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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

One Tall Voice: You should take a W-E-A-K-end

Published: January 23, 2009
Section: Opinions

the_hoot_1-23-09final_page_05_image_0001I think less of weakness. Whether it is physical, or manifests itself in other ways, I hate this characteristic. Normally, you may believe this to be an absurd opinion, motivated by intolerance and bigotry. I shall try, through the course of this article, to explain why I have these sentiments and how they are justified by conditions in our current society.

Thank goodness, by the narrowest of margins, the Brandeis student body voted last year to use our rollover funds to purchase a new weight room. Our old facilities represented a true “sweat shop,” a place the likes of which should only be found in the movie “Rocky.” And let us not forget that he lost in the first film! Now we have a brand new facility, with machines that can strengthen nearly every part of one’s body. I hope that Brandeis students will go to the gym more to benefit from this improvement, but looking around campus, I won’t hold my breath.

Brandeis, as well as our country at large, is full of people who are too slothful and lazy to regularly exercise. Maybe this is why our nation has one of the largest onsets of obesity in the world and has numerous deaths related to this ailment. Now I am more libertarian than many of you may think, and often believe that individuals may only be irked by “other-regarding” activity. But weakness and obesity affects everyone in a variety of ways.

For one, being weak or fat puts you more at risk for health ailments. This has an effect on the general population, as everyone’s health insurance premiums must go up to support these sloths. Furthermore, because of the socialist healthcare infrastructure that has been created through such programs as Medicaid and Medicare, my tax dollars may even go to pay for the unhealthy lifestyle many Americans pursue. Perhaps if we didn’t have these programs, the government and myself could be less nosy about other people’s business, and this constitutes a reason against universal healthcare as well. Furthermore, all American men ages 18-25 are subject to the Selective Service Act and may be drafted in a time of war. These people should definitely keep themselves physically agile so that they may be called upon in our nation’s time of need to defend the country.

I should also explicitly say that I look down upon fat people, as I perceive being overweight as a sign of weakness. For most of us, a good diet and regular exercise is enough to keep our bodies in shape and healthy. Some individuals seem unable to contain themselves, however, and splurge on unhealthy foods; over-eating is their weakness. This is absurd! I bet that there is a bigger health risk to being fat then there is to smoking, but people in our society seem willing to tolerate being overweight.

In addition, the lifestyle of overweight individuals is likely to be conveyed to their children and kids are therefore unwillingly subject to unhealthy eating. I should note that if you are overweight due to genetic or other reasons, I do not think less of you. In addition, if one is overweight and exercises regularly, they should be commended (and studies show that they can then avoid many health risks associated with being overweight). Seriously, fat people give our country a bad name and for many there is no excuse for being overweight.

One of my friends said he felt like there was no point in going to the gym for he was a Jewish man and therefore unable to bulk up. That’s ridiculous! Have you ever heard of the Maccabees, the IDF, or JDL? And Jewish individuals should try to break the stereotype of us being weak and feeble. Many people also tell me that they are too busy and that this prevents them from working out. This is outrageous as everyone can make time to spend at least three times a week when they can work on their fitness. I don’t even have to recount how busy I was during my college career, but even at its worst, I was still going to the gym four-five times a week for around two hours at a time.

Now I don’t consider myself strong, but at least I make a concerted effort at building my own fitness. Each year I witness the Physical Fitness Exemption Test down at Gosman and am stunned by the number of people who fail. Although I am exempted from Phys. Ed. because of my three years on the Varsity Track and Field Team, I took the test once after practice in my sophomore year. Despite being pretty exhausted from my workout, I still passed the test with a ninety-eight percent, twenty-eight points higher than the seventy needed to pass. Each time I go to the weight room, I see the same group of people, as only a small but committed segment of the Brandeis population uses the facility. Its fun to get to know these individuals, but I wish more students made the hike down to the gym. And seriously, working out is pretty enjoyable; almost everyone knows each other and the music is usually pretty good.

I won’t even touch why I look down upon other kinds of weakness, as this subject is too touchy for even me to write about. I just hope that people will use the new weight room as their inactivity can be “other-regarding” indeed. And hell, if you ever need a spot while down there, just tap me on the shoulder; I’d love to be of assistance.