In his essay, "On The Bench", Robert Parker shows the trials and tribulations of trying to be both mentally and physically strong. He writes about how horrible it is being thin and weak, and having to hold on to his wife’s arm when it is windy out. I hope that this essay was intended to be humorous, because it did in fact make me laugh.

The first thing that made me chuckle in this essay is the fact that he had his wife sign for his new set of weights. To read about a man that insecure about himself is ridiculous. Shouldn’t he have been proud of himself that he was taking a step to becoming more "manly"? He said himself, "a boy needs a strong father", well if I saw my father hiding from the deliveryman out of pure embarrassment I would think I had the weakest father in the world (224). However, after reading the whole essay through a few times, my opinion of Parker changed.

Seeing as how the theme in this week’s readings is "Role Models", I thought about this and came to the conclusion that Parker was indeed setting a good role model for his children. I came to this realization when I read the reason he began lifting; "I want to be strong the way I want to be smart" (226). This made me realize that Parker was not obsessed with appearance and build like I thought he was in the beginning of the essay. I also enjoyed reading, "Like study, exercise can only improve on the basics.