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'Girls want to touch them, and guys want to talk about them'. Moustafa Ismail,31-inch biceps, Guinness World Records, and fast-fleeting fame.

Nov 27th 2012 at 10:51 AM

by  Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

 

Author's program note. I have long been aware of just how clever the folks at Guinness really are. For me it all started in 1969 when I visited Dublin for the first time and, in sanctified American male undergraduate fashion, made a bee-line for the FREE GUINNESS you got at the end of the brewery tour. Not only free, but in unlimited quantities. Wow! It was boy heaven, until...

 

"Hey, man, where's the rest room?"

 

Then the gal behind the bar, her sweet face the irresistible trademark of Dublin's fair city where the girls are so pretty, smiled, just a touch of devilry apparent, "There it is, gents." And she pointed to the River Liffey and a gaggle of America's finest, unzipped, brazen in the pungent morning air... It is one of the few things Guinness has not (yet) turned into a measured and certified record.

 

A vignette from "War and Peace".

 

Count Leo Tolstoy's immortal novel, written from 1865-1868, which should be required reading for every aspirant to culture and intellect, comes to mind. In a scene with Countess Rostova and her daughter Natasha, Tolstoy reminds us that while the great and powerful plan, pose, posture, position and pontificate, the real stuff of life, its marriages, its births, its deaths, its signal achievements and its bitter despairs goes on... and that these, far more than the insistent gyrations of the "great", are the really important things.

 

And that is why I am writing this article about a 24 year-old cashier at a gas station on Route 9 in Southborough, Massachusetts; a man whose night-and-day obsession has made him a May fly celebrity with many, the butt of wisecracks, condescension and even insult and scalding accusation from many others. I am talking about the 31-inch biceps of Moustafa Ismail, a phenomenon, a record, a bit of history, an aperture to seeing and understanding our times -- and our species.

 

To accompany his story I have selected the 1982 soul single "Muscles" written and produced by Michael Jackson and performed by diva Diana Ross. You'll find it in any search engine. Go now and enjoy!

 

Muscles, sex, fame.

 

Four years ago when Ismail left his native Egyptian soil, he was a gym rat with a steroids enhanced body. Now before you condemn and tsk tsk the lad, you need to be aware that at the time steroids were legal in Egypt, available over the counter, and far less expensive than dietary supplements; the exact reverse of the situation in this country.  He was his own growth enterprise, fueled by the testosterone he took every day.

 

So he kept pushing the envelope, his signature biceps growing like the proverbial weed. He kept going... but to what end? Biceps for the sake of biceps? After a while he began, but only began, to discern that there had to be something beyond mere body growth. It needed a grander purpose. And, in his particular endeavor this took him straight to the twin gods of body enhancement, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Hulk Hogan.

 

They had transformed pumping iron into much more besides muscle and sweat; they had used that muscle and sweat for sex, money, fame... and quite possibly iconic cultural stature. How a boy from teeming Egypt could make the leap from obscurity, penury, with no prospects whatsoever, was not clear. But he could dream... and that was good enough. Dreaming is always the first rung of success... for dreams dreamed strenuously, ardently, obsessively can succeed... if the necessary labor accompanies the dream. And it most assuredly did with Ismail, for he was nothing if not focused on building the enterprise whose center was in his ever growing biceps.

 

Besides, he wanted what every aspiring person wants and which every successful aspirant gets, to greater or lesser extent. And that is Fame, the Bitch-Goddess. I doubt that Ismail is familiar with either Tolstoy or his character Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, but the dream that made Bolkonsky tick was the dream that Ismail came to know better and better every single day, with every additional curl and bench-press. It was the unquenchable desire to be famous, to be known by multitudes, to hear his name on their lips and hear it often, and his achievements, yes even the smallest, extolled by people who would envy him in every particular, worshipping him more than God Himself.

 

At some point, possibly not even precisely known by Ismail himself, he decided fame itself was a worthy objective, so long as it was not a singular objective or achievement. Ismail wanted the whole enchilada and luckily his idols Arnold and Hulk had made it far easier for him; pathfinders both, they were the crucial role models, absentee mentors and sounding boards that Moustafa Ismail needed. And so he worked harder than ever. Would you do as much achieving your particular dream as he did to (begin to) achieve his?

 

Item: Would you do the necessary exercises not just once but twice each day with very heavy things, curling 400 pounds, bench-pressing 500?

 

Item: Would you work two menial jobs to have not merely the wherewithal for the usual living expenses, but the expenses paid to further a dream that might well fail?

 

Item: Would you each day eat at least four pounds of meat, $30 worth of supplements, a tub of mashed potatoes?

 

Item: And would you do all this in face of the dawning awareness that you could NEVER stop the process, or you would face the reality of not merely aesthetic catastrophe but very real health and wellness issues?

 

All this Ismail pledged to do, though the Bitch-Goddess Success did not enlighten him on precisely what he had agreed to. That would come later, although few would have predicted just how soon that would be.

 

Enter Guinness World Records.

 

Even if you have no taste for dry stout, you know the pleasure of Guinness, produced in Ireland since 1759. Guinness is not merely a drink; it is a pleasurable condition. It's a condition you delight to share with friends. But it was and is an acquired taste, and therefore its producers can never stop marketing, enlisting, proselytizing. Which is how what is now known as "Guinness World Records" came about in August, 1954, as yet another way to recommend the dark joy of their signature product. Yet, so capricious is the Bitch-Goddess Success that she rains riches on those who do not seek them while denying them to those who abase themselves in hot pursuit. In short, right from the start  "The Guinness Book of Records" (as it was then called) was a run-away publishing success, an unexpected cash hose.

 

Why did it succeed so greatly and so fast? Not merely because its close packed pages were full of the biggest this, the tallest that, the smallest something else. There is, I think, a better reason, and Ismail's painful, excruciating, urgent exertions provide the clue, for this is a book of dreams dreamt and dreams achieved by the most otherwise ordinary individuals. For here, in clear, precise detail they become what they have always most meant to be: the hero of their own lives, whose achievement is real, measurable, proof that they were here, were special, and mattered. On this basis Ismail joined the ranks of the Guinness record holders far outpacing the biceps of Arnold (22 inches) and Hulk (24 inches), thus gaining a toehold on fame. His achievement however dubious was recognized. He was recognized. He existed... and it was good.

 

"Not quite," sayeth the Bitch-Goddess.

 

But this story doesn't end, couldn't end this way, for fame, you see, is the most double-edged of swords and the most lethal when linked with Nemesis, always armed and dangerous.

 

The bodybuilding community, heavily muscled, green with envy, launched attacks. Ismail, they charged, had won by injecting an oil directly into his biceps to make them appear bigger by stretching out the facia, the connective tissue that surrounds all skeletal muscles. He took synthol, they said. He took testosterone illegally, they said. And so it went, the once gratified and gracious "gentle giant" was now portrayed as a fraud, an impostor, a liar and a cheat. The Bitch-Goddess had struck yet again and fully.

 

And so we leave a befuddled, perplexed, infinitely hurt Mr.  Ismail, once happy to have total strangers pinch his biceps and ah, now wary, denying all. Let us hope his new wife is good to him and doesn't mind sharing her 270-pound husband and his eye-jolting biceps with the world, for his travails have just begun. He is not after all a man with biceps but rather biceps with a man, and that is surely worth all the recognition he gets.

 

"I need what the eyes can see, ah/ (His anatomy)/I want all I can get/All over him, all over him/ I want muscles, muscles, muscles."

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/17100537/articleimages/muscles.jpg

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Services include home business training, affiliate marketing training, earn-at-home programs, traffic tools, advertising, webcasting, hosting, design, WordPress Blogs and more. Find out why Worldprofit is considered the # 1 online Home Business Training program by getting a free Associate Membership today. Republished with author's permission by Rawle Trim <a href="http://RawleTHomeBusinessCenter.com">http://RawleTHomeBusinessCenter.com</a>. Check out Truth About Abs ->  http://www.RawleTHomeBusinessCenter.com/?rd=jg72Hzmd

 

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