Dead Reckoning

They put up a bunch of vile signs around the gym, prohibiting the dead lift and the hardcore strength training move called the power clean (not to be confused with anything involving water under high pressure or annoying commercials for bathroom scrubs).

They have been dicking with us over the deadlift since my beloved old musclehead gym hooked up with the crocus-colored franchise chain, but up to now no one has posted signs. I gather some clutch of noisy little punks made themselves tiresome slamming the bar on the floor a few days ago (Greg, who talks kind of swishy but could probably hoist one of these manchildren in each hand, said he asked them to tone it down and “they looked at me like I had two fuckin’ heads”). Some show of authority was demanded, I guess.

I already have to park two big plates flat on the floor so I can get some loft doing a good straight-legged deadlift, since — now that my leg range of motion is almost back — I can stand at the top of a staircase and handily fold at the hips to put my palms on the first tread. Now it’s starting to look as if any incriminating ceremonies like that are out of the question. Because I am damned if I will stop doing them. This morning I tried the feel of a dumbbell in each hand, so that if caught bending double with them, I could just feign that I was doing a flying dog or something.

The thing is that there are no hardcore gyms left in easy shot of my house anyway, and all my friends and a lot of clients are at this one, to which I can drive on autopilot, passing my bank branch (where they fold me to their bosoms when I walk in) and a couple other places I do regular business. Gold’s is a poncey meat market selling overpriced gear, at which I am reliably informed that the men, at least in my local branch, are clannish and treat the heavy end of the weight room as a boys club, and the other glossy chains are full of people in leotards. (I am right there with the masterful Dan Savage when it comes to the sins of the leotarded.)

I just have to work around it. But I expect to see a rack of Kegelcisers in there any day now, given the kind of workout they seem to be encouraging.*


*Yes, I know I am the last person to be scorning a gym for asking us all to be “pussies.” We should reclaim the word, and all that, women’s parts are more rugged than men’s when you think about it, yada yada, and let’s not even think of the petition my cats are going to file, but no other word springs forth when the temporal lobe, taxed beyond endurance, loses its grip on gracious speech. Except maybe feh.


8 thoughts on “Dead Reckoning

    • Apparently if you work out with excessive verve, it “intimidates” people who are scared of exercising.

      Izzy, my financial adviser, whose wife works out there, once asked me if I had been told to wear a burka.

  1. I just don’t get that at all. You think all the noise and grunting and sweat would be the Gym equivalent of the restaurant scene in When Harry Met Sally. ‘Ooo. I’ll have what HE’S having!’

    • You would think, wouldn’t you?

      I mean you can carry it too far; when I got my Albino Ex into the gym, he really leaned into the grunting after I explained how it made that last rep possible, and one day a guy in the local community gym asked him if he was listening to “the sex line” on his ear phones.

  2. Was that seriously the reason? That sight and sound of truck axles being slammed to the floor makes the yoga moms and the software engineers who suddenly have girlfriends and want to “work out” too nervous? Yeesh.

    • It wasn’t so much that the bar hit the floor as that they were going out of their way to make gratuitous noise with it (lifting not very much; they were striplings), more sound than fury, along with a fair amount of dreary repetitive profanity in the frat-boy style. That last, frankly, gets up my nose — I’ll yell fuck with the best of them, but every other word gets old. I always got a rush from the guy who used to smack his head on the power rack before hoisting 615 (blam), but some community-college douchebag whose energy is mostly going into unimaginative profanity and bragging about who he picked up is never an edifying spectacle. But it was just an excuse — this chain has forbidden deadlifts (on the books) from the beginning, our management just chose to drag feet for several years on actually posting the signs. I gather the person assigned to “enforce” this rule now is Phil, who is disabled, in his sixties, and spends most of the day asleep sitting up on the stack sled. I believe this is a tacit message that as long as we don’t act like jerks and deliberately drop big bars, we can carry on.

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