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The weight room feels like you stepped off the Metra in a neighborhood you shouldn’t be in. It can be quite intimidating lifting 15-pound dumbbells next to a guy who is lifting the entire rack of weights with his foot as he cranks out 40 chin-ups. But how intimidating are these people, in reality? I went around the gym looking for someone to give me some answers, and after encountering a guy listening to Nordic chants on the rowing machine and a guy doing yoga while blasting WHAM!, I found a man who challenged the swole, gym-beast stereotype: Charlie Carson ’18.

Call: So, you bench about three times my weight, what is your workout routine to be able to do that?

“Well, I do all sorts of things. During the workout, I like to listen to a podcast I have on repeat of baby animal noises just squeaking and being all cute-like. The power of ‘aw’ really inspires me to move.”

Call: And how about after, how do you cool down after shredding in the weight room for three hours every day?

“My locker has some of the essentials to help with my cool down, including my blankie that my mom hugged before I went to college. Being reminded of her after a workout relaxes me. Sometimes I need to get a good cry out, too, after stressing over such a hard workout, and boy, my blankie is the best thing to help me when I cry.”

Call: Uh, yeah, ok, well how about what’s your favorite movie?

“Obviously, the best movie ever is Air Bud. That movie just makes me so happy and full of love. Toy Story 1 and 2 are up there.”

Call: Not the third?

“No, the bear is such a big meanie! He’s not nice to people and that makes me sad.”

Call: What are your hobbies, Charlie? Do you write crime stories or collect coins or something?

“Not quite. I nurture and water plants that have been deformed and destroyed by humans, because no one else helps these helpless plants. I also create e-cards that have puppies on them.”

Call: I see, do you do anything else on campus?

“I want to start a club called Pugs and Hugs where the school has a big pen full of pugs, but the only way you can get into the pen is by giving the person next to you a 15-second-long hug.”

Call: You seem to want people to love each other and get along, don’t you?

“My dream is for all the people of the world to come together and sing songs as we hold hands around a burning pile of the problems everyone faces day to day.”

Call: That’s…that’s beautiful Charlie. Thank you for that.

When the interview ended, Charlie gave me a hug that broke three of my ribs from the sheer strength of his squeeze. He paid for the hospital bills and sent me personalized e-cards with pugs on them each day.

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