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Getting Your Reps In

It’s January 4th and many of you have no doubt joined me in not going to the gym yet this year.  This isn’t because I’m lazy or getting over a cold, I usually go quite regularly.  I just do my best to avoid my Gym for the month of January…

…because a January gym is a chaotic gym.

You see January is the worst month for regular gym attenders because every January many people decide that “getting into shape” is going to be their New Years Resolution.  In conjunction with this compunction, many health clubs offer incentives to entice new members to save money by purchasing a yearly membership.

Now with all of the new members arriving the Gym doesn’t add more space, equipment, or  classes, they simply cram more people into their facility.  This means that in the exercise area there are increased wait times for equipment, especially for treadmills and ellipticals.

It’s much worse in the locker room.

While long-term club members generally have well established daily routines built around exercising and showering at the health club, new members are often just figuring out how they are going to fit all of this into their schedule.  All of the hurried jockeying for locker and shower position causes the room to become a tightly packed sweatlodge of clammy, half-naked bodies awkwardly bumping into each other.

At the gym, January is a month rife with grumpy and complaining members, all unhappy with the club’s services.  Many threaten to take their business elsewhere.  None of this murmuring ever leads to additions in fact; the club will gladly receive your complaints and do nothing.

Because they know that the problem will take care of itself.

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Wading Back Out

During a trip to Maui, for my sister’s wedding, I learned that I love to snorkel.

Against all odds.

When we got to the Island my brother took me to a dive shop where we rented a snorkel set and some fins. 10 minues later we walked out the back of our hotel room, waded into the water together and, aside from the actual wedding, never got out.

When I go back into the water, I don’t have to go back into the dive shop anymore, because I own my own gear.

I only need someone to go with me.

Growing up in California, I had never been snorkeling at the beach because we always went to swim and surf beaches, and the snorkeling is usually not very good in these locations.

My only previous snorkeling experience was during an ill advised trip to a theme park.

When I was a kid we visited “Marineland of the Pacific” in Palos Verdes. It was California’s first theme park, and it was kind of a pre-Sea World, Sea World. They had dolphin shows and fish exhibits and my favorite part was that Hanna-Barbera sponsored the park. This meant that as you were walking around the park you’d occasionally bump into characters like Mugilla Gorilla, or Quickdraw McGraw.

I remember going there with my family and seeing an attraction called “The Baja Reef.” The Baja Reef was the only exhibit in America that allowed guests to actually swim with salt-water fishes from the Pacific Ocean.

I begged my parents to let us swim in the reef. I promised to mow as many lawns as it took to repay them for the snorkel rental. To my surprise, they agreed. My Dad and my brother went with me to the rental counter to get our gear.

As we did this, we walked past a giant window that looked into the exhibit from under the waterline. As we passed the window I saw something out of the corner of my eye that gave me pause.

What I saw scooting past that window looked an awful lot like a shark.

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The Dead Fantasy



On Christmas day I flew from Portland to Los Angeles. As is the case with Oregonians and airports, I found myself surrounded by oddly dressed people… not the least of which were Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

That’s right, as I joined the security screening line I noticed that just 7 people ahead of me there was a couple dressed up as jolly old St. Nick and his wife.

Everyone was quite happy to see them!

I didn’t do a double take at first, because I assumed that it was a couple of young pranksters out for a holiday lark…

…if you’re going to fly at Christmas, why not dress up like the Claus family?

The double take happened when I realized that these weren’t young people sporting snowy wigs and beards, they were an honest to goodness AARP couple wearing richly handcrafted costumes… and the hair was completely home grown.

Whatever possesses a couple in their early 70’s to dress in full red-velvet tailoring on Christmas day must also have possessed the “Mr. Claus” several years ago, because his full, chest-length white beard and shoulder-length white hair had been ages in the making.

While I assume that this was a professional Santa Claus performance team, probably headed to a charity event where they would no doubt stir the hearts of many children at their final destination, they weren’t working any magic for the 6am travellers…

…or the TSA agent who had to frisk “Mrs. Claus”.

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