Since camp ended a long, long week ago, I have become somewhat of a lay-about and a wastrel, doing nothing apart from endlessly watching Futurama, pwning in Black Ops and perfomring frenzied bouts of studying for the GRE.  Oh, and going to the gym.

I go to the gym by means of my free trial card that was acquired in a shady place by even shadier methods.

It looked something like this

I’ll head once again to University in 2 weeks and I didn’t see any point in purchasing a membership, so I just “found” one.  You’d be suprised to learn how often things that one wants just “turn up” when one is sufficiently threatening in dark alleys.  Almost all the time, as it turns out.

Anyway, this gym is called “lifestyle,” a name that I loath.  It’s one of those feel good names that implies that merely going here will change your life for the better.  This gym isn’t just a building with stuff in it!  It’s a way of life.  And that’s exactly how it behaves on the inside too.  The lifestyle logo is plastered everywhere one can look, and fit and smiling employees are always walking around in their red polos trying to be so damn helpful.  It’s depressing.  They even have their own T.V. channel which plays upbeat music videos and gives needlessly vague advice on exercising like “lift weights to build muscle,” or “running on a treadmill burns fat!”  All it needs is Ben Stiller glaring menacingly down at you, pointing and shouting like in Globo Gym from dodgeball.

Nice work, fatty!

Despite the fancy interior and happy trainers, Lifestyle is plagued by one of the biggest problems in the gym world: naked old men lounging about provocatively in the men’s locker room.  Whether they have just taken a shower and are catching their breath until the put their clothes on or they just enjoy being naked is unclear.  What is clear is that they are indeed quite naked, and they are just daring you to look.  I don’t know if old women do this, but I certainly hope not.  The minute you walk in you are assaulted by the combined force of 20 hateful, naked stares as all the old guys in the room simultaneously turn and glare at you.  Gymnasium literally means “the place of most nakedness,” after all.


“Go ahead.” They seem to say.  “Look at us.  Look at us and witness your doom.”  And much like a train wreck, it is impossible to not look.  It just happens.  Today, I went into the locker room to deposit my bag of stuff in my favorite locker (it’s number 133, which is most of the word 1337).  I had just placed my bag inside and shut the locker door when BOOM!  Naked old guy.  He was standing just behind the spot where the now shut locker door was.  I jumped back with a start, half from fear and half from astonishment.

“Dear god!  But… but you weren’t there 8 seconds ago when I opened the door!”

“Indeed,” he said mischievously as he put his hands on his hips.  “Indeed I wasn’t.”

“Ah”, I said, which came out more as a strangled yelp as the old guy advanced a step and I slowly backed toward the exit.  “Well done then.  I mean, that was quite fast for someone your… uhh… age.  I doubt even Usain Bolt could have snuck up on me that fast.  HAHA!  Erm…. must be going now… uh… bye.”  I sprinted to the door and collided with another old guy who was just entering.  He was clothed.  For the moment, at least.

“Oh, sorry.” I said as I helped him up.

“Has it started yet?” he asked hopefully.

“Has… what?”

“The nakedness, you damn fool!  Has it started?”

“Um… yes… just in there.  If you would excuse me…” I said as I sidled around him and then dashed to the elliptical.  The last thing i heard from him was a disturbing cackle and the closing of a door.

The Elliptical is one of my favorite cardio machines ever.  Most other cardio machines are designed to remind me how out of shape I have become.  On the treadmill I struggle to keep up with the floor that is always moving slightly too fast under me.  On stationary bikes i struggle to keep my RPM’s higher than my age.  On the Elliptical, I am a GOD.  I simply crush calories on it, and without even breaking much of a sweat!

“I can’t believe this is exercising,” I always say to people who happen to be in earshot.  “See those poor chaps on the treadmills?  Bet they can’t even breathe right now, where as I, if I so wished, could be reading a book!  Or even yodeling!  This is just brilliant!”  They always nod and smile awkwardly and then search the room for a machine not in the immediate area of me.  But I don’t care.  At least I’m not actually running.

Ellipticals, ive been told, were invented in the 90’s so people with bad joints could still “run.”  I’ve often thought that Ellipticals should have been invented with a scoreboard, like in arcade games.  They were invented in the 90’s after all.  Other stuff in the gym should have high scores too.  I think this would give gamers and their ilk much more reason to work out if they could win at it.

Congratulations! You win at the bench press!

“You see that bench there?” they could ask their friends.  “I got a 126560 on it once.  Beat that!”

And, when you really get down to it, isn’t that what they gym is about anyway?  Well, that and avoiding naked old guys in the locker room…

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