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FARBER: Nerd-Jock hybrids at Gosman

By Rafi Farber

Section: Arts

September 16, 2005

The best way to describe me socially would be something of a nerd/jock hybrid. From what I can reconstruct of my parents teenage years from anecdotes, pictures, past-life experiences, and whatever stuff I make up, my dad was the nerd, and my mom was the jock. Im judging this mostly based on the respective physical appearances and social lives of my parents when they were 19. My dad, the nerd of the pair, had thick glasses, went to Columbia University, and ran away from my moms ex-boyfriend when he tried to attack him when they (my parents) were dancing.

The ex-boyfriend, Mike, 63, just happened to be playing in the band that night, and upon seeing his former girlfriend dancing with my father, quickly cut the music and charged after him, Edwin, 57. Edwin quickly did the math in his head, concluding that he could not make up the 8 inches and what, 60 pounds required in a matter of, oh, 4.5 seconds, and in a clear, calm, and calculated manner, possibly involving flailing and high-pitched resonant sounds, though I cant be sure, exited stage left. Fifteen-some-odd years later, I was born. Any idiot could have predicted that. But thats mostly because any smart person probably wouldnt have.

As for the jock status of my mother, Im basing that solely on 30% pictures and 98% Mike.

What me being a nerd/jock hybrid means for you is that I go to the gym 4 to 5 times a week, but I see if from a completely different perspective than a purebred jock. The gym, from the perspective of a nerd/jock hybrid, is a very weird place, sort of like a house of mirrors with fine granulated cocaine everywhere so that, if you breathe in, you become very confused and agitated, and attain a newfound identification with Colombia for some reason. So for the rest of this article, I would like to describe for you, the reader as well as the illiterate, the Brandeis gym from the perspective of the nerd/jock hybrid.

As a hybrid, I am probably the only one in the gym, I would venture to guess, that constantly contemplates the utter futility of this stupid endeavor of lifting up extremely heavy though absolutely useless blocks of metal and putting them back down again in the exact same place over and over and over again. I seem to be the only one that is discouraged by the fact that every heavy thing that I have just picked up has not, indeed, moved at all. Sometimes I point this out to the purebred jocks, but they just dont get it. When theyre done picking up and putting down 240 pounds of metal 12 times, they make a *HOOWUGH* sound, flex about, and stare at themselves in the mirror drooling for 7 or 8 seconds. Then they tail the females, making sure their sleeves are rolled up and that theyre flexing so hard that theyre cutting off the circulation to their brains.

They seem very happy, barely even noticing that nothing they picked up has moved. That is, until I say to them, You know that everything you just picked up is in the exact same place as it was when you started. In response, they flex at me in a threatening tone, like Im some kind of attractive female theyre tailing.

The nerd part of me also makes me the only one in the gym that hates competitive sports. One of the reasons for this is that whenever I go to the gym, I see at least 17 people with uniforms and jerseys on, coming out of the competitive-sports-collective-assemblage-of-sports-products room right across the gym with giant 25-pound icepacks wrapped around various parts of their bodies and smelling like 4 vats of concentrated Vicks Cortisone Vapor Rub. In the competitive sports world, these are the only two ways to cure injuries: Ice and cortisone.
One of the first things you learn in competitive sports training school is that if ice and cortisone cant fix your injury, the best thing to do is to kill yourself with a sterile kitchen knife so your teammates can put your carcass in one of those specially designed car-compactors for people and smush you until all the accumulated years of cortisone cream lodged deep within your skin can be wrung out and reused. Brandeis saves so much money on cortisone every year using this method that they were finally able to install new flooring in the gym last month.

As for the icepacks, there are those injured competitive sports people that have them wrapped around their calves, knees, elbows, crotches, and heads. The last of these, with icepacks on their heads, have trouble getting around and frequently walk into walls and protruding sharp objects because their eyeballs have been frozen into marble-like rocks, but this is taken care of by the thoughtful sports staff that apportions three vats of extra cortisone to be used for any injury they incur while smashing into whatever they happen not to see, which is everything except ice.

In the competitive-sports-collective-assemblage-of-sports-products room across the gym, there are so many injured athletes in so much pain wrapped in ice and cortisone that I doubt there is any energy for sexual innuendo or any libido at all. Heres an illustrative dialogue so youll know what I mean:

ATTRACTIVE FEMALE ATHLETE: Hey, Rick, hows it going?
PUREBRED JOCK LACKING SHIRT: Yeah, its OK, but everything hurts.
ATTRACTIVE FEMALE ATHLETE: Tell me about it. Hey, is that an icepack in your pants or are you just happy to see me?
PUREBRED JOCK LACKING SHIRT: Oh, its an icepack. My cup fell off in the middle of practice today.
ATTRACTIVE FEMALE ATHLETE: Oh thank God! Can you spot me some? I got kicked in the face today during soccer and my nose fell off. I already glued it back on with some cortisone cream, but it still hurts like hell!

But the sports freaks across the hall are the extreme. In the gym itself are many different types of people. One of which I would like to talk about is the walking female skeleton. These females come into the gym yawning, step onto a machine, set it to the lowest allowable weight, yawn again, do two-and-a-half reps, stare into space for five minutes while still in the middle of their second rep, look confused, and then rest. Maybe you should step up your pace a little, I invariably say to them, maybe work out a bit more.

But feel my pulse, they tell me. Its gone up from negative 5bpm to 12bpm! Positive! And check out how hard my muscles are!
No, thats just rigor mortis, I tell them.

Finally, there is the gym music, which consists of 8 or 9 songs played over and over and over again just like reps (only a nerd/jock hybrid would spot the irony in the pattern similarity) off the air from JAMMIN 94.5 FM. These songs consist of rappers singing about the various ways, reasons, positions, and places they would like to sleep with me, using a cornucopia of metaphors including a candy shop, a party, and a drunken orgy involving domesticated rabbits, blasted from the gym speakers at a volume roughly equivalent to the taking off of a small commuter jet exploding in midair due to a fuel leakage.

Youd think these lyrics objectionable, especially at such an ear-disintegrating volume, but youre totally wrong. This is because everyone in the gymexcept for me of coursehas an iPod.

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