Living Retired — ‘I Did It Thigh Way’
Living Retired — ‘I Did It Thigh Way’
By Gary Chalk.
I remember a Christmas gift I gave Jan many years ago just like it was yesterday…
When Jan unwrapped the box she said, “Gary, you bought me one of those thigh masters that Suzanne Somers promotes.” But then she quickly added, “So while I exercise and get in shape what will you be doing to increase your heart rate?”
“That’s easy dear, I’ll look at the photograph on the box of Suzanne Somers.”
You remember the thigh master: it was the darling of television infomercials back in the 1990’s. It consisted of a couple of pieces of metal bent in a loop with a hinge. The commercials showed beautiful people squeezing the thigh master between their legs while they watched television. These people looked great. They were everyday people like Pamela Anderson on Baywatch.
The thigh master has been around all these years — mostly in bedrooms kicked underneath the bed. That is where I found ours recently. We were getting the house in order before the cleaning lady came the following morning.
“Jan I’ll clean up the bedroom. You go through the rest of the main floor. The cleaning lady will be here tomorrow morning so we better get the house ready.”
That is when it happened…
“Jan. Come here quick. I am in our bedroom.”
Jan came running. Standing at the doorway she said, “Okay Gary I hear you but I don’t see you. Where are you?”
“Jan, I am on the other side of the bed. Laying on the floor.”
“Gary, what are you doing down there? And why are you groaning?”
“Because I can’t get up Jan. I reached under the bed to drag out the thigh master and I wrenched my back.”
“Gary, I’ve told you before that you would be better off exercising on the treadmill down in the basement.”
“Jan, the treadmill is what we use to hang our winter coats on during the summer. But that’s not the point. Slide me across the floor and prop me up into a sitting position.” Jan struggled trying to reposition me, muttered something about Humpty Dumpty falling off the wall.
I remember the time — the only time — I tried our thigh master. I sat in a chair watching football on television squeezing the living daylights out of the thigh master. In and out. In and out. In and out. In and out. I felt fine — until the next day when I tried to get out of bed. Yikes! Before you could say ‘Sweating To The Oldies with Richard Simmons’ I crashed down onto the floor. I was in a fetal position, grimacing, in tears! I couldn’t move my legs together. My groin throbbed!
“Jan, I am down on the floor beside the bed. I need you to help me get up?”
Jan took one look at me and howled! “Gary, your legs are bowed so far apart you look like that time we came back from horseback riding. You couldn’t get your knees together for two weeks.”
For the next couple of weeks, I rubbed the liquid ointment that was popular back in those days for sore muscles — Absorbine Jr. — all over my thighs. I eventually wore the thin sponge bingo dabber-like roller down to its threads! Jan didn’t come close to me because I wreaked like a Vicks menthol nasal inhaler!
Before the Susanne Somers thigh master in the 1990’s, the home fitness industry muscled its way into our lives in the early 1980’s when Jane Fonda launched her Jane Fonda Workout videos. This coincided with the introduction of the VCR. Women fit themselves into tight colourful leotards and striped leg warmers reaching up past their knees, and watched Jane scream, “Feel the burn!” Husbands? We were left feeling the burn trying to remove the damn VHS tape that was a mangled mess stuck in the VCR!
Here’s what I learned: a Jane Fonda workout video, a Suzanne Somers thigh master, along with Jan and myself doesn’t add up to Three’s Company.