Lifting Weights

From my birth until his wedding day, my brother and I shared a bedroom. However, we did not have a door to the room until I was ten or twelve years old. He would lock the door and proceed to beat me up, so our dad removed it from the hinges. To be fair, my hobby was antagonizing him until he decided to retaliate, and then crying for safety.

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My point is, he was without a doubt the bigger and stronger brother. As a result, I learned how to fight with my words, and I learned how to run faster than him.

We can all laugh about this now since we’re adults and best friends. Also, I am currently the taller and heavier brother. It is interesting that we grew up in the same house, with the same parents, because we have different memories. This is a one sided monologue, but I’ve said these things to his face. He is the older sibling, which pushed him into things that built character and taught life skills, which were not necessarily what he wanted to do.

All that was needed to gain my interest was for him to do it once. He began playing piano, I can do it too. He’s taking karate, I want to do that. He joined a swim team, I joined the same team and became an MVP. He’s an All-Conference wrestler, I was All-Conference three times and All-Region and ranked in the state for my weight division.

It really wasn’t a competition, because we had different goals. The same is still true. When I rack pulled 525 pounds, he stayed around 385. Yet, if I’m benching 315, he’s doing 345. His biceps are stronger than mine, but I squat more. There are different priorities despite having the same tools. To use an analogy, Usain Bolt does not train for a marathon, and not everyone that goes to a gym wants a visible six pack. Some people are more concerned with adding plates than watching a scale.

Personally, the desire for strength came from not having the reputation of being strong. I have had surprising strength for my size, which was typically small/slender, but I did not have the appearance of someone that obviously lifted weights. My brother has had that reputation. In contrast, what seemed to fuel his desire was spending childhood as a chubby kid. He was led to a weight room at the beginning of high school, and his college years continued the lifestyle.

I did put on size during college due to a diet of pizza and potatoes, but my desire for strength is a new development. When I was first able to lift the same weight as Isaac, I assumed he was holding back. The day that I was the one adding weight for a set, was weird.

Weight lifting is much more mental than most people acknowledge. It’s not just picking up weight and setting it down. There are constant plateaus to surpass, and sometimes your training partner exceeds them faster than you. There is always another pair of 45’s to add.

I am reminded of a quote that is often attributed to Thucydides. “The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.”

My brother used to tell me, “You are the dumbest smart person I know.” I had forgotten about that until I electrocuted myself last night.

There was a wiring situation at the brake pedal of my car. Half of my body was hanging outside in the cold wind, I could only use one hand because of the small space. It was awkward and frustrating, and then the exposed wire found the steering column. The reaction shook my body a little, but the main result was that my hand hurt for 20 minutes. It then seemed reasonable to disconnect the battery.

That is the second time I’ve been electrocuted. I’m beginning to wonder if this is how I die.

The first time, I was probably 16 or 17 years old, lifeguarding at a summer camp in the middle of nowhere. There was a thunder storm with visible lightning and we had to close the pool. However, lifeguards had to stay incase the sky cleared. I was thirsty and gave no thought to the water fountain being an exposed metal pole sticking out of the ground. And up into the air I went.

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