Buff Was In
Lean was out. And this was somewhere in that pinch of time before Walter totally let himself go, but after his days of scouring the flats and blitzing gaps. He'd just come out with an at-home workout video and it promoted bulking up, sold for a whopping triple digits which is to say nothing of the accompanying meal plan, motivational book with fold-out calendar, and, of course, branded protein smoothies. Prerequisite to all this was the football fame, so he still put in appearances at home games, ran the odd youth camp here or there, made guest spots on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown. Things were, overall, going well, which is to say that he hadn't yet sunk into the red, gotten stuck there, flailing limbs for help, really just making an awful mess of the whole thing.
This was before the weight gain, the scandals, the financial hardship – but that's a soft word, that one, and let's be honest with each other here, okay? So, redacting that lexical lapse – hardship is out, forget it – more appropriately, one might call it financial devastation. Having missed that shot at a Chapter 13, he settled for filing Chapter 7 and comparing with himself just what exactly he was spending more of: capital from liquidated assets repaying creditors or time self-flagellating over his dozen plus personal and professional missteps.
But no, this isn't really that story. Not really, it isn't. Because we could go on about the push-up girl – sure, you know the one, front left of your screen on disc 2 of Walter Yourie's Upper Body Bulk-Up – and how he keeps dragging attention to her during the video, telling the cameraman to get in there, great form, look at that form, elbows at ninety, and – that's right, that's right, baby, sweat, sweat – look at how her chest is just right there just right off the floor, she's got perfect form, perfect form all right. And everyone already knows this story anyway, how he wasn't just complimenting her form in the gym, but outside too, and, even though lean was out and Walter was the motherfucking man when it came to that jacked up physique, she didn't reciprocate the feeling, told him she had a boyfriend or husband in Iraq, so no, Walter, no. But you know the type, of course, guy like Walter, Defensive Rookie of the Year back in his day, balled out an actress or two (or so he claimed), and so how was a part-time model, full-time gym-rat bitch gonna tell the motherfucking man himself no?
Well, the bruise notwithstanding, his mugshot looked worse than the photo which the prosecution presented of her. He'd been drinking the night before and without all that body oil and fake spray tan shit, there was really just this huge discrepancy between what people expected to see and what they got when TMZ leaked the photos. That's what people remember anyhow, isn't it? Someone they admire boxes a girl in the side of the face because she won't put out and they ignore that bloated cheek and closed purple eye, instead focusing on how much he, Walter Yourie, changed since his days in the NFL. After all, he wasn't what you would call a young man anymore and seeing him so pale and haggard, his own eyes rimmed with coal and cracked with crimson from whatever he'd been on the night before – that image of the fallen public figure stuck with folks.
We're getting off-track here, though. People are familiar with the manner in which the facade fractured and they want to remember when things were better which is – honest to God – where this story is heading. See, it was right when the infomercials first began running, in that wedge of time somewhere before he lost credibility on account of the concussion data, his screwed up brain, but after he opened what he swore would become the first reuben and 'slaw chain. Though we know how that went, don't we? Health violations. Enough that the customers stopped eating Walter's food, but not so many that he would. The beginning of his hefty years – well, second round of hefty years because he'd been a chubby kid too, see, and that was before college ball leaned him out, before pro ball bulked him up, both of these metamorphoses keeping him just a little ahead of the times so that he was lean when the fitness mags and dietitians were all promoting mass, mass, mass, and he was all swollen up like that push-up girl's eye when lean was in. Lucky for Walter, though, he maintained the bulk just in time for the fad to swing back around, in time for his at-home workout vids to be marketable on a large scale.
Because that's what this story is about. The success. Walter's success. And it's easy to lose track of it with everything surrounding. Zoom in on that increment of time – fraction, margin, pick your descriptor, the brevity can't be stressed enough – but it was before all the bullshit and after the glory (read: anxiety, scrutiny) of his early years playing in the pros – which glory had inevitably waned after the ACL tear – and there was this instance, after the first hundred or so copies of the workout vids had sold, before Walter'd toweled off, right there, plopped down alone in the jacuzzi tub, all of his wife's shampoos and conditioners and scrubs and what-the-fuck-evers boxed up in the other room because she'd be by soon to pick them up, and with the video sales, with news of an impending royalties check from a renewed cereal promotion, with the jets pulsing against his knee which no longer needed to be inspected, needled, drained before kickoff every week, at this precise moment with one hand holding the washcloth flush against his face, the other resting on his chest, steam clearing all sinuses and thoughts from his head, Walter Yourie was – and, to further emphasize the point, had never been before, nor would ever be again – content.