The Chart of Awesomeness Problem

Full disclosure: I love the show My Name Is Earl, and I’m a member of a karaoke band that plays Def Leppard songs.

In an episode of My Name Is Earl from 2006, Earl starts gambling in an ill-advised attempt to redeem his karma. Friends intervene, and these lines of dialogue are exchanged:

Disease Control leader: Earl, maybe you need to ask yourself if you have a gambling problem.

Earl Hickey: Hmm, no, I don’t have a gambling problem, I’m winning, and winning is not a problem. That’s like saying Michael Jordan has a basketball problem, or Def Leppard has an awesomeness problem. So why don’t y’all pour some sugar on that?

When Dave and I stopped giggling, we wholeheartedly adopted the phrase “awesomeness problem,” and it’s been an annoying part of our lexicon ever since.

This summer, that phrase intersected with my need to document every activity of my physical transformation. The result was a 16-week calendar that became…


Each block represents one day between May 1 and August 31. Every X represents a workout: pink for me, orange for Dave.

In those 16 weeks, I lost 8 lbs., 18 inches, and 3% body fat. I gained a running partner, the ability to do lots of good pushups on my toes, and the desire to try new stuff. I evolved from running zero miles to the ability to run 9+ miles in a day — and I “graduated” to CrossFit indoor to supplement my Bootcamp classes. I also participated in four Spartan 300 workouts, three UTBs, the Keep Austin Weird 5k, the Bat Run, the Moonlight Margarita Run, the Run for the Peanut Butter Bars, and the Nike Human Race.

And — hooray! — I also bought the smallest size jeans I’ve ever owned. F*ck, yeah.

Our refrigerator is now displaying CHART OF AWESOMENESS PROBLEM II that will carry us from today until December 31. The possibilities for amazing adventures are very enticing, don’tcha think?

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