? Want to learn how to Create Social Change? We have classes in all of those areas.
While you’re at it, get connected with our social media:
However, you engage with The Good Men Project—you can help lead this conversation about the changing roles of men in the 21st century. Join us!
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
Photo credit: Shutterstock ID 644243128
Source of this (above) article: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/squatting-in-a-school-parking-lot/