9th November 2020

The forgotten art of calisthenics is unsurprisingly in these days of enforced isolation making a decided comeback. The wonders of ‘gym styling’ with their abundance of mechanical and electronic machinery to make exercise more entertaining if no less painful having been put aside by the necessities of social distancing the elemental art of isometric muscular repetition has reappeared in living rooms and basements throughout the kingdom.

I well remember a certain gentleman by the name of Charles Atlas, a man of miraculous physique, superbly muscled, with chillingly Aryan good looks and a crewcut of perfectly groomed blond hair staring back at me from the back page or inside cover of every American printed comic book my eager hands could lay themselves upon. Thankfully, Mister Atlas, for whom I felt a somewhat disturbing attraction, was a few thousand miles away so any chance of me ordering the wonders portrayed in his advertisements was as likely as me laying hands upon that other most desirous object of comic book commercialism, the sea monkey.

My reasoning for this sudden and admittedly peculiar train of recollective thinking was today much to my surprise witnessing a young lady performing what I hope were isometric exercises on my stroll in Moran state park. I say hopefully isometrics, any other explanation casting questions on both her reasons for posing in quite so aesthetically pleasing a manner and for my adopting the overtly interested voyeuristic stance I found so appealing.

Comic books, the funnies, represented a pretty large influence upon my early life, filled as they were with adventures, situations far beyond anything I could then ever have imagined experiencing myself. Delivered every Monday with my Fathers newspaper I awaited my weekly fix with bated breath. My particular poison was a masterpiece of tat called ‘the Eagle’, a full sheet color newsprint full of past, present and future tales of daring do. No superheroes I recall, Brits did not do superheroes, just regular type chaps doing good deeds, ‘cos that was what upstanding chaps did’.

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