SPidge Tales

Friday, May 12, 2006

Franks and Beans--no, sadly not the good kind

“What’s the soup du-jour?” Lloyd
“It’s the soup of the day.” Flo
“Sounds delicious! I’ll take it.” Lloyd
Dumb and Dumber

Caviar. Zerex Vinaigrette. Bruschetta. All of the top restaurants serve fancy foods such as these and others whose names a nice restaurant connoisseur (i.e. not me) would be able to think of. Even food that is not necessarily fancy, weird looking, and over priced is sometimes given fancy French names like “du jour” if it is the special of the day, or “a la mode” if you are serving ice cream with it.[1] I even like some fancy food. I am always up for all-you-can-eat sushi places.[2] Sometimes (actually, usually), I would rather just have nice simple basic staple food.[3] Some days, I am satisfied with a nice peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or bowl of cereal, or, if I want to actually turn on the stove top and cook, pork and beans.

Foi gras! I just thought of another fancy food. Damn, I’m the man. I feel like George W. Bush must feel when he manages to think of one those foreign leader names. “Mock—Mah—Ood Zar—Kowwww—eeeeh. How’s that for all you freedom haters!? Saddam was hiding Ginormous Nukular weapons.”

Pork and beans is always great. In fact, I was looking forward to cooking myself some tonight until I decided to go the gym for some exercise after work. Now, the gym is an interesting place to do some amateur observational sociology. There are so many That Guys (and That Girls) at the gym.[4] There is That Guy with the perfectly gelled hair who walks slowly by the mirrors, turning his head ever so slightly to see his flexed muscles. That Guy is usually wearing a wife beater or a tight t-shirt, with mesh shorts an inch below his boxers, and brand new white sneakers. There is also his metrosexual cousin That Guy with the perfectly gelled hair who never really lifts any weights, but hogs a workout machine while talking with his friends. There is That Guy with the chest hair coming out the top of his t-shirt, That Guy who is overweight and sweats a little bit too much, and That Guy who wears spandex. I really hate That Guy! Could you please smuggle grapes somewhere else? There are also plenty of That Girls. There is That Girl who wears spandex when she probably shouldn’t be. There is That Girl with muscles a little too big. There is That Hot Girl who is just there to look pretty and make the other women feel bad knowing they will never have that good a body. Wait! I like That Girl. She can stay.

The strangest sociological observation at the YMCA can be made not in the workout area, with all of those That Guys and That Girls. It is to be found in locker room. I can’t even call it a That Guy thing, because to be That Guy, it has to one guy, or a handful who fill an archetype. But this “situation” involves a large number of men, plus a majority of men over 60. Yes, it’s the naked thing. There is something about YMCA locker rooms that causes older men to think they are in the Garden of Eden or something. It’s one thing to get naked in front of your locker and change clothes. These guys just wander everywhere. To the bathroom, to the mirror, to the shower sans towel. They even stand on the scale and weigh themselves with the saggy jewels hanging out. Is a pair of boxers really going to add that much weight? With all those old saggy franks and beans hanging around, I knew I would not be eating franks and beans for dinner tonight. I had quite enough at the gym.

The only thing I can imagine to be worse than seeing a bunch of old naked men would be the women’s locker room, if the old women do the same. And, no, I am not gay. I just don’t want to see old saggy boobs. I am glad I never saw About Schmidt. I will never have to worry about Kathy Bates’ nude scene giving me an awful visual of what a women’s locker room would look like. Although, if That Hot Girl who is just there to look pretty walks around in her birthday suit, I would not mind that visual.

[1] “A la mode” does not even mean “with ice cream on the side.” I think it means “I will go have a cigarette. I am le tired.”
[2] Which I imagine can be a let down for the senior citizens and the 300 hundred pound white trash folks who think that all buffets resemble Old Country, and find that instead of the desired slabs of crappy meat and funny looking gravy, are faced with tiny pieces of wrapped fish that they did not know even exists. I’m sure it is equally disconcerting for the rich Japanese businessmen and hip young Seattle urbanites who expect a certain ambience at their sushi places and run into the geriatrics and the trailer trash.
[3] Yes, I know I am going overboard with the footnotes. It’s not like I’m trying to win a Pulitzer here. If I was, I would write one of those smug New York Times columns about how the inner city is exploiting the urban poor who have no way out, stretch the story for a week, and find some sob story about some guy in jail for selling drugs because he has no father figure in his life, to show that I care while simultaneously not really doing anything substantial to change his shitty life.
[4] Yes, another footnote. I talked about the phenomena of That Guy-ness in an earlier column: http://spidgetales.blogspot.com/2005/10/dont-be-that-guy.html . The idea comes from Bill Simmons, who writes the Sports Guy column for ESPN Page 2, so credit him.


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