So this lady in my seniors/exercise/weight loss and cardiac rehab class says to me during warm-up:
“Why, you’re just sooo graceful.”
To which I reply:
“Madam, sarcasm does not become you.”
Which was true because she was all puff ugly race walking at two miles per hour on a creaky old treadmill. After all, I’m pushing 70, and at 5 ft. 9 in. tip out on most beef-o-meters at a fat 280. This is not a prescription for longevity for a cardiac case but hey, what the hell, I get massive hungry and I already and long ago should have been seriously dead.
So what’s the point?
O.K., so this lady won’t let it alone and continues, “You just ought to take up ballet.” She purrs loudly, pounding her old whitebread droopy butt down on her tread that much harder.
“Not likely,” I says, “on account of I can’t buy the uniform.”
“Tutu?” she supplies.
“Yeah,” I says, “that’s the one.”
“Well,” she says, ever bright, ever helpful, “I can sew.”
And I go on gracefully as hell warming up. We’re on the dangle-your-butt-in-the-air exercises now, our trainer has a sense of whimsy, so I point the aperture of my own gas cannon right at her.
“Yessir,” she says, “I can sew.”
I can tell this sewing thing is her one talent of great pride.
So I rolls over into thrust-your- crotch-forward movements and thrust a little crotch her way because the whole ballet thing is getting to be too much and I am, of course, like my instructor constantly tells me to do, trying to communicate with my body and get in touch with the flow of my Chi it and breathe in and out and love the universe and think and enjoy. So I just in and out pump the air in front of my crotch like some demented teenager with an erection. Which is sad because then I remember times past when all hydraulics worked … Ah those were the good times. Now it seems I’ve stepped beyond even Viagra, unless of course I’m willing to go through serious medicine changes and most probably open heart surgery. Which seems a ludicrous price to pay for a few conjugal visits with some select old ladies. Face it, the lust-o-meter’s stuck at 50. Old ladies need not apply. Young ladies, however, if they happen to be about, and willing, are a whole other matter. One might bend to serious medicine changes for a crack at that. And even open heart surgery ain’t out of the question if the lady is a showgirl from Las Vegas, who just happens to love me. But all that’s long ago and probably in a foreign land.
“Material,” I says, “we’ll have to go to the tent and awning store to get that. I’m a fat person.”
“You said it, not me,” she chirps. I hate chirps. “But I was thinking it.”
Smug. Just smug.
“And what’s the odds they’ve got a few hundred yards of pink crinoline?” I ask.
“You never can tell,” she opines.
One opines if one is smug.
“Pink?” she quickly asks.
“Blue, maybe,” I say and recoup. “I look good in blue.”
The woman is relentless.
Now I continue: “You know, we got a 54 in. waist here and a 55 in. ‘B’ cup top, you know.”
“Oh,” she says just about falling off her tread, “So now we’re bragging.”
And by now, another woman whose also not communing with her body and who has also become bored with hip poking chimes in and adds: “Yes, so now we’re bragging we are.”
Look, one bad chime is worth two chirps, isn’t it?
“O.K., ‘A’ cup,” I says.
Damn nitpickers. Like how many tutus have they sized up for fat people?” And bra sizes? Hey, I haven’t a clue any more. Everything I’ve unwrapped lately falls down to the navel. Those old meat balloons don’t soar; they plunge like pool balls in tube socks and crash down on old stretch mark bellies. And then they hang there, these long thin sacks with hard bulbous dangly cue ball ends.
Ouch! Makes you shudder.
I still remember pert. Pert is good. I still remember nipples. Nipples are good. And I really remember pert hard upthrusted nipples. Droop is bad. Swinging droopy is badder. Swing droop dropping down on scarred bellies kills even Viagra. You just can’t hide everything.
Some images burn forever.
So I continue: “Can you sew it,” I ask, “given we get a few hundred yards of crinoline?”
Now we’re doing a popular breathing exercise entitled cat-coughing-up-his-fur-ball. And most of the class, minus treaders, are wheezing and sucking in air and barking and honking out and taking this noisy opportunity to expel flatus.
“Of course,” she says, and she goes on airily walking, even elevating her treadmill bed up to .5 inches of incline just to flip me a horrendous symbolic bird.
So I expel my fur ball and go on to the stationary bike and pedal up a response.
“Now,” I ask, “with these tutus, do I wear a cup like in Karate or something?”
And little miss 40-minute miler says, “No, that’s where you stuff the towel.”
“I thought so,” I said, “those ballet boys can’t all be hung like Man-o-War. I mean you go to the ballet and these Nancy boys all jump around with crotches so big you think they put their TV Dinner tray inside. I mean a person could eat an entire leg of lamb off the shelf of some of them. And it doesn’t compute, really. These guys are not macho bull fighters but are little dudes dancing around all flitty and jumpy and posing and spinning and waving and whooshing. Criminy, you could eat a New York pizza off the crotch of some of them. It’s bizarre.”
“That’s true,” says Miss Buttinsky who has lost touch not only with her body but with the body of most of the known universe to boot. And her fur ball’s still there and stuck forever.
“So I’ll just stuff a towel,” I says. You can’t argue. Five failed marriages will tell you: don’t argue.
“If you have to,” says Miss Treadmill of 1936 and she wiggles a little, like some goofy comical Olympic racewalker; you know how stupid they look; and she strides on out real cool just to throw out another virtual bird my way and score yet another point.
I pedal like hell.
“I think I ought to do Swan Lake,” I says. “It’s well known and I’ve seen the damn thing for at least the last 150 winters.”
“Good choice,” she says, wiping a wisp, a mere hint, an ever so little droplet, of perspiration off her brow.
Oh, oh, that’s a great big huge tell.
Girls from 1936 don’t sweat.
They don’t crap; they don’t piss; they don’t sweat; hell, they don’t menstruate; they eat like tiny birds; they got pure sweet breath and clean white teeth and always smell nice even after consuming huge quantities of bean dip and beer. Most of all, and most important of all, they do not, I repeat, do NOT gross out their fellow man and the entire universe by ugh! actually and visibly sweating.
I sometimes thank the Lord above this sick generation is dying out and going permanently away. After all, where was it written nice ladies can’t sweat? Or fart for that matter? Is that what made them all so mean? Is that what made them so goddam quippy shitty snotty? And always remember, this was the generation that tried to bring grace, dignity, class and charm to the blow job.
Oh, titter titter. Extend the one little pinky finger, cant that gross penis with index and middle fingers whee! just so, wet your lips, look long and deep and into the eyes, smile and chow down like a kid licking a lollipop on a stick at the zoo … Hey, lady, what a waste. Get on with it. Men never wanted Emily Post at this particular soiree; they want Linda Lovelace with her dead gag reflex and a slick deep throat and her bobble head running on a go-fast battery like an insane steam piston. Who cares if she sweats like a pig and smells like a hog and has hair in her armpits? She does the job. Men want her working like an engine horse and sucking up their toes from inside out. Baby, screw the niceties, let’s get it ON.
Instead, Miss 1936 brings along napkins and those damn toilettes wrapped in alcohol.
Oh, sure, that’s memory talking, and bitterness, and more old man nostalgia, and a little quibble too, against the women of my own generation.
Once more, this was before the Sixties and all that was far away and in another land. Paris, I think it was with a little blonde hooker with black hair in the pits and between her legs and rancid as a buffalo. The girl, however, could work. Near Moulin Rouge, it was. But that WAS another land.
O.K., so now I’m contacted to be tutued and blued and gaffed. Old age ain’t for sissies. So now I gotta pick a part. In the ballet, I mean.
“I oughta do The Swan,” I say.
By now, Miss Tread is sucking down some imported French waters and fanning her brow and breathing steady and deep and generally having this sacred little communion with her body, which has betrayed her and dared to sweat. Either that or she’s got gas again. Christ, this lady can clear a room with her pelvic thrust accidental letflys during kitty-kat-arching and sway-back-mare droop fall downs.
FFFFFfffft! And the whole room’s a gas chamber.
It’ll tear your eyes worse than slicing onions.
“Swan’s good,” she says. “A good part for you.”
“Yeah,” I agree. What the hell does she know? I goes on her empty tread, kick up the speed, heighten the elevation, lay in one tough killer cardiac Type “A” personality do-or-die program guaranteed to send you home healthy or off to the emergency room.
And bam! I’m running and Miss Tread hikes over to some rubberband training station which is about as effective as Charles Atlas’ Dynamic Tension. Why, there’s more work unwrapping six Clark bars than in those rubbers.
Which reminds me of stuff back in Paris I’d better skip.
So I continue: “Yeah, The Swan’s the part. I can run with that. You know, I flutter good.”
“Flutter?” she asks.
“What?” asks Miss Buttinski whose arching and drooping.
“Flut,” I shout. “I do good flut.”
The women look at each other. I don’t help. I just keep a straight face. Look real dead serious. Hunker right on down on that killer infarcter program. Also, we’re all separated now and I’m working hard and hearing impaired seniors don’t always communicate well, especially if they are busily tuning into their bodies and communing and such. Which we weren’t.
“Flut.” I shout. “Flutflutflutflut!” I shout even louder.
“Oh,” Miss Butinski says.
“Swans do need to flutter,” Miss Tread calls back.
“Damn straight,” I says.
So it’s settled. She sews; I get tutued; and not so incidentally blued; and when fall comes and there’s local ballet tryouts to fill out the semi pro Swan Lakers who always come to town, I go gaffed up and with my TV tray stuffed down my crotch and two towels plunked in between and all ‘A’ cupped and audition for the role of The Swan in Swan Lake.
Damn, settling all that pretty near took one damn whole exercise session.
Only thing left is tippy toe with flut.
Tippy toe is a whole new world.
Elephants don’t do point. So we’ll just skip that. Swan Lake will have to work around it. The choreographer will have to make allowances.
Flut will fly. Superior flut will win out.
So I ask the brain trust twins: “You know any flut specialists?”
And Miss Tread, caught off guard for the first time this whole session, goes “Huh?” all dumbo like.
And I says, “Flut! Flut! You know any flutologists?” Persons conversant in the arts of flut? Those coach a flut guys?”
And she wrinkles her brow and cocks an eye and brings a finger upside her nose like she could actually think. It’s so obvious this woman never heard of Linda Lovelace and if she did, she wouldn’t like her, much less the good work she does. The disdain is just there and present and showing all up like Mt. Everest; it’s that damn rhino in the living room nobody talks about.
“I think you’re on your own there,” she says.
And she smiles and disappears into the restroom to splash cool water upon her recently sweat sullied brow. Maybe perhaps also to dash deodorant under her moisty pitted arms and so fill the air with poofs of perfume which cause us allergic types to wheeze and youngsters to discover new substances to huff.
And that perfume smell? It’d gag Linda.
“Damn straight,” I mumble as I grind the goddam cardiac program right into the ground, just kick the groin right the hell out of it.
“Damn straight,” I say after I hit the finish line of Infarct Omega and jump off victorious and crash into a chair to relax and to hock up some fur balls.
And then while I’m recovering breath and body, and life, while slathering sweat all over hell’s half acre and stinking large and loving it and not so quietly and farting wide, hey, not giving not one hoot for all of it, I think to myself:
“Every woman I ever lusted after is already dead or presently wearing diapers.”
What a downer.
Where did THAT come from?
What a hell of an end thought.
And right there and right then, I did the most wonderful flut ever. Started as a shudder and then went flut.
It was magnificent.
I reached down deep inside and found the Chi of my life force and the move came to me in profound and perfect clarity.
I bang! jumped up and did one perfect flut all gorgeous and pretty: It was a super splendiferous flut with lettuce tomato and mayo.
Next season’s Swan was ready, man, totally and absolutely ready.
I got the move…
Other dance auditioners, give your soul to god because this year the part of Swan is taken.
That’s for damn sure.
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