Dear Dr. Babooner,
Every time I go to the health club to work out, other people give me the hairy eyeball because I sweat, grunt, gasp, and strain. I figured it was their problem until one of the trainers pulled me aside and said I was “creating stress.” Apparently management discourages any kind of physical activity that is too extreme to allow the participant to continue a friendly conversation.
It seems there are some people who consider my noisemaking to be a form of showing off, as if I’m trying to impress the crowd with how hard I’m working. And it’s partially true, Dr. Babooner. I AM working hard. But I assumed at an exercise club, EVERYONE would be working. I expected a big room full of treadmills and free weights to be an environment where my natural exertions would go unnoticed.
One day I took a look around and it seemed like I was the only one in the whole place who was out of breath. And then I noticed another thing – for a health club, everyone but me seemed to be pretty flabby. I walked by these two guys on elliptical trainers who were having a pleasant chat about how they always come to the club at the same time – real creatures of habit. I snuck a peek at their heart rates – 92 and 85! That’s almost a resting pulse!
I went back to my machine and bore down. I started panting and grunting like a bison in heat. I could tell it bothered them, but I didn’t care. When I walked by their machines later, they hadn’t sped up at all but their heart rates were around 150 each! I figured the stress I created was giving their hearts a vigorous aerobic workout – perhaps the only one they’d ever get.
I’ve been going there at the same time for six weeks now, and though I’ve become hoarse from all my noisemaking (only some of it was make-believe), I do think I’m having a positive effect. The one guy looks like he’s lost about five pounds, and other one has much better facial color. And they both seem to be angry most of the time, which means my remote-control “Stressercise” program is working!
Management is telling me to hand in my pass key but I don’t want to quit – I’m worried about what will happen to my antagonists if I leave. What if their exasperation about my grunts is the only thing keeping them alive?
I told Arrrrrgh he is a very kind and under appreciated citizen who has all the best intentions, but he is taking too much responsibility for other people. Although he may feel that he’s having a positive effect on the health of his antagonists, he can’t guarantee the physical health of others. I can certainly imagine the loud and troubling sounds he must have to make – what an unselfish price to pay – geniuses and philanthropists are always misunderstood. My advice – relent and cave to the wishes of management, but keep my number handy in case you decide to seek investors to take “Stressercise” to the next level!
But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?