high-minded drivel

high-minded (adjective) - refined; cultured; particularly civilized. drivel (noun) - senseless talk; nonsense.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Maximize your time by reading this, and do some isometrics while you're at it

The day dawned sunny and bright today, and a peek outside told me that although there was a slight chill in the air, it wasn't such a chill that a coat was needed for purposes of traversing the distance to work.  On multiple occasions now it has been warm enough outside that the walk to work has gone without exterior weather protection.  This is always a welcome change each year, as it means not only that the walk to work won't be freezing cold, but also that I'll have those few extra seconds previously reserved for bundling up to use for other purposes, such as letting a little extra warm shower water run over me, or ambling around scratching myself.

Of course, the warmer weather doesn't mean it's all luxury.  No, the warmer weather brings with it an annual decision about whether or not I want to engage in an important and potentially life-changing activity (yes, annually life-changing).  That activity is exercising my grip.

Your forearms will thank you later
Contrary to popular belief, grip exercising is not just for the physical therapy crowd.  Instead, it is a veritable wave sweeping the country, going South to North, subject to the usual northeasterlies.  With mine own eyes I have seen crowds of bright-eyed children exercising their grip, showing an enthusiasm usually reserved for less genuinely fulfilling avenues of entertainment like Pog and Giga Pets.  Like with any fad, the marketers have taken advantage of the situation and launched a line of colorful grip exercising implements, as well as a line of apparel that includes T-shirts for little kids with catchy/playful slogans like "Get a grip!" and "My life is gripping!" and "Ow! Mom, my blisters burst again!"

The famed Viking "berserkers" were actually just some guys
who had been driven to their wit's end by having to row for
so damn long
I like to think that I was on the leading edge of this imaginary trend, having started to exercise my grip off and on several years back.  The reason the grip exercising goes into hibernation in the winter is because, rather ironically, it's just too hard to grip the grip exercisers when wearing gloves.  But as spring arrives, the gloves come off, both literally and figuratively.  Now, I have to admit that I'm not the most consistent person in the world when it comes to exercising my grip, because on some days I have reason to carry things in my hands, like my laptop or my lunch or something of that nature.  Typically I take these things to work in my backpack, which is totally acceptable, but on certain days it makes better sense to carry them by hand, for whatever reason.  When carrying my lunch it only takes one hand, so although I could still exercise my free hand, I choose not to, wanting to avoid the problem of developing an unsightly "over-developed" hand while my other hand remains puny and shriveled, a phenomenon seen in the arms of the oarsmen of old.  Having one huge, muscular hand and one weak hand would no doubt lead to cruel nicknames, like "Righty" or "Lefty."

The reason for exercising my grip is several-fold.  First, it has the obvious benefit of strengthening your grip, allowing you to do things like hang on to your beloved hobbit friend and not drop him into the fires of Mount Doom, or open a jar of pickles.  Second, it builds self-esteem (this has been proven in repeated scientific studies).  Third, you look like a total hardass walking to work cranking down on those grip exercisers, even if you are wearing an Oxford button-down shirt and paisley tie.  The fourth and final fold is that you are maxing out your productivity, and it's this last reason that I'll focus on here.

I know you can't believe what you're hearing Mr. Frodo,
but trust me - I'm sure it was a good decision to throw out
that extra lembas bread to make room for my grip exercisers
When walking to work, there are only so many things you can do.  Obviously the primary objective is to get from point A to point B, but between point A and point B there are various opportunities available to truly make the most of this time during the day.  Many would listen to a portable music device, which is a good option, but I prefer to forego the music and just spend the time thinking.  It's a great chance to have some relatively quiet, uninterrupted thoughts and sort through things in your mind.  So we've covered the legs and the brain, essentially leaving the arms and hands.  Texting is a popular choice, but not really up my alley for 7:00am, and not while walking.  Eating breakfast is possible, but not if you want something other than a piece of fruit or a granola bar.  This leaves "skill" activities like juggling, which would be totally cool, or "busy work" activities like clapping or snapping, which would give the impression of mental instability, especially if you go with clapping.  At this point I've realized that grip exercising can't really be classified as a "skill" activity, and much more naturally falls into the "busy work" category, thus having the unanticipated consequence of opening the door to question my mental stability, but I'll quickly ward off such conjectures by saying that grip exercising serves a real purpose.

So there you have it - with the rising temperatures I will once again begin maxing out my productivity on my usual morning walk.  You may be totally impressed by this self-actualizing-type activity, and want to shake my hand as a result.  Just know that I can't be held responsible if I crush your hand.

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