Neither Mirth nor Woe: Sir Steve
Discovering that I'm a bit of a fat bastard, I signed up to the gym.
I hadn't been inside a gymnasium since I broke my best friend's arm in a bizarre vaulting horse accident in school, but putting this trauma behind I ventured into the room full of torture equipment and consenting adults.
After nodding through the safety briefing, I spent the next few visits tentatively trying out the various implements, finding that I could – in fact – cycle to the gym and then spend the next hour or so in the company of a cycling machine before cycling home.
Or, run up and down stairs at work all day, just to pay for the privilege of doing the same on a stepper.
However, not actually having a boat, I set my sights on the rowing machine.
And there, hammering away ten to the dozen, was a familiar figure. Man-mountain Sir Steven Redgrave, in fact. Jesus, he gave it some punishment in what he said was "won't keep you long - just a bit of a warm-up".
Hardly breaking a sweat, and tipping me a knowing wink, Sir Steve strolled off and left the rower for me.
Well... if it was THAT easy.
He had the tension turned up so high I couldn't even move it, so I switched to the second lowest setting and pushed myself out into the murky waters. There were women of the opposite sex present, so I thought it best to make the right kind of impression.
Redgrave had gold medals for this kind of thing. I could give him SERIOUS competition if I set myself to it.
Jesus, I gave it some punishment.
I rowed and rowed and rowed until I was knackered. Looking at the stopwatch, I realised I'd only been on it for 45 seconds, and I was half dead already.
The women of the opposite sex were tootling away on the bike machines, flipping their way through copies of Take A Break, while I was killing myself TO DEATH in the name of MANLINESS.
Not to be put off, I kept going.
Until I was sick down my front.
I crawled - CRAWLED - back to the changing rooms, was sick some more and left, pausing only to be sick inna hedge, never to darken their door again.
Exercise: It's bad for you.