After I bought a small TV at Target this morning, the clerk asked me if I needed help getting it to my car. “No, it doesn’t look very heavy. I think I can manage,” I said. Then, and don’t ask me why, I added dryly, “Anyway, I recently won the Ms. Body-building contest, senior division.”
“Really, you did?” she said, her eyes wide. This is not me >>
“No,” I said.
She laughed then, realizing she’d been pretty gullible, but redeemed herself with a good comeback. “But you should have, right?”
“That’s right.” I smiled.
On the way out the store’s door with the little TV, I wondered where on earth that body-building comment had come from and why that would be anywhere in my brain. Almost immediately, I remembered. Only a few weeks ago a relative told me about a body-builder well into her sixties in their LDS ward, who, he says, is so buff that the men in the ward divert their eyes the moment she comes into view and don’t dare look up again until she’s out of view. To be kind, let’s say that it’s not so much that she flaunts her stuff, as that her physical assets would be stunningly obvious no matter what she wore. The woman, he also let me know, is kind of reactivating into the Mormon faith, and the other sisters seem to be taking it pretty well, considering that she is not exactly your typical Mormon sister. I could pretty much grasp the situation, recognizing that (sad to say) we all have a tendency to want to lift our eyebrows at those who are completely different than us. But though I’d never even seen the woman, my reaction to her was curious. No, even though I joked about it, I have absolutely no ambition to enter any kind of a body-building contest at my age and never have had such ambition, but I found myself feeling oddly optimistic at just hearing that a woman exists who is that ridiculously buff well into her sixties. If she could do that, I felt myself thinking, then that meant I should certainly be able to get into a little better physical shape—get rid of say, at least some of my stomach, and tone up a little of the flab off my arms, legs and well everywhere, something I’d been starting to feel pretty discouraged about. In fact, even now as I think about the outrageous way she was described, it helps me feel hope that if she can do that, I should be able to get in good enough shape that the next time I joke about winning a body-building contest, the person I’m joking with will not think, Oh my gosh, I’m so ridiculously gullible. I mean look at her! but rather, Well, she may be up there in age, but she honestly doesn’t look all that bad.