I really hate to be the one to break the news, but there's a reason why we have the stereotype of the "dumb jock": It's true.
Oh, don't everybody get their knickers in a bunch. I'm not saying that just because someone's a jock, he or she HAS to be dumb. It's not like it's a prerequisite for jockdom, or a predetermined result of athletic participation.
But, c'mon, stereotypes have to come from somewhere, otherwise they're called rarities or anomalies.
The thing is, though, being a dumb jock isn't bad. Oh, sure, wouldn't we all like to win the Boston Marathon, then use our post-race, runner's-high energy to spark some brilliant idea that cures world hunger.
Let's face it though, we aren't all capable of winning the science fair for cracking the secret code of fusion-fueled quantum flux capacitors. And that's OK, but we still need to nourish our sense of self-worth. If all we're really good at are things like kicking, blocking, throwing, running, lifting, hitting or headlocking, but not so much the thinking, we still should be celebrated.
I was jock hall of fame material. I'm not bragging; I'm just saying. I was born unnaturally strong and pretty darn quick over short distances. It was genetics; it's not like I did anything to make myself that way. Seriously, I did not lift one finger to make myself athletically inclined ... and therein lies an important point to this discourse:
To be successful, all athletes have to workout. Even the dumb ones. That always seemed a little unreasonable to me, but I understand now that my stance on keeping in shape is not without drawbacks.
I signed up for a high school sport once and was told to report to the weightlifting room the first day. I was like, "Woohoo! Weightlifting competition on the first day. Fun times!" Then I found out it was for strength training, and I was like, "Umm, maybe for panty-waist girl over there who, apparently, only benches 120, but this isn't really my thing." Then I was, like, out of there.
That's when I decided to become a superhero: MegaWoman. Superheroes don't have to work out. They just come in, save the day, go on their merry way. That seemed more my style.
Thus began an illustrious career of being the go-to girl for opening the stuck jar lids, lifting large objects, compressing things with my bare hands, hefting, hoisting, pushing, digging and being the secure anchor on the end of any rope. It wasn't rocket science, but I had a good life as the dumb superhero. I was successful. I was MegaWoman.
And then one day I started grunting.
Y'know, an "ungh" sound to get out of a chair, an "oof" to bend over. Then body parts started failing, then there was pain. I was forced into early retirement. Experts said it was because I hadn't taken care of myself. Soon after, my muscles atrophied rapidly, but my fat cells plumped up even faster.
It was disturbing. It still is disturbing.
So when I went on a lug-nut-loosening mission last week with an over-sized socket, a half-inch thick metal rod for a handle and a three-foot cheater bar for leverage, I planned ahead to be exhausted, possibly injured from the effort.
What I was, though, was MegaWoman once again.
Armed with that three feet of leverage and the dumb-superhero inability to remember that truck lug nuts marked with an L are reverse-threaded, I tightened those lug nuts until I bent the half-inch metal rod. Twice. I didn't say I was smart. Just hefty.
Then my husband gave me a heat-treated metal rod saying: "This time, turn them righty loosy. And if you bend this baby, you really are MegaWoman."
I suppose I should feel bad for putting a kink in that really nice heat-treated rod, but it felt good to show some superhero strength. Even if it was a super-dumb mistake. I still got the power.
(MegaWoman lives on at http://viewnorth40.wordpress.com.)