Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Planning Permission

This morning I went to the gym again. Not, however, to lose unsightly blubber or anything like that. No, I only go in order to maintain my existing, magnificently honed physique. That's to say, I don't want to pile on extra muscle, but nor do I wish to risk being on the receiving end of kicked sand on beaches. Looking at the other people there, I daresay most have the same motives as myself. But there are, of course, some others who want to either lose a few stone in weight or, in a handful of instances, totally transform their appearance through bodybuilding.

It's this latter group that causes me concern. In particular, a delightful girl called Christine. In my opinion, she doesn't actually need much work doing, but nevertheless appears to be pumping iron to excess. To what end, then? The thing is, if you want to totally transform, for example, your house - build an extension, say, add a minaret with integral muezzin, or perform a loft conversion - you are first obliged to apply to the council for planning permission. This has to be made public, with the plans and, often, an artist's impression of the desired end-result available in the council offices for scrutiny. That way, if anyone in the area has specific objections, he can write in and demand that the plans be either scrapped or modified.

In my opinion, the same rules and regulations should apply to those who go to gyms. In other words, prior to signing up, you should inform the council of your plans and post an artist's impression of what you intend to look like at the end of your course of training. So if, for instance, Christine intends to carry out a religious conversion and become a burqa-clad Muslim with the muscles of a She Hulk, she'd first have to alert the council. Then I and others would have an opportunity to object or file counter proposals. So I might say, OK with a religious conversion, but to Reform Judaism, not Islam; the bust is nice as it is, so don't overdo it with the bench press and, yes, the arse does need a little work, so more effort with the leg raises, please. And finally, the hair looks better up, not down. Then we'd end up with a woman who was perfectly acceptable to all right-thinking people.

Of course, I'm sure some dickheads will totally ignore the regulations and carry out the work regardless, hoping no-one will notice. But in just the same way as someone who, without permission, converts his outside lavatory into a pagan temple with a pyramid of human skulls outside can be forced to turn it back to the way it originally was, anyone who bypasses the council and transforms himself from a 20 stone tub of lard into a Daniel Craig lookalike should be force-fed, foie gras-style, until he returns to his original shape. Only if he goes through the proper channels should the work be permitted. The rules are there for a reason.

Yes to the plans on the left, no to those on the right

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