Having rheumatoid arthritis and other painful conditions means a lot of time slogging through physical therapy.
On fairly quiet afternoon recently, there were only four of us at the gym. Me, an octogenarian couple we’ll call Lewis and Bethany, and a guy we’ll call The Marine. Because, as you’ll learn if you keep reading, he’s a marine.
If you aren’t familiar with the characters Lewis and Bethany from Christmas Vacation, the first 90 seconds of this a little clip will help you visualize what transpired at the gym a bit better:
The Marine is one of the guys at our gym who passive-aggressively complains under his breath about everyone and everything not being up to his standards. All. The. Time. Nothing is ever good enough. His favorite refrain is how no one sufficiently wipes down the machines with disinfectant when they’re done using them. He never speaks up to other people, he just mutters under his breath. The Marine is obsessed with hygiene. Apparently, The Marine can actually see germs with his naked eye.
The Marine, incidentally, uses the gym-supplied towels as his own personal snot rags.
The Marine hoarks gigantic gobs of mucous from his throat and expels big gobs of snot from his nostrils into the gym-supplied towels. Throughout his entire workout.
Every workout, I’d wager, considering the number of times I’ve witnessed these delightful displays of dislodgment.
(Always wipe your face with your sleeve when you are at the gym. Never use gym-supplied towels for anything personal. Ever. At any gym).
Clearly, on the day in question, The Marine’s passive-aggressiveness had pushed Bethany too far. Her voice cuts through pretty much anything except White Zombie so I heard her say something indistinct, but it was louder and more forceful than usual so I turned to make sure Lewis wasn’t lying on the floor having a heart attack or something.
She and The Marine were about to rumble.
That is when The Marine turned to her and barked, “I’m. A. Marine.”
Bethany was not impressed.*
Bethany replied, “So? I’m a Keebler Elf. She’s the Easter Bunny. He’s…” I didn’t hear what Lewis was because I was so stunned that she’d just outed me as the Easter Bunny. “And we all think you’re unhygienic so knock it the hell off.”
Lewis then chimed in, “Why does she always get to be the Easter Bunny?”
I was very glad to be on my way out at that point. I barely kept it together long enough to get to the locker room, then I laughed until I cried.
Later, I was a bit concerned when it occurred to me that it’s possible Lewis and Bethany have some sort of elaborate fantasy world wherein I play a role. As the Easter Bunny.
*I was going to make a joke here about how Bethany might be an actual Daughter of the American Revolution, but that wouldn’t be nice, so I won’t. But I wanted to. The elderly are a treasure. Also, I’m pretty sure Bethany knows where I live.