The Writing Spider’s Guide to Gym Etiquette

I had seasonal flu a few weeks ago. Not the pigfluenza, just flu flu. I didn’t work out for two weeks. So this week I went to the gym for the first time since my hacking cough finally evaporated. Normally, I hit the YMCA first thing in the a.m. but Monday mornings are a bitch so I stopped in after work. There were eleventy skillion people in there and there was only one elliptical left so I snagged it. Quickly I realized WHY it was open – the asshat on the next machine was on the phone having a very loud conversation about all manner of inappropriate content. So I burned a few extra calories thinking of what I would say in my resulting blog post. For your consideration,  I submit my rules for the gym. And life, too. Applicable anywhere.

1. You are not THAT important. I know you’re a doctor – you said so about fifteen times – but a 45-minute conversation with your college buddy does not need to happen whilst you sweat your way through your workout. If I had been your wife – who was on the machine on the other side of you – I’d have given you an earful.

2. Topics that should not be discussed in public hearing range include your salary ($185,000 – you said it twice), anything that would suggest that you are, in fact, encouraging your college buddy to have an affair with a woman he dated at one point (and whose last name neither of you could remember), and the amount you pay your hired help. (SEE: #4)

3. Gym etiquette dictates that you use a machine no longer than 30 minutes. This is doubly true when there are no other machines left. This is quadruply true when you and your wife are on the only two machines of their kind in the whole gym which are never available because people keep taking their half-hour turns on them. Per your conversation about how long you’d been at the gym and on the machines, you had been on that machine FOR AN HOUR. GET OFF THE FRICKYFRACKING MACHINE.

4. Realize that you look like a giant schmuck if you boast of your $185,000 salary then spend 15 minutes with your wife trying to figure out how you’re going to pay a babysitter less than you quoted her. I understand as your wife pointed out, $15 is “for God’s sake, that’s more than the maids make at our office” but backing the babysitter into taking $10 instead of your originally quoted $12-$15 per hour is just cheap. And mean.

5. Your children’s names are ridiculous. I don’t know if you know this, but you are not, in fact, Lord and Lady of an English manor. I realize you can’t do much about this now that the kids are three and five, but why didn’t you just call them ‘Pretentious’ and ‘Snooty’?

6. I know the maids normally perform the menial tasks of cleaning your environment while you work out like a fiend but here at the good old YMCA, we do things ourselves. Please look into proper machine-cleaning procedure in the future. I suggest you and your wife take a class together.

7. Thank you both for not realizing that I know one of you. I might have known the other one but I’m not sure. When I figured it out, I spent the rest of the time you were there staring at a tv monitor in the opposite direction. I think the girl on the next machine thought I was being creepy. I was frankly horrified at what I overheard and having to pretend it was a pleasant surprise to see you would’ve been more than I can handle. So I suppose your narcissism came in handy for me there.



  1. Snap about the English Manor names. I have noticed at the boys’ football and soccer games all manner of multi-syllabic, over the top names. It’s hard to yell out, “Way to go Nicholas Jackson Simpson,” before they have moved on to the next two or three plays.

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