He was a quiet guy. The type of guy you pictured one day taking a gun out and going on a shooting rampage. He never spoke, just came to the gym in his dull, dingy attire and quietly lifted. From what I saw he was a forty something year old guy, who was overweight and worked out somewhat to keep in shape. Although he never bothered anyone I noticed that he was the butt of many insults and jokes in the gym, most the members had given him the name ‘Pigpen’ since no one seemed to know his real name and he never conversed with the members of the gym.
He was quite simply an enigma in the gym.
I was young, had been lifting for about 4 years or so, thought I knew everything, thought steroids were evil, but I was enthusiastic and trained harder than the average gym goer. Our gym, although well equipped, was at the heart a fitness club. Most the members were more concerned with their hair, and clothing, being coordinated for the gym social scene. Pigpen simply stuck out like sore thumb, I thought many times that he may know the things people said about him, it was obvious to me so I figured he must pick up on it. The members were cruel, a snicker here, a pinched nose there, all in jest of the quiet guy in his drab, baggy clothing. I didn’t see it as funny, more like insecure bullying, but Pigpen simply ignored it and kept on.
The owner was a friend of mine named Chris. He and I had worked together at another gym, he had been a competitive bodybuilder, but had since gone into the gym business and had a side business refurbishing homes. I usually spoke to Chris a couple times a week when I saw him, usually on the way out after I had finished my workout.
One such evening I was at the front desk talking with Chris and some of the front desk staff. Pigpen was walking by us to leave the gym, as he grasped the handle for the door, one of the staff made a coughing gesture and under his breath said “PIGPEN!”.
Pigpen didn’t ever flinch but I saw his eyes cut to his right, and I knew he definitely heard it, he walked out the door without even a hitch.
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