A few days ago my family was hanging out in the family room. The kids were playing with their toys, I was reading a magazine and my husband was watching television. He was flipping through the channels and stopped on MTV. MTV was showing a music video. No, I’m just kidding! A music video on MTV? When’s the last time that happened? OK, it happened when Michael Jackson died. Let me rephrase the question – when’s the last time MTV aired a music video before Michael Jackson’s death? A decade or two ago? Now instead of music videos, MTV’s lineup consists of laughable fine shows like My Super Sweet 16, Date My Mom and Real World/Road Rules Has Beens Challenge. Apparently my husband had stumbled upon one of MTV’s newest trainwrecks productions, World’s Strictest Parents. He started watching it while I kept reading my magazine. At least I tried to read my magazine – it was hard not to be distracted by this ridiculous show. World’s Strictest Parents focuses on two poorly behaved, spoiled teenagers who are making their parents’ lives a living hell. The spoiled teenagers are sent away to live with another set of parents….[gasp!] THE WORLD’S STRICTEST PARENTS! During this episode the world’s strictest parents were laying down the house rules for the unruly teenagers. Swearing was not allowed in their household. If the rebellious teens disobeyed, their punishment would be swift and harsh. Their punishment would be push ups. Yes, push ups. For every curse word uttered, the world’s strictest parents demanded the teens drop and give them 20.
Me: [bursts out laughing] Push ups? What kind of punishment is that?
J: [snickers] Oh yeah, like you can do push ups.
Me: I can do push ups.
J: You don’t have enough arm strength.
I hated to admit it, but he had a point there. My arms are scrawny not very muscular. But I’m able to carry my 3 1/2-year-old son around with ease. True, he’s barely 30 pounds and has always been in the 3-5% for weight, but I still need upper arm strength to carry him. Also, 9 times out of 10 I’m strong enough to open the jar of jelly (1 time out of 10 I can’t get the damn jar open and my kid is stuck eating a peanut butter and peanut butter sandwich, but that’s OK because he’s only 30 pounds so he can use the extra fat). Sure, I wouldn’t win any World’s Strongest Woman contest, but I figured I had enough arm strength to do push ups.
Me: I can do push ups.
J: [more snickering] OK, let’s see.
I got down on the ground and assumed the push up position (real push ups, not the on-your-knees-girlie push ups).
One push up, two push ups….oh yeah, this is easy.
Three, four….still going strong.
Nine push ups! Woo hoo! I felt great about doing nine push ups and I felt even better about proving my husband wrong. I knew I was strong enough to do push ups. I was proud. I was vindicated. I was….
Yes, the following day I was sore. My arms were sore. My chest was sore. They ached as if I had done 100 push ups. But I had only done nine and I was in pain. How pathetic is that? I guess I don’t have as much arm strength as I thought.
Note to self: if I ever meet the world’s strictest parents, be careful not to swear – 20 push ups are harder than they look!