He’s Dead, Gym

Every couple years, I get really tired of looking like I do, which is approximately slug-shaped and pasty, and I start working out and jogging and trying not to eat more than one quart of gravy a day. The results are always immediate: Within days, I am incredibly grumpy.

Up until April, when I graduated from BYU under highly suspicious circumstances, I could use the Smith Fieldhouse for all my working-out needs. Now, though, as a non-student, I had to buy a membership at an actual gym, one where fat faculty members weren’t always using all the equipment in the students’ weight room. (But are the students allowed to go in the faculty weight room? Of course not.)

I chose Gold’s Gym, based on its well-deserved reputation of being close to my apartment. I was kind of excited to join a real gym, instead of going to BYU for free. I figured that since I was paying for the membership, I’d be more likely to go.

That was stupid of me. I paid for college, too, and I still hardly went to class. Nonetheless, I paid about a million dollars and got a Gold’s membership, thanks to a helpful, beefy man named Rick (probably) who showed me the various positive attributes of the place.

The No. 1 positive attribute of Gold’s Gym, in my opinion, is that you can jog on a treadmill while watching TV. I love the idea of combining a strenuous workout with the laziest activity known to man.

One morning, I was riding a stationary bike (even better than jogging, because you can sit down) while watching “The Price Is Right,” which means I was exercising my body while simultaneously doing whatever the opposite of exercise is to my brain. Yet I still managed to have a thought: How come when people in the military go on game shows, they always wear their uniforms on the show? Are they afraid we won’t believe them when they say they’re in the military?

SOLDIER: And I’ve been in the Air Force for 23 years.
BOB BARKER: Don’t give me that crap.

You don’t see doctors wearing their E.R. scrubs, or policemen wearing their bullet-proof vests, or humanities students wearing their McDonald’s uniforms. What’s with the military outfits? Do they think they’re going to be called up to active duty DURING the show? Like maybe the big wheel on “The Price is Right” comes loose and rolls into the audience, pandemonium ensues, martial law is declared, and now suddenly Corporal Fred is in charge?

Anyway, seeking to make the most of my Gold’s Gym membership, I have also done some weight training. Essentially, this is a process whereby you locate a body part (preferably your own) that doesn’t hurt, then you do something to it until it hurts.

Most exercises are effective only if you go against common sense. For example, we all know that if you have to squat for a long period of time, your legs are going to get sore. So in weight training, you intentionally squat over and over again, and you do it with a bunch of extra weight slung over your shoulders, just in case the squatting by itself doesn’t hurt you enough.

Another exercise in my regimen is called “shrugs.” It involves taking really heavy weights in each hand and then shrugging your shoulders. This is important to do so that you’ll have a really strong shrug. I guess if you have to shrug your shoulders in response to someone’s question because you don’t know the answer, you want them to KNOW you don’t know. You want it to be clear that you REALLY have no idea. “Does he know?” “I guess not — look at that mighty shrug he just gave.”

Having a good shrug has come in handy a lot so far, because there are a lot of things I don’t know. Like how to write a good column ending, for example.

This column was written during a week when I had seen no fewer than six movies and two plays that I had to review, as well as filling another writing assignment, and handling a Garrens Comedy Troupe show. That's not to say that this column was hastily slapped together, but, well, it was. I hope it doesn't show, and that if it didn't show, it still doesn't, even now that I've told you it should.