Friday, August 12, 2011

Feats of Strength

My parents used to buy 40 pound bags of salt pellets for the water softener. My dad could simply have carried these bags in himself, but he let us kids take a crack at them instead. Being the oldest by three years, I was also the biggest and the strongest and the most successful at lifting the bags. And it made me feel AWESOME.

Feats of strength: you do not have to be a hulking bodybuilder to enjoy performing them. You can be a scrawny 12-year-old girl. Or an adult woman of thoroughly average musculature. It doesn't matter. It's still fun to test your limits from time to time.

Not that anyone indulges me these days. If someone needs help moving, they usually put out a call for a bunch of guys to help. I'm no Chyna, granted, but heck, I can generally lift half a couch. So it's disappointing to be overlooked, and it can be kinda enraging when it happens at work. In grad school, my old Sun work computer was due to be replaced with a fancy Mac. I waited ... and waited. I finally went down to pester our Mac support person about it, and she told me that my shiny new computer had been sitting in the computer support office for a week but could not be delivered until she could get a couple of guys to move it. Yeah.

Of course, I had my old Sun computer dismantled and in her office in a hot second, much to her surprise, and whisked away the new computer my damn self. I'm still annoyed that she decided for me that I could not lift a computer monitor.

So, public service announcement. Women are not always incapable of and uninterested in lifting heavy things. So don't assume we are. You just might get twice as many people to help you move next time.


  1. So true! At the zoo we have to use jack hammers, 50 lb. spud bars, post hole diggers, sledge hammers, etc. While some of the bigger guys are a little more proficient at some of them, everyone takes a shot at them, in fact one of our smallest women used the jack hammer for half a day just fine. I've definitely done things I didn't think I could because no-one else would ever even let me try, and was pretty good at them! Point is, I wish I would have been given these opportunities before now. I know I would have felt more self-sufficient.

  2. Love this!!! In my childhood, instead of a 40-lb bag of salt pellets it was one of those big Zephyrhills water jugs refilled with hose water and lugged halfway around the house to the cooler thingy on the front porch.

    When I was teaching, a teacher friend of mine had a habit of, whenever she needed something moved (tables, books, etc.), she'd ask for some "strong boys" to help. On the few occasions she asked to borrow some of my "strong boys," I'd always send girls from my group of volunteers.

  3. Desi, I'm so glad you took the chance to subvert that thinking. It always broke my heart when I was passed over for those tasks in school.

  4. Also, more props to my parents for letting me split wood with a SLEDGEHAMMER. <3 <3 <3

  5. If anyone doubts the ability of women to move shit, they should see how fast my derby team can get a person moved out of her old second-story apartment and into her new house across town. Not that I speak from experience or anything.

    [It was two hours. Including packing all her stuff into boxes.]

  6. Double word. If you ever have the distinct pleasure (sarcasm) of being pregnant, try carrying your own damn water bottle for more than a couple of steps. Everyone's like, "Oh, no! You're pregnant. You can't carry that! Let me get that for you." Me: "Touch the water bottle and die."

    Next up: going to the gym while visibly pregnant.

    *Just to be clear, I know that preggers aren't supposed to be carrying or lifting shiz over like 20 pounds. However, I was curling 20-pound weights (one in each hand) prior to my current "situation" so I think I can handle the 20 ounce water bottle or the 12-pack of beer I bought for my weekend house guests at the gas station today.

  7. Emma, I'm sure you know how much you can carry, pregnant or not, than anyone else. And I will cut* anyone who tries to shame you on this blog for lifting shit while pregnant >:(

    *Metaphorically, of course. With my WORDS.