Monday, February 18, 2008

Cold Wind and Snow

Okay, it’s cold out!

Never mind freezing the balls off a brass monkey, it’s cold enough to freeze the balls off Frosty the Snowman himself! So cold in fact, that several GTA school bus companies – not to mention the schools themselves – decided to close for the day.


Because it’s COLD?

And in the middle of February too. Imagine that!

Last night, you see, the temperature dropped down to a bone chilling –17 degrees (-34 with the wind chill). That’s pretty fucking cold I agree. But to prevent the children from going to school this morning - you enough, to learn stuff – that’s just ridiculous!

Never mind the kiddies just manning up to walk to the bus stops, but to think that the bus drivers, teachers, and school principals were too pussy to roll out of their nice warm beds? What kind of example are they setting for the youth of tomorrow?

It’s making my eye twitch.

I was never NOT allowed to go to school. Come hell or high water; come rain, sleet, snow, or shine, the student must get through. The issue of temperature was never even considered as a plausible variable for the cancellation of the school learning process.

Hell, my mother would send me out in weather that a Yeti wouldn’t wander out in. She practically planted a foot into my chest as she grabbed a hold of the door frame with both hands and shoved me out into the wintry No Mans Land. No way was I going to interfere with mommy’s Bob Barker time on the account of it being cold.

There were times I nearly lost limbs to frost bite or had my core temperature drop below that of a frozen carp before the bus actually arrived.

And if the bus didn’t arrive for some god-forsaken reason she’d send me packing on foot. Sometimes I felt like Hillary Scott mushing through the forbidding Arctic landscape. Well, by “mushing” I really mean my struggling through mountains of unplowed snowdrifts wafting in the city streets. Seriously, you could have hidden a mammoth in someone’s front yard where it’s wouldn’t be found until spring thaw.

I’m a survivor of the Blizzard of ’77 remember. You know? The one they called “WHITE DEATH”! So I’m no stranger to snow or the cold.

Too young to remember or ignorant to know about the White Death?

Here, let me log your memory:

That was no winter wonderland let me tell you! And do you know how much school they canceled?


We WALKED our sorry primary asses to school in those days. I remember my cheeks literally melting off my face and my lips freezing together on some of my walks to school in February. I suffered through the early stages of hypothermia at my desk until lunch. By then my feet had thawed out and I cold walk again. But it was unthinkable to close the school and prevent the shaping of young minds.

Too cold?

TOO FUCKING BAD! Get your near frozen ass to school and learn something.”

Why do we continue to coddle our children as we do? What are we protecting them from exactly? I understand that times were much harder in the past, but we turned out okay didn’t we? In fact, it’s the reason I’m filled with such a healthy dose of angry vigor today.

For good and for bad*, it made me who I am.

Besides, there should be a little toil in kid’s lives. Particularly when it comes to school. What do they say: ‘No pain no gain’?

And sure winter sucks but deal with it already! It’s not like my current employer would ever accept “because it’s chilly out” as an excuse for my not coming into work. My toasty ass would be out on the street by mid-morning coffee break. Consider it conditioning for being a responsible adult.

It’s teaching children the meaning of commitment. Plus, it’ll help prevent them from having their sorry asses pulverized into a pink paste by the bullies in high school later on.

I mean, honestly, what’s next? Canceling school due to a sever chance of heavy showers?


* Mostly bad.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Yogurt Monologues (Part V)

Hello again, health nuts and vegheads.

It has been awhile since I’ve updated you with my progress on this crazy train we call “Healthy Living”, so I thought I’d take the time this afternoon between my Pilates class and Saturday night water polo to keep you abreast* of my current bodily status.

I’m sure by now you’re just salivating at the notion of once again hearing about all my aches and pains; not to mention all my meaty bowel movements and other various spent liquids. Life is all about the little details after all.

I love the feeling of being healthy (or at least, the healthiest I’ve ever managed to be). I am lifting weights, my squash game has improved drastically, I can now pull 5000 meters on the ergometer in just under twenty minutes, and I can make with the bouts of freaky monkey sex for periods longer than the equivalent time it takes to order a pizza. Yep, I have definitely come a long way from that long ago time in my life when the only notion I had of eating healthy was once having cut up a banana into my Grape Nuts.

Am I stud or what?

Yes, I’ve become quite the aficionado of Fitness First. I easily work out a total of four times a week, including swimming, squash, rowing, biking, and weight lifting**. I can now curl approximately a quarter of my own body weight and can press the equivalent of a small circus midget. Prior to getting my YMCA membership, the most I ever curled was the random double-double or the odd KFC drumstick to my lips.

Recently though, I have more become fascinated by the actual gym culture; the whole sordid cesspool of physical exercise that I willingly wade into every other weekday. I can honestly say that each visit I make to the gym I walk around as grossed out as I do spent from actual training. You see, you tend to witness a lot of weird things at your average, local gym or body shop. It’s hard not to notice.

There are some real schmutz’s at the gym. Total asshats.

For example, I watched a guy yesterday in the change room while he toweled off his ass for, like, twenty minutes. This guy didn’t so much as dry himself off with his towel as he made love to it. He worked his towel into crevices that would make any proctologist shudder. And yet, I couldn’t tear my eyes off this train wreck despite the fact I feared the very real possibility that I may, in fact, be going gay without actually realizing it.

Here was a grown man literally violating himself with a bleached linen gym towel. How much moisture did he think he absorbed in the steam room anyway? Was he a sponge or something? Honestly, by watching him compulsively towel-dry his ass for a full twenty minutes you’d think he was a walking inground pool.

Granted, he wasn't trimming his nutsack on the couch but he still couldn’t have been any more brazen in his blasphemy if you ask me.

And as I stared at him fixedly flossing himself with his towel like some topless dancer the full impact of the larger picture hit me: HE WAS USING THE SAME PROVIDED GYM TOWELS THAT I USE!


Shit, that meant that the same towel that I was currently wrapped in and had used to dry off might have been wedged up this idiot’s ass too.

Oh, goodie!

I was suddenly hit with a wave of nausea the likes of which I haven’t experienced since the Season Premier of ‘Stacked’. I wanted to set myself on fire in order to purify myself of any possible remaining fecal matter of his that may have been transmitted from his ass through the recycled linen towels.

But as I figure it now, it’s just one of the risks you take every day you walk into the gym. Where’s there’s naked men about there’s bound to be some transmitted fecal matter. It’s just like how the International Food Distribution Association (IFDA) has their set allowable quantity of rat hair per food product which we, in turn, eat. It’s as much Russian Roulette with the gym towels as it is with the mysterious ingredients found bubbling away in the steaming germ cauldron they call a hot tub.

You just try to put such things out of your mind and attempt to enjoy your visit. Otherwise, given the amount of spilt fluvia that occurs at the gym, I’d never even make it past the check-in desk without recoiling in terror.

There is another particular personality at my gym that has me scratching my head in astonished wonderment. Someone whom I have not so affectionately nicknamed “the Bear”.

Everyone has someone that they like to pick on. Even you holier-than-thou types inevitably have someone in this world for whom you take an evil pleasure in spying on. For most people, this is why they read ‘People’ and ‘Star’ magazines. This is why the calluses on Katie Holmes high-heeled tootsies makes the headline news. We have a sick interest in reveling in the misfortunes of others and usually there’s one person in particular.

For me, it’s the Bear***.

The Bear often works out at the gym around the same times as I do. Or rather, he is present around the same times I work out. The fact over whether he actually “works out” is still in question.

You see, the Bear just is. He’s just there. Why is another matter altogether.

To first time observers, the Bear must seem like your normal gym heavyweight wannabe. He has Tupperware tubs of cooked chicken, his workout notebook, his multiple bottles of formulas and protein drinks, and not to mention his huge-ass Santa's bag of assorted weightlifting gloves, braces, harnesses, and other formidable looking things that would make even the Marquis de Sade more than a little nervous.

And yet, if anyone were to actually watch him for such length of time (as I so obviously have) they’d nothing he does little more than sit there on his bench and look fatigued. His whole gym routine seems to be: stop, pause, rest, take a drink, stop, pause, rest, eat some chicken, write in his notebook, pause, rest, repeat.

Where’s the work out? Shit, where’s the 'work'? He sure seems to have the ‘out’ part down pat.

He never lifts a thing and yet he gives off the air of someone who is there to inflict some serious damage on his body. He even goes so far to psyche himself up over a machine that he’s set up with menacing looking weights, but then never actually does anything.

Who’s this fucking guy kidding?

I originally nicknamed him ‘the Bear’ due to his tendency to lean on his machine and push himself off it like he was stretching after completing a vigorous session of reps. When I see him do this it reminds me of a bear lazily bouncing himself off a tree to revitalize his limbs after months of hibernation. It’s hardly what you would call strenuous activity.

What really interests me is what he’s recording in his notebook exactly. He does nothing. Let me repeat: HE DOES NOTHING! And yet, there he is meticulously recording something in his notebook. Maybe he comes to the gym to be inspired to write poetry or nothing because he sure can’t be charting any physical progress during his workout routines.

Well, you now what? I kept my own journal of his daily progress:

Day 1:

Sit - 25 mins
Flex in front mirror – 5 mins
Ogle the ladies in the Aquafit class – 15 mins
Eat some chicken – 5 mins
Sit some more – 35 mins
Drink protein shake – 10 mins
Rummage in bag – 15 mins
Sit again – 20 mins
Stretch – 5 mins
Nap on bench – 10 mins
Rummage in bag again – 5 more mins

It’s fucking ridiculous. An invalid works out more than this asshat. Hell, Christopher Reeve burns more calories in a single day than this guy does in an entire workout.

Clearly, here is a guy in desperate need of a good ‘ol fashioned Biblical-style beat down. Something, or somebody, to really motivate his ass into high gear and stimulate some muscle growth.

Somebody hand me a flail - I’m just the man for the job!

What possesses someone to go through all the lengths of giving off the appearance of being healthy but then never actually making the honest effort to do it? I just don’t understand. He pays a regular monthly membership fee to do – what – splash water on his shirt and pretend to be the next Vasily Alexeyev?

I still get shivers when I remember the time the Bear finally decided to approach me for the sole purpose of making small talk.

Now let’s get one thing straight and I’ve said it before; I’m not there to chitchat, socialize, or make friends by any means. I subscribe to the notion that you plug into your MP3 player and keep your grunts, snorts, and other verbal fluctuations to yourself.

When I work out, it’s all hands on deck. "No Girls Need Apply!"

I don’t feel the need to share any of my clever musings with anybody at the gym. I’m there to sweat, hurt, and quietly stare at the other fitness freaks exhaustingly staring back at me. It’s just the law of the iron jungle.

So when the Bear approached me to ask: “if you could spend your money on one thing, would you visit the former sites of Olympic weight lifting competitions or get Lasik surgery?”

Pardon? Do I have “Disturb Me,” written across my sweaty forehead? Has the sweat from my own work out somehow managed to mark my shirt so that it reads “I Love Talking to Idiots” across my chest or something? I wanted to bend my barbell around his head until it popped.

Why do these morons always seek me out in a crowd?

Anyway, I managed to mutely shrug and shake my head in that telltale “I Don’t Understand English, Dipshit” way until he casually wandered off in search of someone else to offer their pearls of wisdom on this most unusual financial conundrum.

I just couldn’t bring myself to engage him in conversation, stupid or otherwise. And now I have to avert my eyes whenever he’s around to thwart off any other opportunities of contact he may chance****.

But then again, like the inevitably shitty gym towel, these guys are one of the hazards you chance yourself with every time you go to the gym. For me, in a completely odd way, it’s also these random observations and encounters that make going to the gym and keeping healthy and active possible.

It makes the trips, shall we say, interesting?

Now I know this isn’t exactly what you were expecting as far as a Yogurt Monologues update is concerned, but hey, what’s the point of being fit and healthy if you also can’t look down on and make fun of others?

I’m sure that the really uber-fit gym freaks that parade around the gym in their leotards is having secret fun at my expense, so why shouldn’t I have my fun too?

It’s the order of the universe.

I didn’t endure months of being bent over a Swiss exercise ball for the obvious amusement of others for nothing!

* And I don’t mean the finger-licking kind either.

** Not to mention scoping out all the spandex-clad gym bunnies as they parade past the various mirrors and one-way windows.

*** Not to mention Tom Cruise, Anderson Cooper, Sharon Stone, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, The Canadian Tire guy, St. Patrick, Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie, Martha Stewart, people who drive Minivans, and the guy at Blockbuster to name just a few others.

**** I have also learned to say “eat shit” in a dozen different languages.