Monday, June 7, 2010

WARNING! Misdirected Rage Ensuing

There are about twenty things I'd like to vehemently complain about today, but in the interest of ignoring and burying those, I'll complain about my new Wii Fit, instead.

Just so you know, I MIGHT swear in this blog post. I don't know yet. We'll just have to see where it goes.

I loathe the gym. I used to love it, back when I had a deep and abiding desire to replace emotional pain and anguish with physical pain and anguish, but I have no desire for that level of escapism anymore. I'm pretty happy now, so all I see when I go to the gym are sweaty dudes who like to watch themselves flex in the mirror and obsessive women who are seeking validation. Yeah, yeah, I know that's not the story for everyone who goes there. Some people are probably a lot like me: Simply attempting to maintain a level of fitness so that they're not out of breath by the time they get to the top of a two-story walkup. But unlike those well-meaning individuals, I deeply dislike being on display while I'm trying to achieve that goal. It makes me feel weird. Exercise is so personal for me now, because I make weird faces and sounds and sweat in awkward places. Nobody needs to see that. Kind of like giving birth. Only the people who truly love you should bare witness to that.

Given how my life is going to be for the next couple of months while Michael is touring a bunch, I can't really get up at 5:30am to go for a brisk walk. I'm not interested in dragging Madeline along on anymore death marches (see: my last post). And I really like to isolate myself while I'm working out (see: the above paragraph), so I decided to get a Wii Fit.

I have a Wii already, and I love it. Michael and I have laid waste to many an unsuspecting zombie and evil alien overlord on it late at night, and Madeline and Roan love it, too, for the Wii Resort games like bike racing, wind-surfing and making Mii characters out of themselves and every other person they've ever set eyes on their entire lives. And now that I have the 52-inch, flat-screen, HD monstrosity in my livingroom, the Wii is just that much more impressive. So I figured I should use it for something other than ridding the world of a scourge that turns normal humans into a race of undead that crave naught but the flesh of the living. Like getting my big butt in gear.

Madeline and I dashed into Best Buy on Sunday afternoon to plop down ninety-nine ninety nine for the Wii Fit Plus. It boasted more stuff than the original Wii Fit, which is essentially a pointless claim, because unless you're trolling eBay, you can't get the original Wii Fit anymore. So that pretty much renders the Wii Fit Plus THE Wii Fit, which is just another way they can get ya. "Oh goodie," I thought, naively. "I'm so glad I waited on getting the Wii Fit because LOOKY! Extra stuff! I win!"

Turns out, I DO NOT WIN. I lose, and not in the Biggest Loser-y way we all like to watch on the Tee Vee.

If you have a Wii Fit, and you're still in the recovery stages, please skip ahead. I know that this might be hard for you to read. It will no doubt bring up many bad and painful memories of the first time you stepped on the balance board, and far be it for me to set you back in your healing or therapy. Consider yourselves warned.

First of all, the Wii Fit balance board is really dumb. It's about 18 inches by six inches, which gives you no room to do anything but teeter precariously on its surface. And you're not allowed to wear shoes or socks, because you might slip off of it and injury yourself. Already, this seems like a good design, amirite?

Once you fire up the Wii Fit disc, you'll be put through a series of humiliating and pointless paces. First, it will evaluate your "Body Mass Index". This will be based on your weight and height alone. So if you've got giant, bulging muscles, or bones slightly greater in size than your average sparrow...well, I'm getting ahead of myself. Before that happens, you'll take a balance test, in which you will be timed on how easily you can shift from one foot to the other, and your success will be measured on how long you can manage to stay within the inch-thick pink zone for three seconds. If you waiver for moment, the Wii Fit Creepy Robot Voice will say, "Balance is clearly not your forte. Do you find that you stumble a lot when you walk?" But the Wii Fit Creepy Robot Voice (henceforth known as WFCRV) will not allow you to answer this incredibly condescending question. And that's because it's got other plans for you: Judging your weight and your arbitrary "Wii Fit Age".

I am not thin by anyone's stretch of the imagination. In fact, I haven't been thin since I decided to stop starving myself about a decade ago and started indulging in food more than twice a week. Oh, and I also had a baby. That tends to change someone's body just a bit. And I'm certainly heavier than I was two years ago (remember when I was talking about how much I used to enjoy the gym? Replacing emotional pain with physical pain and whatnot? Turns out, if you stop exercising two hours a day, seven days a week, and continue to eat food, you'll probably gain weight). But I'm also not fat. I'm zaftig. Art fags might even call me Reubenesque. Healthy, straight, appreciative males think I'm soundly attractive. Maybe my meters are damaged, but when I think of a fat person, I think of someone who struggles to get around readily, who runs out of breath while turning pages in a phone book. Someone who needs to ride in an electric mobility scooter in order to buy a few groceries. Someone who pours sweat when they eat. I'm still flexible, and I walk at a brisk clip, so much so, that only Michael, who's 6' 4", can outwalk me. I don't think I've ever poured sweat while I've been eating, and I love to hike, swim and bike. I can still shop at Old Navy, and I've never once set foot in a Lane Bryant (NOT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH LANE BRYANT! I actually find their mannequins to a be a refreshing, healthy, proportionate change from the weird, 10-year-old boy statuettes that I usually see at H&M).

But the Wii Fit told me I was "obese". Obese, WFCRV, really? Really. And not only did it call me obese, it proceeded to plump up the Mii Kandy to the point where SHE ACTUALLY HUNG HER HEAD IN SHAME AT HER OWN SIZE. And then, based on the results of the esoteric and incredibly unintuitive Wii Fit Balance test, it determined that my "Wii Fit" age was 43. 43!!!!

I managed to take a little heart when it told my eight year old daughter that her "Wii Fit age" was 28, simply because she had less balancing agility than me, someone who has done yoga avidly for quite a few years. Okay, clearly the WFCRV is just batshit. And it proceeded to give me an "ideal" weight that made my blood run cold. I don't even want to type the number, because I've weighed The Number, and The Number means I've gone to an ugly place I have no interest in revisiting ever, EVER again.

"Okay, Wii Fit," I said outloud, while Madeline sat aghast on the couch, muttering under her breath that the Wii is nuts, because, "Mommy! You're not obese!"
I continued, as I stared into my 52-inch shame inducer, "I don't like you, and you clearly don't like me. So let's get one thing straight: I'm going to ignore your jacked-up advice on what size you think I should be, and I'm going to avail myself of your Super Hula Hoop and your Step Aerobics program."

Super Hula Hoop was pretty fun, and I definitely felt it in my core. Step Aerobics, however, was a joke. Wii Fit wouldn't let me increase the time past three minutes per session, for reasons I can only guess had something to do with my level of supposed obesity, and the Wii makers didn't want to get slapped with a lawsuit because someone so clearly as obese as me attempted 20 minutes of actual exercise and proceeded to collapse and die in the process.

Oh, and also? If you like to keep time to the music during Step Aerobics, the Wii Fit won't like you. It will tell you you're behind the beat, and that if you want to score the maximum amount of points during your Step Aerobics session, you should follow the picture guides, even though they are at least a half-beat behind the 1 and 3. Sorry, but if you're going to provide music for my workout, I have no choice but the follow the big, obvious drum beats. If you make it so you're ever-so-helpful visual aids possess the rhythm of the Whitest Suburbanites in All of The Land, then you best be forgiving when I know where the beats actually fall and decide to step to the rhythm, step STEP to the rhythm.

Ugh, what a horrible waste of money was the Wii Fit. Please, Wii Game Makers, just create a game in which I actually have to physically RUN from the zombies, and I have a feeling I'll burn more calories. And don't call me fat. That will just make me more of a delicious, sumptuous target for the undead. Especially since those electric mobility scooters only get up to about 2 miles an hour. Although, I guess if I'm an ancient, nearly venerable 43 years old in Wii Fit years, I deserve what's coming to me. Survival of the Wii Fittest and whatnot.


  1. If it makes you feel better, remember that Wii was designed and programmed by tiny, feather-light Asians... from Japan (read: not tall Chinese or muscular Mongolians). I believe the average Japanese woman's BMI is that of an American seven-year-old's.

    And their idea of rhythm involves drunken karaoke.

    Yeah, I said it.

  2. On a more serious note... I am so jealous of your healthy attitude toward weight. I, as you know, have gone from truly morbidly obese (339!!!) to diagnosed anorexic (123) in ten years. And have, over the past four months, under threat and admonishment of my doctors (plural) regained up to what I am told is a healthy weight for my height (158). Yet, the BMI chart labels me overweight, which I find soul-crushing, that label.

    Rationally, I know it is the chart of the devil; my doctor goes ballistic when I drop below 150, but I feel like a blubbery whale at this number. It's so hard to just be happy with the look-n-feel when you've spent your whole life obsessing over the number. So, I beat myself up every single minute of every day for every morsel I eat and I criticize every angle in every reflection. And I look enormous in my eyes even as everyone around me screams at me "to eat a sandwich".

    I wish I knew what it was like to have a realistic picture of myself, but I really don't think that's in the cards at this late stage of my being! SO, I just have to stay in the number range given me by the medical professionals and try to remember that what I see and think isn't real when it comes to my own weight.