Old School Funk

Posted: November 7, 2015 in In Transition
Tags: ,

I was faced with a bit of a dilemma today.

The initial plan had me going to the gym after work (and a quick and dirty 20k tempo ride) to get my He-man on which, in and of itself, is no big deal.  The problem was in my haste to get the child packed and ready that I had forgotten to pack a t-shirt.


Where this might pose as no real issue for other dudes but, when you have the upper body of a melted ice cream cone such as I do, working out shirtless (which, fortunately, is frowned upon at your local YMCA) is not an option unless you also happen to enjoy working out to the sound of other gym goers around you dry-heaving through their weights sets…and I don’t.  Hence my distress when I realized that I had overlooked this necessity.


Not wanting to cancel my planned workout I went so far to inquire at the front desk about any extra volunteer shirts that might be lying around unused and even rifled through the Lost & Found…all to no avail.  What does it say about you when you’re willing to risk a whole cornucopia of infections by wearing a strange and potentially dirty shirt from an unknown gym patron rather than forgo a workout?

Fortunately, I remembered that I always carry a “Plan B” bag in the back of my car.

What’s a “Plan B” bag you ask?

Well, in it is an extra towel (2), baby wipes, swim goggles (2), swim cap, socks, first aid kit, spare tire (for a bike), air cartridge, a set of levers, zip-lock baggies, water bottle, protein bar and, yes, even an old t-shirt.  Everything a busy on-the-go triathlete might ever need, you know, just in case.

But let’s back track a little bit.

Years ago when I first routed myself down this active lifestyle pathway and started going to the gym, I didn’t have any of the kazillion (seriously, I think these things multiple like Tribbles on their own in my bottom cabinet drawer) of fancy dry-wicking t-shirts that I have now.  Whenever I went to the gym I just inevitably threw on any random ordinary cotton t-shirt from my drawer that invariably absorbed every single drop of sweat that oozed from my bloated frame so that it eventually hung off me like a wet shower curtain by the of the workout.

It was not pretty…but it worked.

I meant that after 60 minutes or so I would smell like a rancid pole cat and I then needed a gas mask and 10ft. pole to fish it out from my gym bag afterwards but, not knowing any better, this was the routine.

To this effect, I had three go-to shirts for the gym since after about a dozen uses or so I couldn’t really wear them anywhere else; clean or otherwise since you practically needed a priest to exorcize the stink away.  They were all threadbare and sweat-stained and I was immensely proud of them.  So much so, that while they are pretty much unwearable now, I still have them lovingly stashed away (hidden) in my closet as a reminder of the early days.  But in the grand scheme of things, these “fat shirts” ultimately befell the same fate as my “Fat Shorts” and went the way of the dodo.

The other thing to recognize as well is that these shirts were huge…like, really HUGE.  Hey, I was a much bigger dude when this all this started so each of these shirts was an extra large to begin with, coupled with the fact that they had been stretched even bigger after baring all that spent sweat.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I realize now the many health hazards (various rashes, skin irritations, et al.) as well as the various social faux-pas of wearing this type of unruly garment to the gym (#9 in my own Gym Commandments) and I have since stopped this practice in favor of wearing cleaner, more efficient, breathable and presentable shirts.  I still sweat pure battery acid, but at least I don’t look like someone from whom you might get a staph infection.

You’re welcome.

Anyway, one of these old gym shirts also just happens to be the same shirt I just fished out of my “Plan B” bag.

It was a faded green concert t-shirt that I picked up way back in June of 1995 after attending a Yo La Tengo concert at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London, U.K..  It’s, easily, an XXL…well, more like an XXXL now after years of wear n’ tear.  Holes?  Oh, it has holes.  In the pits…in the collar…in the front, back, shit, I’m a walking peep show.

I do have to admit, though, I was kind of excited.  While not exactly “gym fashionable” anymore, it did feel pretty nostalgic as if I was going back to my early gym roots back when I didn’t know any better and didn’t give two flying fucks.  For 60 minutes I got my He-man on in and among all the spandex-clad gym beauties and their perfectly accessorized Under-Armor beaus.

Yup.  I was that guy.

Of course it wasn’t beautiful but, tonight, to all those fashionable gym haters I was all like:

So, fuck the popular gym etiquette, tonight I got my He-man on old school style.  Yeah, sure, it was 3 sizes too big and I probably looked like a midget wearing a camping tent but, still, I totally enjoyed going all Rocky 3 and going back to basics – gnarly sweat stains, rips and tears n’ all – old school funk if you will.  After about 3 nanoseconds on the ergometer, the first hint of moisture appeared under my arms and across my chest.  After 3 minutes it was an all out hot mess and I couldn’t have been more pleased.


Old school funk

Because, baby, that’s how REAL men do it.

…well, this  time anyway.

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