main banner

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Gym Dandy


By Annandale humorist Robert Schwaninger

I had an occasion to go to a place called a “gym” where people do something referred to as “working out,” which sounds like what my belly is attempting to do over my belt. Now, if you’ve never ventured into one of these odd places to view the denizens, you might be surprised by what you find.

The people who work there are all dressed in what appears to be elastic. All of their clothes are wrapped around them so tightly that gender was never a question, much less where they sported a birthmark. And these elastic people who reminded me of Stretch Armstrong seemed to favor colors that were brighter than a flagman’s vest at a construction site.

They were toned and tan and chiseled and upright and taut. And their job is to do one thing – induce immediate self-loathing. This isn’t body shaming. It’s body condemnation. Just standing in the vicinity of one of these buff nuts will make you feel fifteen years older, and weaker, and hopelessly hideous.

Being over 60, I believe that I am entitled to some slack. What that means to me is that I no longer have pecs or lats or glutes. What I have is some slightly wrinkled skin that covers organs that threaten to fail, but haven’t; and some loose collection of bones that occasionally ache for no reason.

I have the strength necessary to take out the trash, push a lawn mower, and heft a case a beer into the car. I can run short distances that usually involve a bathroom. I can climb a ladder to hang Christmas lights but I admit that I start to feel vertigo at about the second rung. And, yes, I do sometimes make that “oof” noise when pulling myself off the couch.

With those things as my physical resume it was with great trepidation and wonder that I observed the machinery and tools of the gym.

In one corner were great hunks of metal bars and weights that people just lifted again and again, like Sisyphus working that rock. It’s not like they were really carrying the metal anywhere. They just lifted and grunted, lifted and grunted, making a noise that sounded a lot like me getting out of a chair. Getting out of a chair seems a lot easier if you want to make that noise.

Another contraption was a couple of steps which people would sort-of mount with a kind of climbing motion. Up and down their legs pumped, but they never got any higher and there seemed to be no prize that they were trying to reach.

And then there were stationary bikes. I don’t like decaffeinated coffee because it seems silly to me. It’s a beverage akin to sitting in a new car just for the smell and knowing there’s no gas in the tank. If you wanted to ride a bike, its seems that you would haul out your Schwinn and head to the Giant or a park. I don’t ride a bike because I am convinced that bicycle seats were invented in Spain during the Inquisition.

Mounted on the stationary bikes were sweaty people of various sizes. There were heavy sweaty people, razor-thin sweaty people, muscled sweaty people, and middle-aged sweaty people. Human tributaries to some enormous, rushing sweat river were sporting perspiration in buckets as they swung their legs around and around, going nowhere.

So I have come to a conclusion. A gym is a place where you lift but do not carry, you climb but you do not ascend, and you pedal but go nowhere. Frankly, if I want that experience, I’ll run for office.

18 comments:

  1. Congratulations. You have successfully justified your lack of caring by making fun of others who do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Lighten up, Francess." It's called comedy, it's pretty well done, and I don't believe there was any other agenda afoot.

      Delete
    2. Refresh! Will it work this time?

      Delete
    3. It's not even funny though, but I guess humor is in the eye of the beer holder.

      Delete
    4. Adam,

      The person who wrote the article stated they were over 60 years old.

      Not only is there a culture shock with working out, which has changed immensely in the last 60 years, there is also a change in fashion. I remember these two brothers who in the 70's or 80's that worked out with work boots and overalls on.

      Gyms can be intimidating and people who are new often make the mistake of focusing on what others think of them, when most people do not even care, and what others are doing.

      Having worked out in Olympus and Gold's Gym's in this area for over 30 years I can see how it can be intimidating to a person just starting.

      But you support them and do not insult them. It is not a competition.

      Delete
    5. But that's exactly what the author is doing...insulting everyone else there as a means to make themselves more comfortable with the situation. I understand the gym is an odd place, but the people there - big, small, fat, thin, old and young - are working very hard (for he most part) to do something to improve their lives. This guy is just looking for an excuse to justify his non-participation.

      Delete
    6. Adam he was participating. Even if he was making fun of me, which from reading what he wrote he was not as I am no longer fit enough to wear spandex, I do not care. He is working out. The only place I draw the line is taking pictures in the gym and this is more to protect people who are starting and women from freaks.

      If a person is using me for their motivation to work out and it does not harm me I do not care what they say.

      Delete
    7. Just to clarify, nothing here offends me. I still have yet to figure out how far across the line something needs to be to actually do that - I just didn't find it funny, the guy just seemed like a tool to me.

      Delete
    8. "Tool" is an insult, right? Wasn't that your initial criticism of the article?

      Delete
  2. And what's the deal with airline food!??

    ReplyDelete
  3. yes but do you fart in the bath tub?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Robert, thanks for the laughs! I'm a 30-something group fitness instructor and I completely understand how intimidating the people and equipment in a gym can be. It is comical in that they are like hamsters spinning their wheel, not really traveling anywhere, yet at the same time they are working very hard to stay healthy and improve their lives...there Adam Golderg, are you happy?! Now please stop being a troll and grow a sense of humor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww now you've gone and hurt my tender feelings

      Delete
  5. The article was hysterical! And "that is exactly why I don't" go to a gym! P.S. I have a treadmill at home and I actually use it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow! Gyms and working out look much like politics--strong feelings on all sides. Like with politics,it's best to disagree without being disagreeable.
    That said, I get the joke and appreciate the humor, but like 7 Corners 7, Michelle, and Liz, understand the need to exercise somewhere/somehow. I spent my healthy years in gyms and playing sports and probably intimidated others. But now in my mid-60s with orthopedic challenges, I just aim to keep things working as best I can. I hope everyone can do the same!

    ReplyDelete
  7. [Eye roll.]

    I see no reason why Mr. Schwaninger's light-hearted commentary should garner so much criticism. He's mostly poking fun at himself, anyway!

    I suppose that some people demand either side-splitters or divisive, derogatory slams. I guess that if it's neither of those styles, people find fault with it. Please.

    Mr. Schwaninger, I appreciate this piece. Thank you.


    ReplyDelete
  8. Adam, Adam, Adam. Methinks ye simply like to read your own posts. Who could possibly take real offense at such a breezy piece?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My posts are awesome, of course I like reading them

      Delete