Pamela Anderson as C.J. Parker.

Pamela Anderson as C.J. Parker. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Tour de France has been my  inspiration today. Watching Bradley Wiggins do so well has got me thinking.  The Tour is the ultimate test of endurance. You have to extremely fit to compete. The body endures a real test, and only the very fit survive this extreme test. It is one of the toughest tests in sport. Small wonder why some cyclists resort to taking extra help in the form of performance enhancing drugs. That maybe, however, the Tour has made me take a tour of this Temple The Almighty in His Wisdom bestowed upon me for safe-keeping. I  am the Temple keeper of some sort. Keepers do fail too sometimes too.

As we add on the decades to our life, we also pile up a few goods and extras to the Temple. The keeper of all, even waifs and strays. Travelling the lengths and breaths of our bodies we notice the humps, the bumps, fault-lines, airport runways, blind spots and even crevices. All the result of age. Over time these bits and pieces of our architecture begin to tell so many stories.

The Vanishing six-pack

Well every seasoned traveller will attest to the worries and despair when your luggage goes missing at the airports. The vanishing-six-pack has caused me nothing but worry. Despair, despondence and acute consciousness of the faults in my life. All those kebabs and beers consumed in our twenties or thirties have slowly built up a good refuge in the Temple. Chasing away these unwanted guests, or impostors has caused me so much agony and problems. We spend thousands at the Gyms in the ( vain) hope that these former friends can be cleansed off  the Temple.  We lose the wrong pounds. Money goes down the drain unlike the bad cholesterol that stubbornly clings on to the insides of the Temple. We pound the streets running everyday, weekends. Some clever clogs are making a living setting up boot camps, personal training, running teams etc to help us evacuate these former pals. However, it is also vital to add that over-sized temples are ironically  envied in some geographical regions. Really.  In some societies and  cultures pot-bellies are said to be evidence of a ‘good living’. A life well-lived. But surely they should also add possibly a ‘shortened life’  to that, if all the Government warnings on obesity are to be believed.  It’s probably true that the pot-bellied live well because you will never see a starving middle-aged bloke looking pregnant unless they have some serious medical condition. It’s so funny when you see all these perfect symbols of a ‘good life’ trying so hard to breathe in their ‘statements of good living’ . One of these days someone will cause themselves some serious injury as they desperately try to invent or recover their lost six-packs by holding breath as they walk along the beach.

Lustre

Tottering slowly into middle-age has in a way revealed an age-old truism. The temple starts losing some of its lustre. That allure that for so many years past used to magnetically draw the opposite sex to want to sample its wares. The facade starts playing tricks. Chinks start appearing everywhere. Facial hair starts sprouting everywhere, greying too. The chin, not to be outdone by facial hair suddenly decides to clone itself. Its like two of us can play that game too. Another tale of  well-used jaws. The chin becomes a symbol of man’s ability to reinvent themselves to survive. After all the first law of nature is survival of the fittest. If you can not do that by yourself, you have to gang up. Facial hair will sprout wherever it fancies, a real symbol of manliness! Ha ha ha. Well, the temple can survive facial hair by regularly removing it. We butcher our faces in trying to drive it away. Sometimes we win. Sometimes we lose.The face tells stories of constant battles to fight the onset of old age. Some even resort to various concoctions to help keep that youthful look. Botox parties, Botox clinics, facelifts are just some of these attempts to counteract nature’s  progressive jackpot.  Facial hair though it maybe a nightmare, it is tolerable. Some people even love it if some of the sideburns I have seen lately are anything to go by. Some members of the opposite sex apparently adore men with facial hair! However, nasal (and the ears)  hair is punishment personified. Abominable intrusion into the temple. Not easy to remove. unappealing and unwanted. A guest whose welcome is over the second they turn up. What is it with middle-age that causes hair follicles to become senile and forget where they are meant to work? Why take away hair from the head turning it into a mini airport runway and somehow, by hook or some natural trick transplant the same  in the nostrils!  Whether it serves some biological purpose or not, its unwanted.  I can’t even discuss the fairer sex’s battles with hair in unwanted parts of their temple. I still value my sanity.

Saggy parts

Do legs get shorter or is it because the bellies become somehow elongated,and the bums fearing being overshadowed decide to go down too? I bet our backsides have plenty to say about our lives. They possibly maybe unhappy we over did the seating  or lying on the couch over the years and they call us  ‘lay abouts!’ Unimpressed we never bothered to give them enough exercise, or we did not eat the right food and did not really take much care of them. We rarely see them Well only those walking behind us do.  How many people really and constantly wonder how their  backsides look like everyday? Honestly? Apart from ‘Does my backside look big in this?’ A question dreaded by many men,and we always deftly try to skirt around it instead of giving the honest response. Apparently they should be some unfathomable  particular shape. Seriously, there is some Competition in the UK called ‘Rear of the Year – Is there anything dafter? I have seen the pictures of some of the winners and wondered where the judges got their ideas from. Calling them judges is actually giving them a title they don’t deserve.  There is a word for people constantly ogling others rears, but I wont go there. How do they decide a rear is better looking? Is there like measurement tools, do they have a feel, do they line them up against a wall like the Police do but this time with their front against the wall?  Bum-beauty identity pageant/parade? How does one qualify to be the so-called backside ‘judge’? I will do it for free. Did you hear that? I hope some agent reads the blog. I have so many questions that need answers. My CV, if the ‘Rear of the Year‘  people are reading – I have 20/20 vision and well-maintained hands,  if that would help! Since this is a serious article I think I have said as much as one could about backsides before one gets dragged down to the murkier side of backsides.

The Temple’s uncontrollable movements

Talking of saggy bits, the Tour de body has just unearthed another gem. The saggy arms. The chicken wings (not the Buffalo wings Americans love to scoff), it’s the flabby arms. Sometimes they move about as if dancing to  some strange music. Flapping about as if demented. You know it is time to take some serious corrective action when those dances start. off to the gym, or pounding the streets we do. Just any exercise will do. There is nothing so unattractive as watching someone hopelessly dancing out of sync to the music. The chicken wings are not nice. Again they tell a story of a life well lived –  without out exercises perhaps, and loads of yo-yo dieting. Madonna‘s arms make one realise something has got to give. She is lucky though because of all the money she earns,she can afford an army of personal trainers.

The Chest

Many moons ago, I remember watching Baywatch a lot. Like most young men. It was enjoyable watching these women running about in the red suits and saving lives. Watching a lifeguard in action is never that exciting really!  But watching the likes of Pamela Anderson, well….The tour of the Temple could not be complete without revealing the other magnificent symbol  of middle age. The humps particularly located in the chest area. Man boobs will not draw people to watch Baywatch, if ever a version featuring well-chested man prancing about the beach in revealing tops. It is one aspect of the temple that bewilders me.  Why does it take as many as up to 40 years for the breasts to grow?  Some guys’ chests could surely give a few women a run for their money. Another anomaly is that although we spend most of our teenage years and a significant proportion of our 20s/30s/40s ogling at the big-chested women. However, when the same bits grow big on our chests it’s a no no. Just embrace it. It’s a sign you have lived a good life.

The journey from the top to the very bottom of the temple is a fascinating one. So many stories can be told by from nooks, crannies,bits and bobs. It’s a life story, however, told it should be an interesting story. Some of the stories maybe short. Others long, some punchy and others bouncy, some a bit sensationalist. They are all stories of the life we live.

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