If you can pick it up, you can put it away. Wipe your weights. Grunting permitted during record lifts only. These messages are taped to the walls of the Chi-Wan Sports Center in big, bold letters, highlighted in yellow, and clustered in groups of six. All reasonable requests, but what happened to common sense?
Whatâ€™s up? Administration strapping up their big-time mommy pants? Or have the super-setting gym bros gone too far? In any case, the infantile signsâ€”an assault on the intelligence of our great institution, apparently incapable of practicing common courtesy without the stern direction of printer paperâ€”must go.
So, I made my usual rounds, asking friendly gym-goers what they thought about this force-fed etiquette. One intrepid lifter spoke her mind. â€œI feel unwelcomed. Like whatâ€™s next? No jump rope in the squat rack?â€
Meanwhile, an optimistic treadmiller looked to the bright side. â€œI see the signs and just imagine the sign-person chasing me. It motivates me to run at least twenty-five percent longer.â€
After many a headache, I managed to contact The Five Man Electrical Bandâ€”made famous by their 1971 hit, Signsâ€”and they agreed to reassess the sociological damage caused by signs, a good 50 years later. â€œWe warned the youth back in the 70s and will go on record to warn them again. And the signs said, long-haired freaky people, need not bench-press!â€
Five signs hang around the mini lockers just outside the gym entrance. They all read the same thing. This is not a changing area. Use change rooms. I can only imagine the apocalyptic event that provoked the creation of such god-forsaken messages: Man changes his shirt in the open area; gym manager walks in and sees his bare belly; â€œHey, you canâ€™t change here.â€ â€œOh, sorry.â€ Man heads to the change rooms. What else could warrant the proliferation of such anti-nudist propaganda?
OK, say it was more than a belly. Big deal. But instead of polluting peopleâ€™s fields of vision with the DDT that is yellow highlighted signage, how about carefully correcting the bad apples and leaving the rest of us at peace with our 30-second-grab-my-stuff-from-my-locker-and-leave ritual?
It would seem we live in a sign society. I was a pool boy in West Kelowna last summer and suffered an all-too-familiar fate as sign after sign was stapled to my hearty pool shack. You may not reserve seats for more than 30 mins. Towel service for hotel guests only. Pool toys bigger than a mattress not permitted. I practically lost my job to these signs.
When questioned on the matter, a fitness staff member said the signs are, â€œnot directed toward anyone in particular, but are in place to ease gym tensions for everyone.â€ That, to me, in the words of the late-great Norm MacDonald, sounds like a bunch of commie gobbledygook.
by Jake MacCallum, Editor-in-Chief