Updated: Sep 29, 2020
Here's another gym story, even though it didn't happen in the gym, it happened because of the gym. The point of these blogs are really to just point out the fun of the fitness industry, tell some hopefully entertaining stories, and segue into my upcoming Podcast about getting back up called "Mandatory 8". This particular story was really funny and I hope I can do it justice because it was truly an amazing experience for me. I really do not consider myself a writer and I'm sure that's evident with all you grammar, and writing critics out there, I personally want to record these experiences and thought some folks might find them interesting.
Early on in my gym working career, I met a totally down to earth guy, Tim Meadows. He came into the gym, I signed him up on a membership, and we just would talk all the time. I knew Tim from Saturday Night Live, but at this point, after being in LA for so long, I was already over being shocked by folks who we see on television or movies in person. I can honestly say with Tim, I just hit it off personally. He was pretty much an instant friend. We just liked many of the same things, we had common gripes, and most importantly - we found similar things funny. Tim, at this time, had just moved to Venice, which was walking distance to the gym. This was in the late 90's or early 2000's.
Tim would come to the gym quite often when he was in town, and we would "shoot the shit" for a while before and after his workout. Eventually, after developing a bit of a friendship we started golfing together. At that time, I would say we were at about the same level in golf - not great, but not horrible. Let’s just say we were good enough that we looked like we knew what we were doing, but not good enough to say, "I'm a golfer." We would have some very good holes, and maybe slip in a birdie or two, but then we would have holes that we'd like to forget about. However, these blow up holes were always the funniest. Tim and I also let off about the same amount of frustration when a ball gets launched into a lake or lost in the woods. We both were pretty good about giving ourselves a nice verbal lashing after a ball flew directly the opposite direction of the target, lol. We would always encourage each other and knew, when a person was going through a little 30 second mental breakdown, it was best to just not say anything and play like you haven't noticed a thing.
One day, Tim and I made a Tee Time up the 405, towards Magic Mountain - the name of the course escapes me. Anyway, Tim said "Hey, I got a couple guys who would like to join us so we can go out as a 4some. Of course, I agreed and said I'd meet them at the course without even thinking about it. We both arrived around the same time - early morning before the California sun gets too hot. Tim had a Black BMW, and I had a grey convertible Audi. I remember pulling up as Tim was putting on his shoes next to his car. We chatted for a few minutes while we got ready when two of his friends walked over - the two others who will be in our group. I just remember some really tall, big, guy coming towards us with reddish blond hair, and a goofy smile. Didn't take long before I realized it was Will Ferrell. I had no idea I would be spending the day with a guy I (and everyone else) found absolutely hilarious.
Before I go on, I should explain more about who Tim Meadows is, in case you don't know. Tim is a nominated Primetime Emmy actor who was a cast member on Saturday Night Live for a record 10 years. He also has been in many films like "Mean Girls," where he was the Principal, or in "Ladies Man," where he played one of his many characters from SNL. Tim is a very funny guy, but he's also a very typical or common guy, and I mean that in a good way. Tim doesn't walk around with an arrogance, entitlement, or anything you may imagine about Hollywood actors. You can tell he's smart, came from humble beginnings, and appreciates flying under the radar somewhat. Of course, he gets recognized, often as Don Cheadle which we laugh about, or with the typical "Hey, I know you," when a person can't figure out how. This is funny to watch when a person wants to figure it out but just can't. Was this my professor in college, did I play sports with this guy, do I work with him, or do I know him from TV? Hmm...
Living in LA and being friends with many celebrities and athletes - this is truly interesting to watch, and I didn't appreciate it until I was a live spectator.
So, we start our first round of golf. Tim and I are about the same as always - definitely not bad, but Will and his friend were better. Will is a pretty good golfer, or at least he was this day. Tim and I were in the same cart, and the other guys were in another. We had a good time out there on the course, the day was picture perfect, sunny, air quality clear and beautiful. California on a clear day, with the mountains, the big blue skies, not much humidity (although it can get pretty hot) is spectacular. The real fun though was when we finished and went back to the clubhouse for a round of beers. We all ordered a pint of whatever was on tap and sat down at a table and started telling stories. This was gut splitting funny, just sitting back and being a part of this was so fun. At this point, I felt literally not worthy and maybe a bit intimidated by these comic geniuses. Once the beers started flowing, I decided to jump in as my new liquid courage was coming in strong. My story was really about "Suds and Bubbles," or what I called the story up until this day. The story on its own is hysterical, but when I told it to this group of seasoned, world-class comedians, it went from being funny to outright hilarious. I was really impressed on how courteous of course Tim Meadows https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005218/ is/was, and Will Ferrell https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0002071/ who was a good listener followed by an amazing improv story add on teller.
"Suds and Bubbles" or now "The Invisible Man Story"
The story goes as follows: Back at Powerhouse Gym, when I was working alone one day on what must have been a weekend. A very nice man came in who was average looking, middle aged, wearing street clothes - not gym clothes, and wearing a backpack. He asked how much it was for a day pass, which was something we sold a lot of at Powerhouse, nothing out of the ordinary. The gym was so close to the beach, a very touristy area, we would sell 10 to 20 a day, sometimes folks knew the drill, would pay and workout for a few minutes, use our parking lot and just go to the beach. This really was ok, the issue was more with the parking lot than the gym. So on this day, I sold him his day pass, he asked where the locker room was, I pointed him that direction, and that was it.
A few hours later, a member approached the front desk and asked: "Hey what's up with the guy in the locker room?" I was busy at the time and didn't know what the member was talking about, so I just kept on working. Maybe an hour later, around 1 p.m., the gym was slow and I used that time as a chance to take a bathroom break. This is where things start getting interesting, to say the least.
I walked into the second section of the gym which is divided by a walkway from the parking lot and crossed the corridor on my way to the locker rooms/bathrooms not thinking about anything in particular. When you first enter the locker room, you walk past two or three rows of lockers, and then there's a couple of doors that open into stalls where the toilets are, and just beside the stalls are urinals. Finally, on the back wall is a line of showers with small dividers for separation. The shower area is open and is meant to be an after-workout quick place to wash off and get on with your day. I used the restroom, then glanced over to the shower area and spotted someone, head to toe, lathered up in soap. I don't think anything of it, washed my hands and back to work. (not suspecting of anything YET)
A couple of hours later, around 3 p.m., someone approached the front desk where I was working and asked, "What's up with the dude in the bathroom?" This triggered in my mind the soap guy, instantly, so I went back to the locker room and found the same guy, still taking a shower, and covered head to toe in bubbles. At this point, I realized I needed to say something as I'd received multiple complaints/concerns about him. Uncomfortable as it was, I entered the shower area, and the guy is all smiles. Could not be happier, standing buck naked, covered head to toe in bubbles.
"Sir," I asked him: "Are you ok?"
He responded with a smile and calmly said "Yes, all is good."
I told him that day pass workouts typically last no more than an hour or two and he said he understood and that he was just finishing up. After that I returned to the front desk in the other building to resume working, but I I kept an eye through the window into the other room, waiting for this guy to leave.
As time goes by, with phones ringing and customers buying drinks, energy bars, and pro-shop items, I forget about my new sudsy friend. Around 5 p.m., a potential client entered the gym, asking for a tour, and I began showing him around the gym. On our way to the locker room, it all comes back to me.
"Oh no," I thought. "I hope Mr. Bubbles isn't still in the locker room."
Sure enough, when we arrived, sudsy man is still going strong in the shower - all lathered up from head to toe. We quickly toured the locker room and then returned to the front desk. The interested client was literally speaking to me and I couldn't hear a word he said, all I could think about was this situation with this soapy man in our locker room. When the prospect left without obviously buying a membership, I was sure I lost the sale because of this clown in the bathroom.
Now it's time to go back to the locker room in order to get this guy out of here. I went in and found the guy still doing his thing, still in the shower. This time, I was more direct. Enough is enough.
"Sir, I need you to wrap this up," I told him. "I can't have you here in the shower all day."
The guy was nice enough. "Sorry," he told me "Let me wash off and I will leave."
"5 minutes," I said, and left again.
Outside of the locker room, I'm approached by one of my maintenance guys, who comes up to me and says he's been trying to clean all day, but this guy won't leave the showers, lol. I go back into the locker room and find the guy out of the shower at his locker, but soaking wet, still full of bubbles.
"Buddy," I said: "What in the world are you doing my man?"
Standing there, next to my facilities guy, we are both in utter disbelief.
"You need to clean yourself off and leave. We will be waiting at the front door of the locker room. Please don't let this escalate any further, sir."
The man, still as happy as ever, told me there wouldn't be any issues. A few minutes later he's fully dressed, walks out of the locker room, looks at us, smiles, and says thank you. Since this day I've never seen or heard from him again. This story was super strange, and not one that I told much, however the day at the golf course everyone was telling funny stories, I felt this one in hindsight was pretty hilarious.
This story had Will Ferrell and Tim Meadows of Saturday Night Live laughing out loud. Will expands on the story, and literally takes it even further and invents this imaginary character that thinks he is invisible if he's covered in bubbles, and with that, sudsy guy became "Invisible Man." Watching a master at work was truly impressive, I give him what I found to be a funny story just because of the chain of events, he goes into the mind of the character with an extremely funny take on how he perceives himself. He made funny faces acting like he was that guy putting on bubbles, once the bubbles were on nobody could see him. The whole table erupted into laughter, I was literally crying.
It was a great day, golfing and telling stories with two of the funniest men I know about my crazy days at the gym. Fitness enthusiast, fitness entrepreneurs, future and past gym owners, I hope these stories help you through tough Covid 19 times, I hope that everyone stays strong, and passionate about what you love. Fitness industry is important, fitness business will continue to evolve, meeting folks daily will never get old, bringing people together socially is critical for us socially. Golf, friends, gyms, beers, without you this story never happens.