JERK OF THE WEEK: My Elliptical - Struggles of a Fat Man
As you may know, I like to swim for my workouts. This has been difficult over the years - fat women have tried to eat me, while naked men with their sagging, crusty balls patrol the locker room - but I've persevered. However, it's sometimes difficult to go swimming for various reasons:
1. Thunderstorms: Both of my gyms close their pools in the event of a thunderstorm. I don't quite get this because both pools are indoors. What's the lightning going to do, crash through the window and zap the water? Not too realistic. I understand the gyms being on the cautious side to prevent lawsuits from happening, but I'd like to take my chances. Lightning's a p***y, and as far as I know, thunder hasn't killed too many people.
2. Cold Water: I prefer water heated to 82 degrees or warmer. The actual ideal temperature for me is 86 degrees. Being a fat man, I need comfortable water. Unfortunately, sometimes my new gym pool has the water at 78 or 80 degrees. I don't even bother going in at that point. I just walk out of the gym and drive home, completely defeated. You may call me a wuss for this, but I have no desire to freeze to death.
3. Cold Temperatures Outside: I prefer not to leave my house if it's colder than 55 degrees outside. This makes it impossible to swim in the frigid October, November, December, January, February, March, April, sometimes May and sometimes September months.
4. Holidays: Gyms are closed for holidays. That's fine. But my old gym closes randomly for holidays no one has ever heard of. For instance, I drove over on the last Thursday of September. There was no one in the parking lot, save for one of the lifeguards.
Lifeguard: Sorry, the gym is closed for the holiday.
Me: Wait, there's a holiday? What holiday?
Lifeguard: No idea. I think it's Flag Day or something.
Me: Are you f***ing kidding me?
Lifeguard: Nope. Sorry.
Me: So, what are you doing here?
Lifeguard: They keep camp open, so I have to work. But the gym's closed for members.
Unf***ing real. I wish I were making this up.
5. Cheetos: Sometimes I spend so much time eating Cheetos that I don't have a chance to go swimming.
As you can see, swimming is a difficult process. So, when my mom suggested that I should buy an elliptical for my house, I considered that to be a great idea. I wouldn't have to worry about thunderstorms, cold water, freezing temperatures or Flag Day. I could also eat Cheetos while on the machine.
I went over to Dick's Sporting Goods near the end of April. I ordered the most expensive machine - it had an Internet screen on it - because I could use it as a tax write-off (corporate wellness program, plus I can work on it). It came with free shipping and installation, which was pretty convenient because I don't know how to put anything together. It took about a week to arrive, but a portly black man in his 30s showed up with a giant box the following Tuesday...
"My guy ain't showned up so you gonna haveta help me carry da box upstair."
This was the first thing Elliptical Assembler said to me. I should've realized then that this wasn't going to end well, but I was na�ve and stupid.
I told Elliptical Assembler that I had a bad back, so he gave me two options:
1. "We gon' leave da box here and you gon' haveta put it togetha."
2. "You could try carryin' the lighta side of da box upstair."
The machine would never get assembled if I left it downstairs, so I sucked it up and grabbed the lighter side. Not only was the box super heavy; it was large, so it nearly slipped out of my hands. I was going up the stairs first, so if I let it fall, it would have collapsed on the Elliptical Assembler. It wasn't the smartest plan, but it somehow worked.
Once the box was placed down in my soon-to-be exercise room, Elliptical Assembler asked me a question.
Elliptical Assembler: You ain't goin' nowhere today, are you?
Me: No, why?
Elliptical Assembler: Well usually dis take about two or three hour to assemble, but dis my last job of the day and I ain't tryin' to go home early.
Me: Why not?
Elliptical Assembler: My girl got pregnant and I ain't tryin' to be around her anymo'.
Elliptical Assembler: Yeah she annoyin' the hell outta me, always axin for food and what nots. I'm like, "B***h, why don't you go get yo own damn food?"
Yeah, this guy's going to be a great dad.
Elliptical Assembler built my machine, while I typed up stuff for the site in my office, which was the adjacent room. He intermittently walked into my office and asked me questions.
Elliptical Assembler: You gots lots of parties goin' on 'round hmyall?
Elliptical Assembler: Next time you havin' a party, gimme a call, I'ma stop by.
Me: OK, will do.
Elliptical Assembler: Coo, coo, I'm tryinta be outta da house as much as possible because my girl pregnant.
Me: I hear ya.
Elliptical Assembler: Aight, aight, I lookin' forward to the next party. We gonna go buck wild.
It's safe to say that I'm never calling this guy for any sort of party.
Elliptical Assembler finished four hours later. The machine looked complete, but there was all of this grease on the silver bars near the legs of the machine. He saw me eying that, so he addressed it.
Elliptical Assembler: You just gotta wipe dis thing down wit' a papah towel, and it gonna be all good.
Elliptical Assembler: Aight, aight, I'll do it. I'ma clean up all dis trash boxes too.
He didn't do any of that. To this day, there's still grease on the silver bars, and none of the trash boxes were taken outside. I had to do that myself.
Once all of the trash was outside, I tried out the elliptical. The Internet console worked well, but the machine squeaked loudly. I then sensed that something was wrong. It took me about a minute to realize, but the handlebars were inverted. They were facing downward instead of upward, so holding on to them was extremely awkward.
Fortunately, I had Elliptical Assembler's number because he gave it to me so I could invite him to my next party...
Elliptical Assembler Part II:
I called him immediately.
Elliptical Assembler: Hello, who dis?
Me: Hey, it's Walt.
Elliptical Assembler: Who Walt?
Me: The guy whose elliptical you just assembled.
Elliptical Assembler: Hmm...
Me: The guy who throws parties at his house.
Elliptical Assembler: Oh Walt, what's goin' on? You gots a party comin' up?
Me: No, I was calling because the elliptical handlebars are inverted.
Elliptical Assembler: Whatchu mean?
Me: They're facing downward instead of upward.
Elliptical Assembler: Whatchu mean?
Me: I can't hold them because they're facing the wrong direction.
Elliptical Assembler: Aight, aight, I'ma check it out but I can't do dis until Thursday mornin' because I got jobs all day tomorrow.
He told me he'd arrive at my house at 8 a.m. that following Thursday. I always go to bed late because I'm working on this site, so 8 o'clock in the morning is an ungodly hour for me. I had no choice, so I manned up and set my alarm for 7:45.
Of course, Elliptical Assembler didn't show up until 9 a.m. When he arrived he said that he got lost. For an hour? Really?
It took him about a half hour to fix the handlebars, but then he spent another half hour talking to me.
Elliptical Assembler: So, you livin' here all by yourselves?
Elliptical Assembler: Man, you livin' da life.
Me: Am I?
Elliptical Assembler: Yeah man, this girl who got pregnant, she a pain in my a**, always axin me to pick up food for her or take her to the doctas. I'm like, "B***h, you can drive yo' own damn selves to the doctas."
Me: Ouch. That's pretty rough.
Elliptical Assembler: Yeah man, that's why I'm tryin' ta party as much as possibles. You say you gonna call me when one of yo' parties go down?
Elliptical Assembler: Coo, coo.
I've yet to invite this guy to a single party. He's probably sitting at home during weekends, waiting for his phone to ring, all while his future baby momma makes ridiculous demands. What a rough life.
I've been using my machine at least twice per week. It seemed to work well at first - I use the Internet console to mostly watch YouTube videos - but I eventually figured out what caused the squeaking noise. One of the bolts was missing in the left leg of the machine. This caused the leg to come loose. I checked for spare parts, but there weren't any. This means that the elliptical company didn't send enough parts, or the Elliptical Assembler screwed up. Guess which I'm leaning toward?
Anyway, I didn't think this was a big deal until one day, when I finished a workout, the left leg completely fell out of its socket and collapsed on the floor. It wasn't broken or anything - I was able to reattach it - but it was going to keep happening until the bolt was replaced.
I called the elliptical company the following day. The automated machine told me to have the model and serial number ready. I checked the manual and found the model number, but the serial number was blank. I looked further and saw that I could find the serial number under one of the legs. However, I searched and couldn't find it.
Eventually, a middle-aged woman with a Midwestern accent answered. She asked for the model and serial number. I told her I couldn't find the latter. She said it was under the machine. I tried to pick it up, but it was so heavy that I couldn't even get it an inch off the ground.
Me: I can't pick this thing up. It's way too heavy.
Elliptical Woman: Well, I'm sorry sir, I can't send you parts or service without a serial number.
Me: But I can't get the serial number.
Elliptical Woman: I don't know what to tell you, sir.
Me: So what am I supposed to do? I can't even get it an inch off the ground!
Elliptical Woman: Do you have a friend or family member who can come over and help you? We'll be open for another hour and 20 minutes, so you can just call back.
Me: Wait, you want me to call someone and make them come out of their way to help me lift up an elliptical so I can get a serial number? What if the two of us can't lift it?
Elliptical Woman: I don't know what to tell you, sir.
Me: I also have a bad back. What if I hurt it while trying to lift it?
Elliptical Woman: I'm sorry, sir. My hands are tied here. We have rules and regulations I need to abide by.
Me: But I don't understand these rules and regulations.
Elliptical Woman: Sir, believe it or not, but some people are dishonest and may ask for parts so they can sell them off.
Me: But I'm missing one small part. Maybe two, max. I told you my model number. I can tell you where I bought it, as well as the exact date of purchase because I have the receipt here.
Elliptical Woman: I'm sorry, sir, but there are rules and regulations, and I need a serial number.
Me: But I can't get you the serial number! So, is my machine destined to be broken forever?
Elliptical Woman: I'm sorry, sir, rules are rules, and I need to abide by them.
I wanted to reach through the phone and strangle this woman. Seriously, I needed one bolt and perhaps some sort of screw. She kept saying that her hands were tied, so I asked to speak to her manager.
I was put on hold for about five minutes. The same woman eventually responded.
Elliptical Woman: Sir, the reason I can't help you is because each machine comes with a 3-year warranty, and sometimes there are those who are dishonest and will lie about the date of purchase to receive free parts and service. With the serial number, we can verify the date of purchase.
Me: Well, like I said, I have my receipt right here, and I can tell you that I bought the machine on April 20.
Elliptical Woman: Sir, I still need the serial number. Are you sure you can't call two friends to come over? We're still open for another hour and five minutes, so feel free to call back!
I was about to lose all hope when something seemed to click inside this woman's head.
Elliptical Woman: Sir, I'm looking at your model number, and based on that, I can determine that the line of ellipticals you have was built in 2012.
Me: Right, so that means I'm definitely still covered by that warranty.
Elliptical Woman: OK, sir, I'll make you a deal.
A deal? Really?
Me: What kind of deal?
Elliptical Woman: I'll send you the parts this time, but next time you call, I won't be able to do anything without the serial number.
Elliptical Woman: Also, you must hear my offer for iFit. It's a great exercise program, sir, and it's available for $59.99 for the year. You don't have to purchase it, but I'd like to show it to you, and I'm sure you'll want to add it to your package if you love exercise.
This was super ridiculous, but I agreed to it because she had me by the balls. I spent a half hour looking at the iFit Web site with her. I told her I'd think about it.
We then went through the manual to determine which parts I was missing.
Elliptical Woman: Sir, it looks like you're missing Parts 43 and 57.
Me: Yeah that sounds about right.
Elliptical Woman: I can't believe the man who built this for you left the machine unfinished. How unprofessional.
You don't say? I had the urge to reply, "Pot calling the kettle black, much?" but decided against it. She'd renege on her deal, and I'd either have to work out on a broken machine or buy that damn iFit package. I'd almost rather hang out with Elliptical Assembler at the next party.