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Mike’s Next Adventure

Jerk and Clean: Commentary from the Arnold Classic


There’s one form of body modification that crosses the purlieu of my comprehension — a masochistic brand of transmogrifying fashion.

Are you talking about tattoos, Mike?

No. Tattoos are wonderful, sexy, as long as you’re not a non-pacific islander inking your face, or a father-fixated porn star coloring-in your butthole…(pic excluded, you’re welcome)

Piercings, Mike? Again, done right; beautiful.

Botox, Face Injections? I don’t agree with it, but I understand.

I’m talking about Bodybuilding.

I said it, and I understand that any bodybuilder with the reading level around my 7th grade writing level prolly just ‘Hulk Smash-ed’ their Dell computer, pretending ’twere mah face.

Weights are really heavy; you pick them up, do something with them, and put back down. You eat some steroids for breakfast, lunch, get ripped, then, when your 60, your baggy skin whips around like an epidermal sail. As a former account manager for a particular brand of specialty Testosterone medication…that damage done from downing steroids and the cousin supplements gets REALLY ugly in the twilight years.

Last Friday, I drove into the parking lot at work, and had to park all the waaaay out in the Ball Sack, Iowa section.

Hoards of massive, neck-less beasts emerging from their vehicles, strutted along in shiny Affliction t-shirts to the Convention Center down the street….in 15 degree weather.

Dudes, it’s fucking freezing…

Then I remembered; it’s Arnold Classic week.

The Arnold Classic is a sports competition held annually in Columbus since 1986. Arnold —as in ‘Get to da Choppaaaahh’ Arnold— won Mr. World that year (in Columbus), and has stayed loyal to the town since.

The competition brings world-class athletes of all ages to C-bus, along with a lot of money to a city quickly emerging as the gem of the midwest.

There are a shit-ton of events held during the week — gymnastics, arm wrestling for orphans, the david lee roth high-kicking championship, plum smuggling race, but the weightlifting is the crème dela crème:

I strode through the parking lot, stretching my lean runner’s build to an Ichabod Crane height above the meatheads, shivering in my trench coat.


One of the bipedal gents had on a pink t-shirt, and wore a ponytail; his triceps the size of my Honda civic. Aside from the fact he could rip my shoulder out of the socket and play wiffle ball with my arm, I was impressed such manly man would wear pink…holy shit it’s a woman.


Not the ladyboy I ordered.

Giraffe gait led me in-stride with the new lady friend; a fake-tan-baked, sharp jawed, granite projectile who looked as though she could play strong safety for the Cleveland Browns (and should).

Mouth agape, my eyes wandered to the rest of her muscle tribe, where curiosity met ambivalent glances from  a group of average height, tanned, veiny refrigerators with eyes.

Flight response kicked it, and I cut-timed it to work, stunned by the physical specimens.

Feeling insignificant, flexing my abs at my desk with every breath, I received a text reminder about the Arnold After-Party from my good friend Nate:

Nate: “After Party Tonight!”

Me: “I don’t think I’m strong enough to attend this party.”

Nate: “That’s the point – it’s prime people-watching, like a weird muscle circus”

Me: “I just prolapsed my rectum picking up this green tea.”

Nate was right though; Later that evening at the after-party, spilling my drink pin-balling against the wide-walls of weightlifters’ deltoids (in the super VIP area thanks to Mark the Connector) “they” all looked exactly the same. Sure, different skin tones (various shades of orange), hair color/styles, but same poses and egos with girls who could snap my tibia with their labia muscles.

How do you strike up a conversation? “Does that banana hammock second as an eye patch?”

After the third vodka drink, the epiphanic moment started to ooze in with a song:

“Biiiiiiiiirds of a feather, are flocking outside,” the chorus to Phish’s ‘Birds of a Feather’.

As much truth as there is to the ‘Birds of a feather, flock together’ adage, it fails to mention the natural, but constant competition within the flock. The Muscles at The Arnold traveled near and far for said competition, with each other; with themselves, to feel at home. As I stood in the middle of it all—the proverbial feather in Ichabod Crane’s cap — I felt, as a wise-man once said, “out of my element” in the cult of muscle competition.

And I just wanted to scream “1, 2, 3. NOT IT!” – Mike



35 comments on “Jerk and Clean: Commentary from the Arnold Classic

  1. Nathaniel Hahn says:

    Hahah great title! Whooo! Thanks for the dialog I feel famous today! Great post…I too am glad the meat monsters have moved on…its always scary at the gym when you are curling your 30lb weights and the guy next to you is curling your entire body weight…with one arm! Im always afraid his arm will break off like a HeMan action figure and his 500 lb weight will go flying and break my toothpick leg in half! That would be embarrassing!

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks, Nate. Enjoy the day-fame.
      The best thing about the Arnold Classic is we can now look legitimate at the gym again.

  2. sonicsiesta says:

    absolutley delightful post. rofl funny. Thanks brightened up my Tuesday.

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks, sonicsiesta!
      May your Tuesday be filled with giant muscles.

  3. susielindau says:

    Hilarious! I have never been near a body building competition, but I have always found those pumped up bods kinda gross… Wear your feather proudly Mike!

    1. mabukach says:

      Super gross.
      I understand being fit, but your muscles shouldn’t have muscles.

      Woot Woot!

  4. Brigitte says:

    You are not going to believe this but I was actually a bodybuilder (lightweight, no steriods) for a brief time in my 20s. I’d like to stress lightweight and no steriods. I went to those competitions and the men were disgusting. I actually won a couple of those contests but I was a tiny little bodybuilder. I quit after going to larger competitions and seeing women like that pretty picture you displayed. These people are not very healthy and the men, ew, ew, ew. The he-womem have low voices and some had to shave facial hair.

    They went one toke over the line if you know what I’m saying, MIke.

    1. mabukach says:

      You were not. Are you serious, Brigitte?
      That’s really cool. The fit people look great, it’s the behemoths that look awkward. And you’re right, they’re not healthy. Diuretics and steroids are not a good mix. They’re actually at their weakest when competing, because they’re bodies are so exhausted from all the pre-comp crap (as you probably know).

      Sittin downtown at the railway station – one toke over the line….

    2. The Waiting says:

      I am so glad I read the comments for that little gem about Brigette alone! Brig, you were the absolute LAST person I would have ever pegged as a bodybuilder!

      1. Brigitte says:

        I don’t know if I should be flattered or insulted. Ha! It was long ago in a land far away. I used to really be into perfection — you have no idea — but seriously, those really big people (both male and female) scared me.

      2. Brigitte says:

        Oh, and I did reveal that tiny tidbit about me on my about me page. 😀

  5. Laura says:

    “Epidermal sail.” Good one.

    1. mabukach says:

      Almost used ‘flying squirrel skin’.

    1. mabukach says:

      Please tell me you’re in this band.

  6. Jessica says:

    This is fantastic. And I completely agree. Ew!

    1. mabukach says:

      Thank you, Jessica. Ew on both lady and man fronts.

  7. Maggie O'C says:

    Laughing too loud in the office, again! Please tell me more about those photos. The one of the little boy is photoshopped, please God. And is that a man or a woman? both?

    1. mabukach says:

      Did you get in trouble, Maggie?
      Sorry to say, the little boy is NOT photoshopped. It’s real…what parent…why?

      Woman. I saw her at the after-party. It’s a lady, but I think her balls are bigger than mine.

  8. wanda4848 says:

    Very funny post. Some people who work out with weights look a bit ridiculous, as if they blew up bigger. By the way did you see the sign language video I made on YouTube at
    It is just me on the video teaching people how to sign a few words. First time I tried this. It’s on my blog

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks, Wanda!
      I will definitely check out your vids soon.

  9. Is one of the rounds in the competition to get your maid pregnant? I heard they added that about 10 years ago.

    1. mabukach says:

      It is! They call it the sperm toss, but it’s a super invite-only event.

  10. free penny press says:

    You are hilarious.. a few years I decided to “whip’ myself into shape, started lifting big boy weights (not the Barbie 5# thingys) and before long I had that whole Arnold attitude.. now steroids and women are not a pretty match.. if i was a dude, that lady would scare the crap out of me..

    1. mabukach says:

      There’s no problem with a little work-out swagger; some confidence. Hell, if you were working with the big boys, you should brag about it.
      But yeah, the steroids thing…I was going to post the “nude” pics of bodybuilders, but they made me nauseous.

  11. HAHAHA … exactly why I’ve never been into “muscle types” …

    1. mabukach says:

      Me neither (the lady muscles pictured above) 🙂

  12. I still remember being in Elementary school and having a new kid come to class. He was an 11-year old bodybuilder and all the girls went crazy. I think of him today and can only imagine how his eyes have sunken so far back in his head that they are now looking backwards. Poor guy.

    1. mabukach says:

      Wow. Just wow. Kids are supposed to be playing outside, or video games, not hitting the weight room everyday.
      Poor guy is right.
      Thanks, battle!

  13. The Waiting says:

    This was so funny! Don’t they actually spray paint themselves with orange? Why? Just why?

    1. mabukach says:

      Thank you thank you.
      I think they really do paint themselves orange. Apparently, orange LOOKS strong. Really, they look like muscular oompah loompahs

  14. I don’t understand the craze at all. I think once upon a time it was more about fitness, then everyone wanted to be bigger and bigger…as one of your other commenters indicated, nothing wrong with fitness, but this isn’t fit, and I also agree that it isn’t even attractive. Oh well, to each his or her own I guess.

    1. mabukach says:

      Absolutely agree about the fitness part. I’m a runner, I like being fit. I don’t eat growth hormones by the bucket to be faster.
      Thanks for commenting

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