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Lookism & The One Muscle That Can Take Anyone Down

I, too yearn for the enviable appearance of a Greek Adonis. This pursuit of vain dreams leads me to working out at the gym each week. I pump up my abs, biceps, quads, glutes, and cardio muscles to Greek proportions. How has the Adonis struggle been going?  Have the lifts, curls, and presses brought me the appearance I’d hoped to achieve?
Almost. But then suddenly the gym work became irrelevant. Of the 640 muscles in my body, 639 were progressing nicely: One was not! That one offending muscle bit me and quickly superseded all the others. It was the sphincter muscle – the very last muscle I want to think about or mention to you. That is because, I am a refined guy. I read poetry or sip grand cru wine. I think about chamber music – not sphincters.

But that little puppy just would not be denied. A slight imperfection, a tiny fissure in my case, and that muscle made every minute a living hell. A faulty sphincter does not whisper discomfort – it screams alarm like a fire truck! It demands top billing over every other concern in your life. Finally, I came to the disgusting truth; nobody can endure that kind of pain. Fortunately, I chose surgery, and the problem immediately disappeared.
Moving quickly on and upward, was there any meaning to this vulgar nightmare?

Yes. To me, it is the glaring irony between the heroic “Adonis wannabe” versus who we really are.


My whole vain appearance sits on (if I may say) fragile bottom. So it is not reassuring that one single muscle can obliterate a lifetime of self-image dreams.


But that is me. What about the authentic Adonis celebrities we see: World leaders, famous athletes, and yes, the gorgeous weather people? Do they too, endure unmentionable ailments? Those whose appearance dreams have come true, those who win the “Good looks lottery,” and show up on the glossy covers or prime time TV- none of them ever needed a sphincterotomy? 

The crack between that unmentionable private reality and their lofty public persona must be excruciating irony. They seem to cope. I respect and admire their grace under stress. They are a comfort to the rest of us, reconciling our dreams with reality.

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About The Author
Barclay Henderson
Barclay Henderson
Born Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1939. (I'm happily still there). I went west to graduate from college, Reed, in Oregon, and then further west to Waseda University, Tokyo. I earned a black belt in Judo in Japan and married my current wife there. I returned to New England and got an MBA at Dartmouth's Tuck School. In 1970 I started my own company, a Benihana of Tokyo franchise, and went on to build 20 more restaurants in the U.S. and Canada. In 2011 I sold out profitably, and we spent time traveling. Minako and I love this country but dreamed of visiting more than 100 foreign lands and continents. We fulfilled that goal last year. The years since retirement have turned out to be an antidote to left-brain analytics of business. I've written two books and a humor blog. I play the oboe in small chamber groups as well as many days as a gym rat working out. The days pass agreeably, but those spent fooling around with the kids and grandkids are the best days.
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