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Silver Linings: When you stop avoiding the gym, life might test your newfound willpower 

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OK, look. It's already a pain in the butt to go to the gym after work. I'm usually tired, there's traffic and my apartment is so much closer.

Plus, the parking lot is always full, so you have to race other aisle prowlers the second a space opens up. And then, once in a while, after I get through that gauntlet just to walk in the door, there's goddamn pizza in there! Lord, it's lead me "not into temptation," not to "delivery and refills."

Still, one day recently, I naively thought I'd finally gotten the hang of this routine. I packed my workout bag the night before and put it in my car so I couldn't make excuses. When I arrived, I parked two blocks away to avoid the race-car ruckus.

Everything was looking up.

But when I got to the locker room I realized I forgot to pack workout pants. Pants! I may have started exercising again, but I'm not even to "work-out-in-shorts-without-your-thighs-chafing" fit yet, let alone "work-out-in-your-underwear" fit. And there's a rule against wearing jeans (mostly 'cause no one needs to see your bedazzling, Karen).

That stupid little voice started to pipe up in my head, "Welp, you did your best, better call it quits."

But wait! There's a second-hand store next door! I can't just quit with a $3 solution right there!

So I rush over, quickly scan the racks of slightly used yoga pants for a pair my size and head to the checkout. Of course, both ladies in front of me would be trying to return things. (Do returned thrift store items become "third hand?" I didn't even know you could do this... or that it took so long.)

Maybe noticing the slow ember of my line-fueled fury, a woman who's just been standing next to the only open cashier says out loud to no one in particular, "I should get what's-her-name."

"What's-her-name?" she continues, walking off. "That new girl? You know uh... what's-her-name?"

About the time I'm starting to lose it, What's-Her-Name takes up her post and rings me up with all the passion and speed of someone whose boss doesn't know their name and I'm off to change as quickly as I can.

"Victory is mine! Take that, internal doubting voice."

Sweet, sweet victory, that is, until I actually get on the elliptical and realize the waist on pre-used pants is pre-stretched out: The pants start falling down every few strides.

You have got to be kidding me.

Having long ago abandoned my hopes of someday being cool, I decide to embrace looking like a buffoon and keep hiking my pants up every few steps. Beyond my belief, it turns out people at the gym just assume you've lost a ton of weight when that happens, and my pants-less cloud suddenly had its silver lining, at least on this day. ♦


The original print version of this article was headlined "Silver Linings"

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