Work It Out

I have got to join the gym. Like today. Like right now. I just logged on to the 12th Street Gym website and went to sign up but then I got distracted by this video of a girl harmonizing with herself on YouTube. Amazing! These videos are everywhere. I’ve managed to watch 20 different people harmonize with themselves. 17 of them were singing “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz—which, I have to say it, I’m over—but it was amazing nonetheless. Another thing I’m over: joining the gym. I’ll be all about it again tomorrow, I’m sure, but today I just don’t have the energy. But soon! I have got to do it. I’m running out of time. The Boys of Summer party is in less than 6 months! I am in no position to be running around a dark club in a bathing suit! But it's a requirement; I can't possibly miss. It’s only the social event of the season. People plan their vacations around it. Ripped dudes and saucy ladies fly in from Abu Dabi and Oklahoma just to go. It’s really one of the great modern wonders. I mean, where else can you dance until 8 in the morning in next to nothing? (Besides, like Ibiza… and Miami… and Key West… and some parts of California… and pretty much anywhere, I guess.) But, really! Now, I don’t actually ever dance until 8 in the morning at Boys of Summer. For the past three years I’ve gotten all sleepy around 2 and stumbled home with one flip-flop in my hand. The excitement is just too much. It’s like Christmas morning (with much less wrapping on the packages). You know how you get all hyped up the night before and you can’t sleep and you race downstairs and tear stuff open for 20 minutes and then pass out in front of the TV, all drooling on your new sweater, your head propped up on a Nintendo Wii? It’s like that. But with alcohol. And (more) shirtlessness. I’m never shirtless at Boys of Summer. Which is WHY I NEED TO GO TO THE GYM.

I’ve never been a gym person. I’ve always wanted to be a gym person but I just don’t have the stamina. I’ve joined 4 different gyms over the past 10 years and, over the past 10 years, I’ve gone to the gym about 16 times. Which means I only have to go 5 more times until it’s a habit. You remember in fourth grade, when you were an idiot, and you discovered that little nugget about how if you do something 21 times in a row it becomes a habit and then you did something ridiculous like jump up and down 21 times and then looked at your friends and said, “Now it’s a habit”? Ugh, fourth graders. Morons. When I was in fourth grade, all I did was swing on the swing set (even though I was clearly too old for that nonsense), commit my life to memorizing the words to the Tiny Toon Adventures theme song and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song, tell the one dirty joke I knew, and plot ways to stay home sick so I could watch Matlock in my pajamas, make icing with the food processor and vacuum. And now look at me! 27 years-old and I still can sing the entire Tiny Toon Adventures theme, I quote the Fresh Prince theme every five minutes and I’m still telling the same damn joke. So, these three guys get lost on an old country road and they stop at a farmhouse to ask if they can stay the night…

Agh. This is what fills my brain. It takes me 45 minutes to subtract 27.57 from 105.38 but I could tell re-enact every one of Andy Griffith's amazing courtroom reversals. While harmonizing with myself on YouTube. What a waste. Fourth graders these days don’t have such hollow pursuits. They spend most of their time downloading ringtones and finding ways to get the morning after pill without parental consent. That’s why, back when I used to substitute teach fourth grade, I would always start off each class by standing on the table and shouting: “Your brains are very malleable! Commit yourselves learning a foreign language! Remember math! Sex is a constant disappointment which will never, ever fill the void in your heart!” I was not as popular as I would have thought. Kids these days.

I have got to get to the gym! I am getting old. I have to start before I turn curmudgeonly and set in my ways. I say things like “Kids these days.” I harrumph. I only read large print books. I can’t figure out texting. I hit Reply All. I go, “Oh, lordy,” when I kneel down. I don’t run. For anything. If I was being chased by a psycho killer I’d probably just pop my hand on my hip, pull down my bifocals and raise one eyebrow like, “You better get on out of here with that nonsense.” I’m feeling like it’s not too late, though. I’ve managed to convince myself that physical activity of some sort will keep me feeling young. It certainly does when I’m dancing. So, I figure, the fitter I am, the more I’ll dance, the more I dance, the younger I’ll feel, the younger I feel, the more I’ll work out, the more I work out the less likely I’ll be killed by a psycho killer.

It will only, I reason, take one hour a day for the rest of my life. Who am I kidding? I don’t have one hour a day. Shaving only takes 7 minutes and I only manage that on Christmas and Easter. Okay, well, Easter. I don’t even have one hour a day to do my laundry. I just throw it out the window and go shopping. I just can’t seem to get the laundry together. It seems overwhelming. I had this plan, at one point, where I would undress in the laundry room in the basement, sort my clothes down there and every third day or so I’d have accumulated enough clothing to load a wash. Fact: you can only walk up to the stairs of your apartment building naked 4 times before your upstairs neighbor files a complaint against you. I figure, if I was all jacked, I could probably get away with it at least 6 or 7 more times before he dragged my ass to Judge Judy and I’d have to be all, “I don’t know how to be an adult! My brain is no longer malleable! Look at this crazy-assed beard! I need to be put in a home!”

I don’t even know if I’ll look that good after working out. I don’t want to be one of those guys who starts drinking protein shakes and lifting stuff and all of the sudden starts looking like a Ninja Turtle, all hunched over, with weirdly pronounced shoulders and a stomach shaped like an eight. Not and 8-pack, just an eight. What is that? How can I not have that? I actually I have no idea what I look like right now and every time I go to the gym and meet with a trainer I bring a picture of some celebrity (Salma Hayek) and say, “Make me look like this,” like I’m at Shantelle’s Beauty Shop and Hair Emporium or some such. The trainers always look at me over their bifocals and say, “You better get on out of here with that nonsense.” (I often go to the gym at the local nursing home; it’s cheaper.)

Going to the gym comes after completely failing at my first plan: getting on The Biggest Loser. I’ve been very, very committed to this plan for quite a while now. My reasoning—both sound and brilliant—is thus: morbidly obese people go on The Biggest Loser, get yelled at by Jillian for about 6 weeks, sweat, fart, cry and all the other things you do on vacation, and then suddenly they’re hot. They’re never not hot. It doesn’t even matter what they looked like before. They all suddenly find great hair stylists to go to and smile more and they’ve got great bodies and they’re lives are perfect. I said to myself, I said, “You’re moderately attractive now. Just imagine how hot you’d be if you gained 250 pounds, then lost it on national television.” There is no way this plan wouldn’t work. There’s only one hitch: I can’t seem to gain 250 pounds. I figured I would just reverse diet. Like, if you’re dieting you’re supposed to cut out alcohol and red meat and not eat after 7 pm. So for the last 5 years I’ve been drinking everything in sight and I only eat after 7 pm. Somehow, this resulted in me not gaining any weight, but actually looking like an emaciated drunk. The producers of that show Intervention call me three times a week. (Well, it's either them or my parents.) I do not want to be on Intervention. Those people never look hot at the end. And they rarely win $50,000. What’s in it for me?

When I finally came to terms with the fact that I would not, in fact, be able to gain 250 pounds without being impregnated with octuplets (tried it; they didn’t take), I decided I would just lose all the weight I currently have and be a skinny hipster. This also seemed like a good way to get hot. All Panic! At The Soup Kitchen. And there’s plenty of sickly looking guys at Boys of Summer, their ribs all jutting out at odd angles, their Speedos drooping off their butts. Amazingly, however, I couldn’t even manage that. I can do side bends or sit ups, but I just can’t lose that butt. It’s true: I am not built like Joe Jonas. I am built like Beyonce.

This comes as a surprise to me as when I think of myself, I don’t think of Beyonce. I think of Justin Timberlake. When I buy clothes I think, “Would JT look good in this?” If the answer is yes, I purchase the item. I once died my hair blonde thinking that that was what differentiated our two looks. Clearly I have Celebrity Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I’m getting over it, though. I’m accepting my Beyonce hips. I’ve even found them to be particularly useful in many instances, like wrestling alligators.

I have got to join a gym. Lisa is trying to convince me to join her gym. It’s only $10 a month and it’s open 24 hours. Now these would, normally, be things I could get behind. I mean, I could come home from the bar, change clothes and work out at 4 in the morning. Or 11 at night. Or noon! But would I really? I absolutely would not. One, the gym is one subway stop away, followed by a brisk 7 block walk. Over it. Two, the gym only costs $10. I happen to be of the opinion that if something isn’t expensive it probably won’t keep my attention. I am of this opinion because if things aren’t expensive they don’t keep my attention. Example: prostitutes, laundry, volunteering. Now, I don’t have a lot of money. I actually haven’t checked my bank account in 7 months; I may not have any money. But I have expensive taste (in addition to Beyonce’s butt, Justin Timberlake’s clothes and Vin Diesel’s eyebrows—Shantelle’s Hair Emporium does a mean wax). My preferred scenario would be if Lisa’s gym cost $100 a month and then I got a 90% discount. Then I would feel like I was getting a deal and I’d be unable to pass it up. It’s like when they have $1 well drinks at the Smarty’s, the country-western piano bar and library. I know I do not want a well drink because I do no drink the well. But I know that the well is usually $4 to $6 and so $1 is a deal. Convinced of this, I then buy ten drinks and I feel good about it. Until the next morning. The gym is the exact same way. It seems like a good idea until you're all sweaty and shirtless and singing "Sweet Child O' Mine" and you're thinking, I am going to pay for this tomorrow at work. The 12th Street gym is doing their annual membership drive where they offer one year for $389. Plus $100 start-up. This comes out to between $40 and $60 a month. I think. (I don’t know for sure because I was absent the day we learned calculators in 4th grade). This is, clearly, a deal. I know this because the ads say “ACT NOW ON THIS AMAZING DEAL!” The deal is amazing! I have to act now! I’m getting all panicky just thinking about it. This gym is obviously the better place. Because they cater to idiots like me.

Furthermore, all the people who go to the 12th Street are hot. I know this because I used to sit in the coffee shop next to the 12th Street Gym and look at hotties as they walked past. Sure, their were plenty of uggos that walked by too, but I’m fairly certain they were just going to the Potbelly next to the gym. In workout clothes. Uggos don’t like the gym; they like Potbelly. I like Potbelly, too. But I’m not an uggo. So, I need to join a gym so I can start meeting hotties. I have no interest in working out. It hurts. It’s boring. You sweat. It’s like summer S&M school. I’m over it. I’ve decided it’s easier to just suck my stomach in for the rest of my life. It’s even easier to just watch YouTube videos in my room while eating oven-toasted sandwiches. So, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m over the gym. Today. Tomorrow, though…

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