I am terrible at going to the gym.
I say this not to be self-deprecating, not out of some charismatic attempt to belittle myself in the minds of my readers and thus inspire empathy or jocularity, but as objective fact. I really suck at working out. Aside from a four-year stint in high school when I fenced (and even then, I didn’t really run) and some off-and-on racquetball jaunts in college, I have not been a fan of exercise. Like, ever. When I lived in Houston and worked at the University of Houston, I dabbled with the elliptical machine at the gym on campus, because I had cheap rates and it was a brief walk across campus, but that’s about it.
Yes, before you mention it, this has been a source of some small ignominy to me. And now, dear friends and colleagues and readers, I have stumbled upon a solution. An iPhone. An iPhone and The Wire.
I am lucky enough to have a friend who upgraded to the most recent iPhone. When he did, he gave me his old one. It has the same processor, but it’s not shiny and new and 4G or whatever. I don’t have AT&T, so it doesn’t much matter. It works as a phone, I can text with it, and it has a big ol’ screen that I can utilize to play game “apps” on the can and check my email (when I can get a wireless signal). Also, the enormous screen is great for watching videos.
The Wire is a television show that I’ve been meaning to watch for a while. Many people whose opinions I respect love this show and have tried to get me into it. My friends Dan and Bill have tried to get me into this show. My friend Nate Unique has tried to get me into this show. My old pal Erin tried to get me into the show. Musician, producer, and extremely nice guy John Vanderslice tried to get me into this show. But here’s the thing– there are like five seasons of the show, and it’s supposed to be engrossing but depressing, and it seemed like kind of a massive undertaking to get into the show and then feel obligated to watch sixty hour-long episodes.
And now, holy shit, two birds, one stone! I converted The Wire to .mp4 format and slapped the first season onto my fresh iPhone. And I’m back from the gym after watching the first episode. And man, that was a pretty damn good show. I didn’t even realize that I was sweating my balls off and running four miles. Elliptical-machining four miles. Whatever. Balls.
And I don’t know, really, my willpower is not all that hot. But I want to watch more of the show, and I want to go to the gym after working until midnight, and I feel pretty good about this. After The Wire, then what? Twin Peaks again? Finally all of The Shield? What’re the most engrossing television shows you’ve ever seen?