RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.
*Written in 2014.
You go to the gym, you lift, you spin, you even hit a speedy blue ball with a racket. Sometimes you run, sometimes you swim and sometimes you stair climb. You eat celery and tuna and only drink water and protein powder mixed with water. You tore your half-shirt last week when flexing in front of the mirror for a Vine. All that is great and fantastic but compared to the men of ancient times, you’re a pussy.
Don’t worry, it’s cool, I know that in this regard, I’m a pussy too – it is what it is.
The fact of the matter is, no matter how many crunches you do or how many power squats you scream through, some ancient Mongol savage could probably conquer a dozen of us in about 30 seconds. We’d be nothing but easy-to-kill food for all the old school warriors of every badass race in history. And no matter how hard we work to improve ourselves, we’d never be more than a sandwich or a nuisance to those people. Their world is gone but if they still existed and hadn’t evolved into us, they’d pillage the shit out of us in no time.
You see, it doesn’t matter how strong you are or how fit you are, you’re still doing it all wrong. And that’s okay because as society has evolved, we don’t need to be rabid beasts roaming the desolate wilderness for a minute form of anything considered sustenance. We no longer have to hunt and gather and thus, life is pretty fucking easy.
Apart from that, we no longer have to find ourselves in constant battle with neighboring tribes who want our land, our food, our water and our women. We don’t have to be on edge constantly because we have a society that is organized and for the most part, civil. We have air conditioning, hot water, television, movies, the Internet, fast food on every corner, a Starbucks wedged between every corner and a multitude of vices we can use to distract ourselves from a world that is nowhere near as tough as it used to be. Shit’s simple.
Looking at the Aztecs, Vikings, Mongols, Apaches, Spartans, Medieval knights, musketeers, Roman gladiators, Ming Dynasty warriors, Rajputs, old school Persians, Comanches, Centurions, Zandas, Maoris, Samurai and Ninjas we’re just fucked. Even Neanderthals would probably just grab us and crush our heads between their palms like the Hulk trying to squash a grape. And the truth is, these guys didn’t work out. They didn’t need to. Their whole existence was a workout. Us modern men, if we’re on top of things, schedule an hour (maybe two) to go to the gym and maximize our time in that short of a window.
The thing though, is that modern men aren’t training for the oncoming wrath of another warrior tribe, they are training to look good above all else. It’s a fashion show and a lifting competition; it’s no longer about survival. Apart from athletes who work out and train for performance or badass motherfuckers like the Green Beret, Navy SEALs or Delta Force, fitness has become a dick wagging contest. Sure, some people do it for health. In fact, most people claim it’s for health. Reality dictates something different than the rhetoric though when you see swollen dudes screaming at each other pressing bars with hundreds of pounds on them all in an effort to impress and outshine their fellow dude brahs.
I’m not saying that this is wrong or trying to paint it as silly or pointless. Truth is, I want to bench press school buses and have the physique of Dwayne Johnson. I think ultimately, most guys would want that (and many women too). I’m just not going to kid myself and pretend that I’m some Herculean barbarian that could eat an entire village for brunch and make a stew out of their weakling souls. As hard as any of us work, unless we are living in a cave whittling battle axes with our teeth and walking 30 miles per day over mountains and through swamps to find 4 oz. of protein, we’ll never be what we were.
But that’s okay, as a society, we’ve earned our much easier lifestyle. We’ve evolved to not have to be the barbarians of old. However, those old habits are still ingrained in our DNA. At a primal level, we probably are still fighting for survival despite the theatrics. Additionally, we’re still competitive because that’s what we are.
Keep working out, stay healthy, eat good but maybe cut out the effeminate low calorie beers because Mic Ultra would just piss off the brutes of old.
In the end, live a long and prosperous life because we deserve it. It was the old warrior and barbarian ways that led to our success and the luxury of not having to remain warriors and barbarians. Let’s just hope that a magical rift in time doesn’t appear because then we’d just be the meat in a Viking omelette.