COLUMN:Lambda Steve’s got nothing on me

Tim Paluch

Disgusting. Repulsive. Sickening. These are the only words I can think of that can describe them. They hovered about this week on Central Campus – like some kind of reverse vampires – only rearing their chiseled abs and slightly-browned legs when the sun comes out.

Sunbathers. Joggers. Frisbee-tossers. Mocking me and the other 90 percent of the out-of-shape public with their tone, tan bodies. They make me sick. OK, maybe a little jealous. But mostly just sick.

The sun made a surprise extended visit this week in the Midwest, causing record-high temperatures to soar into the mid-80s. And as is the phenomenon that is “physical fitness,” the reverse vampires made their appearance. When the sun comes out, so do the beautiful people of the world. And they’ve got Frisbees.

In my apartment, the only thing that comes out with the warm weather is the air conditioning.

I’m not in the greatest of shape, I’ll give you that. I’m not saying I’m in senior-tour-professional-golfer bad shape, but let’s just say the only time I willingly burn calories is during chewing.

While Lambda Steve and Kappa Katie spend their winters in the rec running laps and doing sit-ups perfecting their six packs, I spend them driving past the rec on the way home from work so I can sit down and drink a six-pack.

And unlike their six packs, mine gets better the more pizza I eat.

Unless you have a lot of free time, exercise just takes too much effort. Why run when you can drive? Why play a game of baseball when you can watch it on TV? Why sun-bathe when you can eat chocolate-covered pork rinds during a three-hour “Road Rules”/”Real World” marathon?

Once in a while, I’ll feel the urge to go out and exercise. I’ll get those jogging shorts on. I’ll slip on those jogging shoes. I’ll do some warm-up exercises. Then, I’ll open the refrigerator to get a bottle of water, and that leftover Pizza Hut would beckon me, telling me to take off those jogging shorts, slip off those jogging shoes and join him and his pal Michelob in a three-way.

“C’mon Tim. Don’t jog. I’m good for you. I’m healthy. I swear. Eat me and you’ll be fit.”

“You? How could you be fit. You have nine different types of cheese and three layers of pepperoni. I got full last time just smelling you.”

“Pepperoni IS good for you. Don’t believe the media. Go ahead, take a bite.”

“Well, you’ve never lied to me before.”

Twenty minutes later, my hand’s in the Funyun bag, Michelob’s lying next to me smoking a cigarette and Pizza Hut’s passed out half-naked on the floor. The jogging shorts had been taken off.

Call it a vice if you must, but I like to eat things that taste good. And I like to sit on my ass while doing so. You won’t ever see me with a Nutri-Grain bar, unless of course they create one that tastes like a burger.

And you never see out-of-shape people sunbathing on Central Campus. Rarely will a morbidly obese person dive for a Frisbee in front of you. Which is sad, really.

I think we need more morbidly obese people exercising – shirtless, in thongs – in the sun. We’ve become such a narcissistic society that the overweight – hell, even the normal – hold back the urge to toss the football around with all the beautiful tan people present.

The sun is not reserved solely for the physically fit, although it would appear that way.

“I’m sorry, sir. When you took off your shirt, there was a rippling effect that caused some concern among some of the sun’s other patrons. See that group of girls over there. Yeah, they would prefer it if you put your shirt back on and slunk quietly away so they can continue to get that awkward orange color we all love so much. Thanks.”

Not everyone can be fit and tan. My shoulders get sunburned watching “Baywatch.” And I’ve been advised by the Federal Aviation Administration to not take off my shirt within 30 miles of an airport. (Apparently, sun reflects off my white chest, blinding pilots).

But everyone should be able to feel comfortable enough with themselves to go ahead and – literally – let it all hang out once the weather gets nice enough.

Tim Paluch is a junior in journalism and mass communication from Orland Park, Ill. He is opinion editor of the Daily.