By: Danny Manslaughter
I sit my ass in the cold plastic seat, as the realization sets in that I’m back in school at age 27, pursuing ‘higher education’ (once again). Breathe deep, I say to myself as I realize that I’m way too jacked up on stimulants and resembling a Michael J. Fox commercial campaigning for the latest Parkinson’s research drug, uncomfortably shifting my legs as the my sweaty nut sack courts my thighs in adhesive fashion. The shrieking, hideous noises of barely adult females cackle in the background as I hear the all too common comments of ‘He looks disgusting’ as a male loser chimes in ‘Yeah I bet he’s dumber than shit and his dick is shriveled up from steroids as well’. Quickly glancing around the room I see sets of judgmental eyeballs glaring at me, ensuring that I am the topic of discussion. ‘This is the price we play for the games we play’ I think to myself as I reflect back on my first college experience. A not-so-glorious falling down where I blew a full-ride scholarship on drugs and partying, with no control like a young Mennonite going bat-shit crazy on ‘Rumspringa’ and wanting to taste it all. Minutes later the class roster is taken and the professor slowly says ‘Chuuuuurch’ as I raise my hand, and he responds with ‘How much ya bench?’, the cackles continue as I provide the entertainment for the next ten minutes and 90% of the class quickly assumes I suffer from a mild form of retardation.
I’m not a dummy, ignorant or even ‘not well-read’. I’m certainly not a genius, but I seem to function quite alright in everyday life and would present a strong case for being smarter than the average bear. The return to education was not a result of any mental deficiency or lack of effort but namely a result of timing and other factors. Once again I found myself subjected to the all-too-common stereotype that bodybuilders are some borderline retarded subculture of males and females who miraculously manage to feed, clothe and develop big muscles with boatloads of drugs. Most of us are well-aware of the ‘lunkhead’ stereotype constantly promulgated by popular culture and the media, particularly in the form of the absolutely ridiculous Planet Shitness commercials. It still remains a mystery where the lunkhead stereotype established its origins, yet unarguably directly fostered legions of God-Builders domestically and abroad. In my short time on this floating rock in the middle of space I’ve yet to encounter a genuine bodybuilding ‘lunkhead’ who fits the stereotype of a drooling, protein consuming troglodyte. Like most bullshit, the stereotype holds little to no merit in the functioning ‘real world’. While some stereotypes about bodybuilders might hold some credibility (*coughs* DRUGS! *coughs*) I find the lunkhead stereotype particularly offensive and void of any credibility.
I’ve been immersed in the bodybuilding village since age 15 and yet to encounter the ‘idiot’ apparently so prominent in this subculture. I’ve seen plenty of imbeciles, dummies and morons at gyms across the United Snakes, yet have failed to meet many genuinely ignorant or unintelligent dedicated bodybuilders. In fact, if anything most of the individuals I have met and made lasting friendships with in this subculture have been articulate, quick-witted, hardworking and dedicated individuals simply wishing to build better bodies while balancing the other responsibilities of our over-worked, propaganda blitzed, consumerist culture. I personally know several members of our loveable cult that hold doctorates, yet display none of the egoism apparent in many victims of higher education. While ‘C’s get degrees!’ I don’t see many Archie Bunkers walking around with PHD’s and behemoth pectorals. I’ve had the privilege of knowing a female bodybuilder who is a member of MENSA and would certainly fall into the ‘egghead’ category. While she’s not analyzing current modules of string theory she’s doing brutal drop-sets of hack squats and carefully monitoring her nutrient timing. We are well aware of the Shelby Starnes, Troponin’s and Layne Norton’s; the academic over-achievers with striated glutes and peaked biceps. Infinitely smarter than the sedentary dregs of society and armchair quarterbacks with beer bellies quick to criticize bodybuilders, they balance incredible knowledge and education with champion physiques.
Actually, the origin of the lunkhead stereotype is quite unimportant. What is important is that is fails to die and remains in the public psyche, refusing to go away, much like Ebola, currently making a triumphant return. In High School, I remember working at the Princess Hotel in Fairbanks, AK in the summer months with hundreds of Lithuanian, Polish and Estonian immigrants. I recall one Polish luggage handler saying “In my country we have expression.. Big muscles = Small brains”. I remember retorting back “That’s interesting… In this country they have an expression.. Dumb Polack”. With my retort I didn’t mean to slam his ethnicity, but simply to point out what an absurd statement he was making. Of course, the complete ridicule of an ethnic group is more offensive but both stereotypes stem from the same void in logic. Recently the beloved ‘Lift things up and put them down!” commercials produced by everyone’s favorite anti-gym pollute the television screen incessantly. It’s a perfect commercial for a company that celebrates mediocrity and failure.
In search of the mythical lunkhead, I think we can find the origins in the all too common jealousy monster. Since so very few can show the discipline and responsibility to pursue this lifestyle for any period of time and be good at it, it must be criticized by the herd to make them feel more secure with their fat, repugnant and pre-diabetic bodies. A simple lie, repeated often, enabling those who would kill to achieve a fraction of what we have accomplished the comfort to easily sleep at night (hooked to the CPAP Machine). It’s the fairy tales that get most people through the day, who am I to burst their bubble? Mhmmm, I think I’ll take them French-fried sweet taters home with me (to meet my daily macronutrient requirements). Fuck em’ all.
Dumb as Fuck since 1987
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