Friday, February 27, 2009

Condemning the clueless: gym edition

The Center of the Universe. My gym (well, one of my gyms … I’m one of those self-obsessed homos with two gym memberships) pumps Non-Threatening Techno into the locker room. It’s a weird conflation of thump-thump house music and easy listenin’ jazz, and it seems to be the perfect mood-setting middle ground for gym members of all ages and sexual orientations. They even play it in the toilet area, and any gym that drowns out pooping sounds with a heavy bass beat is a gym I can respect. To add to the aural clutter, though, the locker room also features a huge flat-screen TV locked permanently on CNBC so all us high-powered businessmen can brush up on our Nikkei averages before we head to work in the morning. But we can’t always hear the Asian financial report. Or the techno. Because The Center of the Universe always brings his radio, which he hooks up to two powerful speakers that he’s hung apparently permanently on his locker door. And it’s not like he listens to anything of consequence like NPR or The Colgate Tap-Dance Hour or Karl Rove being boiled alive. His morning entertainment of choice—and, by his decree, everyone else’s—is one of those Butt And Hole In The Morning call-in shows where people feel compelled to tell insulting stories about their girlfriends and regale listeners with details about that thing that happened that one time they were like totally drunk. Which makes The Center of the Universe guilty of one count of arrogance for thinking he is, in fact, the center of the universe, one count of bad taste for listening to moron radio, and one misdemeanor count of shutthefuckupalready for causing me to miss hot insider tips for my investment portfolio.

The Ululator. I’ll say it up front: This poor guy has a funny voice. As in Minnie Mouse funny. But that’s not why I’m condemning him. I’m condemning him because he comes to the gym with one very specific goal: to talk on his phone. Loudly. He uses one of those earbud things with a microphone attached to the cord, and the cord swings to and fro as he’s lifting and curling and squatting and moving plates around. Since those microphones are pretty crappy anyway, he’s forced to yell shriek so the people he’s talking to can hear him … and then he has to yell shriek even louder when the microphone is at the far point of its swinging arc. Which makes The Ululator guilty of one count of assholism for forcing everyone to listen to every word of every conversation he has the entire time he’s in the gym, one count of aggravated assholism for using shitty technology that makes him even louder and more disruptive, and one misdemeanor count of false advertising for talking like Treat Williams in The Ritz without looking anything like Treat Williams in The Ritz.

Bob the Builder. After their workouts, most guys just pad to the showers in their bare feet while a random few guys prefer to shower in flip-flops. I’ve taken at least three barefoot showers a week for almost 20 years in gyms both clean and questionable and I’ve never gotten athlete’s foot or any other disease you could blame on a shower floor, so I don’t understand the need for flip-flops. (In fact, the only time I’ve ever gotten athlete’s foot was at Boy Scout camp when I was in junior high school. Which is to be expected given the Boy Scouts of America’s stated mission to hate faggots, kick puppies and poison children.) But wearing flip-flops in the gym shower is not the issue here. It’s what happens afterward. Most flip-flop wearers discreetly dry off their shoes and make them disappear with little or no fanfare as they’re getting dressed. But not Bob the Builder! He wears the flip-flops with little vertical fingers that ostensibly massage your feet as you walk in them … and apparently trap gallons of water when you wear them in the shower. So as soon as he sloshes from the shower back to his locker, he spreads a towel on the floor, gets down on his hands and knees and beats the water out of his shoes as though he were pounding spikes in a railroad line. Which makes him guilty of one count of doofusism for looking stupid, one count of arrogance for taking up valuable floor space in a crowded locker room, and one misdemeanor count of oldwhiteguyism for not keeping beat with the Non-Threatening Techno.

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