My friend Kelly is one of the few people on the planet who forces me out of my self-imposed agoraphobia and insists that I interact with society. She has introduced me to such anxiety-inducing situations as team sports, communal dining ((shudder)) and is the only human being stumbling over this pebble we call Earth who could EVER convince me to join her and our coterie of short people at the Children’s Museum on a busy Saturday afternoon.*
*I like the idea of a Children’s Museum in theory, but I don’t know how the short people can breathe inside those little glass cases.
It was on one such Saturday while Kelly and I were judiciously neglecting our children over lattes when she raved about this “AMAZING” new gym near her house. She asked if I’d heard of it.
I admitted that I drive past it every day on the way to work. Every time I see it I think “Wow, that sounds like a great workout.” Of course, those thoughts are generally followed by me taking a hearty swig of my white chocolate mocha before cruising to Taco Bell for my breakfast burrito. Kelly had obviously taken a venti shot of their Kool-Aid however, as she continued to rave about this place like the sons of bitches invented TiVo.*
*Actually, that was Tim Voltaire. . .don’t ask how I know this. Me love you long time, Timmy.
So, in the interest of research, and to shut Kelly up, I agreed to go with her the next time she worked out. In truth I wasn’t sure at first but then she presented me with a pass for a complimentary personal training session and if there is one thing I love more than Nathan Fillion and Target combined, it is free stuff. Yeah, I sold out. Apparently I’m starting to get more gracious and social. . .I’ve gotta watch that shit.
So the next morning at the butt crack of dawn, I dropped off the short people with Kelly’s husband and we headed to the gym. I am a morning exerciser, always have been. There is nothing like that feeling of looking out of my office window at the people jogging by and thinking “BOO-yah! Already did it, suckahs!” That is also the reason why I really hope that when I die it happens in the morning because I’d be wicked pissed if I worked out that day for no reason.
The second we walked through the door I knew I was screwed. This was not your typical Stairmaster and Zumba gym. Let’s just say the clientele looked like this:
While I was busy explaining to Kelly that I was not, in fact, trying out for the Baltimore Ravens, my trainer approached and oh dear Sweet Mother Mary in a mojito he looked EXACTLY like Morgan Freeman. Ex. Act. Ly. He pulled me aside for some basic health and fitness questions which I may or may not have answered because every time he opened his mouth all I heard was “And they will march just as they have done for centuries, ever since the emperor penguin decided to stay, to live and love in the harshest place on Earth”.
MORGAN: Do you have any health restrictions?
ME: Umm, like what?
MORGAN: Have you suffered from heart or lung disease? Diabetes? Any history of fainting or dizzy spells.
ME: Just that one time in college. But that could have been because of the Jager. . .or the Captain Morgan. . .Ooh! Or the. . .
MORGAN: That’s OK, I’ve got it. Are you committed to a long-term fitness plan?
ME: Not really. I mean, I figure time will take care of it.
ME: Yeah, you know, science and stuff? I figure if they can use stem cells for everything from curing MS to growing spinal cords in Democrats then they can eventually find one that will give me Gabby Reese's abs.
MORGAN: . . .
ME: Before we get started, could you just say “I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams.”?
You know who it’s NOT a good idea to annoy at 6:00am? The man who’s about to kick your ass like a red-headed stepchild. Lesson learned. He started out by doing a “light” warm-up on one of the recumbent bike. I personally find these fucking bikes to be annoying in many ways. Do you want to lie down? Then get a couch. If you want to ride a bike, get a REAL bike. This passive-aggressive hippie-dippie recumbant bike filled me with such rage that I tore it up so fast that I left the tires balder than Hugh Hefner fleeing a three a.m. fire at the Playboy Mansion. Take that, Mr. Freeman! After what I was convinced was an epic display of my cardiovascular superiority, Morgan led me to the resistance equipment.
MORGAN: Have you done any resistance interval training?
ME: No, not really. I mostly stick to running and yoga. I tried Zumba once but I looked I look like someone’s creepy Cousin Eddie dry-humping the bridesmaids at a wedding.
MORGAN: Oh. . .I. . .well, here we focus a lot more on cross-training.
ME: Cross training, huh? Hey, I bet Jesus coulda used some of that! (snickering with delight over my witticism) Oh, is that a tattoo of a crucifix? Yeah, umm. . .OK. . .
You know who ELSE it’s NOT a good idea to annoy at 6:00am? The fundamentalist Christian who is now looking at you and envisioning your sorry ass spinning for all eternity on Satan’s rotisserie. So, maybe the lesson wasn’t learned. I’m not that bright.
"Drop and give me twenty or I'll go all "Se7en" on your ass, Gwyneth!"
Morgan began leading me through a series of exercises that had every muscle in my body howling like Newt Gingrich at NARAL rally. Morgan kept using the phrase "the perfect storm". It was "the perfect storm" of lunges and squats, "the perfect storm" of planks and crunches, "the perfect storm of resistance and interval training. . .When did this phrase become the catchall for multiple shitty things happening at once? And what did people call this stuff before that craptacular George Clooney movie came out? These are the sort of things I ponder whilst trying to ignore the sound of my ass muscles shrieking like Celine Dion getting a Brazilian wax. Morgan tried to lighten the mood by asking about my short people and my work but seriously? Please don't make small talk when you're hovering over my breasts and spotting me on a bench press. We aren't having a bonding moment; we are simply joint participants in an act of sadomasochism so let's just agree to stare awkwardly into the distance until this unpleasantness is behind us.
At the end of our session. Morgan and I sat down to talk about nutrition.*
*which was, ironic, as the gym is just a stone's throw from a McDonald's. Tell you what, if you want to preach to me about health and fitness, don't do it downwind of the place that almost killed Morgan Spurlock. It kinda kills your whole badass P90X street cred.
I always thought I was pretty proficient in the food pyramid but then Morgan whipped this thing out:
Apparently the old food pyramid we knew and loved in the past is no more. We don't have the old school food pyramid any more, now all of the traditional food groups have been replaced by a rainbow colored, stair-step pyramid like it's Gay Pride Week at Chichen Itza. I look at this thing and I wonder, "am I supposed to cut back on my dairy or was some dude at the FDA dropping windowpane acid?" Screw it. Pyramid or not, they will get my Taco Bell when they pry it from my cold, dead, greasy, and bloated hands.
After my session, I thanked Morgan for his time and was a bit surprised that he didn’t ask if I wanted to sign up for a membership. I mean, that’s kind of the point of the complimentary pass, right? To draw in new members. Then I realized, as he fled the room so fast that he left a contrail, that Morgan was fervently hoping he would never, ever see me again. It’s just as well, really. I could never spend that much time exercising with Morgan without imagining him chasing me with a bat and yelling “They used to call me Crazy Joe! Now they’ll call me Batman!”
KELLY: So, what did you think? Intense, huh?
ME: You owe me cake. Many, many slices of cake.
KELLY: Oh come on, it wasn’t THAT bad. Besides, it’s good for you to get out and actually interact with society.
ME: I don’t know. I think what I need isn’t a personal trainer but an impersonal trainer.
ME: You know, someone who rarely shows up and ignores me the whole time.
KELLY: Why do I even try?
ME: You’re a slow learner, Babe.
Feel the burn, party people. Feel the burn.