Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fringe Benefits to Being Mentally Challenged

I think my gym has started offering a special discount for the mentally challenged. My suspicion in this matter is fueled by a recent increase of strange people. Not necessarily wear-a-special-helmet, drool-on-the-floor strange, but definitely off kilter.

The first example arrived a few weeks ago. He is a male, possibly in his fifties, possibly Asian, but definitely no more than five feet tall, and sporting the Three Stooges, Moe, hair cut. That alone would make me giggle, but it would not lead me to question his mental cognition. What raised my curiosity was the fact that he always pulls a dolly that carries five plastic containers, all about 4 feet by 2 feet and 1 foot deep. The whole get up is secured by an intricate arrangement of bungee cords.
I always see him maneuvering this wheeled tower, which is much bigger than he is, around the locker room. When I enter the locker room he is often naked and arranging his boxes. He will unstack them all carefully, open the bottom one, take out one washcloth, re-stack them, but then unstack them again to remove a comb from number two. He can repeat this process several times. I often catch myself watching him for a length of time that is totally inappropriate for a room full of naked guys. I often wish I had a camouflaged blind, like the wildlife experts, so I can hide and watch him more closely. Possibly the strangest observation is that, although he will be naked in the locker for hours, I have never seen him out on the gym floor.

The second example I wish to present is also male, possibly in his forties, and although he does not appear challenged, something is askew. This fella will work his way through every nautilus machine, in an exact order. He meticulously adjusts the seat level, consults a small notebook, adjusts the weights, and then will proceed to give it all he's got. Huffing, puffing, straining as if he has been constipated for a year. This will continue for approximately one minute, but the weights NEVER budge. After his one minute is up, he stands, stretches, makes a quick entry into his notebook and then moves to the next machine. Once he has finished the circuit, he will stand in front of the mirror for a spell and talk to himself, pick up his notebook and leave.
I asked one of the trainers about him and he said, "Oh that guy, he comes in four times a day, everyday, and does that exact same routine."

There are many more suspicious people, the lady who dresses like Olivia Newton John from the "Let's Get Physical" video, the obese lady who walks slowly on the treadmill while eating a 1 pound bag of M&Ms, and the dude who keeps trying to talk to me in the locker room naked. "No, I did not watch the O'Reilly factor today. And, I have a very strict policy of NO FOREIGN BALLS WITHING FIVE FEET OF ME, unless I am at work."

I don't know if maybe my gym is advertising at an assisted living facility, the short bus stops right out front, or maybe they are adjusting the membership fees by IQ score. I am concerned about the last one, because when I joined up they asked me some questions, told me I qualified for a discount, and then I had to sign my contract in crayon. Not a good sign.

I just know that it is increasingly difficult to work out properly when the guy on the machine next to me is straining so hard he is either going to shit himself, or his asshole will invert, creating the world's largest hemorrhoid. There is no way I am pushing it back in. I'm off duty.


judyb said...

Maybe it's a big experiment focused on you to gauge your reactions to odd behavior?

mist1 said...

This only cements my belief that I am doing the right thing by avoiding any exercise that can't take place in my bedroom or on my couch or the backseat or the kitchen counter or the shower...

I also offer a special discount for the mentally challenged.

Churlita said...

I don't work-out in a gym either. I run outside where people are not inclined to talk to me, unless you count making lewd gestures out of their car windows.

I tend to be a freak-magnet and if I went to your gym, all those crazy people would be compelled to try and become my new best friend.

fringes said...

I'd complain to the front desk then smear some feces on the free weights. That should be at least one month free.

heather said...

ok, bucket guy has me worried. what's in the other buckets? are they for used washcloths and used combs? what gives? the 4 times a day guy has ~way~ too much time on his hands. you should offer to spot him one of these days and help him acctualy ~move~ a weight. as for the rest, well, just concentrate on the first two for now. once you've sucessfully run them off you can work on the others.

Liz said...

Please tell me that when you work out YOU wear an Oliva Newton John type outfit. Please? If not, please tell me you're wearing a thick terry cloth sweat band that is red, white, and blue and a pair of white knee highs. Wrist sweat bands would only make this better for me.