There’s a running gag in the movie Airplane! that involves the pilot, Captain Over, talking to young Billy, who’s visiting the cockpit. (Oh, those innocent pre-9/11 times). Captain Over asks Billy a series of increasingly disturbing questions, including “Billy, have you ever seen a grown man naked?” and “Billy, have you ever been to a Turkish prison?”
With that image fixed in your head, I ask my own disturbing question – “Have you ever been in a YMCA men’s locker room?”
It’s an interesting place, especially at 5:30 a.m. I had a crazy busy day, so the only time I had for a workout was between 5:30 and 6:15 a.m. I managed to grab a quick 800-meter swim, which went well. After I got out of the pool and back into the locker room, I was struck (as I often am) by the bizarre cast of characters.
Way-too-friendly Naked Guy: Way-too-friendly Naked Guy could be anyone, but he meets a couple of criteria. 1) I don’t know him, and he doesn’t know me. 2) He’s naked. 3) He wants to chat.
Sometimes he wants to talk about the Packers or the Brewers or the economy or some other current events topic, but he wants to talk about it while he’s air-drying. Sometimes he’s just talking to nobody in particular, at high volume, again, while naked. Most horrifying of all, sometimes this guy gives you a hearty slap on the back or chuck on the shoulder, WHILE NAKED.
Naked Shaving Guy: He shaves/brushes his teeth/combs his hair at the communal sink completely in the buff. Don’t think about it too much.
Not-Really-Here-To-Work-Out Guy: I think this guy just wants to get away from his wife. He comes in, strips down to boxers or even just a towel, and then just hangs out. He’ll read the newspaper, or watch CNBC, or sit in the hot tub, or talk to people, or whatever, but he NEVER WORKS OUT. He’ll sit in there for hours – this is his social time. Often, he metamorphs into one of the above two guys.
Oldie McSpeedo: He’s old. Very old. At least 75. And he’s in fantastic shape. Slim, trim, fit. And he’s wearing a Speedo. A BAGGY Speedo. I admire this guy – he’s stayed in shape his whole life, he’s enjoying a quality of life most old people don’t have, and he’s comfortable enough in his own skin to wear a Speedo. The only problem is, you know, GET A SPEEDO THAT FITS!
Hans (or Franz): Remember the old Saturday Night Live skit with Kevin Nealon and Dana Carvey, where they played Hans and Franz the bodybuilders? It was funny in part because of the costumes – sweatshirts stuffed with socks to make it look like they had huge bulging upper bodies, and then Nealon’s and Carvey’s own pale, skinny legs. They were mocking the guys who only lifted for big arms and completely ignored their legs, making them resemble a lollipop. You remember that? Yeah, well, there’s at least three of them in my locker room. It would be just as funny as Saturday Night Live, if it weren’t so sad.
These are just a few of the people in my neighborhood, but if you’ve never experienced the singular joys of a Y locker room, you’re welcome. Good luck getting those images out of your head.
I’m planning a 60 minute bike/20 minute run brick for tomorrow.