Thursday, May 28, 2009

Book 'em

Yesterday, I really wished I was a friend of mine named Tony Lawrence. I hate kids at the pool. Now I understand that pools, outside of the gym, are pretty much crafted for a child's enjoyment. But that doesn't mean I don't get annoyed when crappy looking little bullies start splashing around, yelling, swearing and no doubt peeing in the pool. Well my good friend Tony shares my sentiment and this week was able to take action in a way that has made me forever wish I could have taken credit for it. Early Monday evening a handful of kids were being rowdy, loud and annoying in the pool, paying no heed to the large sign stating that children under 14 had to be accompanied by an adult. Finally Tony asked a few of them where their parents were, only to be met with the sneering reply "we don't need to have our parents here." Well that didn't sit well with Tony. So after a bit of contemplation, he got out his phone and called the police. A few minutes later two officers showed up at the pool and asked the kids where there parents were. The crappiest of the kids pointed to the oldest among them and said "We don't need them because he is 16." After being asked to confirm his age by the officer, the prepubescent "16 year-old" child responded that he was actually only 11. Within minutes the officers had each kid out of the pool and then escorted them home, having what I can only assume was a spirited chat with the parents. Now I am not a jealous person per se. But I was green with envy at the fact that he was able to take the kind of action I never had the guts to. Nonetheless I will just have to settle for intense admiration. You sang my heart that day, Tony, and I thank you.

Monday, May 11, 2009


So I get it. Everyone just LOVES this book. And I can see why. But not because it's a great book, rather the true story it conveys is admirable. I really commend Greg Mortenson for building all those schools for girls in Afghanistan. I think it's great how he got so many people to come together and work for greater good. But I just really couldn't get past his lack of logistical prowess. Ummm how do you not see that you are going to need a way to get building materials to one of the most rural communities on Earth located on the top of the world.... like maybe....a bridge? I was baffled by the fact that it wasn't until he got there, with building materials all loaded up, that it dawned on him that there could be a problem. And what about the fact that he used a typewriter to pen hundreds of sponsorship letters because a computer was completely foreign to him. Ummm, computers were alive and well, even in the early 90s. I remember, I was there. Also, I may not be a relationship expert but when you have a girlfriend and you leave for 3+ months, how can you a) just forget to call her and at least let her know you are alive, and b) be surprised that she is done with you when you get back. Just a few head-scratchers that bugged me. Nonetheless, you're a great guy Greg. Go ahead with your bad self.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Washed Away

Dear Non-Hand Washer at the Gym Last Wednesday,

Your actions, or non-actions rather, have set in motion an emotional spiral to which there may be no recovery. Five years ago I had just gotten home from the gym one night. It had been a back and bicep day, which meant aside from spending some time gripping the sweaty handles of an elliptical machine, I also had my hands on over half a dozen other weight machines and bells. I was tired when I got home and went right to the fridge and grabbed a Propel and an orange. The phone rang and while distracted and talking on the phone I......I....peeled the orange...and..and..I ate it...with my dirty..germy..hands. I didn't realize what I was doing until there was like two pieces left. There was nothing I could do about it. I was haunted for weeks by thoughts of what kinds of horrible germs from dirty hands I had ingested. I was inconsolable in that post-trauma period but realized I had to get past it. My tonic was convenient rational. We are adults. Adults wash their hands, especially at the gym...people clean the weights and handles all then hands weren't that dirty... It took me years to distance myself from that fateful night. I went through denial, grief, acceptance, self-forgiveness and then after a year or so the memory of it retreated to a rarely accessed corner of my mind. Well, Non-Hand Washer, you've really done it this time. I was standing at the mirror braiding my hair when you went into the bathroom stall. I had started the second braid when I heard the toilet flush and I was still there when you walked out and didn't even GLANCE at the sink. As if that didn't jolt me enough, when I walked out you were on the very machine that I had planned on going to first. (I will never touch that machine again.) Aside from the fact that you were wearing a "Planet Fitness" shirt while you were actually at Planet Fitness, you looked normal enough - mid-30s, average ponytail, semi-fit. If you are the face of a non-hand-washer then there could be hundreds of you out there that I am in contact with every day. Moreover the orange incident came screaming back to me in all its horrific glory. All that rational, the forgetting, the making peace with it - it's all un-done. It's as if I ate that orange again that Wednesday afternoon - only worse because now there is the issue of swine flu to contend with. Just know that one of these days your actions, or lack thereof, are going to come back to you 10 fold. Hepatitis, ya heard of it?

Dirty Hand Victim and Witness