Fight Club

fight clubSome of you are repeat readers of these blog posts. And for that, I sincerely thank you. If you’ve been a long time reader, you’ll know that I once wrote about a time I wanted to start a fight at the gym.

To be fair, I was very sleepy and very hungry. A dangerous combination for me.

I don’t always know how to conduct myself at the gym (since I sometimes want to take down old men), but I do know how to conduct myself as a human being. And I do know that I find people being assholes to each other hilarious.

So now that you also know that information, let me tell you what happened at the gym the other day. Because it was hilarious. And doesn’t involve me.

Everything was going normal and I was listening to my cheesy pop love ballads while doing some sick free weight chest presses, right? (I’m telling a story about the gym… I’m gonna tell it like a bro. Chill, brah.) So I’m between reps trying to let my muscles recover a little so I can get totally massive and this dude comes in like hot. I don’t mean hot as in he was traditionally attractive (like Brad Pitt in the pic above). I mean hot like he’s on a mission and everybody around better get out of his way.

His mission, it turned out, was gathering all the possible weights he would need for his lifting session and putting them near the one bench he commandeered. Little gym etiquette: If it’s busy (like it was this day), it’s a pretty shitty move to gather up a bunch of weights and hold onto them as you do all your sets. It’s much more common (and just general common courtesy) to only use the weights you’re going to use and wait between sessions. If the gym is empty, have at it and set yourself up with whatever you need. But when it’s busy, don’t be a dick that hoards all the weights.

So this total dick was hoarding all the weights, right. And he’s got his earphones in and he’s like singing to himself and stuff and he’s walking like an all-around douchebag who’s oblivious to everyone else. I already didn’t like him, but I don’t like most people who are near me at the gym and he was sitting on the bench right next to me so I especially didn’t like him. Or the guy to the other side of me. But at least that guy was quite and ignoring me so I was able to be neutral to him. This guy was loud and obnoxious so I didn’t like. No likey. No thank you. No.

Then hoarder makes a mistake. He grabs some weights from a machine and starts to walk away with it. The machine, however, was being used. It wasn’t being used at the exact moment hoarder grabbed the weights, because the man standing right next to the machine. But he was clearly just between reps. So machine man starts immediately yelling at the hoarder because taking a man’s weight while he’s using it is basically fighting words at the gym. But hoarder compeltely ignores him and keeps walking back to his bench with the weight. Machine man yells louder and louder until he’s basically screaming “HEY!” right in hoarder’s face in the middle of a crowded gym. Hoarder finally gets the hint, takes his (obviously really excellent) earphones out when machine man tells him he took his weight. Hoarder could have been cool about it and apologized and moved on. But this was a dude who was hoarding weights at a very crowded gym. Hoarder is clearly not a very considerate man.

So instead, he yells back at machine man and claims he wasn’t use the weight. Machine man explains that he was between reps, as is what happens at the gym. He also explains that there are a ton of these weights not in use that hoarder could have taken. But instead of, again, being cool about it and apologizing because he was by all standards completely in the wrong, hoarder gets mad again at machine man and tells him he didn’t have to yell at him. Machine man, at this point beside himself and clearly enjoying the audience he has from everyone else in the crowded gym, explains in very close proximity to hoarder’s face, that he had to yell because he tried several different volumes that hoarder consistently ignored.

Most of the crowded gym has stopped their workout to watch all of this go down because it was entertaining as hell. I think everybody wondered if there was going to be a fight. I certainly wondered it. I wondered out of curiosity, of course, but also out of safety because this whole thing was going down right next to me. I got remnants of hoarder’s spit and machine man’s sweat.

Once I realized my proximity, I realized that most people who were looking at them could steal a quick glance over to me. And that’s when I caught my expression in a mirror. It’s the same look I get when you tell me I’m about to see an adorable puppy that’s going to tell me hilarious jokes. I’m holding back giddiness and laughter. Which, at this particular supercharged moment in a gym filled with frustrated, muscly dudes with a lot of testosterone who want to prove they’re more than their boring day job… was probably not the smartest face to have.

But I couldn’t help myself. The whole thing was hilarious. Confrontation is hilarious. People being assholes and unaware of the world around them is hilarious. People picking fights with other humans for petty reasons is hilarious. Life is all one giant, cosmic joke and sometimes I think only a small percentage of us get it.

Of course I agreed with machine man. But at the same time, we’re all just flesh and blood idiots trying to hide the fact that all of us want to be loved and accepted and are terrified of our own mortality. So who cares if hoarder was acting like a total douche. This is obviously one of the only places he can act like a badass and can find some sense of stress relief. Yes, what he did was stupid. But do you need to yell at him? Why raise your blood pressure and embarrass him and make a scene just because he’s an idiot? I dunno. Just say something quietly. Or go grab another weight and go up and give it to him and get yours back on principle. Then maybe give him a hug and say you’re more than willing to help spot him if he wants to max out on his last rep. And afterwards maybe you two can get coffee and bond over the fact that this meaningless activity will help prolong a life that most likely has no actual impact at on the outcome of the universe but it’s still fun to do.

Or maybe that’s just because I listen to a healthy mix of Star Talk and Pop Ballads at the gym, so I tend to get in a strange head space.

Whatever, the point is there wasn’t a fight but there could have been and I found it all very funny.

At least I think that was the point.

Are you still reading?

You poor thing.

And also thank you.