It’s been 23 years since I graduated college, which was around the last time I worked out. It’s certainly been quite a while. After I graduated, I got married and spent most of my time and energy building and supporting my family. I was so busy with things, that anytime I had a moment to myself, I just wanted to relax and take it easy.

Well, now that my children are becoming more independent and I have significantly more free time, I’ve decided that I’m going to sign up for a gym membership and start working out again–that is, just as soon as someone pries me out of this tube slide.

It’s not easy to look back at pictures of myself from the early 90's, not only because I’m currently wedged in a yellow tube, physically unable to retrieve a photo album, but also because, back then, I was so much more handsome, muscular and energetic. I try not to think about those days too often, though. I know that, being 45 years old, even if I worked out religiously, I would never get back to looking like that.

Seeing as I’ve been compressed inside of a tube slide, crying for five minutes, something about the gym seems freeing.

Though, I also know that being 45 years old doesn’t mean that I have to be lodged upside-down in one of those corkscrew turbo tube slides. Maybe I don’t have the metabolism I used to have when I was 22, but does metabolism really have anything to do with taking off your shirt, screaming “I want to feel alive!” and diving face first into a 360-degree twisted tube slide?

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I am going to go to the gym tonight. I always say “I’ll do it tomorrow” and tomorrow never happens. So, no more of that attitude. I’m going to the gym tonight–that is, if I don’t pass out and die in this dark curved enclosure.

I’m pretty sure the children, the ones I waited patiently in line with before I plunged full-speed into this tube, closed the bottom end of it so that it’s pitch black in here, and are now busy, giggling and kicking me in the balls repeatedly.

I can’t reach my phone right now, since it’s in my pocket and my hands are firmly jammed against the plastic tube on the either side of me, but I think the gym probably closes at 10pm. So, I should probably get there at 9pm at the latest, and it’s 6pm now. So, this guy, the head of park facilities, Rick, has about three hours to get a team together to get me loose from here. It doesn’t look hopeful though because, from what I can hear, he’s on Facebook, live-streaming “big man, small tube” and encouraging the kids to keep punting me in the balls so that he can get more views on his video.

Now that I’m stuck in a polyethylene tube slide with no chance of escape, I have never been more pumped about the idea of going to the gym. Seeing as I’ve been compressed inside of a tube slide, crying for five minutes, something about the gym seems freeing. I would love nothing more than to run on a treadmill or use a StairMaster, especially considering, as of a minute ago, one of the children released his pet lizards (a bearded dragon and a blue-tongue skink) into the tube and I have no chance at stopping the lizards from doing weird lizard things to me.

This entire situation has made me realize that I think I’ve actually been scared to go to the gym.

But, really, what is there to be scared about? It’s not like at the gym I could get stuck in a tube slide, kicked in the balls over 100 times, and have two lizards project saliva onto my back, causing me to explosively burst into so many hives that I start to shake uncontrollably until an entire playground structure collapses over me.

I don’t think that can happen at a gym.

So, really, I think needed this wake-up call. I’m 100% certain that I will sign up for a year-long gym membership now, and probably even hire a personal trainer, who I’m sure can help get me get into shape and, eventually, get me out of this tube slide.

Oh, you thought I already got out of the tube slide?

Yes, the entire playground collapsed on top of me, but no, I am definitely still stuck in this tube slide.