Originally published July 2010.

My wife had fallen asleep in the hotel room. Our 8 year-old, who we allow to watch TV on trips like this, was transfixed by an infomercial.

“Daddy, you have GOT to see this,” our son said shaking me out of what was nearly sleep, “and, we have got to order this, now, and we have to hurry, because I want to be RIPPED!”

On the screen was some guy, sans shirt, named Shaun T. He was encouraging his class to “dig deeper” and to “go for it” in what he was calling the “most intense workout of your life!”

MTV-style manic edits with cameras zooming in and out on ultra-fit models all with perfectly chiseled abs made it seem legit. T’s “revolutionary system” for getting in the “shape of your life” looked as easy as watching a few DVDs (and making the 3 easy payments).

I became intrigued. I watched some more.

I suppose I should be horrified that our 8 year-old is both aware of and concerned with such a narcissistic pursuit like getting ripped. But let’s face it; being smart is one thing. But being smart and being able to lift up your shirt to reveal a six-pack – well that is when you know you have reached the top of the USA’s success pyramid.

Being perfectly honest, I was a bit delighted with my son showing enthusiasm for something other than a video game.

“Daddy, this is something you, me and mommy could do together!” he said.  Imagine that…adding, “We can all get ripped, together, as a family!” Tears welled up in my eyes. Well, not really – that just sounds good.

“Daddy, this could be my present for graduating second grade!”

Graduating second grade? What the heck? I swear, the world has gone crazy. Since when was advancing from 2nd to 3rd grade something to even put on the calendar?

But guess what? On his last day of second grade I presented him with Shaun T’s Insanity. He was giddy beyond belief.

Me, well, I was looking over my shoulder for Child Protection Services (CPS) to bust in and cuff me for encouraging such extreme narcissism at a young age.

Then again exercise isn’t such a bad thing. I met my wife while teaching a high impact aerobic class. Maybe this will be fun for the family to do, together!

Now if only we can only balance Insanity with his Happy Meal consumption, I think our son will be ripped in no time!