Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Divergent Post

There is possibly nothing more pathetic, and resoundingly sad than a middle-aged man with his winter jacket collar turned up trudging through the snow into a Times Square Peep Show.

And there are not many things sadder than watching a morbidly obese man wolf down his food as if it is his only happiness in the day.

I saw these two men today and wondered about their misery. Not my place, I know, I know, but I couldn't help but ponder.

The windows at the stretching area at New York Sports Club look out on 40th Street. 40th is the dividing line between Times Square and the Garment District. Since Times Square was cleaned up only a few sex shops, and peep shows remain. I am looking at one wedged between two fabric stores down below the gym. The snow is swirling about, and the streets are a slushing dirty white, and everything else looks gray and sad. Much like this man struggling with this door against the wind and the snow, eager to get inside for the $0.25 peep show.

As I stretched and did my crunches I would look out on the sad little world on 40th Street and thank God I am inside a gym, exercising, eating healthy and living a clean life. Who was that man going inside that seedy place? What life does he have that he must find his happiness in such a foul store of ill repute? I don't mean to moralize, but it was an image that had an effect on me.

I saw another man today. There is a man in the cafeteria who puts out the vats of oatmeal. He is rotund, and never without pouring sweat on his face and arms - his shirt looks like a virtual sluiceway. The first couple of times I saw him I was slightly annoyed, hoping that his sweat does not drip into my oatmeal. But today I saw him on break. Alone at a table. He must weigh 375 lbs, and looks like a sad Fat Albert. I glanced over and I really began to feel sad for him. He looked miserable, and seemed to be finding his only peace, his only happiness in an enormous plate of eggs, sausage, and bacon. He gorged on his food like it was his last meal, but it was not rushed like his break was ending, rather it was gluttonous, and ferocious, like this was his "high." I am over-analysing to be sure, but I bet I am not far off. My heart ached for the poor guy. Perhaps he hates his job, but, I bet if he could find more happiness in himself and treated his body more kindly, he would be a happier man. Yes, I know you are wondering why the hell I am going off on this tangent about a man I do not know, but I think about these things.

I see very fit looking people scarf down a triple cheeseburger and I think, "lucky them." And when I see a fat person in the market with a basket full of junk food I want to stop them. Not out of scorn, but out of compassion. I guess I am moved by such people because even though I never grazed in the morbidly obese arena, I was damn close in my unhealthy, and life threatening lifestyle.

For me, I see myself sometimes - no not visiting peep shows, but finding happiness in over-indulgent behavior. Behavior that clogs arteries and slaughters liver. Even though I have changed my lifestyle, my head needs more work. I still think that afternoon sweet tooth to put me in a better mood can be solved by a handful of Red Vines licorice, and I still have to fight the urge.

Today, I had my oatmeal, a falafal pita with hummus and vegetables, and for dinner a smoothie and fruit (trying to make my dinners as light as possible). I worked out pretty hard today and generally feel good. But, I have these images in my head of two sad men who would be better off if they could find happiness in themselves. Forgive my Halmark card advice, it is just what I am thinking.

Sorry, for such a nonsensical post tonight. It was on my mind, and I felt like writing about it.


Denise D'Agostino said...

Hi Terry,

I found your blog from I'm really enjoying it, particularly because I myself live in NY with a busy job and I love reading about your opinions about living healthy and happy in the big city. This post in particular I enjoyed because I think the same things when I see people in those situations. I want to tell them how much better you can feel and how it changes all aspects of your life (even tradition). Also and of course, you remember how you felt before you found a healthier way to live. Anyway, I'm interested to hear how you handle going out with clients for drinks or late at night and such. Have you found any tactics that work to get people off of your back about drinking or eating poorly when you're in that business situation? I'd love to hear your response! Thanks! - Denise

Terrence said...


Thanks so much for responding, and you pose an excellent question.

I quickly found that clients are fascinated by this endeavor becasue, I think, so few people in the Advertising Sales community do such a thing and that I am overall big guy.

So, I have actually increased my relationships with clients becasue of the vegan quest. And again, becasue "vegan" is so stark it adds more curiosity than just saying "nutrient-dense."

Because I ususally knwo the bartenders (from my former decade!) at all the spots I take clients to, if I think it would be a distraction (and me drinking seltzer water IS a distraction) then i just have them serve me non-alcoholic beer in a glass without clients knowing. Because non-alcoholic beer has basically the same calories and carbs than a regular beer, I just sip one for the evening.

In the end, I am so secure with myself that I happily welcome the ribbing from good friends who are also clients.

In a perverse way I find a charge out of being scolded by people good naturedly because I have almighty health on my side.


Denise D'Agostino said...

Thanks! Your insightful response really helps. I keep thinking about it and it's been helping me in lots of situations! Your blog rocks! :)Keep it up