With just a few exceptions, I hate to exercise. I don’t do aerobic classes because I’m clumsy and can’t remember my left from my right. I’d rather be water-boarded than run on the treadmill for an hour. “Don’t make my go another mile! I’ll tell you anything you want to know!!” Running outside is a hilarious joke. Why should I punish passing drivers by subjecting them to the sight of me attempting to coordinate my flailing arms and legs? I could cause a four-car pileup!
My newest form of exercise, a.k.a. relentless torture, is Wii Fit. I got the game and the balance board about two weeks ago to spice up my workout routine. I decided that if I’m going to look awkward and ungainly I’d rather do it in the comfort of my own home without a trainer hounding me to do just…one…more…sit-up.
Little did I know how much the game would become my greatest nemesis. The first day that I tried it—a Monday—I stood on the balance board as the game asked me a bunch of questions. Afterwards, it calculated my “Wii Fit Age.” I’m now on the tail end of thirty-six but the game—a small black box with neither a heart nor a soul—told me that my Wii age is 47. I was a little disappointed but chose not to give that arbitrary number any power over me. It was my motivation to improve. I worked out that first day in several of the categories and felt pretty good about it. The next day, I ran on the treadmill (Please don’t ever tell me any secrets. Now that I’ve broadcasted what my kryptonite is—running in place for an hour—they’ll know how to break me!) so that I could justify buying the aggravating machine. When I went back to the Wii on Wednesday, the first thing it asked me was “Were you too tired to work out yesterday?” That was a little creepy. I felt like I was being bullied by HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey. I started imagining the Wii contacting the other electronics in our house to strengthen its hold on me.
Wii:“Microwave and Toaster Oven, report on Abby’s breakfast.”
Toaster: “It’s a Pop Tart, sir”
Wii: “Unacceptable. No matter. We will break her yet.”
When I worked out with the Wii in our basement the following Friday, I tried a game that instructed me to flap my arms like a bird to land on these raised platforms. I felt ridiculous doing it but it did get my heart rate thumping. As I was considering how glad I was to be at home alone while making a spectacle of myself, I looked over my shoulder out the narrow window near the ceiling. I saw a squirrel sitting right by the window watching me. It sat there a full minute glancing back and forth between me and the TV screen. Eventually he scampered forward a little bit but continued to watch me. I had no idea I would ever be able to entertain woodland creatures with my exercising awkwardness but you never know how God will use your gifts.
I didn’t use the Wii again until the following Tuesday. Of course, this tyrannical video game was incensed that I had been gone for so long. It also told me that I had gained 3.5 pounds. As if this wasn’t disheartening enough, it gave me a list of choices to select the reason for my weight gain. Since “Bloating/Weight Gain Due to PMS” wasn’t a choice, I chose “I don’t know” instead. Even though it had offered this as a choice, it still had a snarky follow-up question: “Are you sure you don’t know why you gained this weight?” Seriously. It is lucky it’s not built like an anatomically correct man because at that moment I would have placed my anatomically correct knee in its Wii-Baby-Maker, a.k.a. DS-Maker.
In spite of the drawbacks for the Wii—annoying questions, completely inaccurate age-guessing and the possible robot army it is building when I’m sleeping—I’m still determined to do well enough to make it give me positive feedback. Why do I care if this electronic box thinks I’m fit or good at kickboxing? Why do I care if I’m fit? I can blow months of working out with just one week of vacation. That’s the hardest part about exercising, much worse than the actual work it involves. It’s exasperating to realize that no matter how hard I work out, there’s always tomorrow’s workout. It’s like every other chore on an endless, repetitive loop. The only thing I can do is keep doing something—even if it’s just a little something—every (other?) day. I’ll just remember the little guys who enjoy my exercising much more than I do. This one’s for you, Squirrel, you little stalker!