More than going to the gym to actually workout, I liked dressing up to go to the gym. I liked the gym look. As I looked in the mirror and flexed a bit, I was actually checking out my new kicks. They matched my gray sweat pants and baseball cap; and a black v-neck tee a size too small just to add definition to the cut of my upper arms. So with my gray and black getup on, I decided it was time to start my normal routine for the most cardio with the least sweat. That normally consisted of about fifteen minutes on the treadmill and one round of weights. Ten leg presses, ten bicep curls, ten bench presses, and ten inclined sit-ups is usually how I finished. I often left in a fashion that showed no signs of having worked out at all. I didn’t really need to work out though. I maintained a reasonable size and weight with this routine and was happy where I was.
So this particular day would have been the same; if the other me wouldn’t have shown up. This guy waltzes in with the exact same thing I have on except the colors are all inverted. The hat was identical though. Everything else was a gray to my black and a black to my gray. I instantly felt like my territory was being threatened. Now there were dudes in that gym three times my size, and there were dudes in the gym half my size. I was that middle size that you couldn’t tell if I was in the gym to gain weight or lose weight. I was toned enough to tell I had some workout ethic, but not it didn’t look as though I worked out everyday for three hours a day. I looked natural, and I liked it that way. So here comes this other natural-looking dude with the exact same thing on that I have on. As I was folding my decorative workout towels and placing them in my nice Nike show bag, I slowly look this guy over and noticed his chest was slightly bigger than mine. Whereas I more keen to being slim and keeping fat off, he was more keen to muscle building. He just walked right by the treadmills like they weren’t even there! He carried his muscle-bound ego straight towards the weight bench that I had just finished with and loaded forty more pounds onto the bar. I was even trying to stare discreetly anymore. I felt like he was making this a personal competition, and I needed to know what I was up against.
“Reggie, stop it.” I thought to myself. “You don’t even know this guy. He’s minding his business, so you just mind yours.” With that I zipped my bag and stood to my feet.
He was staring right at me. I was leaving, but his gaze stopped me right in my tracks. He was thinking the same thing I was thinking. I knew I wasn’t crazy. He was intruding on my territory; and my departure was a sign of defeat. He took a swig from his water bottle as gave my sly smirk as he wiped his mouth with the back of hand.
“Who does he think he is?” I dropped my bag right there at the rest bench. I didn’t have time not did I care to take it back to the locker room. I marched to the weight set next to my new worst enemy. He was already in position to lift, so I didn’t have much time to get in position with him. I actually had to take some of the weights off of my bar to match his, so I was nearly sprinting to redefine myself as the dominate average male.
The jerk waited.
As I laid back and gripped the cold metal bar, he said, “Don’t hurt yourself.” I took that as a cue to start. I pushed the bar from the cusps of the rack. This was definitely heavier than the weight that I was used to lifting, but it’s not that I couldn’t lift it; I just never wanted to. I pressed the first five reps out with ease. Number six was a struggle. Number seven ripped open a can of fire in my chest that sent a heat wave through my entire body. My legs were tight from balancing my body on the bench. Sweat popped from my forehead as though my brain was swelling and expelling any unneeded fluids. Yeah… that’s exactly what was happening. An aneurism didn’t seem so far away. This was the immediate problem though. The problem was that the combusted fire can in my chest had sent a heat wave up my arms and locked my elbows. I was stuck. I was stuck and the other me finish his count at fifteen. I heard him drop the bar back into its place and sit up. I guess when he looked and saw me, he knew something had gone wrong.
“Hey bro, you alright?” he asked.There was a genuine sound of concern in his voice. I gritted my teeth and pushed out a “yeeessss” that was worthy of a man taking his last breath. I had been in this position now for about thirty seconds. The elbow locks that had been placed on my arms were about to give out. I started to shake and tremble from the wrist down. The shaking, balancing and sweating felt as though my body was rupturing from the inside out. My feet and legs were now being forced into the air by trying to keep the weights lifted.
My doppelgänger had seen enough, and he rushed over to save my life. When he grabbed the bar, he alleviated more weight from the right side than the left which caused that arm to completely give in. So within a split second, I rolled off the bench and onto the floor as the other half of the weights crashed directly where my neck and head would have been.
The embarrassment was too much to handle. I got up instantly and rushed to grab my bag and escape this prison of shame that I had built around myself. I could tell most of the weight area was completely still, watching me. I heard a few quiet laughs and a “Shawty, almost lost his head”. I almost ran. I kept my composure until I got to the rest bench where my bag had been waiting for me to finish making a fool of myself. I reached down and touched the strap, but my hand and fingers had gone numb. I couldn’t pick it up. I tried with the left hand and noticed I couldn’t even feel the bag. Laughs started to penetrate my very existence.
If I were to die right now, it would only relieve my soul of such cruelty that the human condition cannot bear.
After thinking what I had hoped to be my last poetic thought, I waited for two seconds. I was still very much alive. As a last resort, I stuck on my right foot through the strap and headed out the gym. The noodles on either side of my body just dangled as I gained speed. The glass door flew open as I crashed into it dragging the bag behind me.
Luckily I parked on the side of the building where people couldn’t see me. I had to sit outside my car for twenty minutes before I could manage to retrieve the keys, unlock the door and drive away.
I haven’t been back to that gym. I will never go back to that gym.
And I lived happily ever after… Until about thirty seconds ago…