We used to be a country defined by physical and mental fitness. For a growing swelling portion of the population, that is no longer the case.

By Andrew J. Pridgen

Republican nominee Donald J. Trump and the fringe masses of anti- basic human decency proles he’s whipped into a relatively dangerous mass frenzy have one thing in common.

And surprisingly, it’s not racism, sexism, authoritarianism, anti-intellectualism, homophobia, xenophobia, lying, cheating, science-denying, philandering, predatory behavior, bouts of intolerance or hate speech (though the Trump follower Venn diagram can include all of those things).

The tie that binds is they are all, to a person, bloated and gassy Guy Fieri-induced-heartburn-having, Prilosec OTC-popping masses of corpulent misery. Each one, the living and (barely) breathing embodiment of before pictures.

They are giant 12-piece buckets of human excrement marinated in Bud Light Lime and ignorance, battered with whatever secret ingredient of self-loathing they put in KFC and dipped in a vat of Arby’s Horsey Sauce and lament.

I’m serious.

At first it bugged me a little because I couldn’t quite put my skinny little finger on the spongy and moist midsection of their quadruple XL commonality. Rally after rally, person after person, mangled, contorted face after face after face made ugly and heinous from the inside out, they all share the same unsightly physical manifestations of what happens when you spend years ingesting Fox News and hold it in like a fart on a sold-out transcontinental flight. Then regurgitating all the spittle-flecked hatred at once-a-year family gatherings to the bottom-lip-biting confusion and pass-the-potatoes eye rolls of the rest of the clan.

…All the email forwards and woe-is-me my country is a-changin’ hand wringing united by one gold-plated, rotten-from-the-core charlatan who doesn’t nearly believe half of what he says otherwise he’d know better than to contradict himself at every turn—much less how dangerous his rhetoric really is.

Yet there they all are on a forgotten tarmac or deserted warehouse or empty fairground all white and swollen and uncomfortable to the point of misery, clogged arteries barely moving blood to the exploding spider web capillaries of their agitated pomegranate complexions.

Their plumage includes various pieces of vile-spew neo-Nazi-inspired parking-lot-purchased T-shirts and tattered-after-one-wash Old Navy jeans whose seams are barely holding on like a movie villain from a cliff’s edge spirited to their owners’ miserable drawers on the very same shipping containers they blame for taking their jobs away.

It hit me like a freezer burned bag of fries in the Red Robin walk-in about a month ago. While waiting for my partner to complete her first trail marathon, I saw a runner cross the finish with the tell-tale face of boundless joy that comes from excruciating but temporary physical pain caked in kicked-up dirt and streaked with tears; a porcelain smile stretching uncontrollably to each earlobe. She was also wearing a singlet with “I’m with her” on it.

A few weeks after that at a local 5k, a bunch of folks gathered around a Hillary booth prior to the start grabbing stickers and signing up to volunteer.

At the gym, I never hear the instructor shouting missives into his headset about how disastrous a place this country is to motivate the good people in spin class. When I’m in the pool between laps, nobody ever breaks into a chorus of how we need to restore this land to some version of what it once was that never existed. When I’m running on trail, I have yet to look out and wish there was no EPA and no Forest Service with which to protect this rare spit of land.

I don’t think anyone getting into their Savasana is grinding their teeth wondering what happened to some emails that don’t matter. I question whether the guy unloading his kayak/mountain bike/stand-up paddleboard/surfboard is looking over the still waters and wishing with all his fiber that his nation’s leader was a known serial physical assaulter of women and bald faced defender of a warped tyrant’s Constitution he self-created.

Look at the birders in the nature preserve. I highly doubt they want to see someone drill or frack or otherwise mine these protected marshlands. See the peloton of spandex-clad weekend warrior cyclists? I am sure they’re totally against rebuilding our roads and using alternative energy to power vehicles on them so they don’t have to continue choking on exhaust as they’re gasping on uphill climbs.

Nordic and downhill skiers on both coasts and in the middle now have an ever-shrinking window each year to enjoy their favorite activities as a reminder of how fast winter is disappearing. I’m sure a man who believes the ever-warming planet is a hoax and that increasingly hotter years are a good thing is not their first choice to attempt to solve the problem of our lifetimes.

Folks enjoying evening pick-up hoops in Wicker, or Mozart or Eckhart or Dunbar parks in Chicago so often forget to remember that they’re playing in the bowels of hell.

And no man or woman who has ever set foot on the PCT, the 2,659-mile path that traverses this nation north and south and connects it to the borders of Mexico and Canada, has ever given rise to the notion that this fecund and fallow and unforgiving and inspiring Terra firma deserves more paving, more boundaries, more decimation and more walls.

…But then there are those who refuse to go out to experience the splendor opting instead to sit and eat and shit and get angry and generally feel irritated and awful. Their voices silenced by thoughtfulness, reason, forgiveness and progress—by the continued fulfillment of the mission that all men (and women too) are created equal. Their spirit animal, the alt-right radio and TV shock jocks and false prophets, appears to be a pin prick away from his overinflated balloon face exploding all over the camera lens.

Can you imagine, when things do not go their way on election day, (Remember Florida, it’s Nov. 28!) a million-Rascal Scooter march roll on Washington?

Government overthrows are often the work of the young, the able, the spry, the disenfranchised, not the prematurely aging, the terminally tired, the weathered, the overly medicated and the about-to-slip-into-a-soda-induced-diabetic-coma.

The way to fight any so-called Trump Nation uprising would not be with batons and shields and rubber bullets and tear gas, but with a giant mile-long buffet barricade. Watch them misery-eat themselves into a catatonic malaise. Death by 1,000 chocolate fountains.

It is sad, really. The notion that right now, tens of millions are sitting in dark rooms staring at black screens filled with this kind of misdirected urgency and having nothing else to do but wait for their next painful, dried out little turd to escape its host puss factory and swim toward the sea.

Maybe the Trump rallies have been good for them after all. For once, it got them out of the house and their bodies moving.

And didn’t that, of all things, feel just a little bit good?

Andrew J. Pridgen is the author of “Burgundy Upholstery Sky”.

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