Knuckle Head

I am happy to report that so far I’ve survived eight months of my MMA Boot Camp training. We have a full class for something that happens at 4:45 in the morning. And as many of our workouts have us pairing up, I’m motivated to keep up, since I will get paired up with someone in close proximity. Since a majority of the class is made up of woman, I usually will draw someone of the opposite sex.

Believe me, this is not an advantage, as some of my occasional partners — Penny, Joyce or Carol — are like Charlie’s Angels in that they can kick your okole and look good doing it. But the other week the pairing didn’t work out, and I was odd-man out. There was no one for me to partner with, so it brought back memories of school P.E. and choosing partners.

I was always the last guy who nobody wanted, and that’s when the more-embarrassing thing would occur. I would have to be the teacher’s partner. In the MMA class, this means I had to partner with our trainer Heather.

If you saw her on the street, you would just think she was a petite, attractive and confident woman. But, as a trainer, she makes the drill sergeant from the movie Full Metal Jacket look like Mary Poppins. Her expectations are high, and that particular day we were hitting striking pads without gloves on our hands. Not wanting to disappoint her, I went all out and hit those pads with everything I had. By the end of the workout, I was the walking dead.

Heather grabbed my wrists and held up my hands: “Check out Ron. He’s hardcore, all his knuckles are bleeding.” Although totally exhausted, this was my “Red Badge of Courage” and so I was kind of proud to have survived Heather. When I got home, I wanted to show my wife what I achieved. She was somewhat confused by my happiness and reluctantly congratulated me.

The honor was short-lived, as she then said it was my turn to clean up our dog Buddy’s mess. I did so, and when I finished, out of habit I bathed my hands under a dispenser of hand sanitizer. Yes, the kind of sanitizer that contains alcohol. Needless to say, I was in excruciating pain. Just then our daughter walked by and looked at me.

She asked, “Dad, are you crying?”

Of course I wasn’t crying and was going to fire back, but couldn’t talk as I had bitten through my tongue.