There is a guy at the gym who is oversharing with the grunting as he lifts.
I try not to make eye contact ‘cuz I know there is no hiding my real feelings here, but he catches me before I look away.
For a moment he stares at me and I think that will be the end of it, but it is not.
He shuffles over and asks why I was looking at him.
I am tempted to tell him he looks like a live version of Mr. Potato Head but I figure there is no easy way to say those skinny but heavily tattooed arms look right.
Can’t tell him his legs don’t look like they ought to be attached to his body or that I can’t figure out how a skinny guy could look so…fat.
I could tell him all that and then make some self deprecating remark about my own looks. I am not in perfect shape and there is a lot you could criticize about me too.
But I don’t say anything of the sort because my gut says this guy plays fast and loose with reality.
Must be the Alex Jones t-shirt.
Is This Post Part Of The Secret New World Order?
“Sometimes I get loud when I am really into things. Men grunt when they exercise, it is part of how they express their manly selves.”
I nod and smile, but the smile he gets isn’t the kind that reassures people.
“It is a known fact, Men are hunter/gatherers. Women are attracted to real men.”
“Yeah, a barbaric yawp goes a long way.”
Skinny and deranged assumes I am making fun of him and asks if I am some kind of ‘cat.’
I say yeah, that is the word people use to describe me.
“A real man wouldn’t let me call him names.”
“You might be right but some people would say it is rude to say your grunt and groan sounded like a cat in heat.”
I know that is probably going to set him off but I find him kind of amusing.
He glares at me and puffs up his chest.
“Hey man, I don’t want to have any static with a guy with Alex Jones on his shirt.”
“Dude, if you don’t watch Alex Jones you don’t know what George Soros is up to.”
“Yeah, that is true but I prefer to live in my own reality bubble where I don’t have to worry about Jones and his fabrications.”
That displeases him and he lets me know in no uncertain terms. My words are in his eyes unAmerican and I ought to get out.
“Don’t worry boychik, your boy Trump is working hard to get what he deserves.”
I flash a smile and push past him to the dumbbells.
For a moment we stare at each other in the gym mirror and then I make my point by curling weights that are substantially heavier than his.
I am about to make a snappy comment about whether he has a tape measure so we can figure out who is more manly but the 22 year-old trainer shows up.
“Josh, if you want to get your arms cut I have a different exercise for you to try.”
“Show me what you got. I need to do something so it doesn’t look like I am just a block.”
Intermixed with the demo I hear something that sounds like skinny tattoo dude has called me a “Soros lover.”
That is a new one to me.
“How is your arm doing?”
“I put a shmata on it and that seems be helping.”
“What is a shmata?”
I smile and explain what a shmata is and we move back to the exercise.
Later on he’ll come back and ask me if I have a favorite shmata and I’ll nod my head.
“Of course. When you put it in your favorite shmata you feel better, there is a level of comfort associated with it. Kind of like a pair of jeans that have been worn to the point they feel perfect.
Of Little Sisters and Life
My middle sister calls to talk with me about our parents and how we can help.
“We’re still playing a game where we don’t know all of the rules. I am grateful we can ask your husband (he is a doctor) to ‘translate’ some of the medical talk and numbers. It is helpful but we have to do so much more.”
We talk about the reality of the race we’re all running and I tell her dad would be the first to say we know what the end will look like.
“We don’t know all of the details or really the how and when, but we do know that certain things will have to happen. We need to help mom so that she can focus on taking care of dad. I have a few ideas.”
She tells me she agrees and we spend a few more minutes talking about how to divide the responsibilities.
We both live out of town and have intentionally not gone home at the same time not because it would be too much for the folks but because we thought staggering visits might provide a longer period of time with one of us there to help.
But I think we are almost at a point where we need to be there together to try and get a few things set up as best we can.
Not to mention we need to figure out a time when all of the grandchildren can be there together.
I am looking forward to that time, but there is a part of me that sort of dreads it.
Because it will be hard not to wonder if it will be the last time we are all together, but it is necessary.
And the reality is we do not know how much time we have or don’t have so we have to act.
Will dad be around to see me turn 50?
Will I celebrate 60 with him?
Probably not, but that is too far off to worry about. I won’t give up hope until reality forces me to change directions and even then I may stand in the fire and burn a while longer.
Either way I’ll do as my father asked and follow through on the promises I made him.