Wednesday, January 6, 2016


  I've had a gym membership ever since I left DC Comics back in 1998. when I'm there, I do 45 minutes or so on the bike or the cross-trainer. I call the latter the "sweat machine" because I am usually drenched by the time I finish.
  My visits are directly related to the weather; if it is warm enough outdoors for a bicycle ride -- 55 degrees or so -- I'll choose that over the gym. And I'll rarely go if volleyball is on the agenda on a given day. I used to go on my way home from work, but now that I'm retired, my schedule is far more flexible. In the past four days, for instance, I've gone at 5:30 p.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.  There are usually very few people in the gym when I go and almost all of them would fall into a category labelled "men of a certain age." Though I can't say for certain, I suspect that many of these gents are the same ones I encounter on the bicycle path when the weather is warmer.

  One phenomenon I've seen over the years is the influx of new faces in the gym each January. Whether it is due to gift memberships or New Year's resolutions to lose some weight, the gym is most crowded in the first few weeks of the year. By the time February rolls around, they've lost interest.
  Some years ago, I was peddling away on one of the bikes and another regular was on the one next to me. We were watching as a gent perhaps ten years our junior made his way from one machine to another, trying them out and making copious notes in a notebook. After the fourteenth machine, he jumped on a treadmill and ran for two minutes.
  "Does this guy think he's going to lose ten pounds in one visit?"
  "Probably," I replied. "He's a Janumember."
  He contemplated the term for a moment, then nodded and said, "Yeah, exactly."

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