Ten Things I Hate About 24

If Baylor wins the national championship, my 6-foot-7 friend will take off his shirt and climb into a bathtub. Then another buddy must “make it rain” on him while I snort a line of sugar off his moderately hairy chest.

According to my understanding, making it rain entails flinging dollar bills into the air to create the illusion of precipitation falling from either a heaven in favor of quantitative easing or the balcony of Sean “Puffy” Combs. Nobody in my social circle carries that kind of cash. I prefer to use my Chase Freedom card to accrue rewards points. None of us have a connection to Baylor or even a rooting interest. And the thought of snorting anything repulses me, although I did shove a rock so far up my nose as a child that school officials called my parents in a panic.

So our potential three-man bathtub scene did not originate in extraordinary wealth, college allegiances or cocaine habits, but simply a bet among quasi South Bay douchebags bored on a Saturday night. Something about living south of Rosecrans and west of the 405 has a way of cornering all the boorishness and insecurities of a young male and exposing them in one tidy package.

The mother ship of true South Bay douchebags is docked at 1601 Pacific Coast Highway, site of the 24 Hour Fitness in Hermosa Beach, Calif. Any trip to this epicenter of overcompensated shortcomings encounters tattoo after tattoo so ugly and unimaginative that I wonder whether they were meant to be jokes. Perhaps sentimental stories can explain some of these, so I write them all off as outlets for self-expression. I cannot, however, bring myself to overlook these 10 things if you are a douchebag at the gym:

1. Nightgowns
At Schimelpfenig Middle School, girls were sent home if their shorts did not meet a minimum length. In the interests of gender equality, it’s only fair that boys at the gym be sent home if their cutoff shirts do not meet a minimum surface area covered. In what kind of warped First World is it acceptable to take a perfectly functional shirt and cut the entire sides out of it, so that the only thing holding it together at the shoulders are snippets of fabric thinner than a thong? Am I the only one seeing the irony here? In trying to dress like a tough guy, you ended up wearing an actual dress. You miss high school so much that you are going back to prom… as the girl.

2. Beanies
24 Hour Fitness currently does not offer ski trips or casting for the sequel to 8 Mile among its member services. I promise you can survive a workout without your winter hat, which I doubt you wash between sessions.

3. Water Blockades
Here’s another version of that SAT question you skipped. Two water fountains are next to each other, and two people need to hydrate. What is the most socially efficient way to position your body while drinking? The answer is to stand directly behind one fountain, or even better, lean toward the outside for more breathing room between each other. The answer is not to angle your body to block one fountain while sucking water out of the other like a camel at a pit stop in the Sahara.

4. Water Towers
The fountains should be superfluous to you anyway because of those gallon jugs you haul around the weight room. Not even fish need that much water for an hour-long workout. And you certainly do not need that suspect neon liquid resembling urine after a vitamin binge, no matter how much protein it has. Empty out the oversize canteen and use it as a backup gas tank for your obnoxiously lifted pickup truck.

5. Protracted Rest
After finishing a set of an exercise, sipping from your portable well, and catching your breath, go ahead and start the next one. Stop sitting there and staring off into space as if you had anything besides Cartoon Network on your mind. Picking up the pace will allow others to use the equipment, and this way you can also work that trivial little muscle you often neglect because it’s not visible when flexing in the mirror — your effing heart.

6. Selfies
I pose in the mirror, too. Occasionally I even send dick pics to acquaintances and erection pics to my significant other. (When she was at a bachelorette party, I texted her a shot of my engorged member with a tie draped over it and asked what time I should be there.) It’s important to love your body, but we must draw some boundaries in the sanctuary of a gym. One meathead had the nerve to ask me to take a picture of him and pay attention that the mirrors and lighting did not make him look smaller. In my mind, I was thinking no optical setup could magnify his meaningless existence, but I nonetheless snapped the awkward image and offered to do another if he wanted because… I’m Asian.

7. Stockpiles
I understand the benefits of circuit training, but if everyone treats public property as a personal home gym, the whole concept collapses. We must share with others as learned in kindergarten, which you should recall just fine because it took a few years to pass. Unlike playtime though, this is not the place to pile up a stack of dumbbells around your workstation like that Lego project so dear to your heart. Return some of them before grabbing new ones in successive 2.5-pound increments. People should not have to pause their workout while waiting for you to do three repetitions with every weight between 25 and 80.

8. Disorder
Again evoking those lifelong kindergarten lessons, see if you can figure out where to put the weights when finished. The 45-pound plates belong in the rack labeled “45.” The 35-pound plates belong in the rack labeled “35.” All the dumbbell slots are similarly labeled. It’s like one big really challenging puzzle, so rest and hydrate when feeling light-headed.

9. Curls
Keeping the weights organized will allow you and everyone else to find them easier next time. It would be a tragedy to deprive of you of the equipment necessary to complete your balanced, holistic routine consisting of 40 sets of bicep curls.

10. Grunting
Exhaling during the concentric movement of an exercise does not need to escalate into grunting so loudly that females in the vicinity have flashbacks of giving birth. Relax. You are either being dramatic or overtaxing even your creatine-infused body. Also, quit it with the moaning sounds at the urinal in the locker room. I find the aftermath of strenuous training orgasmic as well, but when does anyone ever want to hear a guy having sex? About as often as I can work out at a gym overlooking Hermosa Beach without something spoiling the view.

1984 Facebook Manifesto

No one born outside of 1984, plus or minus a few years, understands the evolution of social network interaction like we do. My 20s happened to line up exactly with Facebook’s first decade. Thus I can describe to you firsthand the desperation of blocking people up and down my news feed in an effort to protect its entertainment value from the onslaught of baby pictures commemorating birthdays in six-week increments and overly detailed professions of love betraying an even mix of delusion and insecurity.

The circa 1984 generation is unique in that we remember when Facebook was fun. People older than us never knew it to be any better, and people younger have yet to see their social space implode into an indistinguishable mass of horrifically boring status updates. This inevitably happens because as people get older, they become more secure with their identity and less concerned with image. This should be applauded for the most part, except now they tend to focus solely on themselves rather than even a little bit on the audience. I commend that you are confident enough to not care what others think, but then why post in the first place? Because you want people to see. And if you want them to keep seeing, you should think about what they might want to see.

My fight to curate social content slipped into futility long ago. Back in my dumber days, I would berate those who caused this decline with their insatiable need to strategically broadcast very specific aspects of their lives. But I understand a little better now. People get up in the morning for different reasons. Sometimes love doesn’t feel like love, or a story doesn’t feel real, or an opinion doesn’t feel like it matters, until you share it with others. And in a way, I appreciate the effort. At least these folks try to contribute and put themselves out there rather than lurk on Facebook every day without ever wishing a happy birthday, commenting, or taking a split-second to click the like button.

So instead of telling them to stop, which would defeat the purpose of Facebook, I propose that they organize their annoying posts and limit them to one category per day. That way we know what to expect, find the right mindset, and get through them all in rapid-fire fashion before moving on to better stimuli.

Mundane Mondays

Faces are compelling. It’s called Facebook. So why are you posting so many pictures of landscapes, sunsets, scenery and tourist attractions with no people in them? In less than a second, Google Images can return thousands of these taken by professionals with much more precision and artistic flair.

We sign on to social networks to see what’s up with people, not to indulge amateur photographers. Because I am Asian, any family vacation album requires an extra memory stick for the camera and advance notice to the photo development center to reserve our own printer. My father recently took a picture of my girlfriend and me walking through the doorway of a restaurant on the way back from the bathroom. Dad… really nothing to see here. With this kind of volume shooting ingrained into my upbringing, I can tell you that when most people look through a bunch of photos, they spend the least amount of time on the scenic ones without faces in them. These are simply no fun.

Rather than show you a dozen pictures of the same vineyard on a wine-tasting trip, I would rather have you examine us on the way back in the van:

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Rather than show you a picture of the view from my hotel room with some underwhelming caption and passive-aggressive attempt at bragging such as “Not a bad way to wake up,” I would rather have you examine the view we created for everybody else in the lobby:

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Toddler Tuesdays

More and more people whom I love dearly crap out kids these days. The problem is not the kids, but the fact that the pool of parents keeps growing. Your world revolves around your baby, but to the average person with 500-1000 Facebook friends, your baby is but one of many in a torrent of nondescript pictures.

I do not feel comfortable logging onto a website to stare at nothing but babies. It makes me feel like a pedophile. Aside from that, kids frighten me. In any horror movie, from The Shining to The Sixth Sense, the scariest parts involve freakish children. The more babies that pop out, the higher the chance that some of them are evil.

Moreover, we can limit their social network presence to one day a week because they all pretty much look the same anyway. Admittedly I cannot say this for sure because I am afraid to make eye contact with the babies in these pictures, lest they jump out of the screen into real life.

Wedding Wednesdays

Wedding pictures do not bother me because everyone looks so happy and polished while being of age. But status updates that read like wedding vows after dating someone for six months are obnoxious. In the old days, shouting your love from the rooftops was mildly romantic because only a select few in the vicinity could hear. In social media times, everyone hears and secretly wishes you two would break up so you will shut up. If that happens, I reserve the right to copy your sappy essays and paste them on your wall as a friendly reminder of unrealized expectations. Then, for the sake of compassion, you should post a status update with a formal apology explaining why you misled everyone with claims of finding the person who completes you.

Love letters became obsolete in the digital era anyway. Make a sex tape instead. Number one, that would hold attention better. Number two, it would deter a lot of potential suitors if things don’t work out with your current soul mate, which shows much more faith in the future of your relationship than these monologues that sound like a middle schooler paraphrasing Shakespeare for a Valentine’s Day card.

Throwback Thursdays

This already exists. This is a real thing. Someone thought it a clever idea to stray from social media’s greatest strength — immediacy — in favor of posting pictures from the distant past, invariably ones in which he or she looks more attractive than normal.

No one besides your mother wants to see how you looked as a child. No one besides your on-and-off-again high school boyfriend cares how you looked when you were 19. And no one at all feels good looking at how far you have fallen. It’s depressing.

If you must participate in this circle-jerk, shoot for the opposite effect. Show us how far you’ve come and an upward trajectory still in progress. My best friend since childhood goes toe-to-toe with Nick Cannon these days on Wild ‘N Out:

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How he can step up to a microphone, with a bright light and judgmental audience burning their way into his soul, and create laughter out of nothing but quick thinking and balls of steel eludes my comprehension. This skill eludes 99.99 percent of the world, and it requires unglamorous grunt work every day. So I am always curious to see what my buddy is doing now, tomorrow, and beyond.

That goes for you, too. I do not want to imagine you propping feet up on the ottoman, turning on Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You,” and sifting through old pictures to post with the hashtag #throwbackthursday or #tbt. I want you to keep those feet on the ottoman, toss the laptop aside, rotate onto the floor, and hammer out a few sets of incline push-ups. Your epic downturn is not entirely irreversible. You do not have to wistfully search albums for proof you were once 40 pounds lighter and then exhibit the evidence like some before-and-after case study of a weight watchers program gone terribly wrong.

I believe in you. You will rise again with the right attitude. And when you do, looking back to today will be inspiring instead of deflating. Until then, leave the throwback pics to people on the upswing like my aforementioned friend who supplied this gem at age 15:

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That’s what I want to see now. I want to marvel that the guy I watch on MTV is the same one in this picture, looking systematically retarded with eyes resembling those of a young soldier who just died in vain on the field of battle. Forward and onward.

Furtive Fridays

Who are these creatures that post cryptic sentences or phrases hinting at a significant event in their life? Does anybody know them or what they’re talking about? Usually they express happiness or sadness and purposely withhold the reason. Are you waiting for me to ask what’s wrong? That would be terribly inefficient, like when people precede a question by asking, “Can I ask you a question?” When, in the history of the world, has the answer ever been no?

I only have the patience to play these infantile games on Fridays. Generally if I post something confusing such as…
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I will provide as much information as possible. This is me blacked out at the Palms Casino, which explains why I am holding a cup on my head while trying to seduce the camerawoman and her sister. The lighting and posture make my abdominal muscles appear defined, which explains why I am sharing it here. If I posted a selfie flexing in the mirror, you would think I am the biggest douchebag. This way I subtly accomplish the purpose while hiding behind the illusion of acting silly.

Well-Spent Weekends

Facebook activity ought to remain sparse on weekends. It’s more productive to spend your time on the social network at the workplace. You should be doing fun things when off the clock. And instead of posting about them, you could just… do them.

But again, I cannot fault those who share and bravely offer a piece of their lives for public consumption. I only suggest that they segment the content if only to stay cognizant of their place in life relative to the rest of the world. As we age and transition from drunk pictures to plastic smiles in unimaginative poses, keep in mind that all your peers are going through the same thing. And if we continue to bury Facebook under boring post after boring post, sooner or later no one will be listening. Even Big Brother in an Orwellian 1984 would move on to more interesting things.