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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Death, humiliation, resurrection and... death

Some of you may remember that a wrote a post awhile back about how I received a nifty little device for measuring how many steps I take every day as a gift from a treppenwitz reader who happens to be a Doc

The simple fact of this tiny pedometer clipped to my waistband encouraged me to do so much more walking during my days than I thought possible... truly amazing!  And now that nearly everyone in my family has one, the competitiveness every evening to see who has more steps is, well, a little cut-throat.

Anyway, what I didn't write in that post is the sad story of how I killed my free pedometer with an act of incredible stupidity... how it miraculously came back from the dead... and how I managed to kill it again!

You see, on one of my recent trips abroad I was confined to my hotel for almost a week due to, um, 'local security concerns' (code-speak for an ongoing war).  The hotel itself was a five star Hilton Resort, so I wasn't really suffering, mind you, but still... you can only sit by the pool reading, and drinking free umbrella drinks for so long before you need to find something else to do. [cue violins and sympathy]

That something else turned out to be my discovery of the health club. 

Whenever I travel on business, I always, always, always bring along gym/swim trunks and sneakers... because, y'know, I'm totally gonna spend all my spare time in the health club.

Needless to say, that never happens. 

The funny thing is that the really cruel resorts mock people like me by putting the health club near the pool, so that as I sit drinking my free umbrella drinks and reading by the pool I can look through the windows and see all those type-A's doing step classes and running like hamsters on the treadmills.

But, believe it or not, on this particular trip I actually got bored enough of drinking and reading by the pool that I decided to work out!  So, feeling all full of self-righteousness, I got into my never-used gym-wear and almost as an afterthought I clipped my pedometer to my trunks before setting off to the health club to get me some health.  All I could think about was how I was going to call Zahava that evening and blow her away with how many steps I racked up on the treadmill. Take that, miss competitive!

After scanning the millions of exercise machines gleaming in the well-lit club, I set my sights on a nice treadmill near the window and hopped aboard.  The club manager came over and explained how to use the machine and introduced me to the young woman who would be bringing me mineral water and periodically patting the sweat from my brow with a hand-towel (plush club!).

I don't recall if I've ever used a treadmill before, but this one was like some sort of video game!  It had me walking up desert inclines, jogging through forests and trotting through hilly parks.  After almost half an hour it had me cooling down near a stream (seriously plush club!).

By the end of my work-out I was feeling more than a little proud of myself and decided to show off my newly-perfect physique... so I took my bottle of mineral water, politely dismissed my brow-patter and headed out to dazzle the slackers by the pool.

Sadly, when I got out to the pool I found that I had the place mostly to myself.  The few people milling about were hotel employees who practically fell over themselves trying to be the first to offer me a towel, a lounge chair or a free umbrella drink.

Once I had staked out my lounge chair, I stripped off my shirt... kicked off my sneakers and launched my Greek-god-perfectness into a breathtaking dive that sliced the surface of the clear, blue pool water. 


As I did a few casual laps, all I could think of was 'this is probably how colonialism got started'.

As I walked up the steps and out of the water, I stood posing in the dazzling sunshine like Adonis and was met by a lovely young thing who handed me a towel that was roughly the size of a bedspread.  As I reached for the towel I was feeling particularly chuffed by her appreciative gaze in the direction of my mid-section.  In fact, I felt like I had health and physical-fitness just dripping off me like pool water!

It was at that point that this beautiful young woman gushed, "Oh sir, is that a pedometer you're wearing on your swimsuit?  Wherever did you find a waterproof one?"

The sound of my deflation was almost audible.

In an instant I went from one of those chiseled guys you see on Harlequin Romance covers, to the pasty-white, slightly pudgy middle aged daddy that I am in real life.  In the blink of an eye I had become George Costanza! 

And best of all, I was standing there in front of this beautiful young woman with a waterlogged pedometer clipped to my swim trunks!

I don't remember what I mumbled as I declined the towel and hastily pulled on my tee-shirt and sneakers, but I do recall standing in the elevator with pool water dripping into my Nikes... wondering if I'd killed the free pedometer.

I had.

When I got to my room, I took off the pedometer and tried to see if by some miracle it would turn on.  It wouldn't.  I opened the battery compartment and was rewarded with a small waterfall of pool-water. 

Yup, dead as a doornail!

I don't know what I was thinking, but instead of throwing the dead pedometer in the garbage right there and then, I tossed it into my suitcase and decided to see if it would work after drying out.  I shamefacedly emailed my physician friend to tell him that I'd killed his gift and told him not to worry... that I'd spring for the next pedometer.

When I got back from my trip, I was unpacking my impressive assortment of bathroom swag (oh c'mon, you all take the shampoos, moisturizers and other free crap from the hotel bathrooms... so don't pretend otherwise), when I noticed the dead pedometer in amongst the shower caps and sewing kits.  I was about to toss it into the trash but decided to press the on/off button to see if a miracle had happened in my suitcase.  < ~BLINK~ > it turned on!  All my previous steps had been wiped out, of course... but it worked!!!

I've continued to use the resurrected free pedometer every day as it was now doubly-effective in getting me to be more active.  You see, not only was I intimately aware of how many steps I was taking... but each time I glanced at the little device I was reminded of my poolside humiliation.  It turns out that shame is quite an effective motivator!   Who knew?

Just as a footnote to the story... my trusty free pedometer finally died a second and more lasting death this week.  The plastic clip that holds it to the belt/waistband broke off, rendering the it pretty much useless.  I tried putting it in my pocket but it was registering only about a third of my steps.

Anyhoo... You'll be happy to know that I now I have a store-bought pedometer like Zahava and Ariella.  And just so we're clear... I've promised never to wear the thing on the off chance that I ever set foot in another hotel health club.


Posted by David Bogner on June 6, 2007 | Permalink


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Nice story :)

For the record, you don't seem pale.

By the way, who's winning the contest so far?

Posted by: tnspr569 | Jun 6, 2007 12:42:50 PM

Oh, he's pale alright. Trust me.
Great fantasy description, Dave - ya know - the one about your image at the club & pool! :)
Adonis... heheheheheheh

Posted by: val | Jun 6, 2007 1:16:05 PM

Don’t worry Trep, apart from losing the precious gift, I see little or no humiliation there… I’ve dived into a pool and swam (butterfly) halfway before realizing that my speedo costume was not where I loosely left it. :-)

Posted by: Rami | Jun 6, 2007 1:58:19 PM

My only question:

When you were writing this, was Zehava nearby laughing her head off, or was she standing right behind you, slapping you in the back of the head every three minutes?

Posted by: dfb1968 | Jun 6, 2007 2:59:14 PM

dfb1968: I was no where near Trep when he wrote this (or if I was I had no idea he was writing)....

Reading it, however, I am snorting with laughter. No need to smack him upside the head though -- if he is comparing himself to George Costanza, seems to me he's suffered enough! LOL.

Posted by: zahava | Jun 6, 2007 5:47:51 PM

The line goes something like:

"Mechayei meytim ha-pedometerim"

or something close to that.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 6, 2007 5:54:53 PM

When I was young, like around 8 or so, and hanging around the pool in the backyard, my grandmother said "Let's see you jump in!" So I did. It wasn't until I heard a lot of buzzing that it hit me, hearing my grandmother say something to me meant that my hearing aids were still in my ears. Oops!! My mom left them out to dry for a few hours. They worked fine afterwards, but it's not something I'd care to repeat!

And hey, there's no shame in being a "pasty-white, slightly pudgy middle aged daddy that I am in real life." It's one of my greatest joys! (well, the daddy part anyway...) :-)

Posted by: JDMDad | Jun 6, 2007 6:00:21 PM

Hahahahaha! Glad I could help. And you got a post out of it too!

Can I send you anything else? Some blood pressure cuffs to use as floaties the next time you swim?

Posted by: Albert | Jun 6, 2007 6:08:01 PM

The mention of George Costanza and swimming reminded me of, er, "shrinkage" -- but I'm not going there!

Posted by: Yaron | Jun 6, 2007 6:08:51 PM

hahahhhaaa. blood pressure cuffs as floaties.
I want him for my doctor :)

Posted by: weese | Jun 6, 2007 8:20:28 PM

The sound of your deflation!- I am now going to be imagining what that was like *all day* :)

Posted by: Alice Bachini-Smith | Jun 6, 2007 8:28:24 PM

You're a riot :)

Posted by: SaraK | Jun 6, 2007 9:30:29 PM

something similar happened to me and my camcorder. we were at the Pirates of the Caribean ride in Orlando, very happy to be seated at the front of the ride. My wife says that I was warned about the "dangerous waters", but i do not recall such a warning. Anyway, we go down this "river" and water splashes all over the first and second row (that would be me). The camcorder's lens was now recording a foggy picture, and i really went desperate. It seems that the Florida heat evaporated whatever water was left inside. It came all back to normal the next day.

George Constanza, swimming pool, a beatiful woman... I thought the story was going someplace else. :)


David S

Posted by: David S. | Jun 6, 2007 9:55:06 PM

The title of your post made me think that you were channeling Kurt Vonnegut.

Posted by: Barzilai | Jun 7, 2007 5:23:14 PM

I just loved this post... so funny! Thanks!!!

Posted by: Erika | Jun 10, 2007 3:09:22 PM

tnspr569... Um, that's not really important, is it? :-)

val... You don't want to go there. ;-)

Rami... Now there's a mental picture I'll be trying all afternoon to get rid of. :-)

dfb1968... I think her response speaks volumes.

Jack ... Oy.

JDMDad... OK, you win. :-)

Albert... Nice bedside manner, doc! :-)

Yaron... Seinfeld really let a lot of secrets out of the bag, didn't he? :-)

weese... You two would hit it off, I'm sure.

Alice Bachini-Smith... I don't have to imagine it. It is with me still. :-)

SaraK... It's a gift. :-)

David S.... Clean up your mind! :-)

Barzilai... Yeah, 'cause I do that all the time. :-)

Erika... Don't thank me... I'm a giver. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 11, 2007 8:51:56 AM

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