I Crossed Paths with a Mythical Beast

It was a day like any other. The skies were not ominous and no portents of doom were apparent. I strolled into the gym as I would any morning; over-tired, miserable and recoiling from 1,000 megawatts of fluorescent light assaulting me from every direction. Despite being a massive complex therein lies only two squat racks. Woefully insufficient for the number under membership but I suppose when the people ask for Cybex and Nautilus machines to rest their porkfat on while they gear up to tell friends and coworkers they “worked out this morning”, you give them what they want. Normally when I approach “my” squat rack and find it being used by some sorry asshole doing shoulder shrugs, dead lifts with too much weight and their back perfectly curved the wrong way, or 25% range of motion “pull ups”, I am filled with murderous rage of a very primal flavor. Not this morning my friends.

My approach to said squat rack began as relaxed and confident. Then I saw it. I stopped dead in my tracks, my body rigid as my pulse quickened. I was the definition of caution as I tried to determine if it had seen me yet. On only a few occasions had I encountered in the wild, real-time and in its natural habitat, this particular specimen: The Perfect Back Squat. Truly breathtaking to behold. This is the equivalent of being out for a hike in the hills of northern Pakistan and just happening upon a spotted snow leopard eating a fresh bharal kill. If you aren’t awestruck then you aren’t alive. The specimen, as was expected given it was executing a perfect form back squat, was incredibly fit and powerful. I immediately averted my gaze as it is not wise to make direct eye contact with Perfect Back Squat. You must let Perfect Back Squat know that you recognize its alpha status lest it throttle you. While avoiding eye-contact I couldn’t help but admire its grandeur. Back was perfectly arched-the right way-it dropped its hindquarters past parallel on the descent, and the eyes were always on the skies. The load was appropriate to ensure struggle but not at the expense of breakdown in form. Obviously the norm is for the bar to be overloaded with weight, the back arched towards the wall behind the squatter, the head down with bar partially resting on prone neck, and one if not several of the same species hooting encouragement at the abomination of form waiting to injure itself so that it can have the upper hand in a pitched battle of “So how much ya squat?”. Perfect Back Squat doesn’t enter into a “So how much ya squat?” duel because it doesn’t fucking care. A thoroughbred derby horse doesn’t race a fucking donkey out behind the barn. To do so would be to cheapen itself.

I continued to sit mesmerized as Perfect Back Squat cleared the bar (of course it breaks down its area when its done, what did you expect?) and stalked off back into the ether. There was a cool, disinterested confidence in its gait and gaze as it set off to its lair, the type of organic arrogance born in knowing you are the top of the food chain. When I felt it was safe to emerge from my partially hidden vantage point I moved carefully to the squat rack and felt the bar; still warm. An eery silence was left in Perfect Back Squat’s wake. Sure, I could’ve taken out my cell phone and snapped a photo but I didn’t want to disrespect the magical moment nature afforded me. Some things are better enjoyed unimpeded by technology. Who knows when, or even if, I’ll see such a rare beast in the wild again? Some people will go their entire life and never see Perfect Back Squat even once.

About Zach

Male homo sapien. Warrior poet. I live in Chicago with one wife, one offspring, and Scout the dog. I enjoy various stuff. Besides skinny skiing and going to bullfights on acid, I also enjoy running, reading, drinking, eating and procrastinating on many things, such as starting this blog. I have a mom, a dad, and a younger brother who recently produced a sister-in-law. I'm the only person in my family, sister-in-law included, who doesn't have a post-graduate degree. I guess that makes me special. I grew up in a small to medium sized town in the middle of Ohio. In fact the even smaller town next door has a sign which reads "The Geographic Center of Ohio". Given this is what they choose to boast you can only imagine how exciting that town is. My town is infinitely cooler. For example on weekend nights people from my town and the surrounding villages and hamlets converge on the public square to "cruise" in their souped-up mini trucks, some bearing Confederate flags, despite growing up and living rather safely north of the Mason-Dixon line. This is high-minded stuff we're talking about here. I graduated sometime during the Clinton presidency from the local high school where I played football and participated in absolutely nothing else. This strategy paid huge dividends when I applied to numerous colleges on the eastern seaboard which were highly selective. When you show up to the admissions table with "HIgh School Football and Nothing Else" on your application, you get respect. After graduating from Ohio University with a degree in Economics that I've used for absolutely nothing, I moved to Boston. Boston is a lovely city. I was doing things I'm not proud of for beer money and I left after 16 months. My next move was to Chicago and 10+ years later there I still reside. I write this blog for therapeutic reasons. Much like some people paint to relax or smoke crack to unwind after a stressful day, I record my thoughts on Al Gore's World Wide Web for 9 friends, 4 family members, 1 person who accidentally clicked through after an unsuccessful Google search for something else, and a guy named Patriot1 who lives in a silver Air Stream in the Nevada desert and broadcasts his own radio show. Is there a point to all of this? I doubt it. Years ago and in a galaxy far, far away (College Park, Maryland, then Athens, Ohio) I was toying with the idea of being a journalism major. I enjoyed writing so it seemed the obvious fit. Then I attended career day and learned that journalism majors could look forward to a salary of $EA,TSH.IT per year with the promise of a fatal heart attack at 47 years of age. I'm not falling for that trick, I told them (them being no one, and told being saying it in my own mind in the shower). Approximately 15 years later here I sit declared the big winner in that battle: I never made any money doing anything else and now I'm writing entirely for free. So suck balls, journalism career day. The views expressed in this website are mine and mine entirely. I don't wish to be an even bigger black eye to my family than I probably already am. As a result of this I will never be able to run for public office and I accept that reality. But this website is a very dignified, well-dressed skeleton full of witty retorts and honorable deeds compared to the disheveled, stenching, staggering and loud skeletons who would come marching out of the closet to White Zombie's "Thunderkiss '65" if they ever unearthed the college years. So enjoy your train ride, your hangover day at work, your AA meeting or your dump. I'm here to serve.
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