"Check this out, comrade, it's like I have my own exercise instructor!", announced Winston to his comrade Syme, as he turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely. "You can dim it, so It saves electricity when you're asleep!"
The instructress had called them to attention again. "And now let's see which of us can touch our toes!' she said enthusiastically. 'Right over from the hips, please, comrades. ONE-two! ONE-two!..."
"Oh I hate this one, he whispered to Syme. "It sends shooting pains all the way from my heels to my buttocks and often ends by bringing on another coughing
"But have you installed the Newspeak translator app?", asked Syme. "It's so cool, you just speak English to it and it translates what you say into proper Newspeak!"
"Oh, that sounds awesome!" said Winston. "Can I download it from the Ministry of Plenty's app store?"
"Ha ha, no!" replied Syme. "It comes preinstalled as part of the operating system! You couldn't uninstall it even if you wanted to."
"Wow!" exclaimed Winston. You mean I have it already, then? So I don't need to waste time looking for it."
"You work at the Ministry of Truth, Winston!" laughed Syme. "I would expect you to know these things already." He paused for a moment, then asked, "Did you see the prisoners hanged yesterday?"
"I was working," said Winston indifferently. "I shall download it and watch it later, I suppose."
"A very inadequate substitute," said Syme. His mocking eyes roved over Winston's face. "I know you," the eyes seemed to say, "I see through you. I know very well why you didn't watch the live stream of those prisoners hanged."
"Smith!" screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen. "6079 Smith W.! Yes, YOU! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You're not trying. Lower, please! THAT'S better, comrade. Now stand at ease, the
whole squad, and watch me."
A sudden hot sweat had broken out all over Winston's body. His face
remained completely inscrutable. Never show dismay! Never show resentment! A single flicker of the eyes could give you away. He stood watching while the instructress raised her arms above her head and--one could not say gracefully, but with remarkable neatness and efficiency--bent over and tucked the first joint of her fingers under her toes.
"THERE, comrades! THAT'S how I want to see you doing it. Watch me again. I'm thirty-nine and I've had four children. Now look." She bent over again. "You see MY knees aren't bent. You can all do it if you want to,' she added as she straightened herself up. "Anyone under forty-five is perfectly capable of touching his toes. We don't all have the privilege of fighting in the front line, but at least we can all keep fit. Remember our boys on the Malabar front! And the sailors in the Floating Fortresses! Just think what THEY have to put up with. Now try again. That's better, comrade, that's MUCH better," she added encouragingly as Winston, with a violent lunge, succeeded in touching his toes with knees unbent, for the first time in several years.
"I'm impressed, Winston," said Syme. "If you'd told me you could touch your toes before you got this thing, I would have said that's such bullocks." He then silently nodded at the screen. "You think she really has four kids? She looks kind of hot for 39."
"I heard that!" screamed the instructress. "I'm flagging your numbers and adding you both to the Ministry of Love's follow list!"