My Ass, Week 1
Dan O'Brien: Still 2 out of 10. I couldn't really see a difference, and I checked as close as I dared.
Soren Bowie: I said fucking stop it, all right? This is harassment. Do you have any idea how many people send me pictures of their asses each week?
Seanbaby: -No Response-
Robert Brockway: I've already got that one.
The second week was a lot more challenging than the first. It turns out that one of the poorly advertised side effects of Shape-Up Shoes is their tendency to make you shunned. This started off simply, when my girlfriend stopped answering my calls, explaining that it was because I looked like "I had lost a fight with giving a damn."
Being insulted by loved ones is a regular part of my life, and barely worth comment, but more concerning to me was my interactions with the general public. People staring at me. People trying not to stare at me. Children asking their parents what was wrong with me. Older children throwing bottles at me. Later in the week, a bus driver stopped 10 feet away from the bus stop just to inconvenience me. Then when I ran to catch him, he drove off laughing, only to stop and repeat the process several more times. When I eventually got on the bus and asked if he was fucking with me, he said no, but I could tell he was lying because he was kind of laughing when he said it.
My Ass, Week 2
Dan O'Brien: 1.5 out of 2. I've been looking at all these shots side by side for about 20 minutes now, and I'm pretty sure you're actually making reverse progress. I want to tell you to clench less, but when I say it out loud it doesn't sound right. Clench different maybe?
Soren Bowie: I counted. 211 people email me pictures of their asses every week. All shapes and sizes. One guy sends me pictures of his donkey. The back end of his donkey. You can't compete with that. You'd be mad to try.
Seanbaby: -No Response-
Robert Brockway: I'm not saying you're the worst guy to have sent me pictures of his ass before, because you know, I've lived a full life. But these are pretty bad.
By the third week my muscles had stopped feeling sore, although other parts of me did start to ache due to the several physical assaults I was subjected to each day. Whether perceived as a weak target or as an aberration best weeded from the gene pool, strangers seemed to really want to, in their own words, "Beat the stupid out of me."
It turns out this is a pretty common issue, and after consulting with a Shape-Ups support group online, I found out that a number of coping mechanisms have been developed to assist with this unique cross-training struggle. Many of these had clever names, including Begging for Mercy, Turtling and Grinning and Bearing It. Each had their own pros and cons -- although none, I noticed, actually seemed to do much to prevent the fist-shaped bruises which began springing up on my body. So after ensconcing myself within the community, I proposed a new self-defense technique, Traveling in Packs, which initially won a lot of support. But traveling in groups with our strange loping pace only seemed to draw attention to our kind, further raising the public's anger. When a group of Shape-Ups wearers were herded into the town's central plaza and euthanized, the idea lost some credit.