Two months after my shoulder surgery, I have been cleared to resume going to the gym. The company that provides my health insurance apparently has calculated that I’ll cost them less money in the long run if they provide me a free membership at a fairly swanky one, on what used to be called The Miracle Mile. I am intent on regaining the slenderly muscular physique that used to drive the girlies half mad with desire, or at least to arrest the woeful sagging that I can no longer pretend I don’t see when I look in, but I know it’s not going to happen overnight. One of the other crumbling ancients whose insurance companies provides free use of the gym will come over to a machine I’ve just vacated, frown at it in confusion, add 20 pounds, and only then commence her own exertions. I am, at this moment, the gym weakling.
There is, adjacent to the rather splendid men’s changing room, an alcove in which one might view sports highlights. I have now on three different occasions when nobody was around sneaked in there and changed the channel from ESPN to the Food Network. How I wish, at moments such as these, that there were a Floral Arrangement Network.
There is, of course, an unofficial gym blabbermouth, a guy who’s forever striking up conversations with anybody who’ll listen. Want to know the real story behind the recent Mayweather/Pacquiao fight? He’s the man to talk to! If you’re on Facebook, and don’t pretend you’re not, you of course know people like this — people who know, as who doesn’t? — that the governments of Pakistan and Costa Rica are behind Bernie Sanders’ decision to run for president, and are openly contemptuous of your skepticism.
The guy’s grammar, of course, is atrocious, and this afternoon I had the displeasure of hearing him share his views on marriage equality with some poor devil trying to strengthen his deltoids. “Obama’s made it so you and me could get married if we wanted,” he marveled disgustedly. To his credit, the poor devil on whom he’d glommed admitted that he regarded marriage equality as a good thing. I suspect he realized it would be futile to try to explain that it’s a succession of state supreme courts that have made the referenced decision, and not Barack Obama, even though the latter’s views are known to have…evolved. He said sarcastically.
Blabbermouth has a couple of thing going for him, and is never likely not to have someone willing to listen to his conspiracy theories and other inanities. For one thing, he has fantastic arms and pecs to go with his pot belly, and the most muscular guy at any gym invariably attracts the sycophancy of those less muscular. Moreover, he’s black — that is, from the same ethnic minority that gave us hip hop, the most vibrant youth culture in America today, and Key & Peele, America’s most brilliant comedy team, as well as most of our more notable professional basketball and football players. He looks a lot as Floyd Mayweather may look a decade hence.
He knows what goes down both on the street and in the hood. You know what I’m saying? One naturally accords such a person respect, logorrheic and homophobic though he may be.