>>> Beaver Fever
By staff writer Brent Stone

November 25, 2007

Dear Old People at the Gym,

So, every time I come home for a break from school, I get a pass for a week or two to my mom’s gym. I’ve noticed there’re plenty of you guys there, probably because it’s in a hospital. Anyway, I just wanted to mention a couple things to you, and I figured there’s no place you’re more likely to read this than PIC.

First, I want to let you know that I think it’s great that you’re working out; everybody should try to stay healthy. I know for you it’s really less about getting strong and more about trying to stave off death and everything, but that’s totally cool. If I were you, I’d probably do the same thing.

Just one little thing though—why the clothing? I mean, it doesn’t bother me that much, but do you really think jeans and a sweater are appropriate? And the shoes—sandals? Really? You’re on the treadmill, don’t you think you ought to invest in something that’s, y’know, remotely athletic? But hey, it’s great that you’re exercising, and I definitely don’t want to stand in the way of that. Apparently, neither does the gym staff, despite the fact that you’re blatantly violating every rule of the obviously posted dress code. But we should respect the elderly, so it’s great that nobody bothers you guys.

“I’d ask to jump in between sets, but you look like you’re trying not to poop yourselves.”

Also, I know there’s just the one TV and everything, but couldn’t we maybe turn it to football on Saturday and Sunday? The presidential debates are awesome too, but they’re just a little dry when I’m running for an hour. Besides, odds are pretty good most of you will be dead before anyone gets elected anyway. (Totally kidding! You’re looking great on that stationary bike!)

It’s great to see you senior guys lifting weights, too. Just one thing (really a tiny one)—when you’re using the machines, could you maybe cut down your breaks between sets by a little bit? I know 20 pounds on that fly machine is heavy, but maybe ten minutes is a little long to wait. Normally I’d just ask to jump in between sets, but you look like you’re trying so hard not to poop yourselves from overexertion that I don’t want to interrupt. (Kidding again! Wow, you’re doing 30 this week? Way to push yourself!)

Older ladies, I know that the gym was designed to be a place to socialize and gossip about how far your arthritis has spread and who died this week, but could you maybe do that away from the machines? It’s just that every time I ask if you could move a couple of feet, you have this tendency to glare at me, which is totally cool, because it’s definitely your gym and I’m just an outsider. Still, though, the fact remains that you can talk in the lobby, but I can't move the machine out there. Just something to think about. Besides, Muriel’s already dead, and since we can’t help her we may as well help me stay alive as long as possible! (Joke! Seriously, she was a great woman. No, I never met her, but I’ve heard you guys talking about her for the last couple minutes and she seems great. Oh, she was an alcoholic…and she deserted her kids? Oh, yeah, that’s not good. Still, bad news.)

Okay, just one more eensy weensy thing, I promise. I’m really just a tiny bit curious—I know you can set the treadmill for “.1,” but what's the point? I’ve seen you moving between the machines, and I’m pretty sure you walk faster than that normally. Couldn’t you just walk back and forth down your street a few times instead of spending an hour on a treadmill? Hey, whatever makes you comfortable, though. I really respect you guys and the fact that you’ve done so much in your lives.

Anyway, I wanted to let you know that you guys really add a certain something that my regular gym is missing. The only people there are in their 20’s and 30’s, and they’re in great shape—hell, half of them are training to run marathons. You guys, though, you’re the real champs. Slow and steady wins the race, and you’re the slowest and steadiest winners I know. I can’t wait for Christmas break—I’ll see you then, if you haven’t died already! Hahaha! At this rate, you’ll live to be 100! (Oh, your 99th birthday is tomorrow? Well, hey, congrats on that!)

Alex Willen