Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Appreciation Wednesday: Dance Your Pants Off

Oh, I'm so glad today is Wednesday, because reading the comments to my last post, about Israeli politics, just puts me in a bad mood for the whole day (though it is a treat to have earned a link from My Obiter Dicta). I don't know why I bother. It just makes me want to reach for more chocolate. Every time I write about anything having to do with Palestinians, I gain 5 pounds.

Therefore, today's Appreciation Wednesday is dedicated to my favorite exercise-video guru, Richard Simmons. Yes, the little man with the Jewfro and the penchant for saying things like "Don't forget to breathe!" and "Shake that arm, and shake some of those fat cells right off!" The (formerly obese!) diet and fitness expert with the closet full of shorts and tank tops. The one who tells fat people -- because he knows what it is like-- that they are worthy, and wonderful, and deserve to appear in exercise videos.

I have never seen Richard Simmons on TV, nor have I ever followed his "Deal-a-Meal" weight-loss plan. However, I am the proud owner of several of his videos: Sweatin' to the Oldies, Sweatin' to the Oldies II, Sweatin' to the Oldies III, Disco Sweat, Broadway Sweat, Broadway Blastoff, and my personal favorite, Dance Your Pants Off. Each one features fantastic music, a great set, and people of all shapes and sizes following the moves and having a great time. And of course, Richard himself, who is so far away from those "Aerobic Teacher Barbies" who instruct most other videos. He jokes, he has trouble holding his ankle during the stretches, he gives personal messages to women out there ("Karen Miller, this one's for you," "Donna, I love you.") He is not a stud. He is not self-conscious. He's a formerly fat man who gets it. And they are all having so much fun!

So, for making my workouts so enjoyable and showing people everywhere that, regardless of how we look, we are all entitled to have some fun and dance our pants off, I hereby express deep appreciation to Richard Simmons.

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