As the door shut, the girl at the front desk said to Chris “I don’t understand why you even let him workout here.” Chris looked at her with a glare and said calmly “As long as I am owner he will always be welcome here…do you understand?” she replied sheepishly “yes”. Chris wasn’t finished, and I could tell he was pissed, but he kept his cool and looked at the two of them and said “That guy has been through hell and back, you need to show some fucking respect. Just because your mommy and daddy pay your bills doesn’t give you the right to judge someone you cannot understand!”. They looked completely astonished, and embarrassed, and they should have been.
I asked Chris what Pigpens deal was. Chris told us that Pigpen had been a successful guy at one time in his life, good career, was a competitive bodybuilder and had pro-potential. So I asked “what happened?” Chris replied “Life.”. As Chris went on to explain he had been raised by his father, he had no other family, his mother had died when he was only a toddler. His father had developed a rare type of cancer, he had spent every penny he could trying to get medical care for his dad and keep him comfortable, in the end his father passed and he lost a good bit of money, his wife left him, and he had to quit competition.
He went through a struggle financially after that, and never really recovered, and then about five years ago he was in a car accident and he was nearly killed, he was in a coma for several months. The insurance settlement was enormous enough to help pay for his rehab and get him financially set for life, but not to the point where he was living on the high hog, just enough to live off.
We were all floored, I was speechless, I didn’t even know what to say. Chris looked at me and said “if you ever want to know something about bodybuilding…that’s the guy to ask”.
For several weeks after that, when I saw Pigpen at the gym, I really felt bad, I didn’t even know how to look at him anymore. People still poked fun at him, and it made me upset, but I just kept my head down and trained. Then one day, I was doing chest, and Pigpen was right there doing some seated dumbbell curls, he was only using 30’s, never made sense to me how the guy looked like he was big, overweight, but big shoulders and chest, he must have weight near 280-290.
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