prompt: tooth, title: summer is a joke in misc. flash fiction

  • Aug. 2, 2023, 8:02 p.m.
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  • Public

Nothing quite like the dog days of summer to make one feel like the most rotund piece of flotsam and/or jetsam in the sea, depending whether one was abandoned to the briny deep accidentally or on purpose. Beach bodies, you know. Everyone’s supposed to have one of those, these days. This is a much worse experience for women, of course, but years over years, the whole thing degrades for men as well. Hope had once been that we’d someday achieve an equality where women were no longer horrifyingly sexually objectified. Thanks to our execrable number of reality programs, we instead move toward a different sort of equality: where everyone of any gender is left feeling like the scum on the soles of a garbage-man’s boots unless they’re conventionally Photoshopped perfect, cradle to grave. Equality in retrograde, we’ll call it.

The positive retort is the joke “How do you get a beach body? You go to the beach!” It’s one of those jokes that’s less joke, more self-affirmation in a comedic guise. You would figure a self-affirmation, of all things, would be comfortable enough in its own skin to admit what it is, but irony’s the blood that pumps through the English language’s veins. I prefer my formulation of the joke, though. “How do you get a beach body? Murder someone at the beach!” Darker, of course, but at least it’s not trying to pretend it’s anything other than what it is. The bitter ramble of a man who will never look like a lead in “Supernatural” because he was born with not just a sweet tooth but also a meat tooth, cheese tooth, salt tooth, an entire mouthful of unfortunately satiated teeth. Not to mention a lay-about artiste’s distaste for organized regular exercise.

I like to pretend that the gym is so removed from my reality that I pronounce it “gime” and see if anyone else catches on to my jest. I think I stole that joke from an episode of The Simpsons from back when it was watchable, but it’s been so long since the good years, I can’t really remember. I would probably actually go to the “gime”, though, if it wasn’t one of the very most unpleasant experiences under the wide umbrella of human development. The gym seems to be everything everyone hated about high school: the awful stench of pheromones and body soil, the sub-par food you’re stuck with, the constant showing off and/or being judged by folks you either don’t know or don’t want to know, showering with random weirdos, the grunts of idiots. At least, though, when you’re in high school, it’s your parents’ property taxes paying for it all, as an adult going to the gymnasium, you’re expected to pay dearly on a monthly basis. I wouldn’t go back to high school under threat of a drawing-and-quartering, these suckers are paying real green money.

All in all, I look forward to winter. Under a big puffy jacket, ladies might think this all muscle.

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