Last night, I found an infomercial for Richard Simmons’ new fitness workout.
Be still my heart.
If you know me at all, you know I love infomercials. They inspire me. They encourage me. They’re like a little hit of caffeine for the spirit.
But, friends, he has aged. Mr. Simmons can’t move with as much ease and verve as before. He lifts his legs a little. He claps and smiles, but the movement is not as energetic as in days of yore. He smiles, and the grooves of long-used facial muscles appear.
I admit myself among those who mocked his endlessly cheery, effeminate speech. I have giggled at his tiny shorts and goofy headbands. I have mocked his “dance” routines. His campiness made him an easy target. Also, friends, I am a diet and exercise snob. I have been there and done that on a lot of things. I feel like if you’re not going hardcore, get out! Stop messing around and get it done!
I often wondered if his diet and exercise plans actually worked. Feel free to comment if you’ve tried them.
What I admire about Richard is that this is his calling. Once an obese child and young adult himself, he remembers well how hard it was. Disgusted with fad diets, he opened an exercise studio. He even had a salad bar for a bit. He himself lost 123 pounds. He has been working with America to get fit, lose weight and be healthy for decades. Sure, he’s fallen out of vogue. Not that he was ever *in* vogue in my generation, but he has helped thousands. Yet it’s been a long, long time since he put out anything new.
Whether or not the plans work, people connect with him. He truly cares for those who struggle with obesity and overeating. He encourages. He edifies. He exhorts. In fact, though I certainly can’t speak for his spiritual state, I would say his main spiritual gifting is exhortation. He makes you believe it’s possible for you to get down to a size 8 and wow everyone at your next class reunion. He will be by your side, provided you pay for it, to help you achieve your goals.
It makes me wonder what my life mission is. Have I found it? Am I keeping it front and center all the time, despite fulfilling other duties “as assigned”? I always hated that on the job descriptions: “Must be able to lift up to 50 lbs (what?!) and other duties as assigned.” You lost me at 50 lbs. Although as a PA at IDC, I did have to sometimes heft rolls of blueprints weighing approximately 40 lbs. So, it wasn’t far off to include it on the 10-page task list. I suppose the 10-page part should have clued me in to the work involved with the position. But I digress.
I guess I have a soft spot for Richard because he has not wavered in his passion. It’s palpable. His empathy shines through. He has made helping people get fit and healthy his life goal. That’s it. Sure, he acts on the side, but he knows he’s not the next Brad Pitt, or even an older version of Bradley. Richard, thanks for 4 decades of good and faithful service. I’ll even forgive your everlasting perkiness. Just this once.