I went to the gym yesterday to put a dent in the caloric atrocity that was the 4th of July weekend. I propped myself on an elliptical machine and proceeded to fake cross-country skiing. Of course I had an iPod, but my attention was elsewhere. Straight ahead planted on the wall was a television airing an info-mercial for St. Jude's Hospital, trying to solicit donations. They try to guilt you into calling by showing images of children with terminal cancer and their parents with tears streaming down their faces. Sam, aged 9, had no immune system. Another boy, a toddler, had a brain tumor. I move to level 15. Sweat is pouring down my face. Other 24 Hour Fitness patrons come and go. Some try to avoid this particular TV but it's damn near impossible.
This is where I start the big-ticket guilt, asking myself whether it's okay that I did nothing the previous day but eat sausages. Should I be doing more. Do I owe it to Sam and to the toddler-boy to use my time differently. Would he be pissed at me if he knew that I sat on the couch and watched two movies back to back. Has this info-mercial rationalized self-hate? I'm over thinking yet again. I'm tired at this point and decide to go home, but not without the cleansing that 45 minutes of beating myself up provides. I somehow managed to find a morality in what I was doing. It's moral to burn calories, because, plenty of people die before they should and I owe it to them. This is what I found in my workout: moral obligation.
I could have changed the channel. I could have switched to ESPN and watched the end of the Wimbledon Men's final. This was better. I needed it to clarify, in a twisted way, my purpose in life. That purpose? To be alive. Survival. That's all there is.
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