The Funhouse Mirror

On the days I get motivated to head to the gym (yes, to work out), I’m always confronted with a rather disturbing experience. Last year, our HOA took on the project of remodeling the facility. Now when I walk into the locker room, it’s to a sparkly, new, rearranged version of its old self. I like it.

Well, I like it except for one thing. Upon making the left-hand turn into the locker room proper, I’m confronted with a large mirror. This, in itself, is no big deal. Most locker rooms have such a feature. We need these to maintain our perfect coifs after we shower and prepare for the cold, cruel world.

The problem here seems to be the amount of money spent on this particular mirror. Maybe I should rephrase that. The problem here seems to be the lack of money spent on this particular mirror. I say that because it has the quality of a funhouse mirror.

“We didn’t have computer games.”

I don’t know if you’re old enough to have ever gone into a funhouse. I haven’t seen one of those in years, so I’m guessing they’ve gone the way of the Dodo bird. Even if you’ve never been in one of those things, I suspect you’ve at least experienced the enjoyment of viewing yourself in a cheap mirror. The old funhouses had various mirrors that would distort your body’s image. One would make you look skinny, another would make you look fat, and still another would give you a big head, tiny hips, and elephant thighs. When I was a kid, this was considered great fun. (We didn’t have computer games.)

The mirror in our men’s locker room has a funhouse feel to it. Unless you really look closely, you might not notice it at first. Once you see it, however, you can’t un-see it. I noticed it early on, and now I see it every time I walk by. It wouldn’t bother me so much if this reflecting glass would give me a true image. It would be even better if I would see a skinnier me headed in my direction. But no, it gives me what one might call a wide body. I can do without wide. I’m already wide enough in my old age without some cheapo mirror producing a gross caricature of my image. I really should sue somebody. This is causing irreparable emotional damage to my psyche.

“I’m better looking than I suppose.”

I suppose I shouldn’t complain, though. Our locker room mirror is really nothing more than a microcosm of the society around me. Our culture has become a dull distortion of what it once was. The image I see at the gym is merely a reminder that things are never really as they seem. We can never quite get the real facts these days, so heading into the locker room should serve as a reminder that I’m better looking than I suppose.

My one comfort is the old hymn that reminds us all, “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy.”

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