The Gym at 50
Written on Tuesday, July 2, 2013 by Chris Skates
The President delivered a speech about how he is going to flee from mythical environmental problems and lead us over an economic cliff. Both he and the nation are being made fools of by the Russians and Chinese over this Snowden thing (or maybe they’re working in lockstep with the administration on this one…not sure…see my last column.) So with that in mind, what say we have a good laugh at my expense?
My pursuit of fitness has always run in cycles. I will turn fifty soon, and I just completed the longest gym layoff of my life. I am not proud of the fact. I assumed this time would be like all of the other times. There would be four or five workouts that would be particularly difficult, I would be extra sore for a day or two, and then I would be back in the swing of things. Wrong. Not only am I still not fully in the swing of things that I was doing in my thirties, I am being forced to overcome obstacles to fitness that have never been obstacles before. One obstacle was merely getting onto or into the apparatus upon which one is to perform the exercise.
During the past Saturday’s workout, I turned getting onto a leg extension machine into a full five minute, “Dances With The Stars” palooza. Only there was no Chelsie Hightower, just me and the leg machine. For some reason, as I sought in vain to avoid continued embarrassment, I muttered incoherently things like, “Excuse me…Sorry, let me just get one foot right…Maybe if I rest a knee on this side I can just swing over this…” I still don’t know who I was asking to excuse me or apologizing to. These types of incidents generally tend to flare up when I am in the vicinity of an attractive woman. That way the gym Fates can ensure they maximize my embarrassment.
A week or so ago was a particularly bad example. I was going to get on the treadmill, something I dreaded but was willing to do anyway. There was a beautiful young thirty-something on two treadmills down from where I was headed. I didn’t want her to feel crowded by me getting on the one right next to her and I didn’t want to walk around behind her treadmill. I was TRYING to be considerate so I walked in between two treadmills so as to keep one empty between us. I got stuck. Yes, I got stuck in between two treadmills. The space was one I could have easily passed through in my prior gym memberships but as it turns out my waistband muscle is more developed now. I must have had pretty good forward momentum because I was really wedged in there. At some point in my struggles, my feet actually were off the ground. This resulted in me flailing my arms and legs like some demented, flipped over, horseshoe crab in red gym shorts. Finally, gravity took over and I was able to skitter free at which time I made great haste for the locker room and my car keys.
I still haven’t told you the worst and most embarrassing incident however. Again, an attractive female gym member was involved. I was on the treadmill again. This time I actually made it onto the belt. I had my headphones in. You can plug them into a box on the treadmill and hear the television that they have there. I was anticipating perspiration so I had a gym issue white towel draped over the handrail. I was doing a light jog and actually feeling pretty good. That’s when she showed up. This beautiful lady stepped onto the treadmill next to me and after a brief warm up at a reasonable speed, cranked it up to approximately 200 miles per hour.
Naturally, I couldn’t allow this to continue. I am a big strong man and she was making me look like I was on turtle speed. (That is assuming the turtle in question was overweight and had on ill-fitting shoes.) Suddenly I was running significantly faster than God intended my body to go. My feet were now slapping down on the treadmill belt like boat paddles slapping the glassy surface of a pond. The vibration must have started the chain reaction that followed. Suddenly, and with amazing speed, my towel slipped down, hit the conveyor, was propelled toward my feet, and wrapped around my headphone cord. The cord then yanked my head down crashing my forehead into the control panel. I have heard that the body can react in strange ways to head trauma. In this case, I temporarily went rigid and listed sharply to starboard. Like a leaning statue I was then propelled off the treadmill and into the Stairmaster behind me. The collision with the Stairmaster restored consciousness to the point where I was at least concerned with saving face so I pumped my arms and did some windmills as though stretching and said, “Good….good workout.” Then I hit the red E-stop button and slithered for the door. Does anyone know of a good gym in the area I could join? “I’m kind of “in between” memberships right now.
Chris Skates is the author of the novel, Going Green: For Some It Has Nothing To Do With The Environment, which is available in the Patriot Bookstore and the soon to be released historical novel The Tower. You can find all his novels on his author page at Amazon.com He has been published in dozens of national magazines and has authored multiple technical articles in his field of Chemistry. You can follow his blog at www.chrisskates.com