Friday, December 17, 2010

Cover It Up Gramps!

Like most things I write I question what real impact (if any) it will have, but I write nonetheless because it’s cathartic and hopefully entertaining. With that said I will cling to the small hope that throwing my words out into cyberspace may one day positively affect someone or more importantly stop somebody from annoying me.

My disinclination towards exercise, or any physical exertion that doesn’t result in a trophy, is well documented. I gain little to no personal satisfaction from soreness and sweat, the result of endless minutes of punishing myself on modern machines whose derivation is most certainly from medieval torturing devices. If I had my way, outside of sport, people would only run when escaping a masked assailant wielding a stabbing implement or when pursuing a delicious sugary treat, rolling ever-so-slowly away in a vehicle playing jovial instrumental music. That’s pretty much it.

Keeping that in mind, for some foolish reason, I decided to participate in a triathlon held earlier this fall. Almost immediately I made this decision public as to decrease my chances of not following through. So now trapped by an idiotic web of my own making and driven by a desire not to embarrass myself I began to run.

I took to the streets dripping sweat around my neighborhood and gasping for the sweet breath of life. Eventually I got a bicycle and endured the sore tokus that accompanies the early stages of pedal driven travel. Finally, being that a triathlon requires a third leg that also involves gasping for the sweet breath of life due to high levels of physical exertion while simultaneously submerging your head in water, I began to swim. That brings me to the crux of this post.

The cooler fall temperatures required that I find a place indoors to swim; as luck would have it my gym had such a place. It was a small lap pool in the back that I had never before used. Entrance to the pool was naturally through the locker room which was equipped with showers. In my previous gym-going experience I had seldom ventured into the locker room as I preferred to go home and clean up after my futile attempts to stave off obesity. Now however, with my daily swim it became necessary to shower and change at the gym.

Immediately following my first swim and subsequent shower I encountered an older gentleman nonchalantly standing in the middle of the locker room wearing nothing but his birthday suit. I smiled to myself as I passed by. Those of you who know me know that the maturity to not be amused by brief male nudity still eludes me. I laugh when somebody gets mooned, I laugh at streakers, Terry Bradshaw’s backside in Failure to Launch was hands down the most memorable scene in that movie, I even giggle at the word naked.

Still when I found an even older man on Tuesday watching ESPN in the buff it was no laughing matter. Wednesday a grandfatherly type disrobed mere feet from where I was changing and was in no hurry to put on his underpants. This epidemic continued Thursday when two naked old men passed like ships in the night right in front of me as I exited the showers. I began to wonder if I was a victim of a prank. I half expected Ashton Kutcher to emerge laughing with his trucker hat slightly eschew but then I remembered that I wasn’t famous and you couldn’t show these naked old men on TV anyway.

Wondering if this was an isolated phenomenon I mentioned it to several friends who reported similar sightings. My brother-in-law told of an incident from the previous day where an elderly locker mate chose to hang up a perfectly good towel and air dry while casually sorting through his things and organizing his clothes. One friend suggested that it may be a generational thing as social nudity was common practice in saunas and bathhouses in days gone by. Whatever the case something has got to be done as this visual affront to decency cannot go on.

I have no firsthand knowledge of this but I’m told that old people au naturel isn’t confined solely to the men’s locker room either. So this goes for you too granny.

I am not a prude and I fully appreciate the human body in all its glory (or in this case past glory). I accept that a locker room is a place to change clothes and that a good deal of nakedness can be expected. However, that nudity can be minimized and should be brief in duration.

It is not okay to watch Monday Night Countdown with your boxers resting a few feet from you. While you are well within your right to remove your towel before putting your pants on, you should confine yourself to that area until the task is complete. Relaxing in the locker room after your work out is completely permissible but for the love of all creatures great and small you can do that with your shorts on. Oh and under no circumstances are you to ever, and I mean EVER, sit your naked behind on the bench.

It doesn’t matter if you are comfortable with it or proud of that fact that you are still working out at your age. I don’t care if you are too old to be bothered with such things as pants or too tired to retrieve your underwear in a timely manner. I get that your loved ones don’t want you parading around the house naked and this is your last refuge but don’t take it out on us.

On the off chance that I will one day grow to a ripe old age and lose the will to cover my flabby fanny in a quasi-public area I will stop short of condemning you for this practice. I will simply plea for whatever sense of humanity you have left and ask that you please please cover your wrinkly old rump just as quickly as your tired limbs allow. Thank you.

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