An Open Letter to That Guy at the Gym

Columnist Trenton Keith is a writing and pop culture enthusiast. He's also a sarcastic humorist, a dismal satirist, and frequent user of non-sequiturs. Today, he writes an open letter about Nepalese Food—To the Guy In the Gym Who Takes It Way Too Seriously.

Dear Barbell Guru,

It comes to no surprise to anyone that I’m not any sort of engineer. I didn’t get an advanced degree in architecture, nor am I involved in blueprinting, planning, or erecting structures of any sort. In fact, I have little to no luck in playing Jenga, which has more to do with my friends cheating and less to do with my knowledge of Lincoln Logs. But despite this, I’m completely sure that even though this gym is made of industrial-grade concrete, it has a limit to how much douchebaggery one can shove inside its walls. And let me be blunt, Muscle Max— you are responsible for most of the douchebaggish swagger coming into this general area. This one time, I walked out of the restroom after washing my hands, and I half expected you to be practicing arm-wrestling with yourself. Don’t try that though, because that would be copyright infringement on that one Sylvester Stallone movie, ‘Over the Top’.

If you were an economic-regulatory principle, your nickname would be “too big to fail”.

I think that when we first met, you didn’t step with your strongest foot forward. I mean, you probably have very strong feet to hold up such an impressive physique, but that’s neither here nor there. You were doing back squats, and I was jumping rope. And back squats are difficult. For the laymen, placing a 45lb bar on your shoulders and stacking weights on either side then squatting repeatedly would be tough for weaker men.

But not for you, strong man Randy Savage.

You immediately went to your max weight that was equivalent to a million pounds and a dead dog, and impressive as it was, you proceeded to grunt like an Oriental mother angrily birthing quadruplets. One would think that the gym’s impressive stereo system would distort your banshee cries, but sadly it did not. Our first encounter was a disappointing letdown.

But I didn’t quit there. No, I was sure you couldn’t be so brazenly douchebaggy. I lamented our second meeting as soon as it began. You, in your five-and-a-half-foot glory, prognosticating to a gaggle of eager ladies about the Eastern adventures you could take them on. You stretched your hamstrings as they had the elasticity of what I can only imagine as Cherrywood in a Soviet winter, but it couldn’t conceal the indulgent pleasures of your bullshit. What was that, you say? Oh, of course Nepalese food is only good if you get it from Nepal! What truisms you must have picked up, backpacking through the Khumjung hills with your then-partner, now-best-ladyfriend-with-benefits. You wouldn’t dare be seen in a bastardized American-foreign restaurant, as documented in your freshly-minted Yelp article. There is no room in your life for anything but the finest exoticisms.

Our second encounter taught me nothing and everything about you, you elitist-albeit-yoked knight in hairy armor.

But I did not lose sleep over you. I knew you could redeem yourself; under your bulbous exterior there was a soft heart underneath, yearning to be free. And then it happened, much like one falls asleep or is sexually accosted: slowly at first, and then all at once. Because I may not be well versed in the niceties of gym etiquette, but there’s an unspoken code. As one sweaty-dude and another sweaty-dude are working adjacent to each other with clearly no previous involvement, I believe there is a tiny, abstract barrier between us. I don’t want to be a dick, but sweaty-dude to sweaty-dude, I don’t need your moral or physical support when swinging a kettle bell.

But despite this silent yet universally understood credo, you decided to otherwise tear our already fractured companionship, and wander into my sweaty-dude universe. After what seemed like an eternity of mid-level snatches (a nuanced combination of picking up and lifting barbells above one’s head to assert dominant masculinity, probably) I knelt doubled over in exhaustion, when you seemed to think it was advantageous— much like a crippled wildebeest to a Serengeti lion— to come from behind me and place your calloused palms on my shoulders.

As if this personal injustice wasn’t enough, you leaned in, and in an unnecessarily high octave proclaimed, “GOOD LIFT, BRO.”

If an elevator broke with me and Whitney Houston’s corpse stuck inside, I would probably hold her hand out of fear. If I laid on my deathbed with that Uncle I don’t like at my side, I’d be cool with him brushing my teeth for me. You know what, even the one-legged mailman gets a high-five from me time to time. But it’s safe to say after you touched me, I considered soldering my appendages entirely off.

In some cultures a simple touch enough to spread a hex or Ebola.

Oh, you can do handstands in front of everyone for minutes on end? Let me list a few things you should know before doing that again:

  1. Try not ever doing handstands
  2. Think about doing a handstand and then never do a handstand

I can’t stress enough that you follow these carefully structured guidelines, but just in case it takes extra time to sink into your peanut butter-loving noggin, here’s an extra clue:

Are you in Cirque de Soleil right now? If not, don’t be an idiot and do handstands.

I wish there were places for people like you, a place made of mirrors and pull-up bars where you could freely talk about yourself and feast on girls with daddy issues. It would be just like the San Diego Wild Animal Park except less lorikeets and more monkeys. People would purchase tickets to hear your story about how you once met Jason Statham and he said you were a “chill guy”. Small children would sip on overpriced lemonades as you delicately adjust your sweatband on your head, like a crown of thorns on Jesus. I may take a picture or two as you scream to your encaged brethren to “go deep, push deep.” Though I’m not entirely sure you didn’t steal that from a circa 1970’s porno.

But until I can fund such a splendid environment for bromosapiens like you, just trying and keep your throaty opinions of Yemenis foreign policy out of my face. I don’t know if this attitude gets you laid or if you really do only get your clothes at Baby GAP, but I’ll bet dollars to donuts that I don’t give a shit and this isn’t American Gladiators and your name isn’t Nitro. 

Gym Guy image courtesy of Shutterstock

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