I Can’t Stop Doing Old-Man Pushups
1:30 PM EDT on October 15, 2020
Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday at Defector during the NFL season. Got something you wanna contribute? Email the Roo. Buy Drew’s new novel, Point B, here.
Fifty-six. Fifty-six was my high score years ago when I set out on a quest to complete the venerated and yet INCREDIBLY PAINFUL Hundred Pushups workout regimen. Given the fact that I’ve had three back surgeries in my lifetime, I couldn’t stage the kind of elaborate workouts you see in NFL pregame profiles or even in your average NordicTrack ad. Lifting weights was out. Wind sprints, to my great relief, were also off the table.
But I could still do pushups, and so I did many. I reached a personal best of 56 and felt like a goddamn KING before my withered spine stepped in after a long silence and said, “Yeah no, I don’t like you doing this.”
So I stopped. I lost whatever mild definition I had built upstairs and slowly regressed back to a relatively lithe dadbod, which I retained for the better part of the last decade. Then—say it with me—the pandemic struck. I had to self-exile from my local gym chain, which has since gone bankrupt, and I did yoga DVD workouts at home for seven months straight. At the same time, I self-medicated with homemade key lime pie and watched my t-shirts get tight enough for my Michelin Man belly to come poking out from underneath. I was getting fat, and I’ve been fat enough times to know that I fucking hate it. I cut out the sugar to help speed up my weight loss, but the scale refused to budge.
That’s when I decided to give pushups another shot. Only this time, lacking both a healthy spine and any ounce of youthful pride, I made a tweak. I would do the 100 pushups regimen, only I would do them from my knees, like a pathetic weakling who can only bench press a barbell if it has no plates on it. I would keep the proper form everywhere else—straight plank, tight core and ass, chest touches the ground on every rep—but I would make my knees the fulcrum instead of my toes to alleviate the pressure on my poor back.
So far, it’s working. I’ve done a high of 35 old man pushups in one sitting and my body has yet to rebel against the workout. The first couple of weeks, my weight still refused to drop. I went into full Bro Mode and convinced myself that I was losing fat but adding muscle. And, as any bro will tell you, muscle weighs more than fat. I was like OK I’m still 224, but it’s all twisted steel and sex appeal now, baby.
I have come to look forward to these sessions. It’s arguably the highlight of my day, which makes sense given that every day in 2020 America absolutely fucking sucks. The pushups have become a ritual, and I have no interest in abandoning that ritual. Every day, I take a break from work around 11ish, then I unroll the cheap yoga mat I got from Walmart on the office floor. Then I take a few deep breaths, knowing I’m about to feel the burn. And then… I begin.
Like distance running, a pushup workout taxes the mind as much as it does the body. Before every set, I have an argument with myself. Well this is gonna suck. NO, DREW. STAY POSITIVE YOU FUCKING LOSER. Then I start the first set, which is the easiest one. I feel like the strongest little boy in the world, but I’m already dreading the second set, because I know it asks for more pushups than the first set, and because I have a good sense of not only when fatigue has set in, but when it’s about to. So I take my little rest, constantly worrying whether or not I’ve rested too long or not enough (the site says rest a minute, but more if you need it; they don’t specify how MUCH more than a minute), and then I get back to work.
I close my eyes for these sets, because looking at the shitty yoga mat makes me hate the yoga mat. I also see the sweat drip down into the little grooves in the mat and worry my hands will start to slip. My thought process gets even more demented as I grind my way through each set. Sometimes I pause mid-plank in the middle of a set: a little mini-rest. Is that cheating? Am I actually making myself more fatigued by staying in this position for so long? I have no clue. I also will sometimes mentally tally my pushup count in segments of 10, so that every count is broken into digestible bits. This is because I hate counting and get bored of it, but also because I feel like it makes the big number seem smaller. Other times I chastise myself for that mental 10 reset, because I’m not giving myself enough credit for how many total pushups I’ve done so far in the set. Then I debate whether or not I should forcefully exhale, or if that’s just needless showboating in an empty room. I do all this fretting WHILE lowering myself down and pushing myself up back up again. Probably uses up vital energy.
I don’t complete every workout. Some days, my arms and chest give out mid-set and I can’t deny it. I collapse onto the mat and let out a gym bro moan. You wanna know why assholes in the weight room do this? Because it feels GREAT. Lets everyone know you worked yourself to the brink of death. Lotta unearned pride in that moan, but it still feels good nonetheless. Other times, I complete all the sets in full. Like on Monday, I did 22-30-20-20-28. When I hit that final 28, I collapsed in exultation. I smashed my fist into the mat like I had just won the NBA title. I had forgotten how gratifying it can be to absolutely fucking destroy yourself. Feels like I just build a treehouse by hand. There are days when I don’t think I’m gonna make it all the way through a set, and then I yell at myself—OUT LOUD—“Come on, Drew, this is where you make the money,” and I finish it off. Not since my football playing days have I engaged in that kind of cheesy-ass self-motivation. I forgot how good it feels to push through the agony and succeed. I would like to keep feeling it, so long as my back approves.
The weight is coming off again. I broke my old scale (laugh it up, fuzzball), and the new one has me at 214 now. I like this scale better. I’m getting more muscle up top in my arms and shoulders. My chest, in an upset, is on the verge of being wider than my waist. This is no small victory at 44. I’m not JACKED, but the wife has said there’s a noticeable difference in my physique. She’s not one to lie about my flaws, either. Sometimes I feel my own biceps and then flex them. Sometimes I pose in the mirror, like a COMPLETE dickhead. I promise I will never do this on camera. That’s Skip Bayless shit. Real men keep their beefcake under wraps so they can surprise you with it, Flanders-style. That’s gonna be my move.
Until I hit 100. Once that happens, this RADbod will be fully unleashed upon the horny masses.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Packers at Bucs: Did you know that ESPN brought Chris Berman back out of the fruit cellar? BEHOLD!
This man has taken his adoration of Huey Lewis too far. Anyway, Berman is back doing MNF highlights now, in some kind of needless sop to viewers of the age of 86. Will he grunt BAY OF PIGS while doing highlights for this game? Of course he will. Who’s gonna stop him? Chris Berman could fucking DIE and ESPN would have his hologram going WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP over archival footage of the 1978 Bucs. Who can argue with the vision Jimmy Pitaro has for this network? No danger in ol’ Boom talking police brutality!
Browns at Steelers: The Browns have to play a big-boy team this week. It fucking blows when your team has a good record then goes into a proving game against one of the big boys and gets completely undressed. I cannot tell you how much I hope that things for THIS Browns team don’t turn out that way. I hate the Steelers more than I hate the existence of the Supreme Court, and I want Big Ben to drown in a vat of his own piss. If the Browns can beat these Steelers in Pittsburgh, which they haven’t done in 17 years, they’ll be Actually Good and then cold fusion will become a reality. If they get outed as a jayvee team, then Trump will be re-elected with Big Ben as his VP.
Bills at Chiefs: It was extremely comforting to watch Josh Allen suck on Tuesday night. I didn’t want to live in a world where a definite Kyle Rittenhouse sympathizer magically turned into MVP of the league overnight. It’s much more comforting when Allen is spraying passes around in a 360-degree radius. I don’t wanna be wrong about the boy.
Ravens at Eagles: I don’t need to study the tape to know that last year’s LSU team was the greatest college football team in history. All I gotta do is see how members of that team are doing as professionals right now, without any offseason workouts or preseason games to get their sea legs. Patrick Queen was just named AFC defensive player of the week. Joe Burrow has thrown for 300 yards in three straight games. Justin Jefferson is the only good thing about the Vikings this year. Clyde Edwards-EEEEEEEEEEEElaire is in the top 10 in rushing and will probably move higher on that leaderboard. Damien Lewis (not the Homeland guy) is already planting defenders into the turf. And I haven’t even gotten to the other 600 draftees from that team who are already starting for their respective NFL teams. This is some serious old-school The U depth. No wonder professional dumbfuck Ed Orgeron won every game 80-0 with them.
Texans at Titans: We were bound to reach a point in the pandemic where criticizing an NFL team for giving everyone a lethal virus results in that same team lashing out at THE HATERZ.
So true. The disrespect shown to these criminally negligent men, who were punished for their misdeeds by having the NFL REARRANGE ITS ENTIRE FUCKING SCHEDULE to accommodate them, was just obscene. Outrage culture is the REAL virus here, folks. I hope the Titans all get leprosy. They're horrible people, especially Taylor Lewan. That said…
Rams at Niners: …one good thing the Titans did the other night was that they had a small amount of fans in the stadium and mixed those fans in with fan cutouts, so that the stands looked, and sounded, fuller. Other stadiums are either empty, empty with cutouts, or scattered with COVID denier fans. The Titans arranged their stands in a way that was much more pleasing to my doggie brain. I still hope they all get leprosy.
Bengals at Colts
Bears at Panthers
Jets at Dolphins: It was shocking enough for the Jets to hire Adam Gase straight off his disastrous stint in Miami. I know these are the Jets, but even the Jets will surprise you by occasionally displaying competence (the Parcells era, the run of AFC title games under Rex, etc). But then they hired Gase and, on top of that, are letting him pull a Josh McDaniels and trade/cut every good player he has. At least when other teams tank, there’s an endgame to it. With the Jets, it’s just uncut nihilism. I’m not sure I’ve seen a more depressing team, and I’ve watched the Browns for the past two decades.
Lions at Jaguars: I had to buy my wife a new laptop because the most recent laptop we own is an Acer model that dates back to the age of cave paintings. So we boot the fucker up and it immediately rendered every other CPU in this house, including the one I’m typing this column up on, obsolete. I tried installing a CD copy of Office 2007 onto this laptop. I was like, “Honey, the product key on this bad boy is still good!” Then I realized the laptop had no CD/DVD drive (I probably should have noticed that when I purchased it), and that Microsoft no longer supports Office 2007, because it’s no longer 2007. I am THIS close to typing shit out on my phone with my opposite index finger while wearing reading glasses. My tech boomer cred has become alarmingly vast.
Cardinals at Cowboys
Broncos at Patriots
Falcons at Vikings (postponed?)
WFT at Giants
Pregame Song That Makes Me Wanna Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Snakedog,” by Together PANGEA! From Rob:
I give you Together PANGEA with “Snakedog.” First of all, half the band name is capitalized, which is right up your alley. Second of all, these guys sound like King Tuff and the Black Lips had a baby out of wedlock and decided to hop the little fucker up on speedballs from day one. Get some.
Oh I will, amigo. I will. I actually do NOT like it when bands get all cutesy with their names (see: Sunn O))), !!!, fIREHOSE, Panic! At The Disco, and Prince’s symbol phase), but I’mma make an exception for Together PANGEA because this song hits me directly in my riff spot. I’m old and picky about new bands. I need catchy riffs, actual singing, and SPEED. These guys possess all of those things, and so I am satisfied.
Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week
It’s the staff of Reason magazine, which I always need a split second to remember is just a somewhat-more-presentable-than-Breitbart news outlet for friendless college libertarians. Anyway, the staff revealed how they were going to vote in the coming election. Let’s see how they answered!
“Political representation is illegitimate in theory and a sham in practice. I don't plan to vote for anyone.”
“I might have voted for Joe Biden if he chose Tulsi Gabbard as his veep, but he didn't, so I'm voting for Jo Jorgensen.”
In fact, nearly all of these clams said they would vote for Jo Jorgensen. CAN YOU FEEL THE JOMENTUM SHIFTING?! Libertarians are just Republicans who wanna feel special. Next time you see one, bludgeon them to death with a seat belt buckle.
Magic Johnson’s Lock Of The Week: Jaguars (+3.5) vs. Lions
“I do not believe the Jacksonville Jaguars should be underdogs at home to the Detroit Lions. Now let me tell you about a REAL underdog story: my dear friend Candy Chestnut, CEO of Strange Wave Biosystems! Candy started this business out of her father’s second garage, and now she’s worth $500 million on paper! Plus she has 12 lovely children between the ages of 10 and 36! What a lady! Next time you need a colonoscopy, Candy’s company is the sweetest option you have!”
2020 Magic record: 2-2
Bad Local Commercial Of The Week!
China Star Buffet! Best damn Chinese food buffet in Kansas! Also probably the only one! from OJ:
From wilds of Wichita, KS. Used to catch these when I lived there about five years back.
“I wanna put that egg roll… in my mouth hole!” Kid, you and me both. This is almost certainly the kind of Chinese restaurant that has a dirty koi tank in the front, with all the fish inside of it on the cusp of dying. Would I still eat here? You know goddamn well I would. I could get all snooty and make fun of China Star, but the truth is that the barrier for entry into what I consider to be edible Chinese food is EXTREMELY low. I’ll eat any Chinese food. I don’t give a shit. If there’s a carton of orange beef sitting in a gas station toilet, it’s mine. I’m on it.
Fire This Asshole!
Is there anything more exciting than a coach losing his job? All year long, we’ll keep track of which coaches will almost certainly get fired at year’s end or sooner. And now, your potential 2020 chopping block:
(* - potential midseason firing)
This is so old I can’t actually find it anymore, but I remember Peter King fawning over now ex-Falcons GM Tom Dimitroff because he saw him watching CNN once. King was like OH WOW YOU BELIEVE THE BRAIN ON THIS GUY? HE WATCHED THE NEWS! Dimitroff, seen here as played by an aging Crispin Glover, built his entire front-office career on looking like the kind of guy Yahoo would hire as Chief Dream Officer. The glasses did 90 percent of the work for him. Your average Football Guy sees those glasses and is like, “Poindexter here must know some shit about those analytics!” No wonder he lasted so long. Join us next year when Dimitroff and Sam Hinkie team up to sell you a COVID mask-sharing app.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Jason sends in this tale I call CORN ON THE CAN.
Several years ago, I rented a room in a nice, big old house with one of my friends. The owner had been trying to sell it, but the market was crap in his neighborhood, so he took it off and rented it out to me and two other people. The first thing we did upon moving in was to head to Ikea to buy some furniture. This is only important because right by the Ikea was a Boston Market and so we topped off our furniture run with a helping of chicken, mashed potatoes and corn. Lots of corn.Cut to the next morning and I have to take my first dump in the place. I was staying one side of the house, and my friend on the other. Unfortunately, I was on the side which hadn’t been lived in awhile and the pipes hadn’t been put through their paces in a long time. I’m sure you can see where this is going. Urine had no trouble going down, but my brown, golden-corn studded treasure instantly caused a feedback loop and spilled out into the bathroom. My housemate heard my screams of terror and poked his head in, saw what was up and then fled.Not necessarily a big deal – just some messy messy cleanup, right? No. As I said, it was a very old house and the bathroom tiles were not watertight. I’m still bleaching a half hour later when I start to hear screams from downstairs. Apparently, the bathroom was right above the foyer of the main entrance and a big brown and yellow stain had started to appear in the ceiling and drip into the hall. This would be the same foyer that the owner planned to parade potential buyers through in the coming months.Couple days later, the owner hired a guy to come in and tear out the ceiling – all while my housemate and I looked on, realizing we were now inhaling my aerosolized poo.
This is why modern plumbing should be outlawed. All it can do is fail.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Almond Roca! This is old-person candy, but some old-person candies are worth keeping around. Almond Roca, my friends, is one such candy. You shouldn’t have to be eligible for Medicare to enjoy a fat-ass brick of toffee. As someone who used to treasure Skor bars like they were uncut diamonds fresh from the mine, I will murder for toffee. Yes I’m of Anglo-Saxon heritage, why do you ask?
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Lobster Lovers Beer, which is NOT from Maine! I can’t believe it either. Reader Matthew reveals the truth about this mysterious, EROTIC brew:
The first thing you notice about this Lithuanian Pilsner is the bizarre label with a lobster perched behind a naked woman. For some reason, the back label reads “has life ever snapped at you? Grab it by the claws.” The beer itself is 9.5% Abv and smells like burnt rubber and doesn’t taste much better. There is no obvious connection between this beer and lobsters beyond the weirdly sexual label. This trash beer is the perfect elixir for a Bills-Jags game.
Is it ever! Little sad that this beer isn’t brewed WITH lobster shells, which of course has been done in the past by enterprising beer snobs. The good news is that the Lobster Lovers label is definitely a photograph. I know because I have that exact same tattoo, same size and all, on the back of my own body. I’m totally ripped now, so I can get away with it.
Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!
“You can be immune to any disease if you just drink the herbal elixamer—is that the word?—that my pal Butane Daisy brews every day underneath Union Station in Denver. What you do, OK, is you round up some acorns, a bit of cat meat, five oak leaves, a spoonful of old tapioca, a sprig of something called ‘rosemary,’ and a bowl full of very, very loose cow stool. Denver has lots of loose cow stool around. You don’t even have to look that hard. You put ALL that into a pot, boil it over a shredded rubber campfire, and then you let it sit for two weeks. Those two weeks are important. Gets the medicines communicating and what not. Drink that down and BOOM. You’ll never get sick again. I threw up my own bones for a month after I drank this stuff. After that? NOTHING. And to think you people have ‘health insurance.’”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Jets Fans
The Addams Family. They don’t make movies like this anymore. That sounds idiotic given that The Addams Family, like every other movie right now, is based off existing IP (I hate that I know that combination of words) that’s so old, no one growing up now even knows what the fuck the source material is. Also, they’ve ALREADY remade this movie. The difference is that the remake is just tired CGI bullshit. The original Addams reboot is a perfectly entertaining live action movie directed by the legendary Barry Sonnenfeld, and unmistakably so. It’s got barely veiled S&M jokes and all kinds of other shit that would get sanded down to nothing by studios in 2020. Plus it’s got Raul Julia, who was never bad in anything, ever.
You already know that indie movies were destroyed thanks to the Marvelization of everything, but a lot of other, far more basic genres are also gone now, too. If you want a bare-bones action movie that does not feature John Wick, you gotta go watch Extraction on Netflix. If you want comedy, you gotta go read/watch the internet. And if you want a mid-budget family movie that is NOT CGI and does not suck, you have to heed seemingly bland recommendations like this one. Old movies are gonna be the only DIFFERENT movies you’re gonna be able to watch soon.
And, as other people have already noted, seeing old movies is getting harder and harder because Netflix’s and even Prime’s streaming catalogs are surprisingly limited. Obvious classics are easy to find, but the obscure shit has basically been rendered extinct. The next generation of self-appointed movie buffs will be callow shitheads who’ve seen nothing outside of a planned cinematic universe. I am not a crackpot.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“The exports of Libya are numerous in amount. One thing they export is corn, or as the Indians call it, ‘maize’. Another famous Indian was Crazy Horse. In conclusion, Libya is a land of contrasts. Thank you.”
Enjoy the games, everyone.
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