A Clean by Any Other Name.

May 22, 2012

The following was written by my good friend and training partner, Cameron.  When Cam isn’t snatching 100kg, drinking bourbon, or playing Diablo III, he is quite the creative writer.  He is so entertaining in fact, that I think he deserves his own series on this website entitled, “I’m Just Sayin,” where he’ll go on sprawling rants on topics ranging from fitness to architecture, to the finer points of proper singlet fashion.  Anyways, Cam and I were recently ranting about our disapproval of the widespread use of the term, “squat clean.”  It’s not so much that it’s wrong as much as it’s just redundant.  Let me be clear, people have been saying “squat clean” for approximately HELLA DAYS.  It’s even described in some books as a squat clean.  But when you’re in the trenches getting your Olympic weightlifting on, and your coach comes over to your platform saying you’ve been snatching for like an hour and a half and you really, really need to just move on to your cleans, There is no need to ask if he/she meant power or squat.  A clean is a clean.  A power clean is a power clean.  And a hang clean is a hang clean.  

And now I present the Norse fantasy epic that was the result of 10 minutes of two dudes bitching about gym terminology, A Clean by Any Other Name . . .

Long ago, the mighty Thor bestowed the Clean to the people of Midgard. There was much rejoicing, and the denizens of Midgard basked in the wonder and glory of the eternal wisdom of Thor, thanking him for bringing such joy to their lives.

People practiced it for years, with many practicing it in different ways, modifying the original intent of the exercise. Younger generations began to practice a form of the Clean in which they did not squat past parallel, calling it by the same name. And hence, the “War of the Squat Depth” began.

Thor. Jacked. How much do you think he can squat clean?

Farmlands were razed. Families were torn apart over the conflict. Cities fell into ruin. The world sank into a darkness that seemed impossible to lift.

Seeing the tragedy that had come of his wondrous gift, the mighty Thor dove into the depths of the Midgard, and retrieved a tablet of the most hardy and dense stone he could find. With his mighty hammer Mjolnir, he forged a tablet that would bring peace to the kingdoms of Man. This tablet, the Tablet of Truths, would be the final say in how to distinguish the various forms of practicing the Clean, forever clarifying any doubt amongst the tribes of men. He decreed:

“Let it be known from this point henceforth, if a man does not squat past parallel, he has performed a Power Clean. Ye shall refer to the Greatest of Gifts as a ‘Clean’, if he does pass parallel.”

With this clear distinction, the Kingdoms of Men knew how to designate the difference between the auxiliary exercise known as the “Power Clean” and the original Greatest of Gifts. It was simple, elegant, and a wondrous gift from Thor that had only been surpassed by the initial gift of the Clean itself. The war ended, and there was much rejoicing.

Years passed. Kingdoms rose and fell. When the 19th amendment passed, man extended the meaning of the term “man” to include women kind. Strong, beautiful women participated in the glory of this gift, and the mighty Thor was pleased with the wisdom of mankind.

There was peace…

As time passed, the ways of old began to pass into myth, practiced only by a few devout followers that were shunned by much of the rest of society. Late in the 20th century, the Great Awakening occurred, and the masses re-discovered the Greatest of Gifts. However, a confusion similar to that which once started the War of the Squat Depth swept across Midgard.

“If I perform a Clean, do I have to squat?” They cried in confusion. Rather than look to the Tablet of Truth, they searched for another answer, and a false prophet rose up in defiance of Thor:

“From henceforth, if a squat is required, we shall call for a ‘squat clean’. A clean that does not involve a squat past parallel will be called a ‘power clean’.

The mighty Thor heard the arrogant proclamation from the false prophet as it traveled through the cosmos to his home in Asgard, and he grew furious. The heathens had defiled The Greatest of Gifts that he had given Man. In their reckless ignorance, they had carelessly added an adjective to describe The Greatest of Gifts when no additional distinction was necessary.

Thor prepared to leave Asgard and return to Midgard to destroy humanity once and for all for their ignorance. As he prepared to leave, the Odin stopped him.

“Odin, I must destroy humanity. Such corruption of our great and wondrous gift surely indicates that there is no hope for them. The heathens have already defiled the majesty of the Clean and created what they call the ‘thruster’, and now they have renamed The Greatest of Gifts! Such arrogance! They could have at least called it a “Clean Squat” and got the order right! They are a miserable species that is not worthy of existence.”

“Thor, the humans mean well. Give them one last chance for redemption. Entrust one of their own to guide the lost back from the darkness. There are many upon Midgard who still follow your wisdom, and call the true name of the Clean as you uttered it millennia ago.” Odin’s calmly advised.

“Who could ever bear such a terrible burden?” Thor replied.

As their eyes shifted to Midgard, they happened upon a man of 30 years and strong build. His eyes focused as he took a mighty pull, squatting well below parallel and standing up with little difficulty.

“Bro, nice 308 pound squat clean” an admirer stated.

“That was a clean, a 140 kilogram clean.” His eyes shifted to a determined squint as his face twisted in disgust. “It has been called a clean and measured in kilograms by our fathers, and their fathers, and their fathers before them since the beginning of time. Do not defile The Greatest of Gifts from the mighty Thor.”

Thor and Odin were pleased by his use of the ancient weight system of the Gods of Asgard. They were impressed that he called the Clean by the one true name. They knew immediately that he was the one.

With a flash of light, Thor flew to Midgard and appeared before the man.

“Cameron of gym Midtown, denizen of Midgard, you are entrusted with this most sacred of tasks. There are those that have renamed my greatest gift to your kind. They add additional descriptive to a movement that is already clearly defined apart from its derived assistive movement. You know of what I speak, Cameron.”

“Yes Thor, God of Thunder. I know of what you speak. I shall be the prophet that shall deliver the truth to your people. I shall be your retribution. I will be your eyes and ears. When I see and hear the false name, I shall be your shepherd that leads the lambs out of the darkness.”

And now, I write to you all with a simple request. Do not, ever, use the term “squat clean”. There is already a clear distinction between the Clean and the Power Clean. No additional description is needed! Do not defile this great wondrous gift from the mighty Thor himself! The fate of Midgard depends on your compliance! Call a clean by it’s false name, and our world is doomed.

6 Responses to “A Clean by Any Other Name.”

  1. sarah said

    Cam, you’re a genius. This was too awesome for words. I loved it. Please write more!!!

  2. Joshua Cline said

    Dos thus have thou a mug of ale for me and me mate, for he hath been pitched in battle for a fortnight and has the king’s thirst for the frosty brew dos thou might have for thus!

    • Cameron said

      Secret between you and me: Thor also commanded that I immediately fill the mug of any man that uses the correct term for a Clean with the finest ale from Asgard!

      • Joshua Cline said

        Then we shall FEAST and DRINK until we are fat like hogs and drunk like whores!!!!

  3. Daniel said

    holy shit this was great.

  4. justin said

    That is an amazing story, you are my hero!

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