Monday, November 13, 2006

How Can I Break Up With Gym?

Before I bought a scale I used to walk to the gym, weigh myself and then hike the three blocks home. In my defense, the walk back was uphill. So a few years ago I decided to get serious and hire one of the trainers at Bally's. I chose Nasto. He had been Mr. Bulgaria twice, Mr. Northern California in the early 90’s and he had written three fitness books, which was three more than I had written. I liked him. His business card was an unevenly scissored piece of Xerox paper. He was earnest and committed and I just knew he had a family waiting in a cramped one-bedroom apartment somewhere in Korea Town expecting him to put borsch on the table. He had that sad, vacant look that people who do not ever expect to catch up with life have. If I didn’t break up with The Impotentate, a man who couldn't get it up for five of the seven years we went out, there was no way I was going to break up with Mr. Bulgaria.

Sidebar: No, this is not a picture of Nasto, but of my best friend ever, Clark Henley, the first person I knew to die of AIDS.

I hate working out but I hate eating even more. I don’t like food. Hand me a pill called LUNCH and leave me alone. I refuse to cook. I’ll eat out, I’ll take out, shit, I’ll put out, but I’m not cooking. When I get my dream house I’m going to have them put a McDonalds in on the ground floor. If you don’t want to impress me, invite me out for dinner and then ask me where we should go, what we should eat and what we should order. Then as we’re eating, ask me how my Sea Bass is, or if I want to try your carpaccio or split a dessert. Just so we’re clear, I don’t like to discuss food, shop for food or try out the food at the new restaurant in Who Cares, New Jersey. I can hardly wait until I’m rich enough to have Emeril move in. It’s the only reason I’m still breathing in and out.

When I think back on it, I only kept going to the gym because there were cute guys there. But sometime in the last year my gym became a meeting place for old Chinese women. Mr. Bulgaria deftly escorts me through them as if he's afraid I will suddenly stop and spontaneously break into a mah-jongg game.

The gym rat in our family is my sister, who once graced the cover of Muscle & Fitness magazine. She goes around spewing communist propaganda like, “I’m really craving an apple.” Please, Johnny Appleseed didn’t crave an apple. If you’re at her house and want something fattening to eat, you have to lick the grease off her stove. She’s the kind of person who you will ask, “How do I look in this bathing suit?” and she’ll say, “You look fabulous.” Then ten days later she sees you in shorts and says, “Gee, you really look great; not like you did in that bathing suit.” She got so addicted to exercise that she had to join a 12-step program. I don’t think it worked because now she’s up to 27 steps. As for the rest of our family, we would rather die with a stent in our hearts than a deltoid on our wherever-the-fuck the deltoid goes.

I went to World Gym in Venice with her one day many years ago. Arnold Schwarzenegger owned it then and Stallone hung out there a lot. I was having a rough time in the business and my sister, who was friendly with both Arnold and Sly, had told them about my struggle. Sly was there that day and when she introduced me to him, he had that crooked half-smile going on and came towards me with his arms outstretched. “Aaaayyy, somebody needs a hug.” His bodyguards surrounded us and Sly hugged me like I owed him money. I knew he had had a rough ride in Hollywood before Rocky hit and I knew he understood where I was in my slide into artistic hell, or as I to refer to it now, a big agent who thought he could do something with me and was wrong. “Aaaayyy, don’t give up, it can happen to you,” he continued.

Sly and his body guards left and my sister and I began to work out in earnest. (She did, I was staring into space and wondering if Sly noticed that I hadn’t plucked my eyebrows) My reverie was finally broken as I watched my sister admire her calves. She inspected them as if they had USDA stamped on them and were going to market in a refrigerated truck. A line formed. Now other people were inspecting her calves. Suddenly one of these voyeurs took time out from his busy schedule of ogling her and eyed me suspiciously.
“What’s that on the back of your arm?” he asked.
“A triceps?”
“Well,” he continued, “have a doctor look at it; it might be cancer.”

End of chat.


  1. I'm still laughing. "Who Cares, New Jersey." "I'm really craving an apple." Heee! My best friend says stuff like that. "My body has really been rejecting wheat and sugar lately." (then, to Big Apple bagel order taker: "I'll have a toasted onion bagel with cream cheese, and a chocolate chip cookie.")

    You're hilarious.

  2. What about, "hey, want to split a muffin?" Who splits a muffin? I hate shit like that. It mystifies me and makes me not trust people even more than I already don't trust them. That was pretty grammatically incorrect but I don't care.

  3. I actually know people who eat half a pint of Ben and Jerry's and put the rest back. There are so many things wrong with that I don't know where to begin.