Saturday, February 5, 2011
Funny... I've been a member of a local gym here on the Northshore for about eight years now. When you belong to anything for length of time you learn to love all the crazy characters that hang around. From the gym rats to the beautiful ladies socializing on the tennis court to the senior citizens playing cards resplendent in their blue or gray or strangely blonde hair, it is all a part of the whole experience. And of course, the men's locker room is like most men's locker rooms any where in the world, though it is the personalities that enhance the environment and enrich one's life. You get so familiar with the guys that, after a while, you can tell who's talking to whom even if you are seated in the stalls while taking another lesson on constitutional rights! I can understand why when professional athletes retire, the thing they all seem to miss is the "camaraderie."
In the weight room, most men lift a little weight, stare out the windows, chew the fat and do another set. Most come in to pump up, burn a few calories and release, in a socially acceptable way, their aggressions. I know I do. Some workout in plain clothes, gym shorts, sweats, muscle shirts and such. Some, like doctors, workout between shifts in their scrubs, and some who do wear them, aren't even doctors. And some just look like a "dirty laundry basket." But, almost all are there do their body some good and that can't be bad.
Three times a week, every week around midday and for about three hours, one man comes to the gym to really bust it. He is, besides Jack LaLane, the best looking and best in shape seventy year old I've ever met. He's about 5'9" and a very buff 175. Salt and pepper colored hair, sometimes with a goatee and sometimes not, he wears long jogger's pant with a tank top or shirt and always in black and almost always dripping in sweat. He is a model specimen that all men should aspire to be now and into their golden years.
And, boy does he know it!
Now, I'm not the kind of guy to rip anyone who has the discipline and dedication to look that good at his age or any age, but I was curious about his motivation. When, after many years of seeing him at the gym working his insane routine, I had to inquire about what drove him. He spoke, with all the drama and animation of a Richard Simmoms, of his misspent youth which led to his mid age crisis and his ill health which, according to him, had him on his death bed at 55 years of age. The drama was a bit over the top, but I later found out his other motivation was to make all those younger than him wonder in awe at his physical prowess doing things many twice as young as him could not. It is not enough that the dude looks great in his outfit, but he has another device to attract all those who are a bit blind. He grunts when he lifts the weights or does isometrics, or even sit ups.
Now, as guys pushing iron around, we all have made our fair share of intended and unintended "noises", but this guy beats all. "HerRump," "Aiyh-YAH-hoo," "Argh-ROPE-pa," and the ubiquitous, "Whoaaa-UP-ah." But, that's not all. If you hang around long enough, say, into his third hour, the grunts seem to send strange, cosmic messages. Or, at least, that's how I hear it! Loud and clear on the up take and kinda mumbly on the down take and with many variations on a theme.
"HerRuuumPAH's gotta-fiddle-di-do"! "Whoaaa-UP-ah inna GumboPot,""Argh-ROPE-pa 4she gos'cuz" and an occasional raspberry like,"FIB-bermagee-gu-GU-roo" or something similar. Every now and then, I can't help but hear soft-core invitational mumblins' between the clink and clunk of weights. It's funny because sometimes I will stop mid rep just waiting to verify what I thought I heard... or worse!
"What is the meaning of all this, I ask you?" What ever it is, it works for him... and in so many ways!