(fitness be damned!)
Copyright Vladimir Kagan April 25, 2011
His name is Alkidiadis Alexandros Robert Alexiadis and you don’t have to be linguist to figure out that he’s Greek…. We just call him Alkis. He could have been a man for all seasons, but life’s necessities have cornered him into a one profession straight Jacket. …His official title is Physiotherapist. Like all people in that profession, they become gym-bugs, exercise, and weight lifting, flinging Kettle Balls, jogging at night (probably in a black tracksuit so none of the crazy Florida drivers can see him.) When he’s not doing it himself, he scouts it out on TV or the myriad health journals that he subscribes to.
He’d really would have preferred to be an Aristotle instead of an Adonis… His fertile mind is always inventing gimcracks… things that sometimes get patents but never make money. He works like hell but invests in foolish ventures that can’t sustain themselves. Like all good Greeks, he is a staunch family man. He started life in the tenements of New York City, but as a bright and upwards mobile youth…went to Hunter College then City College. He wanted to study architecture (I told him it was a good thing that he didn’t…. it’s a sure formula for staying poor unless you morph into an I.M. Pei, Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry or any of the others that you can count on your ten fingers).
Alkis and we hitched-up when Erica needed a Physiotherapist after her ski accident four years ago. Over a six months period, he moved her out of the wheel chair and onto crutches until he finally kicked them out from under her and dumped her into the pool. During that time, he kept Erica entertained with stories and anecdotes, taking her mind off the arduous therapy he was putting her through…. She has made a perfect recovery and is now enjoying life after her recent Arthroscopic knee surgery, (a delayed bi-product of the ski accident.)
As the Stenosis of my spine has worsened and my mobility more impaired, I inherited Alkis.
Ours are no lightweight entertainment sessions, He is tough. He’s a driver and he’s prepping me for the Senior Olympics, (haven’t figured out which event). Alkis is strong and he gets his isometric exercise manipulating me…. We both grimace with pain… neither of us are ready say “uncle”.
There is a known adage in the exercise world: “No pain in stretching other wise you may have the opposite effect!” Not for Alkis, his motto is, “Tolerably Intolerable” or “Comfortably Uncomfortable”…. “You don’t have to like it – you just have to do it!”
Alkis and I doing the double crunch
The pretzel stretch
The Rack... "and remember Comfortably Uncomfortable!"
With this admonition, we slog through our regime three times a week. It is a love-hate relationship…. I try to schmooze him with culture; he brain-washes me with gymnastic world-records. I count the minutes until we are finished, he counts the repetitions of each exercise. Finally it feels so good when we stop…. I walk a bit more upright; feel a little more alive and ache for the rest of the day.
Alkis is a pessimist, (he says realist). He is a survivalist - The end is neigh – be prepared for the worst – he has stocked four months of freeze dried food in his basement – barrels of water - he would like to own a farm in Manitoba and grow his won vegetables. Guns are not in his arsenal, he doesn’t need them… he can break your back with his arms…. . For all this, he is not a bad fella. He’s just a throwback to a Spartan Greek.
Alkis, old buddy…. I will miss you this summer and can’t wait to return to your torture chamber in the fall.