When I was a child there was a monster under my bed.
I couldn’t let my foot slip out from beneath the blankets, because the Monster would bite it off.
If I dropped whatever I was playing with it would have to stay on the floor until morning, because if I reached down to pick it up the Monster would pull me under and eat me.
I couldn’t get up and go to the toilet at night, because the Monster under my bed would grab my tiny frame and tear it to pieces.
That was long, long ago.
He’s gone now. He’s no longer under my bed.
But he didn’t just fade away along with all the other stuff of childhood. No, he’s been replaced.
The thing under my bed no longer bites off feet. It doesn’t grab tiny legs as they walk by. It doesn’t swallow toys.
The thing under my bed breaks toes and cracks shins. And it’s ruthless.
You see, the thing under my bed is now a different evil. A man-made evil. An evil in disguise.
And that evil is every exercise device known to man. A veritable sub-mattress wonder gym now holds a million contraptions of steel and plastic, with adjustable padded seats, pulleys, rubber handles and braided steel cables.
Their hardened cadmium spikes and pointy adjusting bolts lay in wait, ready to slash open any skin that gets too close. They snap bones like twigs and crack toes like eggshells.
I’ve created a new Monster.
My quest to find something even moderately interesting on my overpriced pay TV has failed. Miserably.
I’ve somehow lost my brain.
I sit there hypnotised, seduced by the plethora of shopping channels, phone in one hand, credit card in the other, auto-dialling madly as piece after piece of fitness equipment parades by.
Ab-swings, sit-up things, hip-flexing whatsits, pumpy things, twisty seats, running things, walking frames, pull-up bars that hang from your door, tools that somehow plug into my iPhone and yell at me to sweat. It’s all there.
“And when it’s not in use the Thrashmaster 2000 slides smoothly away. Hide it under your bed! So simple even an arthritic Grandmother with leprosy can do it!”
I gotta have one of those!
Bendy machines that reduce my gut, electrickery that gauges when I’m about to drop dead, monitors telling me to go harder, pull faster, spin quicker.
“Folds conveniently for easy storage!”
Yep, need two of those.
No, better make it three.
Booklets, CDs, DVDs, wall charts and battery operated zickums that hang from my belt – a belt that will now get smaller each day I might add. Each machine comes with them.
Better order four.
And the pills! Let’s not forget the pills!
“Each week we’ll send you two jars of our specially formulated medicinal capsules! There’s fourteen thousand of these exotic wonders in each jar – you’ll be amazed at the results! Just watch that ugly fat drip away like magic!”
Potions and health bars and protein shakes and vitamin drinks and infusions and gels and lotions and creams and wipes and swabs and tubes. All made from some rare and endangered lichen found only in a cave three hundred miles below ground somewhere on Uranus, which is then harvested by a ninety year old invalid pensioner from Krablutsk on a donkey named Chad.
“Scientifically tested on third world children and the homeless, these wonders of modern science work with your exercise routines to strip away layer after layer of ugly, depressing, rancid fat, leaving you trim, taught and terrific!”
“Your friends will be amazed!”
I bought them all, on twenty-seven easy instalments of $99.99 per month – plus postage and handling. I called “in the next ten minutes!” and received free copies of “The TV Marketers Guide” too. Eighty of them.
And it’s all stored under my bed. Tons of folded crap alongside boxes and boxes of shit.
I’m embarrassed and I’m ashamed and I’m humiliated.
I’m beside myself, but not, as you might think, because of any feelings of guilt or remorse or anger.
No. I’m beside myself because there’s so much of me that I can sit beside myself.
You see, I stubbed my toe on the Kneetrembler 750, fell over the Glutemaster 9000 and got stuck between the Pecblaster II and the PowerBum Plus. I’ve been stuck in bed for a month so far and have gained about twelve kilos.
The Doctor says the collarbone will be good in a few weeks, and the torn ligaments in my arse should heal pretty well. I’m not too worried about the groin because I don’t use it much nowadays, and luckily the damage to the scrotum is only superficial.
The main concern is the back, but I’ve been told you don’t actually need all the vertebrae after all.
Anyway, I’d better push off now folks. My lunch just arrived and there’s cake for dessert. Reckon it might need a bit of cream too.
I wonder what’s on TV…