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.



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