Posts Tagged ‘Awk-WARD!’

Lord knows the Men’s change room at the local YMCA is the Ground Zero from which all things fucked up and ridiculous emanate and it’s already well documented the strange assortment of weirdos and weird behavior I’ve encountered in there.  I even wrote a list of haloed “Locker Room Commandments” once (click HERE) in an effort to keep us aligned and playing nicely with no awkward weirdness but, apparently, nobody gave a second look.

*sigh*

So now, usually, I just try to get in and out as quickly as possible without ever diverting my eyes from the ground immediately in front of me.  If I thought it wasn’t too weird to sport a pair of those side-view blinder things that see on professional bowlers and race horses, I would – believe me.  However, sometimes there is just no avoiding the strange behavior of some people as their internal idiocy just shines too bright.  And just when you thought you’d seen it all, some moron’s bizarre habit or total douchebaggery suddenly leaps out from the shadows and hits you full impact with all the force of a runaway freight train.

This is exactly  what happened this morning.

Usually I swim early in the morning beginning at 6:30am.  At that time the pool is jam packed with all the old buzzards doing, well, whatever is they do between ends of the pool.  Some swim, some float, some bob, others – who the fuck knows what they’re doing exactly (click HERE) – but as long as they do in any other lane aside from mine I couldn’t give two shits.  For the most part though, they all know me well enough by now to know that I’m there to kick ass and so they pretty much leave me alone to the Fast lane.

It’s perfect.

Anyway, as we all more or less arrive together, most of them will have long since left by the time I’m finished my workout.  In fact, in some cases and entire second wave of morning swimmers and “bobbers” have entered the pool and left again.  It’s just the circle of life at my community pool between 6:30am and 9:00am.

Queue the lions.

As such, I seldom see any of the change room habits these old dudes have as they’re long since gone by the time I emerge from the pool to shower and get changed.  This suits me just fine since I’ve seen enough wrinkled up old man dick to last me a lifetime.

Today, however, one of the second wave “bobber-floaters” – an old man – in the next lane decided to stick around a little longer than usual.

No big deal though, right?

Of course not!

However, what this also meant is that since he happened to excuse himself from the pool only 10 minutes before my own workout, it was very likely I wasn’t going to have the shower-change room to myself as is usually the case when I leave.

Now this isn’t really a big deal either, although I will admit I do look forward to and enjoy that few minutes of peace and quiet after my long swims.  After all, when you’ve been more or less submerged in water in a near sensory deprivation state for approximately 90 minutes to two hours at a time, reemerging into a loud, boisterous environment can be somewhat overwhelming.

Trust me.

So when I exit the pool and enter the change room I am a bit, shall we say, “absent”.  It actually takes me a few minutes to acclimate to dry land and regain the use of all my faculties.  So while I’m in this state, let’s just say that I can be a bit, well, oblivious.  I mean, really, all I’ve had to focus on for the past two hours is the sound of my underwater breathing and maybe the echo of the odd pool fart I squeaked out somewhere mid-stroke. There’s not a whole lot else to occupy your mind and senses.  So, anyway, this was the state I was in when I happened to enter into the change room this morning.

And then it happened…

When you enter into the Men’s change room from the pool area you first have to pass through the showers in order to get to the change room.  I typically do this right away prior to showering as I like to drop off all my pool equipment at the locker, strip out of my suit and grab my bottles of TRISWIM.  Then I proceed to head back to the showers to take care of business.

Between the showers and the lockers area there are two wall mounted hot air driers situated up high that people can use to blow dry their hair.

I know, real men don’t blow dry their hair.

(Pussies)

But whatever…the driers are still there.

On this particularly occasion as I was passing through the showers to my locker I was suddenly greeted by a most disturbing scene.  The old man who had left the pool just minutes before me, had decided that he was now going to grab one of the plastic stools out of the showers to stand on and…

…wait for it…

…blow dry his nut sack.

Yup.

There he was, shoving his wrinkled old man dick into the hair drier while running his fingers through his greying pubes.  Now, think about it, at that level his droopy old man balls were perfectly situated at eye level just a mere inches away from my face.

I was instantly all:

hqdefault

Yeah.

I absolutely gagged.

I just couldn’t wrap my brain around the total train wreck before me.  His testicles dangled there like a day old Tetley tea bag.  Had a bell rung I would have been tempted to go all Rocky on his “speed bag” like this:

Fortunately for this numbnuts (and I say that both figuratively and, very likely, literally) no bell was to be heard.

I mean, seriously?

WTF?

What would possess someone to – you know – dry their nut sack in a public change room using the drying machine located approximately 6ft. up on the wall?  Clearly, had it been intended to warm your Charlie Brown’s it would be at least waist level! B ut apparently this fact was completely lost on this ass clown.

After I’d dealt with the mental trauma (hours later, of course) I started to wonder what would happen if this old guy, who looked like he had all the physical durability of a china doll.  Honestly, if he were ever to slip and fall from his plastic roost mid-blowjob he’d likely shatter into a thousand like a fluorescent light bulb.

One has to wonder if the reward of a toasty ball sack is really worth the risk?

(Disclaimer: This was written purely out of sarcasm.  I have no ill feelings towards anyone referred to or mentioned in this post, especially Kyle.  I’m just taking some “creative liberties” here for the sake of telling of what I hope is a pretty funny story.  As least that’s how I’m choosing to see it anyway).

My training is pretty routine now, as it is for most triathletes I guess; eat, shit, hydrate, train, recover, repeat.  On designated swim days I’m typically up three minutes before my alarm at 5:17am to make it to the pool for 6:25am to wage Mortal Combat with all the old fogies over who gets into what lane.  Sometimes I win out and get the fast lane, other times I’m stuck in No Man’s Land doing kicking drills with the floating log with arms.   But what can you do?

I have mentioned before to the pool staff my sentiments about rearranging the swim lanes to be more accessible by moving the slow lanes to the outside of the pool and the faster lanes to the center, but these suggestions have typically been received with nothing more than a yawn and a blank, bleary-eyed look that tells me “yeah, yeah, I hear you dude, but it’s 6:30am in the morning and I’m stuck here watching old people swim for minimum wage – so I don’t really care about your piddley ass pool problems, mkay?”

Okay, fine.  Mortal Combat it is.  And so it has been for about the past two years that I have been training at my YMCA.

Luckily for me, with a little patience, eventually all the old folks (especially the three graying grizzly bears in Speedo’s who insist on doing their “dead man’s formation” in the fast lane come hell or high water) bail after about 20 to 30 minutes to go about their normal days of tending the weeds in the garden, tinkering in the garage or sipping tea in their backyard gazebo, or whatever is it that retiree’s do to pass their days besides bobbing in the fast lane, so I typically will do my drills in the slow lane until then before I switch to a faster lane and get on with my main set.   Rarely does the 90 minutes or so pass by with me ever having to say a anything to anyone, much less the lifeguard; except that all changed a few weeks ago.

One day I was going about my usual routine and was just moving into a faster lane when another guy entered the pool area, a sleek-looking, V-shaped bullet of a guy in a pair of Triathlon Canada Speedo’s.  He proceeded to get in the lane with me (quite properly I might add) and, quite literally, proceeded to swim circles around me.  Dude was fast!  I tried to hold pace with him and I could for, say, 100-200m or so, but then I had to let him go before my heart exploded inside my chest. By comparison, he was just cruising…easily.

At first I was like, “The fuck! Who is this guy?”

While he was vaguely familiar to me, I was more concerned with my suddenly being punk in my own pool.  Suddenly I wasn’t the “fast guy” any more and my ego had taken a bit of a hit; I confess.  So for the remainder of the workout he lapped me over and over and over again and despite my attempts to keep up, or rival him in either speed or form, I basically ended up looking like a retarded and dying sea lion.  Oh well.

It wasn’t until later on when it was announced to me at the front desk that the speedy, skinny guy was in fact, Kyle Jones, an up-and-coming Canadian Olympic triathlete on the ITU World Triathlon Series circuit and our next big Olympic hopeful.

“Did you see that guy? That’s Kyle Jones”, the girl explained excitedly.

Huh.

What’ya know?

“Yeah, he kicked my ass alright”.

I then remembered that’s why he seemed so familiar to me as I have seen him several times in my monthly Triathlon Canada magazines.

“He’s training for the Pan Am Games you know”, she continued.

“Excellent.”

Now it beats me why he suddenly ended up swimming in our little community pool out here in the middle of BF Idaho, but there he was – large and in charge.  Apparently, he is in the process of recovering after a crash in New Zealand and the subsequent surgery afterwards and all the while preparing for the Pan American Games that are being held at the end of this month in Toronto, Ontario. Cool, right?  I’m swimming with one of Canada’s best triathletes! I even forgave myself a little for looking like such a slow ass chump alongside him.  After all, the guy is an Olympian!

Shortly afterwards, as I was walking out to the parking lot with him (coincidentally, I swear!), he mentioned how odd it was that the pool was arranged with the fast lanes on the outside edges of the pool and the slow lanes on the inside, opposite of what you’d typically expect in most other pools that offer similar lane swims.  I agreed quickly and related my frustrations at having expressed that concern already in the past to no avail.

“Maybe I’ll mention something too”, he said casually.

“Go for it”, I encouraged.  I might have rolled my eyes a little too.

I missed the next morning’s workout, but when I returned two days later, I discovered (albeit happily) that the lanes had been rearranged with the fast lanes in the middle and the slow lanes on the outside to provide easier access for the slower swimmers to their appropriated lanes – just as I had described.

The fuck?

The lifeguard was still quietly dozing, or mediating, or whatever it is she does quietly in the corner by herself and all the usual fogies are jumping into their usual lanes, be it fast or not, and we all commence with our Mortal Combat.  Except this time, the fast lane that I normally gave up to the grizzly bears was now appropriately designated as the slow lane and my slow lane was now actually the fast lane.  Score.

Booyah, the system works bitches!

Later, when Kyle walked on deck for his own workout I expressed my pleasure at finally having the pool organized more logically as we had discussed.  I had taken this whole lane switcheroo business as a major victory in my two year quest to bring both rhyme and reason to community pools everywhere.  Surely he, a fellow swimmer, could understand the magnitude of my accomplishment.

“Yeah, I mentioned something too”, he said flatly.

“Like, yesterday?” I stammered.

“Yeah”, he replied.

I swear, I just about shit in the pool then and there.

You mean after nearly two years of bitching and nobody gives a rat’s ass, but suddenly one bona fide athlete shows up and it’s “hold up, we got this shit all wrong!” , and the entire pool is instantly reorganized?

Really?

But whatever, progress is progress and I’m happy it finally got sorted out.  I’d like to think that I still played some minor role in all.  Sure I’m a little bitter that you apparently have to be a cute Olympian for anyone to take you seriously but, hey, it got done.

So for the past few weeks I’ve been enjoying the sweet life of being able to finally swim in the fast lane, except (interpret that as:  every day) whenever a slower swimmer happens to jump in the lane unaware of the newly designated lanes – not that the lifeguard cares mind you – and it’s Mortal Combat all over again.

C’est la vie.

But the big slap in the puss came only this morning.

There I was, waging my usual Mortal Combat with a breast-stroking grandma and the log with arms in the appropriated fast lane and it was pretty much business as usual.   Soon they both had to leave and I could proceed with the rest of my workout.  About 45 minutes later and Kyle shows up just as I’m warming down and swimming easy in my fast lane.  There is at least one person in every lane at this point except the medium lane; the next best thing to having the pool (or a lane) to yourself.

When I stop at the end the first thing I heard echoing from the opposite side of the pool is:

“Hi Kyle!”

Awesome.

I’ve been swimming here for years and I’m lucky to get yawned at in the morning and here the lifeguard is already on a first name basis with the new guy.

Figures!

But then she takes it a step further and says: “should I get that guy to move over into another lane?”

Like, out loud…so the whole  world could hear.  It actually echoed around the pool and I’m pretty sure it was heard in, like, Madagascar.  Surely she’s shitting me, right?  Or maybe she’s talking about somebody else?

I looked around hopefully…

Nope.

She definitely meant me; the fat, slow guy obstructing the fast lane.

I was mortified.

I definitely think I shat a little in the water.

Now, to Kyle’s credit, he motioned back to her shyly that everything was just fine and he jumped in the available lane and bid me a jaunty good morning just as I was leaving and everything was just hunky dory but, the lifeguard?

She can bite me.

She doesn’t give a flying fig newton when the old fogies do their breast-stroking down the middle of the fast lane while I’m trying to do intervals, but suddenly when the OLYMPIAN  shows up, it’s “Hey, fat guy! Get out of the pool! The real swimmer is here.”

Uh huh.

I see how it is.

So it seems to be, that every few months or so, I tend to encounter some sort of bizarre behavior at the gym as I document as acknowledge with a ‘Gym J. Bullock’ (click HERE) award, or as simply another story in my on-going ‘Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…’  series (click HERE and HERE).  Oh, and lest we forget the Black Mamba (click HERE).

And as far as weird-ass behavior goes, today was definitely the day.

Now, for matter of reference sake, I recently just moved my gym membership at the YMCA to the more local branch since HRH  is no longer taking swimming lessons through the original branch.  It’s all good though as I genuinely love this new branch. I like their approach to creating and supporting the local community, I like the people who work there, and I like that they let me yell at people for 60 minutes every Monday night as a spin instructor.  The only downside is that they don’t have all the frou-frou amenities that the other gyms provided, like a “Member’s Plus” change room to use; it’s “gen pop” all the way.  Now, a locker room is a locker room at the end of the day with all the usual assortment of wacko’s, weirdo’s, and people for whom there are really no words, but now that I’m without the beloved safe haven of the “Member’s Plus” change room, I have about a dozen pre-pubescent boys staring at my junk every time I change and get showered.

“Hey peanut, quit staring at my lunch box.”

Awk-ward!

Anyway, it is what it is and usually I’m there early in the morning or later in the evening so it’s not so bad. This morning, however, the gates didn’t so much ‘open’ as they completely and epically failed on a grandiose New Orleans levee scale and a total watershed of imminent craziness flooded out all over the place. I guess that didn’t sound so good, so allow me to explain…

I finished my morning swim workout as per usual without incident.  Of course, there were all the usual “swim types” to deal with as well as all the typical issues as they relate to lane swimming, but I just consider  these things now as an occupational hazard of being in the pool.  I like to think it teaches me patience.  Anyway, after I finished I made my way into the showers – as you typically do – and that’s when all the craziness started.

In the shower already was an old guy who looked as if he’d already spent the better part of the morning there.  He didn’t seem to be washing, rinsing or any other of the standard things you might expect to see someone doing in the shower.  No, he was just kinda standing there…passing time.  Even more disconcerting was the big shit-eating grin that he had spread over his face as he stood there loitering away under his stream of water.  Seriously, he was the kind of guy that my teachers in grade school warned me about getting into vans with.  Had there been anywhere else to shower at the time, certainly, I would have been there.

As it is now, the shower area is pretty small with only 5 shower heads so even if you’re at opposite ends of the shower area, you’re still in close proximity with anyone else who might also be sharing the vicinity, as this guy was.  So I returned his creepy ass smile politely (and modestly I might add) before immediately casting my eyes to the floor and started making with the suds.  Now it also needs to be mentioned here that the showers at this particular gym also utilize a “water conservation” approach, where the facet shuts off after a minute or so and therefore reducing the amount of water waste.  That potentially means that mid-suds, you might have to reach over and reactivate the shower head should it turn off in order to resume your rinsing.  No big deal though, right?  And it’s usually not.  However, as I was “sudsing up” on this particular occasion the flow of water on my shower temporarily cut out, and out of the corner of my eye I see the creepy old dude in the corner come hustled over to reset the water flow for me.

Did he….just….???

Yup.  He did.

And now he was standing there grinning at me like a total psychopath waiting for some sort of friendly acknowledgement.

Great.

“Umm, thanks?”, I offered nervously.

Strange behavior as it was, I tried to pretend it didn’t happen and simply returned my eyes to the ground and proceeded with the business of scrubbing my privates.  He genuinely looked very pleased with himself though, as if he had just something incredibly noble like assisting a helpless turtle cross a busy highway or rescue a kitten from a tree, and so he continued to harbor that weird ass grin on his face as I returned to my shower.

Usually – in my experience anyway – heterosexual naked men don’t like to go anywhere near other heterosexual naked men and we approach these situations very delicately, as if coming in too close to another man’s nekkid bid’ness will result in our automatically becoming gay or something, like one of those Reed frogs who will spontaneously change  sexes for whatever reason.  Clearly, this old guy has never read the “Man Code” as it relates to these types of exposed situations.  Hopefully, though, this was just one of the “one off” circumstances that I could just laugh off (later of course) and carry on with my day.

However, in another minute or two he did it again. The water cut out and before you could say “rub a dub dub”, he comes over to reset my water…UH-again!

The fuck?!

The water  cut off as I was scrubbing my ball sack and there he was, coming to my apparent “rescue” again with that helpful expression that seemed to be fishing for some sort of acknowledgement like he had just done me this huge favor.  Bizarre!  This time, I was less cordial and gave him a strange look and proceeded back to tending to my sack.  Clearly this was not the reaction he was hoping for…not that it stopped him any.

It’s also worth noting here that, for the record, I wasn’t actively seeking this specific reaction by purposely allowing my water flow to cut out.  No, sir!  It’s just that after 90 minutes to a few hours in the pool, and I like to give myself a thorough lathering so I don’t go home smelling like the battlefields of Ypres so I often opt to let the water cut out as I’m lathering up and then just restart it when I’m ready.  Besides, I’m all for the water conservation thing anyway, so it’s no big deal.  So, for whatever reason, this guy now felt like it was his civic dude to help out when I didn’t really need or want  it.  Suffice to say, I was less than thrilled about it.

Usually, I am big advocate when it comes to “love thy neighbor” and “be kind to strangers”, but this was fucking ridiculous.  Now the guy was simply standing there desperately waiting for the opportunity to present itself so he could rush to my aid and lend a helping hand.  On the third and even fourth time, I awkwardly smiled appreciatively, but by the fifth time, I stopped acknowledging him altogether as this was beginning to get out of hand (no pun intended) and I was getting pretty aggravated, if not completely freaked out.  Clearly this guy isn’t dealing with a full deck if his morning is spent in the Men’s showers helping other dudes with their shower facets.  That’s some fucking strange ass shit!

So, now, here I was showering with someone who, for all I know, is also picturing my genitals as a potentially nice addition to his basement rec room as a lamp shade or something equally decorative.

“Yes, that’s it buddy. Get all sudsy and smooth. Here, let me help reset that water for you. Yes, that’s it.  Go on, get all sparkly clean and baby-smooth.  Boy is your nut sack going to look nice on my trophy shelf.”

Or, worse yet, he was going to come at me with a chainsaw a la Scarface.  Now, where he might have been hiding a chainsaw exactly is totally beyond imaging but the point is, had my shower not ended right then and there I was forced to spend a single moment longer with Joe Creepoid, I might have gone all Norman Bates right there and ended up beating him mercilessly within an inch of his life for violation of space, not to mention shower privacy.  After all, I’ve seen too many grizzly bathroom shower scenes that didn’t end so well in B-movie horrors (click HERE) as a kid to not take this lightly so, now, I’ve added a new rule to my ever-growing list of Locker Room Commandments:

“Thou shalt NEVER fuck with another man’s shower facet…EVER!”

Lord knows that the gym is a literal breeding ground of schmucks. From your typical bevy of weight room goons (which are many – click HERE), to the girls who monopolize the machines in order to take selfies of their boobs, to the guy who likes to trim his pubic hair on the changing room sofa, and lest we forget the Black Mamba.  Shit, you can probably even add me to this cast of characters as well given I’ve had my own fair share of awkward moments (click HERE).  And now that it’s winter and most people are taking to the indoors for their workouts, never mind the influx of current New Years Resolutioner’s, that pool of schmuck’s is a-plenty for sure.

For me, part of going to the gym is the morbid attraction to scope out these schmucks in their natural habitat.  I consider it as something to do between sets on my mat, and such was the case yesterday on a recent visit to the gym to complete a short functional strength and core routine after work. To say the gym was “busy” would be like suggesting that Miley Cyrus is merely a bit “off”.  Suffice to say, it was fucking crazy.  I could barely squeeze myself into a corner without also rubbing asses with either the tweener in neon spandex and the scary looking bearded guy in the gnarly, stained “Tap Out” t-shirt who looked like he’d sooner eat me than offer me a little room to workout out.  So, while the schmuck-watching was great, it was with great haste that I ran through my series of planks, push-ups and crunches to get the fuck out of there…which I did.

Now, if you think the actual gym floor has its fair share of wacko’s, than the locker room would be the Ground Zero from which all the imminent wackiness emanates, and yesterday proved no different. My basic strategy on any given day is to get in and get out as quickly as possible without making eye-contact, or being forced into any “howdy do’s”, etcetera and so forth; less is definitely more when it comes to the locker room in my opinion.  But, every now and again, you see something that will suddenly make you freeze in your tracks and gape in bewildered astonishment.  And such was the case yesterday, when I spotted this years’ winning recipient of the “Gym J. Bullock Award” for total and complete gym buffoonery.

It has to be said, it’s a total crap shoot each and every time you walk into the showers. It’s like blindly walking into a crime scene in that you’re never really going to know what you’re going to witness. It could be something mundane and ordinary, or it could be a total bloodbath.

And yesterday was a total bloodbath.

Upon walking into the showers and retiring to a corner showerhead I quickly and discretely took stock of my surroundings as men are prone to do when naked and, therefore, feeling vulnerable. In there with me at this specific time was the requisite old guy, some dude on the opposite side of the showers minding his own business, and…that’s it.  Perfect!  And so it went for a few minutes or so until another guy entered and sidled up to the showerhead directly next to mine.

Immediately, I was like:

Nevermind that there were any number of showerheads available elsewhere that he could have easily chosen from (seriously, choosing shower facets is like choosing urinals, you select the one as far away from everybody else as possible), it’s what he did next that completely freaked me out, earning him this years’ award hands down.  No contest.

At first, he just stood there under the cascading water, dousing himself as one typical does, but then he proceeded to fondle his junk for the next few seconds or so.  And not just “fondle” fondle, but literally tugging at himself like he was playing with a Stretch Armstrong (click HERE) or something.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I realize your frank and beans need a thorough cleaning as well – they get sweaty too – but there is a very specific point at which it becomes too much. When it comes to washing your privates, I like to observe the “five second rule” similar to when food falls on the floor; providing it’s retrieved within the allotted five second time frame, it is still safe to eat.  Well, in this case, after five seconds of scrubbing your junk, it’s no longer cleaning…it’s just fucking weird.  And this guy was the epitome of weird in the way he was pulling at it, rubbing it, and whipping it around like he was going to lasso a steer.  Honestly, it was very disconcerting.

But then seconds turned into, well, minutes, and there he still is…thwacking at it like he was trying to punish it for some misdeed or other.  Although it seemed like hours, I’m sure it was only three to four minutes he was doing this but, still, that’s a fucking long  time to spend playing with your genitals in a public shower!

But he wasn’t done yet, oh no.  After the initial round of yanking and tugging during which I was sure he was going to rip it off, he proceeded to get a fistful of soap from the dispenser and started to lather it all up…like, seriously lather up.  Okay, weird just turned to extremely awkward as, suddenly the shower area turned into an Ibiza foam party.

At this point, I had to vacate the premises…quickly. The sounds of slapping and flapping were simply too much to bear.  It was freaking me out to be perfectly honest.  And I wasn’t the only one either, as just about every other guy in the shower decided to join me in my exodus, so, clearly, I wasn’t the only one who thought this behavior was inappropriate.  Hey, when you actually manage to scare old dudes out of the showers, you just know that whatever it is you’re doing is fucking bizarre.  And this guy brought it in spades.

I think I may actually need therapy now.

I felt charged, inspired, motivated.

This is not typically how I feel before or during my early morning pool workouts.  What gives?  I tried to put my finger on it. I woke as groggy-eyed as I always do that particular morning, and I had the same banana and travel mug of instant coffee on the drive to the pool as I always do.  In fact, my whole morning routine had been pretty much the same and, yet, I felt awesome; totally ready to giv’ er.

Then it hit me, the in-house muzac stereo in the pool that morning was playing ‘Roar’  by Katy Perry.

Oh snap!  I instantly wanted to die.

Mere words cannot express how disappointed I was with myself.  I wanted to instantly regenerate myself into a second body just so I could kick my own ass.  I looked around nervously to see if anybody else had witnessed my shame, specifically, me bopping my head along in time with the chorus in full-on rock mode.

God.

Shoot.  Me.  Now.

Believe me, being a devout manly-man’s AC/DC kind of guy, I wanted to really, really dislike Katy Perry and, in truth, I actually thought I did.  So discovering that I was not only enjoying, but actually being inspired by a Katy Perry song was really, really  disturbing.

But let’s look at the evidence:

“You held me down, but I got up
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, your hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake your ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now”

When you finally manage to forget the cupcake-breasts and daisy duke short-shorts for a minute, these lyrics are pretty poignant from a motivational perspective.  But it gets worse, or better, depending on how you wish to look at it:

“I got the eye of the tiger, the fighter, dancing through the fire
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR
Louder, louder than a lion
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me roar”

See what I mean?  That’s a pretty empowering message don’t you think?  Okay, so maybe I don’t ‘dance’ so much as I ‘kick ass’ but, hey, the sentiment is still pretty much the same.  Definitely an inspiring message that I can get behind that.  Most definitely a message I’d like my step-daughter to embrace some day.

At the very leas,t it’s nothing less inspiring than what I might otherwise get all pumped to during, say, ‘Thunderstruck’, one of my favorite go-to tough guy anthems:

“I was caught in the middle of a railroad track
I looked round, and I knew there was no turning back
My mind raced, and I thought what could I do
And I knew there was no help, no help from you
Sound of the drums beating in my heart
The thunder of guns tore me apart
You’ve been…
…Thunderstruck”

Sure Katy doesn’t have the same rocking drum beat and punchy guitar licks, but it still has that same message of survival, determination and that whole ‘never quit’ philosophy I think is important for endurance-type sports.

But, regardless, I still didn’t want to admit to myself that I was actually enjoying a Katy Perry song so I decided to check out the video thinking that it would be all rainbows, fluff and girly nonsense allowing me to get back on track with hating it but, shit, nope.  No luck there either.  Instead, YouTube showed me endless images of cancer patients singing with frail voices and absolute sincerity, Down-Syndrome sufferers rising above it all and, hell, other real tear-jerker type stuff.  Suddenly being a big tough guy triathlete was pretty miniscule in the grand scheme of things.

These people in the videos are real champions and whatever I accomplished in the pool that morning was insignificant to what they were currently dealing with.  And that in itself is pretty fucking inspiring.  These are fighters.  Whatever the eye of the tiger is, they’ve got it.  These are people whose souls have withstood the crushing blows of cancer, even if their bodies are crumbling.  These are people with a zeal for life who refuse to sit in the background, even though society has not offered them any alternatives.  They have spent their precious lives roaring louder than lions, even if their vocal chords can’t produce more than whispers.

Damn you, Katy Perry!

So a weakened woman in an abusive relationship might listen to ‘Roar’  and be reminded that she is more than her manipulative spouse declares her to be.  A dying patient might hear this song and exult in the declaration that they will not go down without a fight, and that even if the illness steals their body, their soul will not be defeated.  And this former fat-guy-gone-triathlete can take on challenges that would otherwise have destroyed him just a few short years ago…with confidence.

So what is the essence of a good motivation song?  A good motivational song inspires the resilient spirit in those who have a hidden reserve of strength left in their bones.  It rallies that fighting instinct and lights a fire to drive you continually onward despite what obstacles lay in your path.  So it’s not really about the ball-clenching rock factor, but the overlaying message to keep pushing forward no matter what, and maybe my unconsciousness was ready and willing to accept this fact, even if my balls were not.

So while I might not exactly sing ‘Roar’  out loud at the top of my lungs before a big event any time soon, I won’t instantly shy away from hearing it periodically in my future playlists.  Having said that, I’m certainly not going to give up my AC/DC anytime soon either.  But, I will consider my world a little more expanded having now accepted ‘Roar’ into my vault of inspirational anthems.

So without further adieu, here it is in all motivational grandeur.  So rock on wit’ your bad selves.

You’re welcome.

Despite blogging candidly about peeing, pooping, the time I seemingly shit myself in the locker room (click HERE) and, oh, let’s not forget about being perceived as some deviant who likes to watch roadside animals fuck (click HERE), I am actually a somewhat modest person, especially when it comes to nudity as I’ve already discussed in my post about locker room etiquette.

In high school Phys-Ed I would marvel at the other boys who’d casually stroll around the locker room buck naked while I showered in my underpants.  Yes, I was one of those poor shy bastards.  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against  nudity; I just prefer to keep my shit covered up to everyone who’s either not my doctor or my girlfriend because the general public doesn’t need to see my intimate bits.

Nowadays I’ve gotten pretty skilled at slipping out of a wet swimsuit or soggy exercise clothes and into a dry outfit without exposing so much as a random fold, pube or crack.  Of course, I shower and everything but, even then, it’s all business.  I keep my head down and focused on getting back to my locker (discretely wrapped in a towel, of course) and into my street clothes and out of the locker room as innocuously as possible…

…unless someone takes it upon himself to strike up a conversation with me while his monster schlong dangles in front of me like an uncaged python.  That’s  when things tend to get a little awkward.  Because you know what? If you’re naked and you’re talking to me, I’m probably gonna stare at your unmentionables.  How can I not?  You’re freaking naked, for crying out loud, and you’re talking to me about the weather and how humid is out today while I try not to gawk at your junk.  It’s human nature to stare at something that’s out of the ordinary, and an old dude (honestly, this guy was probably older than fire) with a penis you could use for home defense qualifies as being a bit on the “abnormal” side of things.  Typically, my encounters with old dudes at the Y never go well.  Click HERE  for a little reminder.

Take this most recent encounter.  Today I went to the Welland International Flatwater Center for an early open water swim which is one of the true joys of triathlon training if you ask me.  It’s just you, the mist, the ducks and the peaceful serenity of still water.  Afterwards, I made my way to the YMCA for a sauna, shave and shower before heading onto work.  Because, you know, nobody wants to smell canal all day long.  Anyway, as I plodded towards the shower portion of the program I noticed an old black guy engaged in his own morning cleanse ritual which, apparently, included lathering up his asshole but, hey, who’s judging?

I think it’s an unwritten rule that if given the opportunity to allow for a little distance to exist between exposed naked bits then it is ones responsibility to take that initiative and position themselves as far as possible from the other exposed bit.  I call this the ‘Urinal Philosophy’ that guys typically observe at ball games and such.  You don’t use the urinal directly next to another dude doing his business if there’s an opportunity to use a free urinal elsewhere and thereby allowing for some ‘privacy’, what little it may be (unless, of course, it happens to be John Stanton).  I take this same philosophy to the showers at the gym: NEVER shower directly next to another dude if there’s the option of showering one shower head over, or elsewhere if possible.  In this case, I made my way to the other side of the showers altogether as I definitely have a limited quota of soapy bungholes in my day (i.e. zero).

The guy was naked, obviously, gettin’ his scrub on.  I quickly glanced in his direction as I walked by when I entered the shower room before looking away because I didn’t want to stare at his ridiculously huge cock.  I mean, seriously, this thing was scary. Like way scarier than anything I might have encountered in the canal (for example).  It was like a policeman’s baton with a nutsack that resembled something a bank robber might be carrying had it a dollar sign tattooed on it.  It didn’t.  I checked.  I fumbled with the shower faucet and began my quick rinse.

And then:

Dandy McDinoschlong: “You think it’s gonna be hot out today?”

Oh god.  No.  Don’t do this.

Me (staring at the farthest corner of the room): “Hmm?”  Maybe he wasn’t talking to me.  Maybe he was…talking to himself?  I dunno.  I just hoped he wasn’t trying to get a very exposed me to talk to a very nude him.

Dandy McDinoschlong: “Do you think it’s gonna be hot out today?”  Damnit.  Now he had moved over to, you know, talk.

I shot a brief glance back at him and my eyes tractor-beamed back to his gigantic Johnson before I forced them to pull their gaze up towards his face.  He was staring at me inquisitively while sudsing his crotch.  I flashed back to a previous experience in the locker room a few months ago (click HERE) and, honestly, this couldn’t have been anymore awkward had the ‘Crying Game’  started to play over the muzac system.

Just excellent.

Was he lonely or what?  Why now of all times and places to strike up a conversation?  At the very least, couldn’t he choose a moment when he wasn’t also rubbing and fondling his pet anaconda?

Dandy McDinoschlong: “I don’t mind the heat, but I can’t take this humidity”, he continued.

He bent down and started washing his knees and – I swear – his gigantic disco stick plonked itself down on the floor with an audible ‘thud’.  I bet this man’s poor wife hasn’t walked right since their honeymoon.

Me: “Uh huh”, was all I could muster in response.

Maybe if I ignored him he’d simply go away back to his own shower head.

No dice.

Dandy McDinoschlong: “Yeah, I used to live in Florida so I know humidity and this is about as bad as it gets.”

My brain: “Goddamnit, eyes, stop looking at his dick! Look anywhere else! ANYWHERE!!”

My eyes: “You got it, boss!” (immediately flicks gaze to his crotch)

My brain: “Oh for crying out loud…”

Dandy McDinoschlong: “So, you going to work then?”

Me: “Uh, yeah.”  Maybe this was my way out but he wasn’t having any of it.

Dandy McDinoschlong: “I’m retired now so this is my only workout before going home to watch television.”

My brain: “I bet just lifting that thing to scrub yourself is a workout!  I wonder if you can use that thing to change the channel too?”   Damnit!  Shut up brain!

Me: “That’s great.  I’m late as it is so…”

At this point I would have literally limbo-ed my way under his monstrous black mamba just to get out of there.  I was that desperate.

Dandy McDinoschlong: Oh yeah, well don’t let me keep you. Welphaveagoodone”, he offered.

Me: “Thanks! You too!”, I replied as I made my big prison break towards the shower exit, desperately trying to keep my eyes forward on where I was going.  I failed.

My brain: “C’mon, one last looksee…”  Fuck!

This man’s phallus will forever be etched in my mind.  I probably know it better than my own now.

Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe every other dude on this planet enjoys chatting with his peers in the shower while nude, furiously washing every wrinkly nook and cranny like a raccoon on crack while discussing the weather, the local sports team, or what have you.  Maybe I’m  the weird one because I don’t particularly like partaking in conversations while my taint is exposed and vulnerable.

If that’s the case, so be it.  Personally, I don’t relish being naked in front of strangers and I don’t particularly enjoy naked people talking to me, so if you’re thinking of striking up a convo with me while you’re bent over with your leather Cheerio thrust up towards the ceiling, please grant me the courtesy of throwing on a pair of pants before chatting me up.  Because contrary to what you may think, I assure you that I don’t  want to see any of that.

Unfortunately, my yoga practice has been suffering a bit.  Well, suffering in the sense that I’m not doing it daily as I used to do.

Mostly, I do a little at the gym as either a core strengthening routine, or as a warm down after a heavy weights session (or workout).  Sometimes I just slip down to the lake and spend 45 minutes or so stretching lightly, or doing some Sun Salutations.  Mostly, it’s an excuse to listen to some tunes on my iPod and enjoy an easy, effortless stretch down by the water.  It’s not that I no longer subscribe to yoga as an important strengthening tool or recovery vehicle – it is – but time simply does not allow me to do everything I’d like to do so concessions have to be made.

Anyway, I received a pass recently for my birthday to enjoy a free yoga session.  What a treat!  I miss my near daily instructor lead yoga classes so I was kind of eager to participate.  I packed my shamefully neglected yoga mat (I never use it down at the lake as the grass works just fine) into the car along with a change of clothes and after work, made my way to the studio nice and early to claim my spot in the class.

Let the bendy-twisty commence.

However, it seems I am a little out of the yoga loop now.  Sure, there were still all the cutesy frog, dolphin and Sanskrit tattoos galore, but the mood of the place was decidedly…different.

When I first arrived, I was recognized by a few patrons of the studio who greeted me enthusiastically so which I responded in return, to which I was shushed.  The girl at the desk wagged her at me finger (albeit very nicely) and pointed to the sign on the nearby door that read ‘Class in Session’.  Oops, my bad.  So I lowered my voice to a whisper.  Hell hath no fury like a granola cruncher scorned.

I got changed next and waited patiently with the other Lycra Lululemon clad yogis in the lobby for the class to let out so we could get in and get set up, as you do.  When the door opened, it was chaos.  It was like rush hour on the TTC or something, with an entire mob of yogis all pressing forward to get in quickly and claim a spot of available floor space.  It was like the great California Land Rush.  I ended up stuck between two girls who were, apparently, making a nest with pillows and blankets and stuff.   Both of them had dolphin tattoos…in the same place.

I tried to be friendly and polite by saying ‘hello’, but they just gave me a blank stare and resumed with their pillow forts.  I swear the temperature dropped a degree.  But it wasn’t just these girls as nobody was talking, like, at all.  Everyone seemed to be avoiding each other as they fussed with their mat and assorted accoutrements.  Eventually, the class filled up as other exercise bunnies also poured in and I ended up sandwiched between two sets of feet directly above and below me, both decorated with some sort of cosmic henna pattern on their feet.  Maybe there was some sort of deal down at the local Henna Shop or something.

This sure wasn’t the lake, believe me.

While the class itself was great, I couldn’t get into the mental swing of things.  I found the rather devout dedication to silence to be awkward. I’m a talker – I admit it.  I hate having to be 100% silent.  Now, I definitely get the whole ‘Silence is Golden’ rule of yoga but, I still like to feel as if I can openly communicate with the instructor and maybe the participants around me when it is appropriate and fun to do so and, even then, only sparingly.  After all, if it’s not fun why bother?  This, however, felt decidedly different.  It was rather like being in a Trappist Monastery.  Definitely not the ‘fun’ I had originally envisioned and remember.

So what changed?  Was I once so dedicated to my practice that I was this serious too?  God I hope not.  I don’t think so anyway.

So what is it then?  Why did this class feel so different from what I remember loving?  Of course, the faces had changed since the last time I practiced at that location but, that couldn’t be it could it? I did try to be friendly and that clearly failed.  So what gives?  I felt like that creepy stalker guy who’s more interested in scoping out fresh ass than they are in the yoga.  Is that how the girls viewed me now?

Maybe part of the whole issue resides in that I haven’t been attending regular classes for a while, preferring now to do them solo now as time allows.  And when I do, I’m typically outdoors and plugged into my own world completely void of others.  Suddenly, being back in a crowded studio with a group of other strangers all doing the same thing had a rather cultish feel to it.

Maybe I’ve just temporarily lost my tolerance (interest?) for the whole dogma surrounding yoga.  Perhaps when we attach too rigidly to a belief system as the others seem to be doing (my opinion only), it’s possible that we also shut down the potential for connection.  My best experiences in yoga have been about having fun and building a connection to myself, to pushing into my self-imposed limitations, to my physical body, to the teacher, to the practice, to the other students in the class.  This typically involved some sort of spoken communication, albeit brief. But these students didn’t seem to be too interested in connecting to anything verbally or otherwise; much less having fun.  I mean, I’m sure they are having fun otherwise they wouldn’t be there in the first place, but maybe their idea of fun just happens to be much different than my own.

Thing is, I don’t mind a little distraction with my yoga.  I like the open communication; the teasing, the laughing, the music, the assorted yoga weirdoes, the regular poops, the sweat and, yes, the occasional yoga fart…the whole enchilada.  The workout is nice too of course as it is always a good idea to get feedback from the instructor regarding form and technique which might begin to slip when you only practice on your own.  I’m sure I was far from perfect yesterday.  And sure mediation is nice as well as I love me some good Shavasna but, really, that it’s not the entire be all and end all point of the practice.  To me, I shouldn’t feel like I’m going to church.

I also realize that many people do go for that whole meditation-spirituality thingee (and good for them!), but I think I’ve either moved past that or I just missed it altogether.  I think for the time being, my yoga practice will remain solo, on my own terms.  This may change in the future and I may wander back into the neighborhood Ashram once again but for now, the lake and my iPod suits my needs perfectly.