HOW WE ATE AND TRAINED AND USED TO BE
The irony of time is, that while it allows you to accumulate knowledge and build on the experience and work of yourself (and others), it is often at the cost turning into a sort of technician with a rather limited horizon.
When what you really started out wanting was to get some kicks & become a legend.
NOTE* I suppose that some guys become interested in history, well…when the get old enough to. When there’s probably more to look back on than there is to look forward to. But, then there may be another reason, one a little less cynical, one with a little more resonance. perhaps something that act as a sort of concentrated energy boost. Let’s hope so.
It all kinda starts out like a little fairy tale: ‘Back in the day, well…’
We can quickly flip through some superficial pages of time in an effort to transport ourselves towards a more innocent era, harkening back the return to simpler sets of rules while simultaneously casting our mind’s eye into some less distracted kindling of our misspent youth.
Imagine that we are now floating, bright eyed and fresh faced about the dancing dirty, shabbily chic bell-bottomed streets of Santa Monica and Venice in the late 1970’s and early 80’s.
As we turn the magnification up a little and we envision a boisterous, rowdy, loud, sweaty group of muscleheads who have just finished a particularly torturous & gruelling training session at Golds. Before the start of this session, while gulping down their pre-workout drinks (back then, a cup of black coffee and a fistful of liver tablets) one of these muscley juvenile delinquents would loudly and arrogantly proclaim a challenge to the others that he would out-pump and out-lift any one of them. They would bet the cost of an (absolutely essential) post training meal at a local eatery like Zucky’s or the nearest All-You-Can-Eat Swedish Smorgasbord on the outcome of this epic & titanic struggle.
The winner would pick up the tab.
Swedish Smorgasbords were the favoured venue. Why these places were called Swedish was anybody’s guess. There was nothing even vaguely Swedish about them and as far as we were concerned, no one remembered having ever seen, let alone ever met, a Swedish person in one. As far as we were concerned, they might as well all have been Chinese, Australian, Mexican or Swahili smorgasbords.
At that time, most of the all-you-can-eat venues in L.A. seemed to be run either by Chinese, Iranian, Australian, Indian, Mexican or some other familiar immigrant nationality. And boy, whatever make they were, did they not like to see a carload of sweaty, starving bodybuilders pulling up in some noisy, smoky, smelly old piece-of-shit Ford Fury III with a hang-five deodorant foot dangling uselessly from the rear view mirror. Why the consternation? Because, at $4.99 a head, the chances were damn near slim to none that anyone was going to turn a profit on this crowd of starving, buffed-out rowdies.
It mattered little to us that they’d quickly switch the normal meal plates for downsized dessert versions when they saw us swaggering through the double swing doors, bent on laying gastronomical siege to their establishments and imposing financial ruin upon their profit margins. We just piled our undersized plates higher, went back more often and got twice as many of them.
The food was cheap, it was cheerful and most of it, more than a little on the deep fried, greasy side: chicken thighs and wings, spring rolls, shish kebab, tacos, hot dogs, pickled eggs, pig’s trotters, sliced salmon, cream cheese, sardines, bagels, salad fixings of all sorts and descriptions, stainless steel canisters filled with chickpeas, sliced beetroot, corn, grated carrots, sliced onions, coleslaw, stacks of processed cheese slices and myriads of other questionably hygienic, less identifiable foodstuffs.
All this grub was washed down with copious amounts of milk, coca-cola, coffee and ice-cream.
And that, that was just for starters…