2002-11-14 - 5:08 p.m.

You can tell when my gym is in dire need of money. All of a sudden there will be signs posted all over the building proclaiming SIX DOLLAR A MONTH MEMBERSHIPS and the employees suddenly get a surge of adrenaline and run around the gym all day as though they have been given a mission to save the world in their eight hour shift. They all scurry about with great purpose, their leather bound ledgers grasped within their hands, their pockets brimming with guest passes that they hand out to members to give to their friends hoping those friends will then buy a membership.

MY membership was up last week. They were quick to point it out about a month ago, “You’re going to have to renew soon, find me when you’re done with your workout and we’ll set you up with a deal,” some young punk with GQ hair, glistening blue eyes, Hugo Boss pants and a Structure shirt told me. “My name is Joey,” he said with a wink, “I’d hate to lose you, I like seeing you,” he added.

“Sure JOE, (I refuse to call grown men anything that ends with a Y unless it is part of their given name, like Gary)I’ll find you when I’m finished,” I tell him.

“Okay..” he’s kind of purring now, looking me up and down, “It’s a date.”

“In your dreams,” I smirk.

I know all about this seduction, sex sells thing. I’m a waitress at a place the customers refer to as “The Babe Buffet” for heavens sake. I’m not stupid. I know this kid is feigning some sort of interest in me, hitting on me, because he wants to sell me a membership. Anyway, I did find JOE after I was finished and frankly he did not give me the kind of deal I was looking for so I told him I was going to do a little more shopping around. That’s when he whipped out the pictures. Pictures of himself in the last body building competition he was in. I looked at the top picture and then looked back at him with my eyebrows raised in question because the body this gussyied up guy was toting around didn’t look like the body in the pictures.

“Oh, yeah, that was six months ago, you see, my body PLATEAUED, that means, I reached the absolute LIMIT in muscle mass, so I had to lay off for a while. In about three weeks I’ll be hitting it hard again, shocking my body back into it you know...” he says, his feet up on the desk now, running his hands over his chest, “when someone pumps iron like I do there comes a point where your muscles just won’t grow anymore, you gotta trick your body.” he lectures.

“Oh,” I say absently while flipping to the next picture, “nice tan JOE, you like Kramer in that Seinfeld episode where he fell asleep in the tanning bed,” I laugh.

No laugh from Joey, “When you are in shows you have to have a good tan to show off the muscles,” he tells me.

“I can’t understand that, I understand the oil, but how does a tan make you look more muscular, I think it’s more like you just think it makes you look good,” I say while batting my eyelashes and then flipping to the next picture which made me knit my brows together and mash my lips tightly into one another. It’s Joey sideways, his HUGE. “Surely JOE, THIS (I point to the crotch portion of the picture) is something else you added for appearance sake?”

“You wanna find out?” he asks.

So that was enough of Joey for the day. I left, no new membership in hand and a giggle on my lips about Joey’s stuffed package.

Next day I get accosted again, by another motivational speech frenzied employee who spots the looming expiration date on my card, “Man, you’re lucky!” he exclaims.

“I know I am,” I tell him, “what makes you point that out?” I ask.

“Because, you need a new membership and we are running these unbelievable specials right now,” he says, “find me when you’re done and we’ll hook you up. My name is Tommy, I’ll be waiting for you.”

“Thanks TOM, but JOE already gave me the spiel and I’m not really ready to lay down that much money at this point, I’m still kind of deciding if I even want to belong to a gym anymore,” I tell him. He told me to find him later anyway, but I didn’t.

So the next time I went in they brought out the big guns. I was doing my shoulder presses when along comes the manager. “Hey, you need to smile when you’re working out, it’s good for business,” he tells me.

“Uh, sure,” I pant.

“I understand you need a new membership soon. Tell you what, you find me when you’re finished and I’ll get you a deal, my name is Johnny,”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” I ask. WHY DO ALL THEIR NAMES END IN A Y? “Listen JOHN, I’ll find you when I’m finished, but you guys are going to have to get new names.”

He laughs, “Yeah, I guess we all haven’t grown up enough to use our adult names yet, we like to have fun around here,” he explains with absolute seriousness. I assume during one of the motivational selling speeches I am sure they have been receiving some dumbass told them that by making their names sound youthful and kid-like they will drum up more business because yeah...names like Frankie motivate me to work out more....sure. Whatever.

So I found Johnny when I was through and, true to his word, he gave me a deal, exactly what I asked for and he added a bonus year to it with the stipulation that when he is showing people around the gym I will smile like a lunatic....because I am sure during one of their motivational speeches I am sure they are getting, some dumbass said, “happy clients attract more clients...”. Whatever.

Last week when I went to the gym Joey was seated at his desk, with his feet up again, fingers punching in numbers on the phone calling people and saying, “I can’t believe know that contest you entered at (insert name of whatever bar they had an entry box at), well, YOU WON! You won a FREE, you are SO lucky!” He called 26 people in the hour I was there.

Today when I went in Joe had two girls at his desk with him. He was going through his spiel, the same shit. Flirting, eyeing them. And of course they were putty in his hands. I watched as they both signed up for THREE YEAR memberships. Then he brought out the pictures. I heard them ohhing and ahhing, sucking in their breaths at what I imagine to be THE picture, the sideways picture in which Joe looks like he’s packing a little more than humanly possible within his thong. That’s when I strolled by and seductively purred, “Hey Joey, you got any spare tissues stuffed around here anywhere?”


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