“Mrs. R. and I decided we’re having a competition to see who can lose the most weight over the next nine weeks,” announced my wife.
“I don’t think you need to lose weight,” I said.
“The husbands are included in this too,” she said.
“I don’t need to lose weight either,” I said, trying to hold my stomach in a little.
“Why are you standing like that?” she asked. She shook her head and then continued, “We’re doing this. We can get a free weekend of childcare out of this.”
Neither of us is very overweight, but to be honest, I could stand to lose a few pounds just above my belt. I’m not in the range that the chart on the wall at the gym says is “ideal.” I didn’t want to be honest. “Stupid chart,” I thought.
After a few days, I resigned myself to the competition. Over the past couple of months, an ad in my browser keeps popping up, advertising a program designed to help middle-aged men get six-pack abs. I think my browser is psychic. How did it know I was going to be locked into this competition?
“That would be cool. I’ve never had six-pack abs,” I thought when the ad popped up that evening.
I clicked the ad. Up popped a video. A man who claimed to be in his 50s appeared on the screen. It looked like someone had glued the head of a 50-something-year-old on the body of a 30-something fitness model.
“Do you have a little extra weight around your middle?” he asked.
“Yes,” I thought.
“Have you tried to lose your belly fat, but no matter how long you spend on those machines, you just can’t get rid of it?” He was talking to me.
“If you’re like most middle-aged men, you’ve noticed that it’s impossible to lose that belly. Am I right?”
“You are correct, sir.”
“Don’t worry. It’s not your fault. Most of what you’ve been told about how to exercise and eat works fine for younger guys, but not for guys like you and me.”
“That’s a relief. I thought it was my fault,” I thought. “Now can we get to the part where you tell me how to get my six-pack abs?”
“In a few minutes, I’m going to tell you how you can have a body like mine. But first, let me tell you about my journey.”
I wasn’t interested in his journey, but I could wait a few minutes to hear the secret.
After 30 minutes of his journey and the latest studies, he came to the end by describing his program in general terms. If I wanted the full details, he needed credit card information.
“That’s why it’s an ad,” I muttered. “I am so, so gullible.”
I did not enter my credit card information. I’ve warned the boy about the tricks advertisers play, and explained that no one gets something for nothing. I guess I forgot that for 30 minutes, 30 minutes that I could have been at the gym.
I have been a priest for 16 years. I spent the first four years in Minnesota and Wisconsin, six years on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, before becoming the pastor at Advent Episcopal Church in Westlake in 2010. If anyone would find it interesting I have a son and daughter, which I refer to as a matched set, a wife, a dog, and a cat.