The Prince of Pushups

Dear Michael,

“I’m going to do my pushups,” you told us one day, as I recall. And back to your room you went, closing the door for your mission of the moment.

You came out later to let us know how many pushups you had done. It had to be somewhere around 40 or 50, and I quickly congratulated you. It amounted to more pushups than I had ever managed.

You smiled with satisfaction at your accomplishment, as you had every right to do. You were – what? 19 years old, maybe 20? And feeling your oats.

Some days later you informed us of your latest feat in this pushup venture: you had cranked out 55 or 60 now. You were still panting a little from the exertion, your arms glossy with sweat.
At every opportunity over the coming weeks, you gave us the latest scoop on your status. You were out to do as many pushups as your muscles could muster.

Who knew why you set out on this enterprise? To the best of my knowledge, you had no plans to join the Marines, nor to enter professional wrestling, nor to do a sideshow act on the boardwalk in Coney Island. Apparently you simply decided to test yourself, to pit yourself against yourself.

And so over the next few months, you would do the deed. Get down on your carpet, hands shoulder-length apart, feet out straight, bringing your nose down next to the floor along with your chest and hips, and grind out those pushups.

We would hear you from the living room as you went through your labors, hear you grunt and groan as you strained to set a new record for the day.

“He’s doing his pushups again,” I might tell Mom.
“So it seems,” she might say.

Out of your room you would then come to deliver your latest bulletin to us. Now you had peeled off 70 pushups, or 75, or 80. The number rose to astonishing new heights. Your already thick biceps now looked even thicker. How high could you go in this private Olympic event of yours?

Every day you got down to business, doing your stuff on the floor in your room. Your grunts and groans grew louder as you approached, then exceeded, your previous limits, surpassed your former frontiers, and discovered the possibilities of your own strength.

P.S. – Part 2 will appear tomorrow.

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