In the Gym

 As the years creep up on you, the body starts to change.
 I'm 47, out of shape, and have enjoyed the good things maybe a little too much.

 Longtime readers remember that week in 1999 when we got stuck at the Rio in Las Vegas.

           Those were the days, my friend. I thought they'd never end.

 You can read the original story here, but here's a summary.

 We were in the mood to party.
 We drove to Las Vegas in Mrs. BartCop's touring sedan.
 We packed like it was 1999.

 We had an arms cache.

 We had God's Nectar:
 Two hand-blown bottles of Chinaco Anejo, a liter of Grey Goose and whatever.
 (Can't find the picture, but you've seen it, right?
  The evil Vegas morning sun coming thru the glass wall of the Rio Suites
  with two wounded Chinaco bottles and a Grey Goose cadaver)

 There's also a story that needs telling about some "car trouble" we had,
 but bottom line,  we were stuck in the Rio Suites and Casino for five days.
 It was torture!

 Besides the other temptations, the Rio has the greatest Mexican food I've ever had.
 And I've had 'em all over the world!
 And then Johnny Fontane comes along with his olive-oil voice, and guinea charm.
 And she runs off.   She threw it all away just to make me look ridiculous!
 And a man in my position can't afford to be made to look ridiculous!
 Now you get the hell outta here!
 And if that gumbah tries any rough stuff, you tell him I ain't no band leader!
 Yeah, I heard that story....

 Whoops, sorry, had a Godfather flashback.

 Alas, five+ days of total bacchanalia took it's toll.
 Been trying to shed those extra pounds since then.
 That didn't work, and I knew the time would come when I had to get in shape.

 There's a fancy-looking gym near BartCop Manor.
 I went by, a couple of weeks ago, asked for a tour.

 Shawn was my guide.
 Shawn was very nice, very well-toned.
 That's a good selling point.
 I wouldn't want Zero Mostell to be my tour guide.

 Afterwards, me & Shawn talked numbers and he saw I was almost convinced,
 So he threw me three "Guest Passes," and suggested I take a "test drive."

 A few days later, after the pain of my achilles tendon being sprained wore off,
 (which I got running for the plane on that Scary Perry trip report that remains untold)
 I dropped by the gym, and I felt more out of place than Rush at a Civil Right's rally.

 They told me to bring a padlock for the locker.
 Duh - I passed that test.
 Otherwise, there I was, standing in the gym with the beautiful people.

 The lovely Lynda Von Shtupp was my drill instructor - ...I mean host.
 And when I say lovely, she had the package.

 She had the looks.
 She had the body.
 She had the confidence.
 She could've been Miss Hamburg 1998.
 She took one look at me and I could tell she'd never seen anyone out of shape before.
 (For the record, I weigh less than Tony Soprano. That's important.)

 So, she looks me up and down, checking out physique and clothes.
 Shit, I'd never been to a gym before, ...I didn't know what to fucking wear.
 I had on tennis shoes and sweat pants and a t-shirt with a pocket to hold the key to my locker.
 (I thought I might get nervous and forget my combination, so I went with a keyed lock)

 "Those shoes won't do. Get a pair of Nikes ...right away."

 "Yes, Ma'am."

 Dumbass me, thinking tennis shoes were made for running.
 I mean, tennis players don't run - what the hell was I thinking?

 Then she says, "Do you have a good pair of running shorts?"

 ha ha

 The science and logic might let me rent the 'shoes are necessary' argument, but she's
 going to sell me the idea that I can't run a treadmill without a 'nice' pair of shorts?
 Maybe she thought I had money.
 Most older, out of shape white guys have money.

 Then she moves right away into the personal insults:
 "So, you're here to ...what, ...lose some weight?"

 ha ha

 Thanks, Honey, I was just starting to get comfortable.
 That Teutonic charm is really effective.

 It's been 30 years since my last confession, but I said, "Yes."

 She looks at me and says, "You need the treadmill."
 Fine, I expected that.
 I wasn't expecting a caravan to Krispy Kreme.

 She pulls me over to a mean-looking treadmill and says, "Get on."
 I asked, "Shouldn't I stretch or warm up or something?"

 Lynda Von Shtupp says, "Nah, ...not for what you'll be doing."
 That was encouraging.  I always like to walk before I run, so to speak.

 So I get on the treadmill and she looks me right in the eye, Swear to Koresh, and says,
 "I want you to run as fast as you can for at least 30 minutes."

 ha ha


 "I want you to run like you're a nigger who just robbed a liquor store
   and Sheriff Ashcroft and his hungry Dobermans are chasing your black ass."

 (In Oklahoma, they're not always politically correct)

 ...and I'm like "Christ Lady, I just met you. Why you want to see me dead?
 Cheeses, at least let me write you a damn check before you explode my heart, moron.
 I've been in the gym world 8 minutes, and I'm already smarter than you.
 You're real cute and shapely, Honey, but a good man knows his limitations."

 So the treadmill starts up, and she's looking at me like I'm an Egyptian artifact.

 The belt was moving faster and faster, and I've never been on a damn treadmill before
 so it took me a second to get used to the fact that it's not like running.
 When you run, you lean forward.
 On a treadmill, you have to stay upright and it's a little weird if it's your first time.

 Plus, she was leaning into me on the treadmill, and her breasts were overhanging my right handle.
 The only way I was going to not run like a girl would have been to hold the railing as my EQ
 got the running specs while leaning backwards, so I was really in a position to accidentally
 get me a handful of Lynda Von Shtupp and I had an automatic get-out-of-jail card of an excuse.

 But my Catholic upbringing overcame me, and I chose not to get my free grab-o-breast for all
 the right reasons.  Chief among my reasons for keeping the Bart beast in it's cage was, I suppose,
 the simple fact  that I'm not a Chouvanist... ...I'm not a Ceauvuvanist, ...a Cheeuvan,

 ...I was afraid she'd kick my ass.

 So I'm fast-running in place with all the pedal dexterity of Spaz, the Lude King.
 She looks at me with the sincerity of Bob Barr on Father's Day and asks,
 "Have you ever had any heart trouble? Do you have heart trouble of any kind?"

 ha ha

 Here I am, White Man Dancing, ... on the Treadmill of Death,
 doing my best not to get thrown like a rube on his first rodeo.

 "You sure you don't have heart troubles?"

 ha ha

 Stop it!
 I'm trying to hand you a year's worth of dues, dumbass.
 Can't you lie to me and tell me how studly I'll look in 90 days?
 I have nothing to hold onto while this rubber belt is skipping under me.

 Meanwhile, her breasts prevented me from maintaining my balance and she barks,
 "You're not allowed to hold on the the railings."

 I look around, and everybody is holding the damn railings while they jog.
 So, finally, she gets me calmed down and tells me what I need to do:
 I need to run as fast as I can for as long as I can,  " least 30 minutes."

 ha ha

 Apparently, she's never seen out-of-shape before. I'm her first..
 As I look around, most of the others seems to be in pretty good shape.
 I'm working out with the beautiful people, probably wealthy Republicans.

 So I start jogging.
 After thirty seconds, my legs start to hurt.
 After sixty seconds, I'm breathing heavy.
 At two minutes, I sound like Ken Starr reading Monica's third deposition.
 At three minutes, I'm puffing like Bill Bennett in the Green Room on Meet the Whore.

 While I'm putting all my efforts into not passing out, I notice some young babes in their lil' outfits.
 It was obvious which girls were here to work out and which ones were here to be seen.
 Isn't that a scream?
 Isn't that the wildest thing, the microcosm hierarchy?

 You go to any bowling alley or pool hall in the states, and sit quietly and observe and
 you'll soon find out who's "king" of .......the Cushing, Oklahoma bowling alley.

 ha ha

 There's always that one guy, or that one gal who "rules" the little pond.
 Oh, and their shit is soooo hottttt.
 Oh, what all the other Cushites wouldn't give, ... to be like him or she*

 (*Homage to President Dumbass)

 That's just how this was.
 It was kinda crowded, so I figure I had a decent cross-section to observe.
 There were the girls who were there to work out, and the girls who were there to look good.

 Not that I have any complaints, mind you...
 It's a little easier to run when watching some extra-shapely female bending, squating and sweating.
 You know what's even more fun than that?
 (For men only - you women skip ahead)

 When I was trying to survive on the treadmill, it happened - twice.
 A young girl (at my age, they all are) would walk by, talking to her friend, and she'd stop and
 fuss with her belt buckle for a second and then drop her damn pants right there in front of me
 and hop on some mechanical bull looking machine and bump and grind on it.

 Sure, there was some lil' excuse for a thong thingy under her street pants, but unless you've been
 monogamous for twenty nine years, you have no idea how thrilling the simple things in life can be.

 So, call me a Doubting BartCop, but I suffered thru five long minutes.
 Took a  break, tried to get my balance.

 Don't let them lie to you.
 I'm Joe Balance.
 If a first time treadmill made me walk funny, it's not my imagination.
 Lynda Von Shtupp musta wanted me dead.
 Always get used to the treadmill before you go cross country with it.

 I go another five, ...break, ...another five, ...break, ...and another five.
 I was sweating worse than President Smirk playing "Truth or Dare"

 After about 30 minutes total, I checked out.
 Good thing, too.
 That was Friday, here it is Monday and I can almost walk upright again.

 Lesson: Don't always trust the "experts."

 Right now, I'm more sore than Laura the Unloved on a Monday in 1985.

 More In the Gym coming soon, when I can walk fully upright.
 Installment Two could be Wednesday.

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