March 4, 2009

The Jiggle Machine

I like going to the gym. I really do. At the gym, there's all sorts of nifty equipment to keep me in shape. Working out makes me feel and look great. Not only do I have some pretty good lean muscle mass, but -- after years of going -- I have a pile of gym friends. It's amazing how much talking goes on in my gym. It's like a little town square -- without the donut shop.

Modern day gyms are quite unlike those of the olden days -- like the 60s . . . um . . .the 1960s. Back then women's gyms were less about treadmills, elliptical trainers or weights. The big thing back then was jiggling. In high heels, no less.

My mother owned a jiggle machine. There were other, less fortunate families, whose moms had to stand up to jiggle the weight off. We seemed quite affluent by comparison. Mom had a jiggle bench. It had two stationary sections on either side of a middle section. This middle section had a motorized pad that shook back and forth when you flipped the on button. If you got tired jiggling in one direction, you just had to slide a lever, swivel the pad, and it jiggled in a different direction.

The jiggle machine resided in our basement, along with a sump pump, my father's paperbacks with oddly racy covers, and an old pinball machine that didn't work, but looked pretty cool.

The jiggle machine had one accessory. It was what could only be called a sandbag -- a bag filled with sand. The idea of the sandbag -- as far as I could tell -- was that you put it over your middle as you lay on the jiggle machine to keep you from flying off the of it.

My mother has always struggled with her weight, and is famous for saying that she isn't overweight, just under-tall. Despite her epic battle with weight, I can't actually recall her using the jiggle machine.

Fortunately, we kids gave it plenty of use. Our jiggle machine was a source of great pride to us Buell kids, and we often brought the neighborhood trooping into the basement to see it. The middle section really only held one person comfortably, but it was an interesting challenge to see how many it could really hold. It was also fun to see just how far the jiggle machine could propel certain objects (like those racy paperbacks) or to see how long it took for a pie plate filled with water to jiggle completely dry.

My brother had a fat head (and, it could be argued, still does) and we -- with his encouragement -- often tried to see if it would get skinnier. We could tell he was saying something as he jiggled, but the sandbag over his head really made it difficult to understand him. I think he was mostly telling us to stop.

I miss the good old days.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, my gosh, that staple from "Cats" keeps ear-worming through my head: "Memories!" There is a building on Mast Road in Pinardville that I believe is now a doggy day care. It used to be my gym in the early 80's. And guess which machine they featured?