New Orleans -- The TV sold me a Solo-Flex over the holidays. I FTC have been quietly wishing for a god-like body ever since the last time I watched TV and noticed some perfect humans doing acrobatic things.
The Solo-Flex they said, will give you this god-like body if you follow the three-times-a-week exercise without fail. It didn't say for how long. On the demo tape, the person who demo'd certainly had a god-like body, but I have no idea what he started with.
What I had to start with was a tiny -- I swear -- potbelly caused by the food-rich city of New Orleans, biceps exercised only by lifting books, thighs used to climbing aboard buses and airplanes and one typing finger on the verge of carpal syndrome. Once these insufficiently trained areas were corrected, my god-like body would follow.
After two weeks, a huge truck stopped in front of the house and a tiny man asked me to help him unload the thing. I grabbed one end and fell down. You sure need this thing, said the tiny man, disgusted. I could only help him to the hallway.
The Solo-Flex, like most things these days, was a collection of thousands of pieces of metal and rubber bands. I stood before it as a reader of novels in the 19th century might stand before interactive hypertext. With the help of my son, who has inherited a fragmented world and therefore has no trouble putting it back together, we knocked the Solo-Flex together, then studied the chart.
Every other day six different sets of exercises, 12 repetitions of each, were necessary for the god-like body. Each exercise involved another arrangement of the Solo-Flex, which had to be taken completely apart and reconfigured for that exercise.
With great difficulty I created the first configuration, a strange rubber-banded bed on which I lay. And lay. I could do the lift maybe once. But not 12 times three times.
It's been two weeks. My god-like body waits for me in the Solo-Flex but I've been going in the back door to avoid it. I think I'll just carry more books until I'm ready.
Andrei Codrescu is editor of ''Exquisite Corpse.''