It’s never clear how or when it happened, but baby boomers have put on a little weight. I’m being kind . . . the search for the ultimate burger is over; it now occupies the space on their bodies that younger people call their ‘core’. If you are such a boomer, you perhaps refer to it as a ‘work in progress’ or what others consider the storage facility where consumption never leaves. If you get angry enough and focused enough, you will diet, exercise or both.
Knowing that most diets don’t work or more appropriately, dieting sucks, exercise becomes the more attractive option. Why wouldn’t it be? There are endless equipment options and health clubs to shop for . Considering space in the home and budgets being what they are, you may choose a health club membership to meet the shape-up challenge.
You start at the club you read about and drove by countless times. The people that come and go from this facility look fantastic. You can easily picture yourself covered in Nike from head to toe.
The first surprise you get as you explore this club is that everyone is dressed in leather. No, it’s the membership pitch. The membership pitch is placed in the hands of a young man or woman with a failed GED intellect and in possession of the body you used to possess in college . . . or at least the one you thought you possessed in college. They will begin their pitch with a splendid tour of the facility. You will marvel at the cardio area, the free-weight area, the spin class studio, the aerobic studio and finally the locker room. Being polite, you probably said, “Wow”, to your host when you saw the spin class studio. I will lay Vegas odds that you will never use the spin class studio.
Now comes the fun part of the membership pitch experience, the fitness assessment. Your host will want to know your fitness experience, your fitness goals and your commitment level to attain those goals. You may be inclined to honestly state that you want to look like a Greek God or Goddess, but this will almost certainly be greeted with a knowing smile from your host. That knowing smile is hard at work suppressing the words, “You’re fucking kidding me, right?” Instead you lie and say, “I just want to look better in jeans”. Your host nods and reinforces the lie with, “Of course, who doesn’t?”
Next, you will be shamed into listening about the benefits of securing the Exclusive-this-month-only Premier Platinum membership. Admitting that you were only considering a basic membership will signal your lack of commitment and almost certain failure at attaining your fitness goals. You opt instead to go with your old friend, Mr. Budgetary Constraints. This immediately brings out your host’s favorite weapon, the tried and true, “For only $2.00 a-day, you will fit into those jeans. That’s just leaving out an order of fries at lunch. I can tell you’re serious about making changes in your life. This change is an important one”.
You start losing all of your will power.
Out comes the contract with a clause about a monthly withdrawal from your checking account and no hope of ever terminating your agreement.
However, you’re a baby boomer, you kick ass at these situations. Your host doesn’t even see it coming. Calmly and coolly you say, “Well, then I’d better take some time to think it over. You’re right, I am serious about making changes in my life and because this change is an important one, I am going to give it the careful consideration it deserves. Right?”
What can he say? That GED would have come in handy.
You walk out with your dignity and you join up with a health club you can afford. Lucky for you, they are also having a sale. They even throw in a nifty water bottle!
The bargain health club has everything you need; everything but a janitorial budget. On your first visit, you walk into the locker room to store your belongings and immediately notice there is an aroma present that is a combination of old rags, dead body and sour feet. You shrug it off, change and head off to an open space to stretch. While you stretch, you begin to wonder if the padded area around you has ever been sanitized. It is best for you not to linger upon this thought; it never has.
Moving on, you select a treadmill for a cardio workout. The treadmill is well positioned to give you a great view for people watching, yet out of the way for most attendees to miss your crazy dance move, as the treadmill gets up to speed. Thirty seconds go by and you envision staying on for at least an hour. At the two-minute mark, you convince yourself that two minutes is ideal for a first workout and jump off, forgetting of course to shut off the treadmill. Your landing draws the bewildered stares of everyone, including a couple of seniors and some of the most unconditioned human specimens walking the Earth. Shutting off the treadmill, you hold your head high as you enter the free weight area. Here is your redeeming quality. Being strong and blessed with some well-concealed muscle, you randomly grab a pair of dumbbells and begin an arm curl set. Realizing that you have lost much of your strength to pizza, guacamole and beer, you opt instead for a much lighter pair of dumbbells and begin again.
Off in the distance, you hear a man’s grunt that reverberates around the entire club, “AAAAARRRRRUUUUUGGGHHH!”
A thought races through your mind that someone either is fighting a turd or is being bufued.
You stop at mid-curl and spot the source, a man in his early thirties, straining to do a standing row. He continues, “OOOOOOOHHHHHH!” He then follows up with a, “HHHUUUUMMM!”
It hits you as if Disney/Pixar has decided to only do porn from now on, you should have joined a better club and somewhere out there is the ultimate burger.