My poor, illiterate immigrant father, Antonio, couldn’t pronounce ‘exercise’ so he called it ‘extra size.’ In 1973, he wondered why I needed ‘extra size’ in the basement, lifting weights because I was already a professional lifter at my high school factory job, carrying 140 lb. flour bags during eight-hour shifts after school. The irony was that I needed ‘extra size.’ Lifting in the 1970’s focused on ‘extra size.’ No one in the 70s called lifting weights ‘exercise’. Lifting was sacred. Lifting was called lifting or working out. One or the other but not exercise. Both were symbolic terms that differentiated lifting and working out from exercise. Lifting symbolized raising the bar, reaching new heights. Working out included the word ‘work’ adding a blue-collar effect. In the 1970’s, we trash talked exercising – ‘Hey man, I don’t exercise. I work out.’
Size mattered in the 1970’s. Gaining ‘extra size’ was an obsession. A synonym for ‘extra size’ was ‘huge.’ ‘S/he’s huge’ was a compliment. Today, it’s an insult. There was no Facebook in the 1970’s. No Twitter, no Youtube, no smart phones. You couldn’t post #Huge anywhere. But ‘huge’ mattered. Huge trended in the1970’s.
Everything was big in the 1970’s. Hair, sideburns, moustaches, clothes. Wearing clothes without an X made you the object of ridicule. ‘Hey man, is that shirt a medium?’ The 1970’s objective was to wear multiple X-sized clothing. ‘Hey man, check out this flannel shirt – XXXL.’ Oversized flannel shirts were big in the 1970’s workout fashion world. Dual meaning.
‘Extra size’ became paradoxical. ‘Extra size’ was concurrently a positive and a negative in the 1970’s. ‘Extra size’ was the polite way of describing my dysfunctional, obese, 12-year-old self when I started working out/lifting. Political correctness had not been introduced in 1969. It was either, ‘Hey man, you got extra size’ or ‘You’re a Fat F*#@.’ Nothing in between. The inner war began in 1969, the battle between ‘extra size’ versus ‘extra size.’
I tried to explain to Antonio in 1974 that it wasn’t ‘extra size,’ it was working out/lifting. It didn’t work out so I called it ‘extra size’ until the day he died. When I bought my first house, I told him that it had a big basement for ‘extra size.’ When I visited Antonio, I announced my departure with, ‘I gotta go extra size.’
The ‘extra size’ versus ‘extra size’ fight is sacred. The fight to ‘get huge’ without becoming a ‘Fat F*#@’ is energizing. It’s a joyous expression of my soul. I am blessed. I thank God Almighty for the privilege of this fight every day because it beats the alternative fighting. When I was a cop between 1975-1990, I saw the alternative fighting that preoccupies much of society. Responding to domestic fights, bar fights, drunk-driver fights, resisting arrest fights, fighting with co-workers, fighting with bosses. You have two choices in life – become a professional fighter in a cause worth fighting for or become a professional fighter that wastes your potential, wastes your God-given gifts and talents, wastes your time, wastes your energy, and wastes your life. I’m using this blog in one of three new books I’m currently writing – Working with the Dead, Midnight Shift from Hell, and Another Bar Fight. Have to decide where it fits. Dual meaning.
X Fitness is committed to fight a worthy cause by fighting #apathy with Blunt Talk Podcast. March 2 marked the first anniversary of Blunt Talk Podcast. We’ve been blessed with soul-lifting guests. Season 2 has already started with more soul-lifting guests. One new episode airs every Monday. Every episode is a free, permanently archived download compliments of X Fitness. Thank you to over 6,500 listeners in 45 countries. Thank you to our soul-lifting guests. There’s enough depressing news. Blunt Talk podcast will not contribute to it. Good Inspirational News Only.
Blessings and all good things.
Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., Level 3 NCCP (Nat’l Coaching Certification Program)
Football Head coach – Niagara X-Men Football
Gym Owner – X Fitness Welland Inc.
Podcast Host – BLUNT TALK PODCAST www.blunttalk.libsyn.com
Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. Currently, he is finishing another book in his non-fiction series: Mystery of Murder: Working with the Dead. His website www.ginoarcaro.com features the rest of his books including:
- Football coaching and non-fiction books: SWAT System: Offense and Defense, SWAT Tackling Video (with accompanying eBook), and 4th & Hell: Season One and Season Two
- Business Books: Selling H.E.L.L. in Hell, True Confessions, and eBooks: Soul of Selling, and, Real Business Relationships = Sales
- Fat Loss Book: Fat Losing
- Workout System: eXplode: The X Fitness System
- Motivational Books: Soul of a Lifter, and eBooks: The Pledge, and, The Focus
- Children’s Books: Be Fit Don’t Quit, and, The Beauty of a Dream
- Policing Textbook: Arcaro’s Interrogation Case Law