Sometimes I find myself with a running monologue in my head narrating my life as it unfolds. Most of the time it’s my voice, or whatever I think my voice sounds like, while on the odd occasion it’s Bob Saget’s. Hearing his voice in my head is the only foolproof feedback system that I have to remind me I’m watching too much of the best TV show about friends that’s not Friends, How I Met Your Mother.
So, after a weekend watching season six and seven of How I Met Your Mother all the way through from start to finish while carving pumpkins for Hallowe’en, I walked out the door of my Upper Leeson Street freezebox on Monday morning with Bob’s voice narrating what I/he thought was going to happen.
How I Met Your Mother hits me as a remarkably middle class show. For those of you living under a rock for the last several years, the show centres around Ted Mosby, a sappy romantic telling his kids a lot of crazy stories about his friends that will eventually culminate in the story about how he met their mother.
I say that it’s middle class because that type of person, for the most part, can readily relate to the show. Everyone knows a player like Barney, a career-driven girl with Daddy issues like Robin, and an inseparable couple like Lily and Marshall. Some people even share a birthday with Ted. One of those ‘some people’ being me.
It took me a long time to notice and embrace that I actually am middle class trash, but the signs have been obvious for years. I add leek to most things I cook, my wardrobe is full of The North Face and Helly Hansen jumpers, I have a subscription to Time Magazine, and my main hobby is buying the Sunday papers and not reading them. I even live on Leeson Street, a middle class trash hub. And although prostitutes also live there, in fairness to them, they’re probably driving up the average income in the area.
I’m pretty good at being middle class, so I figured, by right; I should be adept at the most popular middle class sport: the gym. I’ve never used gyms before and always give the same jerky answer when people ask me why I don’t go to a gym. That being: “If I want to exercise, I’ll just run to your gym and back for free.”
That excuse no longer works since I have full access to a brand spanking new free gym on campus, so I’d be a fool not to at least attempt gym-ing. When I tried to go to the gym for the first time, I was told that I had to do some sort of induction fitness test. I have a feeling I misheard them because the fitness test only involved watching another man in what looked like an XS ladies t-shirt working out.
Maybe the fitness test was a test of how comfortable I am watching other men exercise? That would make sense because if you’re uncomfortable watching someone else exercising, then gyms are not for you. During this inappropriately named induction test, the guy kept saying “working out” and the more he said it, the stranger it sounded and it kind of lost meaning.
In a gym you either lift things or move your legs, but never both at the same time because for some reason that would be weird. Except for that one machine where you lift things using your legs. There’s no mental stimulation or “working out”, it’s all just biomechanics. The term working out should principally be reserved for long division and Pythagoras’ theorem.
Once I finally got into the gym, I didn’t last long. I can run just long enough to make a bus stop, but without that motivation, I lost interest. Then I cramped up on the fake bicycle and was very bad at lifting the heavy things. I decided to round off my first visit to the gym with a swim. I wasn’t looking forward to this one bit because I swim like Sam in The Lord of the Rings. There’s a lot of flapping, I don’t go very far, and sink very easily.
My best achievement in swimming was when I lived in Australia. The country was high on the Ian ‘The Thorpedo’ Thorpe Olympic buzz and my school organised a big school swimming competition. Somehow, I managed to finish fourth in my heat. Then again, you could also say that the person who won the heat was fourth last.
The worst bit was after the exercise: the changing room. The UCD gym should call in the Centre of Disease control to investigate the locker rooms because there has been a serious outbreak of small man syndrome. Emphasis on the small.
I don’t know who told these men otherwise, but there is nothing beautiful or art like about dingly dangly bits which warrants them being displayed in any public setting. And believe me, this is not a homophobic protest. There is one solitary reason why I don’t want to look at other men’s junk and that’s because it is ugly wrinkly skin.
I shouldn’t have even attempted to go to the gym. Using How I Met Your Mother as my middle class life guide book, I would have realised that it would be a terrible idea. I think I’ll just stay home carving pumpkins.