I was recently goaded into signing up for a six-month membership at the local gym, not because I particularly need to lose weight, but because my girlfriend thought it’d be nice for me. It would make me “less dumpy.” But, going to the gym has been one of the most harrowing times of my life. It’s not just the smell of sweat and the constant grunting, it’s the little things too. For example...


-        I have no idea how to use any of the equipment here. The entire floor of this gym looks like a scene out of a BDSM catalog. All of the machines use some sort of chain and pulley mechanism and everything is a shade of gray or black with holes in it (I’m assuming that’s where the leather straps go). The first time I showed up, a beefed-up chud walked me around, telling me what each machine did. At the same time, I was making a mental checklist of machines I would eventually break.
The true shame came the first time I got into a machine backwards. I still have yet to figure out what this machine does or what muscle groups it works out, but all it did for me was earn the scorn of at least 40 other gym patrons. I pulled every lever I could, but alas, the seat collapsed below me, leaving only the shame of a defeated man.


-        I don’t ever plan on fighting Apollo Creed or Ivan Drago... ever. Most of the people here look they live solely on Met-Rx protein bars and whey powder. Did you know they’ll put protein in anything if you’ll pay enough for it? There’s a protein pudding, protein drinks, even protein pancakes. Hell, they’ll put it in a churro if you ask nicely enough. I tried the pudding and it’s chocolaty enough to cover the protein taste, but at $25 for six packs, I’d rather eat a couple pounds of corned beef and fall asleep in the recliner.


-        My diet lies somewhere between “freshman college student” and “aggressive lottery player.” Within five minutes of leaving the gym, I was already at the drive thru grabbing a sack of chicken nuggets and two gallons of sweet tea. Something’s got to comfort me when I can’t lift my arms my arms above mid-chest.


-        There is no way in hell I’m using a yoga mat. What am I supposed to do with it? Lay on it? Eat it? The only thing that mat will do is make for some great garage sale fodder two years from now. Then, there’s the possibility of hot yoga. I’m not flexible to begin with, but if you’re going to throw me in a steaming hot room with 48 women and a couple of dudes who were dragged along by their wives, you better have your popcorn ready. Trapped in a 300 degree room with 600 percent humidity and 50 other people? What could possibly go wrong?! Everything.


So there you have it. The realm of a writer is that of someone destined for vending machine dinners and an oatmeal packet every now and then. But, because I’m paying out the nose for these services, I continue to use them, even if I lack even the most rudimentary exercise skills. But hey, at least I’m a little less dumpy.