Questions for Friday
Some questions for today:
If you're a young guy who's going to go to all the trouble of dressing up in a pink housedress and matching running shoes, then head out to take advantage of some bargains at the Tower Records closeout sale, wouldn't you want to expand your choices beyond Dr. John?
Going shopping while dressed as my Aunt Lillian suggests a certain veering from the mainstream. I would expect that someone outfitted in this way would be more interested in underground dance music or punk rock, not a groovy baby-boomer voodoo New Orleans boogie-woogie piano guy whose big hits were "On the Cover of the Rolling Stone," and "Right Place, Wrong Time." So I guess my question is this: aren't you worried that a bagful of Dr. John CDs might take the edge off of the shock value inherent in going out in public dressed like Aunt Lillian?
Another question: Who is the toughest guy at 24-Hour Fitness? The competition is stiffer than you might think. Though the greatest percentage of us at 24-Hour Fitness are weekend warriors, regular guys waging war with our decaying bodies, there are a few truly tough-looking guys sharing gym space with us.
The gigantic, Grizzly Adams-looking guy I've seen twice this week does not even register. Though his gut is magnificent, and though he is the size of an out-of-shape offensive lineman, he is soft and wears rugby shirts when he changes out of his workout gear.
How about the young white guy who seems to be working out his demons following a discharge from the Armed Forces? Yes, he works out in combat boots, with his dog tags clanging around his neck, and has multiple tattoos and a House of Pain beard. But he also wears a leather belt when he works out, and cargo shorts, making him look like the workout was something just suddenly occurred to him as he was out running errands.
Several months ago, I had a dispute with an old Italian guy at the gym. He was sitting on the machine I wanted to use, doing nothing, so I approached him and asked if I could work in. Instead of letting me, he launched into a tirade about how he was using the machine and should be allowed to continue using it. I walked away, then returned to point out that I had politely asked to work in and did not deserve his diatribe. To my shock, he agreed. "I'm hungover," he said, sadly.
I thought he was tough for awhile after that. He had a faded tattoo and light-sensitive glasses, and was in there pumping iron -- or at least sitting and resting at machines -- several times a week. This week, though, I caught him arguing with another old guy about precisely the same thing we'd argued about. That made him a habitual arguer, and no longer tough, in my eyes.
There are also random pumped-up guys walking around the gym. I thought one older guy was tough until I saw him park his Toureg in the handicapped spot a few times.
Then there was the Scott Peterson guy, who is pretty tough, I have to admit. He drives a huge Mercedes, which must be difficult for him because:
a) His arms are as big around as my legs
b) He is always on the phone
He is on the treadmill, on the phone. He is working on his lats, on the phone. He is talking to the people who work at 24-Hour Fitness, on the phone. I can't figure out what he does for a living. He is free during the day, drives a huge Mercedes and is always on the phone.
I know who the best-looking woman is at 24-Hour Fitness, though it is difficult to get a good look at her because she is always surrounded by several men with puffy hair. She comes in , walks on the treadmill, listens to her I-Pod and struts around in her 70% made-by-God, 30% made-by-Dr. Robert Rea body and has very pretty brown hair. As far as I can tell. As I said, you don't really get much of a look at her, because of the puffy-haired men.
It boils down to two guys, in the end. One guy is a little Satanic-looking with a shaved head and a goatee and has "Thug" tattooed the length of one arm and "Life" on the other. What makes him tough, to me, is that he reads The New York Times while doing cardio. Tough, and yet informed.
The other tough guy is a young Hispanic guy who looks like he'd be more comfortable with some of the more primitive Rocky Balboa training methods than our Nancy Boy 24-Hour Fitness machines and free weights. He speaks to no one, wears completely out-of-style gear and sweats profusely. He'd rather be punching out sides of beef, I am sure, but in this world where a man can be only a shadow of what men were meant to be, he is sentenced to throw around the weights in this overcivilized, bland environment. He suffers the indignity stoically. I feel his pain.
Today's final question is this: if Tower Records carries CDs by Bowling for Soup but not the specific Bowling for Soup CD that I was supposed to get for the Jawa, yet Streetlight Records, the independently-owned store a few doors down, not only doesn't have the CD but doesn't even have a little plastic divider with the band's name on it, does that mean the Jawa is too commercial for Streetlight Records, or too marginal for Tower?
Not that it really matters, but what's this business of a record store completely ignoring a mainstream band? I'm as big of a music snob as anyone, and I have to admit I felt a little pang for the Jawa when I saw that Streetlight Records, which is where we've bought many CDs together, had dissed Bowling for Soup, but don't you think someone might walk in there wanting that CD? It's not like Streetlight Records is Championship Vinyl and I'm asking for a copy of "Ebony and Ivory." And it's not like we haven't bought mainstream artists' CDs from Streetlight Records before.
And it's not like we dressed up like Aunt Lillian and set out in search of Dr. John's entire catalogue.
But Bowling for Soup? No.
I'll bet Amoeba has it. They have everything. And if that fails, we'll have to go to Amazon. Ask yourself again why independent record stores are a dying breed.
Today, as I was standing in a doorway on Market Street, talking on the phone, I saw one of the brokers from Zephyr Real Estate walk by. A few minutes later, she came charging back. At no time did either of us acknowledge that we had once worked for the same agency and had seen each other every Wednesday at sales meetings, or, for that matter, that we had ever come in contact before.
I like the mutual snub. Nobody gets hurt; everyone's happy.