Training for the Unknown and the Unknowable: Or, What to Do If Life Accidentally Happens to You



[Republished with permission from the officially fake weekly publication Crossfit Quarterly]

I know, it’s a scary thought: What if, by the sheer stroke of fate, life somehow happens to you? For goodness sake let’s hope it doesn’t, but be prepared just in case.

I mean, perish the thought, but honestly, what happens if you lose your Williams-Sonoma Rösle potato masher and have to prep for a dinner party in just two hours? How could you face the guys at the country club after locking your keys out of the Porsche Cayenne and are forced to walk home from Home Depot? This is a harsh world, and we need to train for the remote possibility that life will happen to us.

Okay okay okay… I give. I give. I hear you… It’s not really about training for infinitesimally trivial yuppie emergencies. It’s functional! I’m with you. The world is a scary place. People’s families absolutely do get kidnapped by ninjas, and karate lessons are more tolerable for those who can do 15 rounds of Cindy (for the non-Fran friendly among us, that’s an [unsanctioned] Crossfit double entendre). And yes, I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes your crack commando unit gets sent to prison by a military court for a crime they you didn’t commit, and to promptly escape from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground, you have to move the one obstacle between you and the sweet taste of freedom. What are you gonna do then, call one of your fraternity brothers who’s been doing curls all day!? Bahahahaha. Sure, let’s see him bench press his way to freedom. Amiright.

Okay, for realz this time. It’s not actually for really real about all of those imaginary scenarios. Those are just straw men created as a literary device — you nailed me. When the rubber hits the road, it’s about something much much more serious than all that:

“CrossFit prepares us for anything and everything that we may encounter in life…  A lot of boxes post the ‘Workout of the Day’. But in order to truly train for the unknown, most days you will come to [some Crossfit affiliate] with no idea what the daily WOD will be. We like it that way.” – an actual Crossfit affiliate

Truth, Crossfit Nowheresville. Truth! Our monotonous lives are so scripted and predictable that the only thing we can possibly come up with that’s unknown or unknowable is the &@#$ing WOD!? I guess there’s always the weather:

“All [the unknown and the unknowable] joking aside, we really aren’t sure as to whether we’ll be open for classes tomorrow or not [because of the hurricane].” – another actual Crossfit affiliate

Deeeet deeet deeeeeet deet deeeeeeeeeet… “This just in: Ferocious Hurricane Prevents Local Man from Going to the Gym. Also at 11: Cats! Are they really plotting to take over Fort Knox with their laser technology? Tune-in for a news hour your life, AND your gold, may depend on.”

This whole “unknown and the unknowable” business is a canard — playing on our shared human desire to experience an unscripted life. Of-fracking-course… Surprises happen. Bad things even happen. But training for the repressed hope of connection with the natural world while self-isolating in the anesthetizing cocoon of workaday refuge is a betrayal of the human experience.

Do you pay someone to be your owner? Do you live in a crib, work in a cube, and play in a box? Welcome to the full realization of agricultural industrialization. All the time saved by the promise of progress and technology somehow eludes your grasp.

“Who wants a world in which the guarantee that we shall not die of starvation entails the risk of dying of boredom?”

Stop training for a life that maybe might someday happen. Passivity doesn’t suit you and Cages are for bad movies. Actively seek the unknown and the unknowable. Live. Get dirty. Play. Go. Now.


(It’s inevitable that some are going to read this and think I’m saying “don’t do Crossfit”. So before I get a bunch of hate mail… I’m *not* saying that. That interpretation would miss my point.)