adventures in dysthymia

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Jack LaLanne -- the post a couple back, with the quote by Jack, got me to thinking about him. I watched LaLanne's exercise show on television as I was growing up and it did make an impression on me. I count Jack as one of my personal heroes.

Yes, he's a great example of a guy who over-achieved, over-compensated. A little guy and kind of sickly as a kid. Should be noted that a lot of successful bodybuilders are on the short side; that may be because they're trying to compensate but it's also true that the ideal body shape for the sport, the full-bore mesomorph, tends to be short. Which is why when a relatively tall guy like Arnold comes along he can dominate his runty competitors!

But I digress...years of hanging around gyms makes me think I'm an authority. Anyway, I've no doubt that Jack was compensating for his earlier existence as a wimp kid by becoming a bodybuilder and showman. I recognize some of that in myself.

Oh, another aside -- every now and again, someone talks about guys trying to compensate for a lack of endowment by indulging in sundry macho activities, whether jumping out of planes or driving SUVs or chasing women. I don't buy it; our personalities are pretty much set well before we hit puberty and notice such things. I didn't box or bodybuild or ride rather large waves due to what lives in my pants; I did it because of what lives in my head.

And I strongly suspect it was the same with Jack. Some of us will always feel the need to prove ourselves. Anything wrong with that? It's how things get done.

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