Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Testament to my Beastlyness

Would you believe it if I told you I was the runt of the family? Me. Oldest born. 5'6". Runt.

You see, my family...we are not small people. Nor are we wimps.

This is my dad. He’s a bit over 6-feet tall. Former wrestler and high school Hot Rod of the Year. Descendant of vikings and barbarians.

This is my mom...well, she’s one of those perfectly petite people, so we’re excluding her from this study, since viking blood doesn’t flow through her veins. (She brings to the table my French ancestry...wonder if that explains my hatred of guns and love of cheese).

This is my brother, Ryan (his wife, Laura, is with him!). Again, over 6-feet tall. People used to always ask him if he played football, but this was before Tim Tebow revolutionized the rules for homeschoolers and sports and so he’d always reply “No” while probably thinking to himself “Can’t a guy just be big for no reason?”

This is my sister, Emily. She is like 5’9” with epic, strong hair. The hair of a Valkyrie.

This is my brother, Jared. Though the slimmest of all us kids, he’s like 6’3” and his skinny jeans don’t help with the super tall illusion. He can build shelters that blend into the forest and traps that catch wild animals.

And then, again, there’s me.

At eight, I’d play wrestling with Ryan and his neighbor friends.
At eleven, I was my dad’s go-to person to help him move all of our furniture into the moving van.
And then again at twelve. And thirteen. And fourteen. We moved a lot.
At sixteen, despite my ho-hum skill, I got to play the position of catcher on my softball team a few times. (We all know that’s where the beastly players play...that, and first base).
At 25, I killed it as lead paddler on a white water rafting trip. Not to mention, I was running 6 miles a day at the time and lifting rather frequently.
And today, at 28, I’m considering training for a Tough Mudder.

All this to say, despite being the runt, I’m no wimp. But I often get the feeling that I come across wimp-like.

I opened a new gym membership, and part of the whole deal was I got a one-on-one assessment from a personal trainer.

Now, I hadn’t exercised or done anything remotely healthy for about a year leading up to this (I have the number on the scale to prove it). Yet when my super-buff trainer, Craig, handed me a kettlebell, I manhandled that thing. After one round of reps, he was like “do you want a heavier bell?” and I was like “yeah, this feather-like joke of a kettlebell is about to fly out of my hands” and he was like “you can go pick whichever one you want” but I had already gestured at HIS kettlebell. The one that he had selected for himself to use while demonstrating the moves.

“You want this one?” he asked.
“Okay” but I could hear the doubt in his voice. As if he said, How can you, a wussy blond who hasn’t lifted a thing in the past year aside from her laptop, even think to be able to use MY kettlebell? Can't you see my muscles, woman?! Can't you smell protein shakes on my breath?!

To which I replied, “I am Amanda, daughter of Randy, sister of Ryan, Emily, and Jared. Great granddaughter of Carl Oskar Johansson of Sweden and Hulda Edin of Mora, Minnesota. My ancestors raped and pillaged yours. I think I can handle this kettlebell.”

And I did.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Commander Lol

For as long as I’ve been on the Internet, I’ve avoided using the term “Lol.” Not only does it look absolutely disgusting (like the name of some Star Trek character whose brains are coming out of his ears), but my head is incapable of translating it properly. I don’t see it and immediately think “laugh out loud.” I see it and think of it as a pronounceable word, such as “loll” as in “lollypop” or “lollygagging.” And that just sounds stupid in my head.

So all these years I’ve opted for the much more mature “haha.” Or, if I’m particularly tickled, the “bahaha”or the “hahahahahahahahaha.” But never the “LOL” or the “ROFL” or the really ridiculous “ROFLOL.”

Still with me?


Because lately, my resolve has weakened. I’ve found myself responding to entire emails with a simple “Lol.” I’ve left Facebook comments that include that horrific letter combination, and I’ve even texted, yes, TEXTED the abominable “Lol.”

I keep telling myself, “Self, you’ve got to get it together. You’re better than this. You’re smarter than this. You don’t want people to think about a Star Trek character whose brains are coming out of his ears when in fact you are just laughing. And you aren’t even really laughing. You’re chuckling. So maybe you could instead type, scratch that. You don’t want people to always think of Col. Mustard when you laugh. Sigh. See this predicament you’ve gotten us in?”

So two seconds ago, I decided to accept this stupid phase of life and just deal with the fact that I was now a “Lol-er.”

And then it happened. When I was thinking about a response to an email I received, I began whispering to myself (this is a horrible trait I got from my dad. THANKS, DAD). I whispered my imagined reply and then out of nowhere, I included a “Lol.”

Except I didn’t laugh aloud or even chuckle. I just seamlessly inserted my weird, pronounceable version of “Lol” right smack dab in the middle of my sentence. One moment, I was responding intelligently and the next, I was summoning Commander Lol and all of his ear brains. All of this happened while I remained emotionally astute. No smile. No physical indication that I could maybe squeak out an actual laugh. No, “Lol” took care of that for me. Apparently, accepting him into your life means that you no longer need to actually laugh or chuckle at things. You need only to say the name “Lol.”

Stupid, Lol. You’ve replaced my ability to laugh aloud.

And, you make me sound dumb.