Musing on muscles…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s Sir Arthur Conan Doyle quotation is from The Adventure of the Speckled Band:
Watson:
Suddenly there was a momentary gleam of light up in the direction of the ventilator, which vanished immediately, but was succeeded by a strong smell of burning oil and heated metal. Someone in the next room had lit a dark lantern. I heard a gentle sound of movement, and then all was silent once more, though the smell grew stronger. For half an hour I sat with straining ears. Then suddenly another sound became audible – a very gentle, soothing sound, like that of a small jet of steam escaping continually from a kettle. The instant that we heard it, Holmes sprang from the bed, struck a match, and lashed furiously with his cane at the bell pull…
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Bodybuilding – What’s that all about then?…
Do you think it might be just a bit too much messy testosterone running about in the bloodstream? I don’t really think that this is a ‘health’ thing, or is it?…
Of course, our bodies build muscle when and where we need it – that’s a pretty sensible thing for it to do. If you have a week of laying and levelling heavy paving stones you find that you ache like hell in the mornings, but after a couple of days the pavers seem a little bit lighter than they were, and you notice that your arms and your thighs have got a little bit thicker – that’s logical.
What strikes me about bodybuilders (but really what do I know of such things? I’m just making this up as I go along…) is that the muscles that they develop don’t seem to be used for anything much, other than the very exercises that make them bigger – but nothing practical or useful. They are obviously just ‘for show’. These chaps, they are sweating and grunting at it every day just to keep the muscles growing – and also to prevent the body noticing that it doesn’t really need these oddly enlarged things, and to stop the old brain sending out signals to start the sensible process of withering them away. Yes, I do believe this ‘hobby’ is an addiction – once you start on all this nonsense it must be so very difficult to get out of it – you are trapped, you’ll be doing it forever…
These chaps could be directing all that effort into something useful – like laying paving slabs, or digging the garden, or learning to juggling anvils…
When I was young I had an uncle, a nice chap, who had some of the visual attributes of a bodybuilder, he was impressively broad-chested with a thick neck, big arms, big strong hands – but then, he was a deal carrier on the docks – walking about, on and off ships, with long 10″ x 4″ timbers on his shoulder for eight long hours a day.
I have known a couple of people, both male, who enjoyed sweating and doing painful things with weights regularly, but when it came to putting together a set of pine bookshelves for another friend of ours, they were hopeless at screwing the screws in because they had remarkably weak hands. I really enjoyed embarrassing them by saying, ‘Look, you’ve left the heads of the screws sticking up from the surface of the wood,’ and then nonchalantly giving each screw a couple of extra turns with the screwdriver – there was a nice crunching sound as they were driven neatly below the surface of the wood – oh, macho me! Ho ho!…
A few weeks later I was given a nice black leather biker jacket by one of these chaps, his arms had got so thick he couldn’t get them into the sleeves any more. Ho ho again! I still have that jacket…
These folk do seem to have trouble getting outdoor clothing that fits them don’t they? They never look good in smart suits – they seem to be bubbling out of their tight shirts and jackets and always look rather uncomfortable. Getting about on foot seems to be a bit of a problem for them too – their thighs are so well-developed that they rub together as they walk and they have to wobble about with their legs apart – not what you would call ‘athletic’ looking… You often see them in the background on TV as they guard politicians and pop stars.
I was going to mention the oiling and posing in public that these people like to engage in, and bring in the theme of homo-eroticism at this point, but that is probably too obvious to bother even mentioning…
Now then – Michelangelo’s famous David statue in Florence – he is nice and muscly isn’t he? He does look great, not an ounce of fat on him, a bit of a hunk I suppose, but he certainly doesn’t look much like a ‘bodybuilder’ does he? I seem to remember Michelangelo’s model was apparently just a young man who worked in the stone quarry where Mike’s marble came from – I’ll bet the lad was really pleased to eventually see himself, 17 feet tall, in the square, in the middle of the city!…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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6 Responses to Musing on muscles…

  1. This is all I have to say on this particular matter….. http://images.athlonsports.com/d/24669-1/Insane-bodybuilders-1A.jpg. Although “strength” training is advised as one gets older, due to metabolic changes in the body, actual bodybuilding is just….as you pointed out….a tad useless. 🙂

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Oh God! What a very unpleasant photo!
      The world is mad-crazy! Compare that bloke with Mike’s ‘David’ – Cor blimey!
      Yes, exercise is great! I do two-and-a-half minutes every day – that’s plenty…

      • I know….I’m sorry to ruin your Saturday with that photo, but I was astonished at how “bubbly” he was! He would burst loudly if he was jagged with a pin….or sat in front of a fire. I much prefer David. And two and a half minutes??? Gosh can you do three? I bet you could if you trained hard enough! 😀

      • Dave Whatt says:

        No no, two-and-a-half mins. is fine – just something to get the old heart rate up, and get the lungs going, once a day – and it flattens the belly a bit – I won’t go into any more details at this point, not that this is anything particularly unpleasant you understand…

  2. Dana Doran says:

    Ok, now I can weigh in…..I do believe that massive marble statues (OH! My husband had to drag me away from viewing David – he was indoors in a studio) have acted, albeit subliminally, to impress upon the viewer that it represents the essence of the perfect male and thus the definition of “beauty.” Did I say that right? Maybe the standard of beauty against which all are compared? So, of course, having been trained in what is beautiful and what is not….bodybuilders don’t meet the standard. Of course, that doesn’t explain Barbie.

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Indeed, bodybuilders come nowhere near – and as for Mike’s ‘David’ – I think he should have been given a big nose, or sticking out ears, just to take a bit of the edge off his perfection…

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