What’s this for?

So, it happened again the other day. A new client casually hanging on the suspension trainer asked, innocently enough, “What’s this for?”

Her sister who has trained with me off and on for a number of years laughed and said, “Careful. That’s a dangerous question.”

For my part I just looked at her with what I hoped was a bemused expression as I tried, yet again, to come up with the best response to this question.

I get this sort of thing all the time, usually from people new to me or my gym. The second most common question is, “What does this do?”

And I get it. We live in a world of specialization, where everything and everyone has a specific purpose. To use something against it’s purpose is to use it wrongly. As children we were frequently scolded, “Don’t do that! That’s not what it’s for!”

The intention here is protective. “You’ll hurt yourself,” or “You’ll break it,” are what is meant. But the actual consequences are much more permanent.

Because of this kind of interaction we grow up with our exploratory tendencies stunted. Add to that our fear of looking silly or inept and it’s no wonder we as a culture are experiencing an increasing decline in creativity.

But back to the original question, “What is this for?”

After a very pregnant pause I replied with a smile, “What can you do with it?”

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