Joanne Palmer: Pumping you up |

Joanne Palmer: Pumping you up

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or
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Have you heard the latest?

The big brouhaha rocking the nation’s capital is the First Lady’s biceps. Dubbed “Bicep-gate” by the media, the Maelstrom seems to be about whether Michelle should be wearing sleeveless dresses in February that reveal her toned arms.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

Or not.

Here’s a bit of the buzz:

From Sandra McElwaine on The Daily Beast: “Someone should tell Michelle to mix up her wardrobe and cover up from time to time.”

Meow, meow.

From British Prime Minister David Brooks, “She’s made her point,” he said. “Now she should put away Thunder and Lightning.”

Oh David, get a grip.

From the Huffington Post’s Bonnie Fuller: “Michelle’s strong arms convey the message that if she can personally hug and lift us out of a lousy economy and a lack of top health care or education for everyone, she will.”


From New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd: “Let’s face it: The only bracing symbol of American strength right now is the image of Michelle Obama’s sculpted biceps. Her husband urges bold action, but it is Michelle who looks as though she could easily wind up and punch out Rush Limbaugh, Bernie Madoff and all the corporate creeps who ripped off America.”

Oh, yeah. Go get ’em, Maureen.

Some newspapers are wasting precious newsprint with informative articles about how to achieve Michelle’s toned arms.


Is this inspiring me to get to the gym?

Absolutely not.

Weight rooms are scary places. Frightening, intimidating sounds are emitted on a regular basis from the mostly male gym rats who inhabit the sweatorium.

“Errgh.” “Grunt. Grunt.” And then the crashing sound of a 300-pound weight being placed back into the rack.

I do not want to hoist weights next to grunting, sweaty males. I tried it once, and it was not fun. I was one of those old lady weightlifters who tapped guys on their bulging deltoids and said, “Dearie, you’re going to get hurt doing that. Shouldn’t you try lifting less weight?” To which the response was always the same:

“Errgh.” “Grunt. Grunt.” Crashing sound of weights.

Oh sure, if you take up weightlifting you might ward off osteoporosis. You also can pepper your vocabulary with new phrases, such as, “clean and jerk” and “bulk up.” You might even greet fellow lifters by saying something like, “Pump it up, dude.” But mostly, weightlifting involves a lot of straining and hard work.

First, you have to put heavy things on bars and hoist it into the air. Sometimes you hoist from a horizontal position on an uncomfortable bench. Or you can stand up to hoist “dead weight,” which means you probably will go into cardiac arrest if you drop it. Sometimes weightlifters work in pairs, where one person “spots” a fellow grunter. The spotter puts his hands underneath this 300-pound weight just in case the grunter drops it.

I guess that’s why they call them dumbbells.

Some people may try to trick you into going into the weight room by asking if you want to try “strength training.” But don’t be duped. You still will find yourself standing next to guys with your little 5-pound weights trying not to feel foolish.

If I ever get invited to the White House, I’d happily reverse my no-weightlifting policy and pump it up with Michelle. Maybe, together, we could wind up and punch out the corporate creeps who ripped off America.

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