I'm so glad that AFC Fitness took down my advertisement. I went to that gym quite often because it was closer to my house than the old gym, but it just wasn't as fun. I knew fewer people there; the pool happened to be a frigid 80 degrees, which was unbearable in the winter; and, most importantly, there wasn't enough Jerks of the Week material.
I mean, sure, I ran into plenty of people worth writing about like Smelly Swim Coach, who reeked of cat urine, and Lazy Lifeguard, who made me skim a Band-Aid out of the pool because she didn't feel like standing up, but these a**holes paled in comparison to the likes of No Space Man, a probable child molester who was uninvited to his "best friend's" birthday party because there was "no space" for him, and Homeless Clown Woman, who spends her time walking around the pool because she believes that's where the government can't spy on her.
My days at AFC Fitness are officially over. I wrote back in June how AFC Fitness tried to screw me by taking down the sign I paid for in advance and not telling me about it until a friend pointed it out to me. They gave me the option of free membership for six months or reimbursement for the months the sign was down, and I opted for the former; I figured I was just going to use the money on the membership anyway.
Well, I've only gone back there once since that day. It happened to be after a dentist appointment, and AFC Fitness happened to be on the way home. The experience was yet another disappointment; the pool was 80 once again, while the hot tub was barely warmer than that. I haven't gone otherwise because it left a bad taste in my mouth when they tried to steal money from me. Besides, like I said, my other gym is better for a variety of reasons.
I made a mistake by not accepting reimbursement from AFC Fitness. Scratch that - I made a mistake by going to AFC Fitness in the first place. I should have just stuck with my former gym, even if it was a bit farther from my house.
At least I'm not the only one making mistakes. Plenty of people at my gym have made them as well recently, and I was fortunate enough to be there to catch them so I could later make fun of them behind their back in Jerks of the Week. I guess it's a good thing that I made up for my mistake.
Mistake No. 1: Measurement Conversions:
I usually encounter something strange when I step out of the locker room and onto the pool deck. In my previous entry, I wrote about how Homeless Clown Woman collided into me, which nearly had me vomiting all over the place because I caught a whiff of her wretched stench.
More recently, I overheard a strange conversation between an old Russian man and the lifeguard. It seemed uninteresting at first, but it quickly escalated to a one-sided shouting match...
Russian Man: How long zis pool?
Lifeguard: Twenty-five yards.
Russian Man: How many meter in yard?
Lifeguard: I have no idea.
Russian Man: How many feet in yard?
Russian Man: No, I think you wrong!
Lifeguard: No, there are three feet in a yard.
Russian Man: No sree feet in yard! More feet in yard zan sree!
Lifeguard: Trust me, there's three feet in a yard.
Russian Man: You stupid! No vay only sree feet in yard!!! You no finish high school or somesing!?!?
The old Russian guy already sounded dumb, but he managed to top it off by accusing this girl of not finishing high school. As if knowing how many feet in a yard is something you learn in 12th grade. Yup, there's calculus class, physics class, English class, and the most-arduous feet-in-yards class. Definitely need to pass that last one to get your high school diploma!
I'll give the lifeguard credit though - if someone called me stupid for not knowing something simplistic, I would've went off on him. She remained calm, however, and flipped out her phone.
Lifeguard: I'll just ask my phone how many feet are in a yard.
Russian Man: How can you ask phone!?
Lifeguard: Like this: "Siri, how many feet are in a yard?"
Phone: There are three feet in one yard.
Russian Man: No!
Lifeguard: The phone says there are three feet in one yard.
Russian Man: No, phone wrong!
Lifeguard: The phone is wrong?
Russian Man: PHONE WRONG! YOU WRONG! PHONE PROBABLY NO GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL!!!
And just like that, the old Russian man stormed off into the locker room. It's a shame because I wanted to jump into the conversation and ask him if he thought that the phone had graduated high school prior to thinking that it was wrong about the foot-yards conversion.
It sounds silly, but the old Russian man was so bewildered by the fact that the phone could talk that he may have thought that a person was trapped inside the phone, and that the person trapped inside didn't graduate high school. That's my best guess.
Either way, the guy is a moron, and I'm beginning to wonder if he even graduated high school.
Mistake No. 2: Hitting on the Lifeguard:
It took me a while to get into the pool because I wanted to eavesdrop on another conversation. As soon as the old Russian man stormed into the locker room, one of the maintenance men, a middle-aged black guy, came out onto the pool deck, spotted the lifeguard and approached her.
Maintenance Man: Hey gurl, what's goin' on?
Lifeguard: Nothing, really.
Maintenance Man: What's yo name?
Lifeguard: (She said her name).
Maintenance Man: What's yo sign?
Lifeguard: Umm... (she said her sign).
Maintenance Man: What's yo favorite color?
OK, he didn't ask that last one, but he might as well have because it would've been much more insightful than "what's goin' on?" and "what's yo sign?" The lifeguard, meanwhile, was not interested in the slightest. She kept giving him one-word answers and looking off into the distance. I can't blame her for that; after all, why would she want to date a maintenance man about 20 years older than her?
The maintenance man made the mistake. His error wasn't trying, because why not? What did he have to lose? His mistake was the effort. There was no way he was going to score a date with someone way out of his league by asking dumb questions. What he should have done is stage an assault or something. If I were him, I would have hired a friend to attack her, and then I would've appeared with a mop and beat the assaulter with it, "forcing" him to run away. Instead of asking, "What's yo sign?" I would have said, "I just saved you from that evil man with my trusty mop. Will you do me the honor of having dinner with me tonight?"
She probably still would've rejected him, but he would've had a much better shot if he put some effort into it.
Mistake No. 3: Smelling Stuff:
The maintenance man was not pleased that he was rejected. He grumpily headed back toward the locker room before getting stopped by another old man.
Old Man: It's awful! You need to fix it!
Maintenance Man: What up?
Old Man: Something in the steam room! It's horrible!
Maintenance Man: What's goin' on in the steam room?
Old Man: Something under the mat in the steam room! It really smells! I almost threw up!
Maintenance Man: Aight, I'll take a look at it in a bit.
Both went away, and I was finally able to start my mile because nothing interesting was going on for a change. I was nearly done when the old man emerged from the locker room again, and he approached the lifeguard this time, so I had to stop and listen.
Old Man: The mat in the steam room still smells!
Lifeguard: It does?
Old Man: Yes! And it's even worse under the mat! I lifted it up to smell it and I almost collapsed!
Lifeguard: OK, I'll call maintenance and see if they'll fix it soon.
Why would this guy lift up the mat to smell it if it already reeked in the first place? That doesn't seem too bright. He must not have graduated high school either.
I guess the lifeguard summoned the maintenance man because he appeared a few minutes later. I was finished with my mile by then, so I was able to listen in.
Lifeguard: Hey, the old guy came back and said the steam room still smells.
Maintenance Man: Tough luck.
Lifeguard: Tough luck?
Maintenance Man: I ain't fixing that s*** until closing.
Maintenance Man: You know why.
Whoa, so this guy wasn't going to do his job because he was butt-hurt that the lifeguard rejected him? This had nothing to do with the lifeguard anyway; it's not like she needed to have stuff cleaned. So, since this guy's pride was hurt, he was going to have everyone in the steam room suffer through some horrific stench?
Sorry bro, the lifeguard definitely won't be handing out her number to you now. Go ask some other chick what her favorite color is.
Mistake No. 4: The Irish Woman:
Nothing else eventful happened in the pool area on that day, save for this old man asking me if I needed a job as a lifeguard at this gym. "There's an open shift from 5 to 9 tonight!" he said. Oh golly gee, let me quit my job as a football writer so I can be a lifeguard again - a job I once maintained 10 years ago!
I went into the locker room to get changed, but it took me a half hour to get out of there. That's because the aforementioned old man who inexplicably sniffed a smelly mat in the steam room wanted to have a long conversation with me. I ordinarily would've been pissed that he kept me for so long, but I was able to emerge out of it with awesome Jerks material.
I was putting on my socks when he approached me and asked an innocent question...
Old Man: How old are you?
Me: I'm 32.
Old Man: You finish school already?
Me: Yeah, I graduated from Penn State nine years ago.
Old Man: What did you study there?
Me: Sports journalism.
Old Man: Journalism!? HA! That's not a profession!
Me: It's my profession.
Old Man: You can't make a living from journalism!
Me: I do. I run a company and employ a few people.
What an a**hole. How does an 80-year-old man know what a profession is? He probably doesn't even remember if he changed his adult diaper in the morning.
This, however, was just the tip of the iceberg. He told me he wanted to show me something. He grabbed his wallet, opened it and pulled out a picture.
Old Man: See this man? The man in the $2,500 suit? He's my son!
Me: Oh, cool.
Old Man: Remember my son? I told you about my son. He's the vice president of American Express!
Me: No, I don't remember this. I've never spoken to you before in my life.
Old Man: You remember! See this? He's my son, and he's very successful! He's not a journalist!
I was getting pissed off at this point, so I made up my mind that I was going to be as abrasive as possible to this geezer.
Me: Well, he might just be a vice president, but I'm the president of my company.
Old Man: My son is very successful. He has a house in Manhattan and a house in Connecticut. He has two lovely daughters - my granddaughters - look at this.
The old man showed me a picture of two chicks, both of whom were hot brunettes. I wasn't fully convinced they were his granddaughters; it was likely that he found a picture of two girls on the ground - perhaps under the steam-room mat - put it in his wallet and then thought that they were his granddaughters.
Our conversation took an odd turn...
Old Man: My eldest granddaughter, the one on the right. She's beautiful.
Old Man: She's very smart too. She just graduated from Cornell.
Me: Oh, cool.
Old Man: Do you have a girlfriend?
Old Man: Ah, what a shame. I would introduce you to her otherwise. She's an attractive girl, you're an attractive boy...
Me: Oh, wow, thanks.
Uhh... OK? This guy was trying to set me up with his possibly fictional granddaughter, but why? He had just met me, and he trashed my profession. Why would he want me dating his possibly fictional granddaughter? And is it odd that he called me an "attractive boy?" I mean, I was flattered, but as a Penn State alumnus, I know very well that horrible things happen in locker rooms involving old men and what they refer to as "attractive boys."
The old man moved on to his younger, possibly fictional granddaughter.
Old Man: My youngest granddaughter. She goes to school in Trenton.
Me: Oh, cool.
Old Man: She's not very smart. She's studying journalism.
Me: Ah, I see.
Old Man: Stupid profession. I told her, "You're not going to get a job." But she doesn't care. Daddy is rich, so she can do whatever she wants.
Me: Makes sense.
Old Man: You don't want to go on a date with her. She's too wild for you.
Too wild for me? How does this guy know that A) she's wild, and B) I'm not into wild? And why is he pimping out his possibly fictional granddaughters to random dudes he meets at the gym?
All of this was very strange, but it wasn't even the craziest part of our conversation. That happened to be when he began talking about his second son.
Old Man: I have a second son. He's a good boy, but he made one horrible decision that ruined his life.
Me: What was it?
Old Man: He met an Irish girl in college.
Me: Haven't we all?
I thought I'd get him to laugh, but he didn't. He had a very sorrowful expression on his face, and it looked like he was going to cry.
Still, I wondered how meeting an Irish girl in college could be deemed a horrible decision. I figured he said he caught a drug habit, or something. Meeting an Irish girl doesn't seem as serious. Heroin, Irish girl... Irish girl, heroin... maybe I'm crazy, but it doesn't seem like the two would be on the same level.
The old man explained why his second son made such a terrible choice...
Old Man: I told my second son, don't get involved in college! Go out, have a good time, meet different people, travel, and so on. When you graduate college, start working for a while, get a promotion, and then meet a girl you want to marry.
Me: That makes sense.
Old Man: What did he do? He married this Irish b***h!
Me: Oh, wow.
Old Man: Do you know why he married this Irish b***h?
Old Man: Because she opened her legs! If she didn't open her legs, he wouldn't have married her, am I right?
Me: Ha, probably.
It's kind of weird that this guy would talk about his daughter-in-law, the mother of his grandchildren, that way. Calling her a "b***h" is one thing, but implying that she was a slut because she "opened her legs" for his son in college was a bit overboard.
Nevertheless, the story continued...
Old Man: My second son, he is a computer engineer. He only makes $100,000 per year!
Me: Oh, how horrible.
Old Man: This is not a lot of money, but not a small amount of money, but his Irish whore spends this money like water!
Old Man: When my wife and I visit them, we always go out to dinner! Do you know how much dinner costs for seven people - us and their three children? About $150!
Me: Yeah, about that much.
Old Man: Why do they need to spend this $150? I don't need to go out to dinner. I'd rather eat at their house. Order a pizza, or something. Instead, this Irish whore needs to go out to dinner. She always wants to go out to dinner!
And there we have it. This old man is so grumpy because all he wants is for his supposedly skanky daughter-in-law to order him pizza. If she did that, perhaps he wouldn't refer to her as an "Irish whore" who opened her legs.
It begs the question: Why doesn't he just order the pizza himself? Then again, this is a guy who tried to set up his possibly fictional daughter with a random dude at the gym whose profession he criticized minutes before that, so who the hell knows what he's thinking? He's just losing his mind, though I guess the same could be said for everyone else at my gym - including me.