Training Log

Starting Strength in the Real World


by Daniel Oakes | November 16, 2021

pocket watch

After death we will all become a strange kind of stillness (anyone who has seen a corpse will understand), and either fade away into the earth, or drift away as dust across a road.

Most are led from cradle to deathbed by the compassionate hand of common practice. The young temporarily try to escape this fate by acting in an unorthodox manner, but are too naive to realize that unorthodoxy is designed to eventually come under the umbrella of common practice. Some choose madness to feel a little subjective freedom, but are merely confined. Everything is planned for everyone – even for the planners themselves.

And then there are those who embrace the laws of entropy and discover a way to find a little respite from the rules of this world. In the morning, before most think it's morning, or in the evening after most think it's evening, there exists a communion across space and time, of those who rage against entropy – Death in his prime.

The walls are always gray, the clock on the wall, gray, the metal plates, gray. And the barbell, sitting there in the middle of the floor – always very cold and gray. This is where Death hangs around like a saturating syrup, absolutely sure that he's always destined to win.

Tick tock. Everyone's in bed. Will you lift that 400 lb? The black hands of the clock won't stop regardless of what you do. You could break your neck in here and it won't care. But you care about this moment. Why do you care?

Tick tock. Morning or night, you can see the nectarine sky through a meaningless window. The sky doesn't care if you live or die; it has seen many lives; more than you can imagine. Will you lift that weight?

You set your feet, take a deep breath, and wrap your hands around the bar. You can feel your life force being drawn into it, like water into a bottomless hole. But you are raging limitless. You're a fiery temporal being with a heartbeat (something Death lacks) and a will to win. Death can try with all his might to kill you.

Tick tock.

Your skeleton begins to strain, the arms stretching like cord; the bar rises.

Clink. Clink.

You look around and nothing has changed, or even acknowledged your victory. You set the thing down and the clock is still ticking and the sky is still orange and the room is still silent. Death is staring at you and a spider scuttles across the floor in terror. But you smile strangely. So strangely in this strange half-light.

And you go again. You have military discipline, precision. You take a deep breath, wrap your hands around the bar, and pull.

Clink. Clink.

You set the thing down with abandon this time – thump, the vibrations probably killing the spider from across the room. The clock falls off the wall. It's still ticking.

Tick tock.

You pull again. Thump. And again. Thump. You look out the window. You and everyone who ever had eyes. Nothing has changed and you're out of breath.

You undo your belt and throw it on the floor. The room is freezing, but you're raging hot.

That's enough for now. Just for now.  

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