Grampa Hammerpants, Don Ho-mo, and Gold’s Gym Tits; An Expose on Modern Gym Culture.
I know, an odd choice to write about weightlifting on a mommy blog. How could this possibly be intriguing? Stick with me. I promise this will be entertaining and oddly educational. This will be devoid of puffery and douchebaggery – nobody, including myself, cares about how much I bench press and squat. This WILL be a peak behind the curtain of a very bizarre world of meathead gym culture that myself and Big Balls have been around, but not “in,” for several years.
I’ve haunted gyms for most of my adult life with varying levels of consistency and intensity. The weight room is a valuable management strategy for my delicate brain chemistry and softic genetics. All of my idiosyncrasies and quirks seem to align in service to health and well-being. I am highly competitive, extremely intense, and relate to the world in a very primal way – almost Neanderthal. In the gym this translates well, so I tap into that energy stream and get results. It’s an effective Jedi mind trick and I am able to leave it all behind when the workout is complete. Of course, I shirk convention when it comes to gym culture and politics – It’s all silly. Neoprene and spandex? Not for me. I’ve been known to show up in sandals and the ever-present camo pants. I always have in my headphones, usually playing something loud from the late eighties that would have had Tipper Gore’s panties in a bunch.
It’s also fertile ground for some in depth people watching.
In LA, Big Balls and I were fixtures at Gold’s Gym Venice. The “Mecca” of Bodybuilding as is written at the entrance. We saw it more as a “Mecca” of the most bizarre kaleidoscope of humanity on the planet. There were the garden variety celebrities: Lou Ferrigno, Mickey Rourke, Jon Claude Van Damn, Hulk Hogan, Ted Danson, the TMZ Lawyer guy (who apparently has a thing for the unwashed Jethro type – as I found out.) But the real show was not the famous celebrities but the Gold’s Gym version of celebrity. It’s hard to convey the level of eccentricity that was the norm. We had a playbill filled with our favorite cast of characters that never disappointed…and always seemed to be there as if at night they hung from the ceiling like bats. There was She-ra, who had a body any man would envy and a voice so disturbing and shrill from a lifetime of power slamming steroids and hormones. Her voice was like an exaggerated tranny but in reverse; High-pitched with masculine undertones. The memory makes me quiver. Then there was the Dancing Guido. He’d sachet into the middle of the big weight room, put on his 70’s style headphones, and dance overtly with reckless abandon around meatheads doing squats and presses. Not sure if I was more intrigued with the dancing or the fact that nobody seemed to notice. Nursing Home Barbie was frightening. I’d say she’s on the dark side of 70 desperately holding on to 29. Multiple plastic surgeries, injections, and makeup that would befit the most inspired Vegas stripper. Her immense bleach blond hair draped over fake boobs that oozed from a onesie spandex leotard. Finish this picture with high heels, yes, she worked out in high heels! It was fascinating. She would search out people gawking at her and mistake the train wreck like curiosity for ogling. Big Balls got caught in this trap. We were transfixed and she called out Big Balls for staring with a comment like, “Take a picture, it lasts longer.” He laughed. She was oblivious. Just another day at the gym. The Ozark mountain twins were a treat. They billed themselves as “image makers,” always proudly displaying their perfectly carved torsos under artfully cut half shirts. Accessories were important and they had more denim rips and bandanas than an Aerosmith concert. My favorite was Grampa Hammerpants. He must have been pushing 80 and still wore the neon “can’t touch this” Hammerpants and flashdance shoulder cut sweatshirt procured in his heyday circa 1980. For whatever reason, he always had an attractive girl at his side. Way to go Grampa Hammerpants!
The characters go on and on. There were often photo shoots during hectic gym hours with overblown mega tanned narcissists being photographed for Men’s Health or Muscle Magazine – probably with captions reading “Get these abs in thirty days!” BULLSHIT. These dudes were genetic freaks on complicated cocktails of illegal contraband. Equally distracting were the “breed” of women that seem to come from another planet; Planet Silicone. Big Balls and I were amazed at the level of consistency and perkiness of their fake breasts. It’s as if they were spawned or built in a factory and had to show proof in order to claim the right to wear tight spandex and display said mutant appendages within the walls of Gold’s Gym. We were fascinated by “Gold’s Gym Tits,” and it remains a mystery to this day. The tits also come with an exaggerated sense of entitlement that can only be accrued in the Los Angeles climate of vapid beauty. There was an incident with Big Balls and one of the spawn….and it went like this; I was on some sort of pec/fly apparatus and Big Balls was regaling me with tales of a recent European adventure. He was in the walkway enthusiastically conveying his story. At some point, I noticed a spawn woman huffing, unable to get past Big Balls. (It’s a LARGE gym – with many options.) I felt it coming like a car crash – On her third pass she tapped on his shoulder with breasts pointed out and whined with contempt, “You are in my way.” Without missing a beat, Big Balls looks down and replies with a resounding, “GO FUCK YOURSELF!” and then continued his story as if he had just swatted a fly. I was in awe. 24 years of being spoiled and worshipped shattered with one Big Balls swat. I hope therapy went well for her.
When we moved to a small farm town we joined another meathead gym with its own brand of eccentricity, albeit not nearly as technicolor as our LA experience. There are lots of rednecks and way too many tattoos – actually a ridiculous quantity of tattoos. Must be a rural thing. Any notions I’ve had of taking the ink plunge are no longer. In this environment, my clean skin is gangsta rebel. The owner of the gym loves us, and is particularly fond of Big Balls. After his towel incident (refer to Episode 6), she appreciates his moxie and they share a common bond in that they both went to the same hypnotherapy school. (Did I mention Big Balls is also a certified hypnotherapist? – I digress). So, Katt is an old-school bodybuilding chick with a pleasant personality and a bitchin’ hard ass body to boot. She somehow manages to preserve her sweetness and femininity while effortlessly running a tight ship keeping all the meatheads behaving properly. She’s one of us and we love her J. Early on, before the love affair began, there was an incident (surprise). Because there was no plumbing in the trailer, we were always in the locker room and began to notice some weird vibes. Enter Don Ho-mo, the Hawaiian blobbybuilder who seems to glide 3 inches above the gym floor evaluating his carnal options. He wears the standard issue tank top revealing tattoos that signify and call out all forms of specific fetishes I dare not explore. It was impossible to avoid his lears and overt gazing. It made me uncomfortable. It pissed off Big Balls. One day Big balls, after taking a long steamy shower, opened the curtain to a full scale ”Pee-Wee Herman” scene inappropriately interpreted by Don Ho-mo. It was not appreciated. In small towns these sorts of things apparently happen, though people tend not to talk about it. Well, Big Balls doesn’t roll that way, and took the matter in full detail to the front desk. You’ve never seen people squirm so much in your life. Everyone knew the guy – now they knew way more than they needed . Not a trace of subtlety or political correctness in Big Balls – Gotta love that man.
I could ramble on about the sideshow that is our life in the gym but at this point I’m bored with it J I could also cleanly wrap this all up with a bow like I normally do but feel compelled to do something entirely different.
I will now apologize to all those I have offended in this post and posts prior. This recovering Catholic feels an inner drive to wash his hands of the residue of his jaded perceptions. Penance – So here I go:
I apologize to:
Neanderthals, Tipper Gore and Spandex. She-ra, Guidos, Nursing Home Barbie, and Grampa Hammerpants. Meatheads, Douchebags and Gold’s Gym Spawn. Narcissists, rednecks, and Don Ho.
The town of Sebastopol, Lesbians and deadheads. Craigslist, Airstreams, and Marge from Copperopolis. Home Depot buckets, Pinot Noir, and dignity.
Ducky, primitive aliens, and The Thesaurus. Jesus, Diesel Jesus, Donovan and Wild Turkeys. Mr. Buffums, Rasta Guy, and pot store bouncers. Bazillionairesses, Old Spice, and hippies in general.
And of course, Big Balls and The Hot Mess Herself.
I apologize, though mostly I am grateful for all of the inspiration that makes possible the magical cartoon that is my life. That’s all Folks….
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Filed under: Tuesdays with Gooley
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