It was the early 1980’s – my sophomore year of high school. I was tall, lanky and insecure. My father agreed to move his car out of our small town home garage in order for me to use my old weight set. Years earlier, after seeing the movie “Rocky”, I had begged my parents for a weight set for Christmas. I would secretly play the Rocky theme song on my cassette player while bench pressing and shadow boxing. I had no idea what I was doing and the weight set soon became another piece of clutter.
My new attempt at weightlifting would be different as I discovered a book by Arnold Schwarzenegger called “Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder”. Little did I know that this book would soon change my life. Not only did Arnold give away all of his weight training secrets, more importantly, he taught me the value of self discipline, perseverance and the pursuit of following your dreams. He described how any goal is achievable if you put your mind to it. Although I’ve never developed a physique like Arnold’s, I have always implemented his values into my everyday life. My teenage insecurities soon melted away and I enjoyed all of the typical high school activities, sports, girls, partie etc.
Soon after, Arnold would appear in “The Terminator”. He quickly became a household name. Of course I had to purchase a pair of Gargoyle sunglasses and obsessively practice my Austrian accent. “I’ll be back” I would say repeatedly. I even won first place in a Halloween contest as the Terminator. We all know the rest after that. Arnold would be given the nickname “Arnie”. He was everywhere! More movies, a presidential fitness guru, toys, video games, you name it. At the height of his fame he managed to marry into the Kennedy family. Later, Maria stood by her man as he became governor of California. I remember thinking “if Clint Eastwood could be the Mayor of Carmel, what’s wrong with Arnie as a Governor?”
Cut to today. WTF?!! What happened to the old Arnold? Was any of that real? Did you always have a secret agenda in mind? Is this the way you expected it be? If not, do you really need to reveal every last detail of your past? Clearing your conscience is one thing but Arnie, enough is enough. Please stop now. There’s nothing more we need to know.
Regardless, I will try my best to remember the old Arnold. A man of integrity that inspired a lost, young, gawky teenager. It won’t be easy.
Hasta la vista, baby.