Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Close Encounters of the Richard Simmons Kind

In the United States, we have a few quirky rules. Don't wear white after Labor Day for instance. One of the most unusual concerns our health program. No, I'm not talking about health care again. This is much more than that. The rule is that once one stretches to a certain girth, that person must either go on the Oprah Show, or meet Richard Simmons.

If one chooses the Richard route, we do have some addendums to this rule. It's not as simple as saying "Yo, Richard Simmons, what's up?"

It's much more involved than that. Once uber fatness is attained, one must sweat with Richard, and then hug him, and then cry--not necessarily in that order.

I achieved the weight limit, and so, a few years ago, I had to meet Richard Simmons. Quiet down. I don't make up the rules, I just follow them.

So off to some hotel in New Jersey I trudged, knowing I had to face the inevitable. The gallows seemed a more pleasant thought.


I did what was required-- yeah, I sweated to the oldies with Richard. This isn't really that much of an accomplishment because I can work up a good sweat opening a jar of pickles.

As bad as working out with a few hundred fellow corpulent rogues was, I then had to meet Richard, one on one.

I'm not big on hugging guys, but I can assure you, hugging a sweaty Richard Simmons wearing his 1970's style glitter-enhanced NBA short shorts was awkward and uncomfortable to say the very least.

And then I had to tell him my story. Richard began to cry and sweat on me.

Then Richard made what I thought was an extremely nice gesture. Maybe my day would be ok after all. He gave me a card with a phone number on it. He said to call, it was his personal number, and when I was ready to make a change in my life, to just give him a call. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I had lost my father shortly before this, and this kindness was just enough to put me over the emotional edge.


I thought about that day for weeks. Maybe Richard Simmons wasn't such a tool. Perhaps he wasn't a slimy, money grubbing shill.

I hemmed and hawed. Finally, I mustered up the courage to call.

I nervously pushed the buttons on the phone. The phone rang. The anticipation was palpable as I wondered who would answer.

His assistant? Some answering service who would page Richard so I could talk to him?

Richard himself?

No, it was the sales office for


I should have known better.

My home gym



Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha too funny...

Jack Payne said...

Your timing is great, Old Man. The set-up on this was wonderful. (But, I still like your elephant piece; this one has to be about the funniest I've ever read.)

Da Old Man said...

@ Dani --thanks

@ Jack--I wish I was creative enough to have made this up. Richard Simmons--oy!

Bradley said...

That would make me the Crotchety Old Man Who Yells at Richard Simmons.

Btw, those of us in the gay community do not claim Richard. He and Michael Jackson are in categories of their own.

Samsara said...

haha! that was great. storytelling at its finest. oh life. it's a trip.

Just EC Droppin',

Kelly Ann said...

I think I would have to run the other way if I saw Richard Simmons in the vicinity. That'd be my workout. That guy freaks me out. Ick. Great post. :)

jafabrit said...

what a story lol! You are a great writer and this one was funny.

Anonymous said...

Very nice, lol, wasn't expecting the last part... I enjoyed this blog you crotchety, old, richard simons hugging man :P

Unknown said...

Great story: Humor. Dislluisionment. Pickles. What more could you want?

Kirsten said...

Love it! You made me smile today. Thanks! Keep
'em comming!

Da Old Man said...

@ Bradley: We in the portly community are only to glad to give him to you.

@ Jenn: You're right, it pretty much had it all.

@ Momma Jean, Becca, Dani, Samsara and Chica. Thanks for the kind words.

Anonymous said...

I love the way you constructed this post. It was perfect. :)

~*~Shadow.Kat~*~ said...

... you nearly made me spit tea all over my laptop! :-P

Anonymous said...

I guess it's back to bare hands on the pickle jar for you since the first TOOL didn't work out. Loved this post - a lot!

Anonymous said...

to make it even worse, you could have gone with your mother or your girl, or even both! How about a Richard Simmons cruise?

Da Old Man said...

@ Timethief, Crystal, Dr. Rob, jafa, and everyone else : Thank you for all the kind words.

@ Fran: Yeah, a cruise with Richard Simmons. Kill me now.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that reminds me.

I have a jar of bread and butter spears in the frig.

Da Old Man said...

@ Jane: LOL

It's not a jar of pickles, it's a home gym.

Anonymous said...

Hysterical post! Love reading your posts!

Dora Renee Wilkerson said...

I loved that story. I love the way you write.

You have a really great blog.

I'll be back.

Dora Renee' Wilkerson

Unknown said...

Richard Simmons is a rat bastard! But dang if that didn't make for a great story!

Buggie said...

After what he did on the show "Whose line is it Anyway?", there is NO WAY that guy is sweating on me with a hug.

Tara said...

Heh heh. Now everytime I snack, all I'll be able think about is the fact that I'm one donut closer to Richard Simmons hell.