I joined a gym this week. I cautiously made my way to some underground vault, the corridors of which lined with intimidating images of modern day Apollos screaming in enjoyment at the sheer excitement of being in peak physical condition. Undeterred, I pushed on towards the reception.
Then I met him. A man with an anvil for a jaw and a name entirely made up of consonants. His handshake was surprisingly gentle but his ridiculously manic stare and rictus grin painted before me an impression of the man I suspected he actually was. A git.
We sat down and he began talking in that bizarre fashion that those sporty times tend to do; all superlatives and hyperbole. I can’t quite recall all the details but I do remember mention of “extreme workout”, “total energy immersion” and “ultimate goal.” “What’s you’re ultimate goal?” he asked, “because we can achieve it here!”
My ultimate goal is to write a great novel. I’m pretty certain it can’t be realised in this gym or any other but I daren’t tell you that, I thought. If you mean ‘why are you here’ then it is simply to help make sure that I don’t die young. That, my absurd new friend, is why I’m here. Can you help me in this? Can you prevent me from dying? You have the body of a god, but have you the power? Probably not.
I joined anyway and I have now begun climbing my own personal Mount Olympus to achieve my ultimate goal, mainly on Mondays and Wednesdays. It think I can. I think it’s doable. I feel, for the first time in my life, as though I can cheat death, defy mortality and rise triumphant, as eternal as those beautiful creatures who work at the gym, and then I can spend all eternity avoiding them.