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Old July 6th, 2009, 12:16 AM
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The Summer of 1981, Part 14: Deep Inside My Heart

For those of you who would like to catch up, here are links to the earlier chapters:

Part 1: The Best of Times
Part 2: Wasn't That A Party
Part 3: The Boy From New York City
Part 4: The Voice
Part 5: Feels So Right
Part 6: Sausalito Summernight
Part 7: The Waiting
Part 8: All I Have To Do Is Dream
Part 9: Urgent
Part 10: The Theme From The Greatest American Hero
Part 11: Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through
Part 12: Life of Illusion
Part 13: America

Any feedback is very much appreciated - I would love to hear from those of you who have been reading. Or if you just want to reminisce about some of your favorite music or memories from 1981, please feel free to share. Thanks!!


“Come on, Tug! One more rep!” shouted Ben.

It was Monday morning, and the boys were back to working out in Ben’s basement after a day of rest on Sunday. Tug had completed five barbell curls already and was trying for a sixth, and his workout partner was pushing him to finish it. “You can do it, Tug!”

Tug gritted his teeth and forced the bar upward with his remaining strength. The grip was slippery from the sweat on his palms, but he squeezed as tightly as possible and confidently willed his biceps to move.

Go, go, go! I can finish this one, I know it!

He felt an intense amount of fatigue in his arms, but he wasn’t going to give up. Tug kept trying and trying, and ever so slowly the weight continued to climb until his arm had fully contracted.

“Great job! Now lower it slowly and try one more,” said Ben.

Tug grimaced, but he did as instructed. He lowered the barbell and tried for a seventh rep. This time, however, no amount of effort could move the heavy weight upward, and he set it down on the floor.

“Awesome effort, buddy! You did two more reps than last time, using a weight that’s twice as heavy as when you first started.”

Although exhausted, Tug was elated at his progress. He had a long way to go until he looked like Ben, but he felt like he was really accomplishing something with his workouts. “Thanks. It's funny, but deep inside my heart, I knew I was going to get at least six reps this time, but dang it was tough.”

“Yeah, but just wait until the first time you flex and your bicep bursts through your sleeve. It’ll all be worth it, right?”

Tug chuckled and said, “I’ll have to take your word for it.” He turned and looked at his bare smooth torso in the mirror next to the weight set – he was beginning to see a tiny bit of definition as he lost weight, especially on his arms and around his chest and shoulders.

“You’ll get there one day. Just wait.” Ben, who was also shirtless, picked up his barbell, loaded up with almost twice the weight of Tug’s, and began counting out reps.

“1…2…3…4…5…” Ben’s massive biceps worked overtime to curl the heavy weight, becoming engorged with blood and growing a little bit bigger with each repetition.

“Keep going, Ben! That’s already one more than you did last time,” said Tug. He watched as Ben continued to slowly curl the bar, with sweat dripping down his forehead and landing on his beefy chest.


Ben barely finished the eighth rep before he dropped the bar back to the floor. Tug turned to begin adding more weight to his bar, and Ben hopped down on the ground and started doing pushups.

Tug noted the activitiy and asked, “Why are you doing pushups after your curls?”

“Habit. Pumping up my triceps after blasting my biceps,” said Ben, with no strain evident on his voice as he did pushup after pushup.

“How come you haven’t done them before?”

Ben stood back up after he finished his fifteenth pushup. “I guess because I was so focused on making sure you knew what to do. But now that you’re an old pro, I don’t have to help you so much and my old habit kicked in.”

“Where’d you pick it up?”

“From Dom,” replied Ben. He had a slight smile and a faraway look in his eyes as he spoke, as if he were remembering a special moment in his life.

“Who's Dom? An old workout partner?"

“Remember the picture you saw of me from 1976?”


“Well, it was taken during the spring of seventh grade. We had terrible weather in New York during the previous fall and winter, so I spent a lot of time indoors, sitting on the couch and eating. Needless to say, I put on a ton of weight.”

“You did look pretty big.”

“Oh, Tug, I was hee-yooge. Eventually, however, the spring thaw came and that meant baseball, which I was pretty good at. I didn’t think the extra weight would really matter, but the coach called me over during tryouts one day and cut me from the team because I was just too slow. When I went to bed that night, I turned out the light and tossed and turned until dawn. I couldn’t sleep and just couldn’t keep from crying.”

“I’m sorry,” responded Tug. “That must have been really hard.”

“It was awful, and the worst part was that I knew he was right. I had gotten so fat that I could barely run the bases, and I certainly couldn’t move fast enough to catch fly balls. And you should have seen my gut – it was practically busting out of my clothes. One my last day of tryouts, I couldn’t get the bottom four buttons of my jersey together, so I wore one of my dad’s old sweatshirts over my uniform hoping nobody would notice.”

Tug smiled and thought back to his dilemma at the party for his brother earlier in the summer.

Thank goodness for extra big sweaters and sweatshirts – the best friend of fat boys!

“Well, I woke up the next morning and was determined to do something about it. I didn't want to be Hefty Lefty anymore, so I went right up to my dad and told him that I wanted to start lifting weights like he did. I told him I wanted to start the very afternoon.”

“You were really determined, huh?” asked Tug.

“Well, my grandpa always used to say, ‘Life is too short, so why waste precious time?’ I really didn’t want to waste another minute not being able to play baseball.”

“And what happened?”

“He signed me up at his gym and I started working with a lifting coach that afternoon," said Ben.

“He got you a coach? Why didn’t you just work out with your dad?”

“He lifts early in the morning, before going to the office. I couldn’t go until after school, and he wanted me to learn from the best.”

“So was Dom your coach?” asked Tug.

“Yes. He was this massively muscled guy named Dominic Cutler. A real freak of nature – I swear his muscles had muscles. He was only 21, but you would have thought he had been pumping iron for 50 years with the body he had. Big arms, big beefy chest, big legs, big neck…just big everything! And strong, too – Dom held every strength record at the club. And as far as I know, five years later, nobody has broken any of them.”

“And he taught you the pushup thing?”

“Yep. Dom taught me a lot – not just about working out, but just about life in general. He was like the older brother that I never had.”

“He must have been a great coach."

“He was,” said Ben. “But I was very intimidated at first – I went into the club to meet him, and the desk attendant pointed to this hulk who was working out in the free weight area – he looked like Superman in a tank top and gym shorts. I walked over, with my mouth wide open, and just stared at him for a good fifteen minutes. He was grunting and sweating and picking up these giant weights that I couldn’t even imagine lifting.”

“Wow!” exclaimed Tug. “Sounds like Dom was a beast.”

“Definitely,” agreed Ben. “He finally saw me staring, stopped lifting, and walked right over to me. He had a stern look plastered on his face, so I couldn’t tell if he was really focused or really angry. But as soon as he got near he smiled, reached out his right hand, and said, ‘You must be Lefty.’” As he spoke, Ben imitated Dom’s actions and crossed the room to Tug, then smiled and stuck out his right hand.

Tug reached out and playfully shook Ben’s hand, and he watched his friend’s bicep bounce up and down during the handshake. “That must have put you at ease.”

“A little, but I still felt anxious. We were both roughly the same height, but he was really well-apportioned with muscle and probably 50% of my weight was centered in my big ol’ belly.

Tug looked down at his gut – even though it was shrinking, it still remained a sizable ball of flab. “Like mine used to be,” he said matter-of-factly.

“I was WA-HAY bigger at my fattest, trust me. Anyway, Dom starts talking to me about the gym, and about working out safely, and how he will be there to support me, blah, blah, blah. And then he asks me, ‘What do you want to accomplish with your workout routine?’”

“Did you tell him about baseball?”

“I wanted to. I really wanted to say that I needed to lose weight so I could play baseball again. But after staring at his muscles while he was lifting, and seeing how the other guys looked at him, something changed for me. I didn't just want to lose weight anymore – I wanted the whole package. So I just blurted out, ‘I wanna be big like you!’” Ben said the last part so forcefully that Tug could feel his breath when he spoke the b’s in ‘blurted,’ ‘be,’ and ‘big.’

“What did Dom say?” asked Tug.

“He took a step back, looked me up and down, and said, ‘Well, Lefty, the good news is that you have the kind of frame that can support lots of muscle. And the better news is that I can help you pack it on. But only if you are willing to work hard. Big muscles take big commitment. If you stick with me and do everything I say, here’s what’s gonna happen…’”

Ben moved in closer to Tug, until he was less than a foot away, and continued his story. “Dom grabbed my belly on both sides, shook it a little, and said, ‘After about six months of working out on my program, this gut will be history. You’ll never even know it had been there, and you’ll start getting abs like mine.’” Ben reached over and gave Tug’s gut a little shake, just as Dom had done to him five years earlier. “And then Dom took off his tank top and flexed his abs for me, and man did they look awesome. I was so jealous.”

Tug glanced down at Ben’s mighty abdominals and had trouble believing that his friend had ever been envious of someone else’s body.

“Then he said, ‘After about eight months on my program, in addition to your shrinking stomach, the muscles in your arms will be really noticeable. They’re gonna get big…I mean, real big…and you won’t be able to stop touching them and neither will anyone else.’” Ben flexed his left arm, just like his coach had done, and Tug couldn’t help but turn to stare at it.

“Dom also told me, ‘Everytime you put on a shirt and the sleeves stretch out to make room for your biceps, you’re gonna want to flex them.’ And he was right – after my arms got bigger, every time I put on a shirt, I had to flex them just to see how much more I was stretching out the sleeves.”

Tug smiled at the thought of being able to do that someday.

Ben continued his tale. “Next, Dom said, ‘After about ten months, you gonna notice your pecs really inflating with muscle. They’re gonna get big and hard and really strong, and you’ll feel them twitching all the time. Your chest is going to grow upward and outward, and instead of your gut blocking the view of your feet, it’ll be these babies.’”

With his left arm already up, Ben then raised up his right hand and interlocked his fingers behind his head. "Then he bounced his pecs for me, and I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen." Ben began emulating the actions of his coach from five years ago and moved his pecs up and down and up and down for about ten seconds.

Tug watching the bouncing muscle in front of him but remained quiet, and Ben continued on.

“Dom then finished his speech by pointing out his legs. ‘After a year on the program,’ he said, ‘You’re gonna see some major muscle developing on your quads and calves. They’ll be getting bigger the whole time, but at just around the twelve-month mark is when you will really notice – one day you’ll just slip on your jeans and they’ll be super tight all over, except at the waist of course, and you’ll suddenly realize you have a pair of world-class stems to match your upper body.”

“Then Dom did this move with his legs.” Ben looked downward and, while steadying himself on his right leg, used his hands to shake the mammoth muscles that made up his left quadriceps. After five seconds he flexed them, and his leg instantly stopped and bulged up in size.

Tug was feeling a little flushed as he stared at Ben's leg. “That sounds like quite the sales pitch for his program.”

“It was indeed. Dom then asked if I was willing to put in the effort to build a chamionship physique, and it took me less than a second to say that I would. He had a killer body, and I was willing to do whatever he said to look like him.”

“It sounds like you got past the intimidation part pretty quickly,” said Tug, who stopped staring at Ben's quad and lifted his head up.

“I did, because deep inside my heart, I had a feeling right from the start that things were going to be different for me. I just knew that working out with Dom was going to turn me from the fat boy in that photo into a real athlete. And you know what? Everything Dom said came true – I was able to transform my body, I got back on the baseball team the next spring, and I even won an award that year in PE as the most fit kid in school.” To emphasize his point, Ben struck a most muscular pose, and all of his chest, neck, shoulder, and arm muscles bulged to their maximum.

“That must have felt awesome!”

“It sure did,” replied Ben. “I started playing football and wrestling, too. I enjoyed them both, but neither as much as baseball. And Dom was right about the attention, too – sometimes the girls came on pretty strong, which was something I was definitely not used to.”

Tug’s flushed cheeks became a little redder. “Well, I’m not sure if I’m ready for that either.”

Ben could tell his story was a little embarrassing to his friend, so he quickly changed the subject. “But enough about me, stud – our muscles won’t keep growing if we spend all morning yakking. Let’s get back to those curls.”

“OK, coach. Whatever you say,” agreed Tug. He picked up his bar and began to pull it upward.


Last edited by Padraig; July 9th, 2009 at 07:45 AM.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 08:42 AM
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For those of you who enjoy light countryish rock (like the early Eagles), I would highly recommend checking out Randy Meisner's album, "One More Song." Randy was a member of the Eagles from 1971 to 1977, and then went solo after his time with the band. This album was released late in 1980, and contained two hits that made the charts: "Deep Inside My Heart" and "Hearts on Fire."

Here's a fan video for "Deep Inside My Heart" (it's not very good, but I couldn't get the actual video to embed):

You can see the actual video here (and yes, that is Kim Carnes doing backup!):

And if you like it, check out "Hearts on Fire" as well, which is one of my all-time favorite pop songs:

Last edited by Padraig; July 6th, 2009 at 08:56 AM.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 02:52 PM
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You better think about trying to get this thing published. Cause a lot of people, young and old, could sure use the encouragement it offers.
Keep Writing!!

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Old July 6th, 2009, 07:50 PM
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Thanks, Roger - your post really made my day!

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