You do not want to go quietly into that good night. Sometimes when your back aches and your eyes lose focus or the ringing in your ears become conspicuous you think you are going whether you like it or not. So you open a Monster and guzzle, the caffeine, taurine and guarana working their unsavory magic on your nervous system. You take your vitamins and supplements, including creatine and glutamine, two substances that are banned in professional sports. You pack your gym bag and get in your black Jaguar XF Sport and race to the Bay Club. Fuck the chronic strain in your right shoulder. To hell with the tweaking in your lower back. You press. You pull. You push. You do an hour and twenty before heading to the sauna. You take a multi-bladed razor and shave your head bald. In the shower you marvel at the muscles in your body, how they bulge and pulse, engorged with blood, their veins visible under the skin. When you dry off you feel electric, radiant, and full of life. You feel good. You feel young. It won’t last but nothing good ever does. So, you keep coming back. You’ve never been this old before but right now you are as young as you will ever be again.


Fats (3)

June 1, 2020


He is using the abdominal bench as a place to check his email. You’ve seen him before, usually on the treadmill watching TV. As always, he’s wearing a yellow Warriors tee shirt. His potbelly protrudes beneath it like a cantaloupe.

You circle the machine, like a pacing lion in the zoo. He is oblivious, tapping on his phone’s screen, slowly and deliberately, the way older people do. Thirty seconds go by. Longer. Soon your routine will be ruined. You want to tell him this is not the time or the place. There are numerous signs posted regarding the use of cell phones in the club. And now he is writing an email! You want to kick him in the gut. Instead, you head for the water fountain, to cool off, to count to ten.

You are crazy. But he is an asshole.

The beast has awakened. The comparative mind erupts. Walking to the water fountain, you see two older women casually riding side by side, chatting, as if they were at Starbucks. One is wearing a red leotard clearly meant for someone younger. Her thumping thighs look like bags of apples rolling around in the back of a truck. The other is donning gray sweats, probably borrowed from her husband. That is if she still had one. A man in a soaking wet tee shirt hovers over the water fountain, the sweat dripping from his nose. He is filling up a giant water bottle. Can he not see that you are directly behind him? Is everyone an asshole?

You are spiraling. Irritation becomes anger. You know you have tools to plug this geyser before it erupts. So use them. Pause. Count to ten. Ask Him or Her or It to remove you from the bondage of others and self.

It works.

You take a drink of water, splash some on your face, and return to the workout room. Now you smile at the women riding bikes. They are not a problem. Warriors guy is still on his phone. But he is not your enemy.

There is an empty machine next to him and you will demonstrate how to use it.

Fats (2)

May 28, 2020


At work, your business partner had taken issue with your daily visits to the Equinox, which was the gym by your office. You’d told him the truth, that it calmed you down and helped you think, that it made you a better creative. It was your lunch hour anyway, you’d said. He’d called bullshit on that and said you always went longer. Ignoring his warning, at noon the next day you marched right past his desk carrying your gym bag. Two months later you would exit the building carrying your belongings.

The gym does more than keep you fit. Working out nullifies the committee in your head, same as opiates and vodka once did. Albeit healthier, working out is still an addiction. It keeps you sane, same as going to meetings.

To be continued…

Not your wife’s health club…

Being an exercise nut, one of the first things I do when I’m out of town for a week or more (and not at a hotel) is hook up with a local gym. Most offer temporary memberships. Right now I’m in Palm springs, California and the gym I found is “Power of Fitness” on Sunrise Boulevard.

Yeah, baby! We’re talking old school California. First off, the place is in a strip mall, next to a liquor store. They keep the front door open for circulation. A bunch of overhead fans do the rest. But it’s still a few degrees too warm. Good for the sweat, dude! For that you have a sea of heavily used workout equipment and a ton of iron. The benches wobble. They use a lot of duct tape. Over the whirring and clanking, one can hear MTV’s “Best of the Eighties,” featuring bands like Pat Benatar, The Pretenders and Guns and Roses. I’m not sure “skeezy” is even a word but it describes the Power of fitness to a “T”. It’s not sleazy. Nobody’s selling steroids in the back. Not quite skuzzy, either. Although they really should replace the moldy tiles in the drop ceiling. Like I said: Skeezy.

And I love it. Honest to God I do. I wanted a normal gym as opposed to a spa or geriatric country club facility. (In Palm Springs, the vast majority of people are old or gay. There are gyms that cater to both. I didn’t want either.) You can’t beat the nasty, friendly vibe of Power of Fitness. Heavily tattooed Mexican gals. Recovering Beach Boy alcoholics. Salty dogs. This is Palm Springs sans golf clubs and popped collars. My wife would hate, hate and hate it. And so would all her friends. The women in here did not just come from the beauty parlor. More like the tattoo parlor.

A more flattering term than skeezy is authentic. We’re all looking for authentic brand experiences, right. And Power of Fitness delivers one.