HOME EQUIPMENT (THE BEGINNINGS)

BY DAVE GLASGOW

“MY IRONING BOARD!!”, YELLED MY MOM.  “WHAT HAPPENED TO MY IRONING BOARD??!!  DAVID!!  YOU GET DOWN HERE, RIGHT NOW!!!”  EVEN THOUGH I WAS IN MY UPSTAIRS BEDROOM, DOOR SHUT TIGHTLY, I COULD HEAR HER AS THOUGH I HAD ON HEAD PHONES.  SIGHING HEAVILY, I STARTED DOWN THE STAIRS TO MEET MY FATE.  AFTER FIFTY YEARS, A LOT OF WHAT I WAS THINKING HAS LONG SINCE BEEN ERASED FROM MY MEMORY.  WHAT I DO RECALL, HOWEVER, WAS IMPENDING DOOM AND A SUDDEN HOPE THAT I COULD BE TRANSPORTED, INSTANTLY, TO AN ISLAND OF LEPROSY INFECTED CANNIBALS; ANY THING WOULD BE BETTER THAN HAVING TO FACE THE WRATH OF MY, SOMEWHAT, FIREY TEMPERED MOM.

THE EVENTS LEADING UP TO THIS SITUATION OCCURRED SOME WEEKS PRIOR.  MY BROTHER, FOURTEEN AT THE TIME, CAME HOME WITH A COPY OF A BODY BUILDING MAGAZINE.  STRIDING THROUGH THE DOOR WITH FIXED PURPOSE, HE SLUNG HIMSELF ON THE COUCH IN OUR FRONT ROOM AND STARTED TO PERUSE THE ARTICLES.  BEING IN CONSTANT AWE OF MY BROTHER, I GRABBED A SEAT NEXT TO HIM.  ALTHOUGH I WAS GREETED WITH A LOOK OF DISGUST, IT DIDN’T DISSUADE MY INTEREST IN WHAT HE WAS LOOKING AT.

MY FIRST THOUGHT WAS, “WHY ARE THE GUYS SO SHINY??”  MY NEXT THOUGHT WAS, “HOLY COW!!  HOW DID THEY GET SO BIG!!”  I KNOW THAT MY BROTHER WAS EQUALLY IMPRESSED AND WE BOTH WERE ‘WOW’ING ALMOST EVER TURNED PAGE.  YOU’D OF THOUGH IT WAS A GIRLY MAGAZINE!!  LITTLE DID I KNOW THAT THIS WAS MY INTRODUCTION INTO A WORLD THAT, UP UNTIL THEN, I NEVER KNEW EXISTED!  A WORLD THAT WOULD BECOME A VERY LARGE PART OF MY LIFE.

AFTER A LITTLE WHILE, I COULD SEE IN MY BROTHERS EYES THAT THE WHEELS WERE TURNING.  HE LOOKED AT ME AND SAID.  “I BET I CAN MAKE A LOT OF THIS STUFF TO WORKOUT WITH.  THEN, WE CAN START WORKING OUT.”  WE??  DID HE SAY WE???  WAS HE GOING TO INCLUDE ME??  WELL, HELL, YEAH!!  LET’S DO IT!!

NOW, YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND, MY BROTHER WAS THE TYPE PERSON WHO COULD MAKE THINGS FROM SCRATCH, AS HE DID JUST THAT YEAR WHEN HE MADE A BEAUTIFUL CHEST OF DRAWERS IN JUNIOR HIGH.  AS FOR ME, I COULDN’T THEN, AND STILL CAN’T, DRAW A STRAIGHT LINE WITH A RULER.  HOWEVER, I WAS SURE GAME FOR ANY TYPE PROJECT I COULD BE INVOLVED WITH IF IT MEANT SPENDING TIME WITH MY BROTHER!

HAVING SPENT THE FORMATIVE YEARS OF OUR LIVES ON A FARM , WE HAD A VURTUAL CORNECOPIA OF ODDS AND ENDS TO START OUR EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURING PROCESS WITH.  AGAIN, THE YEARS CLOUD THE PICTURE BUT I CAN TELL YOU THAT THE DRILLING RIG WAS A PART OF IT.  AS I RECALL, ONE OF THE STAKES FOR THE GUY WIRES WEIGHTED 40 POUNDS.  THE FIRST TIME I PUT THAT OVERHEAD, I CAME AWAY FEELING AS THOUGH I WERE KING KONG AND ONE BAAAD DUDE!

IT WAS DECIDED WE NEEDED A DUMBBELL (THAT’S WHAT THE BIG BOYS HAD, AFTER ALL!).  LONG STORY SHORT, WE GATHERED UP ENOUGH LEAD TO MAKE A 20 POUND DUMBBELL, ‘ACQUIRED’ A PIECE OF HALF INCH ROD AND WE WERE IN BUSINESS.  FORGET THE FACT THAT WE USED MOM’S STOVE AS THE FORGE AND A COFFEE CAN FOR THE FORM.  YOU ALL ARE NOT STRANGERS TO THIS PROCESS, ARE YOU?! ( I AM QUITE POSITIVE IF OUR FOLKS HAD FOUND OUT THAT LITTLE FACT, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN SANCTIONS FORTHCOMING.)  I WAS GIVEN THE JOB OF ‘EYE-BALLING” THE ROD FOR PLUMB.  WE COOLED THE HOT LEAD WITH A COLD WASH RAG APPLIED  TO THE SIDES OF THE CAN.  IT WAS’NT LONG BEFORE THE FINISHED PRODUCT LAY IN FRONT OF US, AWAITING OUR EAGER ATTENTION.

WELL, I AM QUITE CERTAIN IT WAS MY BROTHER’S IDEA.  SURELY,  I WAS NOTHING MORE THAN AN INNOCENT BYSTANDER, ONE OF THE NAMELESS RABBLE THAT GETS CAUGHT UP IN THIS SORT OF THING.  I DO KNOW THAT, IN THE END, JUST AS MANY INNOCENTS FIND OUT, SOMETIMES THE HANGERS ON SUFFER WITH THE PERPETRATORS.  REGARDLESS, ACCORDING TO THE MAGAZINE, EVERY GOOD GYM HAD AN INCLINE BOARD FOR DOING SITUPS.  YEAH, YOU GUESSED IT.  OUT CAME MOM’S IRONING BOARD.

MOM’S BOARD, WHICH SHE RECEIVED AS A WEDDING PRESENT IN 1947, HAD BEEN A LOYAL AND PROVEN FRIEND UNTIL THIS ONE FAITHFUL DAY IN 1962.  I AM ALSO CONFIDENT THAT THE MANUFACTURERS HAD NOT FACTORED INTO THE DESIGN THEIR BOARD BEING USED AS A PLATOFRM FOR SERIOUS EXERCISE.  OBVIOUSLY, THIS SMALL FACTOR HAD BEEN OVERLOOKED BY THE HEROES OF THIS STORY.

PLACING ONE END OF THE BOARD ON THE COUCH, WE HAD THE PROPER INCLINE.   I WAS GIVEN THE ‘HONOR’ OF BEING THE FIRST TO TRY IT.  NOW, IN 1962, I DOUBT I WEIGHTED 60 POUNDS.  I COMPLETED THE TEST PHASE OF OUR ENDEAVOR WITHOUT INCIDENT.  NOW, IT WAS MY BROTHER’S TURN.  REMEMBER, MY BROTHER WAS FIVE YEARS OLDER THAN ME, AND, WELL, A LOT HEAVIER.  HE MOUNTED THE BOARD, LAID BACK AND BEGAN TO EXERCISE.  HE NO MORE THAN REACHED A POINT WHERE HIS BODY WAS PERPENDICULAR TO THE FLOOR WHEN WE HEARD A LOUD C-R-A-C-K!!  HE IMMEDIATELY LOST SOME ATTITUDE AND I LOOKED IN HORROR AT THE BOARD.  IT WAS NOW BROKEN IN THE MIDDLE, SHOWING ABOUT A THIRTY DEGREE INCLINE OF IT’S OWN!!   OH, MY SWEET JESUS!!!!  GOD ONLY KNOWS WHAT MY BROTHER SAID, OR THOUGHT!!

AS HINTED PRIOR, MY BROTHER WAS A PRETY HANDY GUY.  HOWEVER, TRY AS HE MAY, HE COULD NOT GET THAT BOARD BACK TO ANYTHING RESEMBLING FLAT.  AFTER REPEATED TRIES AND NUMEROUS IDEAS, HE (WE) OPTED TO GET IT AS CLOSE TO ORIGINAL AS POSSIBLE, MAKE SURE THE COVER WAS AS SMOOTH AS WE COULD GET IT AND HOPE FOR THE BEST.

WHICH BRINGS US BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF THE STORY. AGAIN, I HAVE TO DEFER TO THE FRAILTY OF AGE AS I DON’T REMEMBER WHAT WAS SAID, WHAT DIRE PUNISHMENT WAS DOLED OUT OR EVEN HOW  I MANAGED TO IMPLICATE MY BROTHER.  THE ONE THING THAT I DO KNOW, FOR SURE, WAS THAT YOU ABSOLUTELY NEVER LIED TO MOM AND DAD.  THIS WAS A LESSON LEARNED THE HARD WAY, BUT ONLY HAD TO BE TAUGHT ONCE.  I SPILLED THE BEANS ABOUT MY PART AND STOOD TO RECEIVE SENTENCE.  I HAD NO CHOICE BUT IMPLICATE MY BROTHER IN THE MISDEED.

FINALLY, THREE THINGS CAME OUT OF THIS INCIDENT.  ONE, WE NEVER DID SIT UPS ON MOM’S BOARD AGAIN.  TWO, DAD GOT MOM A NEW, METAL IRONING BOARD, WHICH, SMOOTHED THE FUR OF MY STLLL, FURIOUS MOM.  THREE, YOURS TRULY GOT HIS ASS BEAT BY AN IRATE BROTHER WHO REFUSED TO ACCEPT OR UNDERSTAND WHY I COULDN’T KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT AND KEEP HIM OUT OF DUTCH!!!

THUS, BEGAN MY FORAY INTO THE WORLD OF IRON, ONE OF THE MORE PRECARIOUS BEGINNINGS ANYWHERE, I AM SURE! 

I HAVE NOT DONE AN INCLINE SIT UP TO THIS DAY…….

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