So I arrive at my first session with my trainer at the new gym a couple nights ago. He’s not as much an ass as I’d originally thought. Not as attractive, either.

We sit and immediately he starts asking all the first-session questions we’ve all come to expect. What are your goals? When was the last time you worked out? How often do you think you’ll be coming in here? What are your eating habits?

And I was as honest as possible: I wanna lose weight. I worked out a year ago. I’ll be coming in three days per week, four later. Eating habits: bad.

So he says, “Now we just have to check your blood pressure.”

We walked over to one of those big contraptions you see at the drug stores. I sit down, put my arm through that slot, he presses a button and then the thing starts squeezing my arm.

It lets go soon enough but, for some reason, the reading makes no sense. There’s no first digit to the three digit number. It just read “[blank]-0-0.” He said, “That’s odd. It can’t mean 200.” He kinda laughed and walked off.

Returned a second later and said, “let’s try this again.” By now, I’m terrified. How could I have jacked up the blood pressure machine? I put my arm through that slot again, he presses the button. This time, the reading is through the roof: something like 169 over 110.

He’s like, “Wow, that’s a little high.” I’m like, “Yep.”

We sit down at a table. He says, “Do you know what these numbers mean?”

I said, “They mean we got lotsa work to do! Let’s get started!”

He just settles into his chair: “120 over 80 is what we consider healthy,” and he goes up by tens from there, until he reaches 140, when he says, “anything over 140 is really high.”

I was like, “Yeah, I’ll say. Let’s get started!”

He said, “No. I think it’s important you visit a doctor and see if there’s anything serious going on here before we go any further.”

Actually I shouldn’t have quoted him directly because he said it so vaguely that I made him repeat himself about three times before I figured out we weren’t going to “get started” anytime that night.

To lighten the moment he adds, “One guy came in one time, got a reading like this one and it turned out he needed major surgery!”

I was all, “What?!” You’re gonna sit there and tell me I’m gonna die in a half hour, and now I get to drive myself out of here, scared to death.” (Well no, I didn’t say that).

I immediately went to a clinic that I knew would be on my way home. Of course, everyone in the waiting room has had a cold for the past four weeks. When my number was called I walked up to the window and explained my situation and handed over my health card.

In Ontario we all get a health card that covers us under OHIP, the Ontario Health Insurance Program. I was almost twenty before I realized OHIP was an acronym. This is the socialized medicine that all the liberal Americans talk about all the time. I suspect there must be a lot of fraud because the lady behind the desk (sans any signs of enjoyment) swiped the card – it looks like a credit card – then asked me a pile of questions about my address and contact information (even though it’s on the card), then she dialed a number and got some sort of authorization code for my visit.

They never used to do all that stuff. I wanted to inquire about the process a bit but I was afraid that would raise a flag or something. Somebody somewhere would wonder why I’m interested in something everyone else cares nothing about. So I let it sit.

I barely got my explanation out to the doctor and she knew entirely why I was there. She wrapped the big blood pressure “cuff” around my arm, clipped on her stethoscope and put my hand under her arm and – if I can be honest – she slapped it up against her boob.

I pulled away, because that’s what you’re supposed to do, but she grabbed my arm again and – again – I felt the outside of my hand pressed right up against it. I felt like saying, “Don’t you realize…?” but then I wondered if pointing it out would make me the perv so I said nothing.

My score was 135 over 96 or something like that. Of course, it’s not great but I’m not gonna die in a half hour. She said that some people need the “larger cuff” she used – the one you see in all doctors’ offices – instead of the mechanized ones you see at the drug store (and apparently, my new gym), otherwise the reading will be all jacked up.

Why didn’t my fancy new trainer know that?

You can betcher ass he’ll know when I go back for round 2 tonight.

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

Red Bull Unlocked Nashville


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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

Rumble Boxing Gulch, Nashville


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Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?

For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:

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