The Emotional Arc of Green Eggs and Ham

A thirty five pound kettle bell.

And, no help with a squat.

“Aren’t we lucky we have two sides to do?”

“No,” I shake my head. “I do not like these.”

“No green eggs and ham for you?” My trainer smirks.

Uggh, no. “I hate shoulders. Let’s do anything else. But, I’m going to write you that story.” It turns out, my story.

That S-C-C!

That S-C-C!

I do not like

that S-C-C!

Do you like

shoulders trained by me?

I do not like them,

S-C-C.

I do not like

shoulders trained by Tracy.

Would you like them

in up downs?

I would not like them

in up downs.

I would not like them

on the ground.

I do not like

shoulders trained by Tracy?

I do not like them,

S-C-C.

“It’s core. Keep your hip lifted.”

“Core. Everything is core. It’s how you trick me into shoulders.” The alarm sounds. Green background flips to red. Stop. Break. I grab for a sip of water. Without the accountability of someone watching, I might not bother with shoulders. I don't associate them with "pretty", nor "thin". However, each time I don't give up, I'm different. I'm closer to goals I never knew existed. Change I didn't know I wanted.

"Hard work beats talent,” the dry erase board reads.I hope so.I keep going.I write more.My resistance lessens, just a little.

I hadn't bothered with this story years ago either. I had enjoyed other, more metaphoric, Dr. Seuss works like Yertle the Turtle. Yet years older I am younger. I am the child picking through spaghetti and “meat” balls her mother made of tofu.

Would you lift them

with a ball?

Would you stretch them

while you crawl?

Would you? Could you?

In a T-R-X?

Train them! Train them!

Watch me flex.

I write. I laugh.

Say!

With a squat?

Here, with a squat!

Would you, could you, with a squat?

I would not, could not,

with a squat.

Could you, would you,

With a donkey kick?

I would not,

Could not,

With a donkey kick!

Would you, could you,

If it’s over quick?

I flip the pages in the children’s book laid open in front of me.

It’s longer than I remember.

I would not,

could not,

in a T-R-X.

You may like them.

You will see.

You may like them

See-Saw with me!

I would not, could not, See-Saw with you.

Not in a T-R-X! Not one press.

I complain, and I feel better.

But, I get dizzy and can’t remember

Which exercises I’ve substituted for which words.

The book drags on and seems like too much.

Overkill. Why must so much be repeated, again and again and again?

Muscle memory? Words once said by my writing instructor not my trainer.

I laugh.

I do not like them with a ball.

I do not like them as I crawl.

I do not like them on a heavy bar.

I do not like them weighted like a car.

I do not like them in up downs.

I do not like them on the ground.

I do not like shoulders trained by Tracy.

I do not like them, S-C-C.

How many more pages?

How many more seconds?

Still, the story provides me what exercise does. The pages give what life cannot.

I can flip to the end.

You do not like them.

So you say.

Try them! Try them!

And you may.

Try them and you may, I say.

S-C-C!

If you will let me be,

I will try them.

You will see.

I read the final pages and pause. This ending. Is this ending? I thought this joke for my trainer, all the changes and unending exercises was to lead up to utter exhaustion and bitterness at unnecessary repetition completed and how LONG it took to get there, but-

Something changed.

Say!

I like shoulders trained by Tracy!

I do! I like them, S-C-C!

And I would train them if it’s over quick.

And I would train them with a donkey kick. . .

And I will train them with a crunch.

And I will do an isometric hold.

And with a squat! With See-Saw!

And in a T-R-X! More than one press!

And I will train them on a heavy bar.

And I will train them weighted like a car.

And I will train them in up downs.

And I will train them on the GROUND!

I do so like

shoulders trained by Tracy!

Thank you!

Thank you,

S-C-C!

“And I realized,” I say in the e-mail I send. “While at first I didn’t think the ending mirrored what I started out wanting to say. That it was too happy. The emotional arc of Green Eggs and Ham is exactly right!"

Green Eggs and Ham is the less glamorous, yet dual narrative, of change narratives. The “no” starts slowly. It picks up pace. You push back and you push back harder. You push back just to push back so that the other person isn't right. About two thirds of the way through, the denial is vehement. Yet, in the end, Green Eggs and Ham is a growth mindset story, right for a workout and for many other hard things. Moreover, Sam I Am is the mentor we don't know we need who deserves our gratitude for his determination.

After all,

"You can't be bitter and get better." The dry erase board reads.

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