Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Gym Jeremiad

I really can’t stand my gym. I belong to Bally’s which is to gyms what Sizzler is to steakhouses. In many ways the Bally’s in Westwood is no less annoying than any gym in Los Angeles. There is always some woman walking on the treadmill, talking on her cell phone: “Oh my God. I’m totally working out!” Some dude full of steroids is grunting through his reps in the free weights area. And then there is the douche-knuckle who wears sunglasses as though his eyes are sensitive to the florescent lighting reflecting off his large, shiny arms.

But only my gym has the floating Band-Aid. It’s there every time I get in the pool to swim. It’s shaped like a finger. I don’t know if it’s the same person forgetting to take it off before getting in the pool or some kind of reappearing phantom Band-Aid. It’s almost as disgusting as the layer of dirt, hair, and unidentifiable muck that collects in the corners of the pool. I wince every time I accidentally swallow water and immediately wonder if I’ll end up in the hospital with skin-melting-off disease.

Of all the people who use the pool, maybe 20% actually swim laps. The rest have no qualms about wading right in front of you or taking up lanes while you are trying to swim. You never know when you are going to slam into an elderly person in mid-stroke. (Either your stroke or hers.) Others float around in strange clothing, most of which hardly qualifies as swimming attire. There’s a bald, fat guy at my gym who wears something that looks like a big mesh diaper. And yes, it is completely see-through. Once there was a girl in the pool in a skirt and tank top, apparently reenacting some sort of flash-flood scenario.

The sauna is for the people who have no intention of actually exercising. I absolutely refuse to let anyone I love go in there. Who knows what kind bodily-fluid puddles collect there? It should be the next Fear Factor setting.

The locker room is almost as bad. It’s not that I don’t like old people. It’s that I don’t like them standing in front of my locker completely naked. Are towels a recent invention? I’ll be sitting on the bench putting on shoes, and I’m suddenly three inches away from being tea-bagged by a World War 2 veteran. I understand that it’s hard for some of these seniors to bend over and actually put on underpants, but if you can’t dress yourself, you probably shouldn’t be at the gym.

Sure, I know what you’re thinking: “Join a different gym.” I wish it were that simple. The only reason I joined Bally’s in the first place is because my roommate, Rita, got me an incredible deal. No contract. No initiation fee. $20 a month. When I inquired about joining the 24 Hour Fitness down the street they offered me membership at $25 a month... so long as I committed to three years and paid up front. It was like agreeing to marry a prostitute.

I suppose I sound like some sort of snobby gym fascist. “Let’s get rid of all the old and weird people.” Not true. They have as much of a right to be at Bally’s as I do. But there’s really no common sense or courtesy at my gym. There’s even less shame.


thedailyweirdness said...

i got some news for you, Mr. Jordan. if you go to the gym long enough, then you'll become the "old and weird". those people were your age a year ago.

Kristy said...

You should add a disclaimer not to eat lunch when reading this. No need for me to go to the gym anymore since I can never eat again with the pool description! haha

Other things to note:
1. I'm happy to see that the term "douche-knuckle" is making a comeback. I've been waiting for this day for a long time!!
2. I damn near peed my pants with the WWII Vet Tea-Bag paragraph. F'ing hilarious! Despite the entertainment of that paragraph, I hope you avoid that predicament because I don't think it would be funny if you described that actually happening to you...it would be rather gross.

Kate said...

Things shaped like a finger:
1. Band-aid
2. Finger.


Anonymous said...

A guy at my gym brings his rice cooker with him and makes rice in the locker room while he swims. I've never seen him eat the rice, but I can only imagine that he does it naked.

Unknown said...

The Ballys on Bundy and Olympic?? I used to go there and I HATED it. There was no decent stretching area and there was almost always a wait for the weight training equipment. Paying for parking on top of it all?? Boo that Ballys.

Anonymous said...

a guy at my gym brings a laptop and his power 90 dvds and works out to them in the stretch room. i assume this also means he brings his own clothes to the Gap and tries them on in the dressing room.

Anonymous said...

Swallowing water from a public pool would traumatize the hell outta me. They say chlorine sanitizes the germs. I refuse to believe that--especially since everyday there seems to be a super strain of some new disease. You are truly brave.

Anonymous said...

I don't do well with gross, so I work out at home. I hate other people anyway and certainly am not going to like their bodily fluids any better. So I avoid gyms at all costs, actually no cost.

But it is a bit difficult to swim laps in my bathtub.

Anonymous said...

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