Planet Witless.

I joined this gym recently because it was too cheap to pass up. It's called Planet Fitness, and it's about 6 minutes from my office. For ten bucks a month, I figured that even if I only get over there three times a month it would still be worth it. Yort joined too, although a bit more grudgingly than I did. Still, we've managed to do OK and go at least once a week so far. It's harder than it sounds because we're only in the office three days a week since we work remotely the other two days.

The first time I went, when I got back to the office I realized I left my combination lock hanging open on the locker because I'm an idiot. On a return visit, I asked the counter girl if she had any locks in the Lost & Found and she pulled out three. She looked at me and said, "I'm not sure how you'll know which one is yours." I looked up to see if she was kidding, but she wasn't, so I said, "Um, I'll open it?" She allowed that this was a good way to figure out which one was mine, and the second one I tried opened.

My combination is a pretty easy one, and I will tell it to you now since it's integral to this story. It's 1-3-17. There. Now you can steal all my shit while I'm working out. Take my blackberry, will you? I have pager duty this week.

So today, Yort and I headed to the gym around 12:30. We supposedly get an hour for lunch, but on most days we end up taking a ten minute break and eating at our desks, so we figure on the days we actually make it out of the building we can stretch it a bit. Normally we can work out, grab a shower and be back at the office in about 60 minutes.

The locker room is kind of cramped, and there are only a handful of long lockers. Most of them are more like cubbyholes with doors. The long lockers are popular, and the majority of the time when you open them, they are full of people's stuff. I guess those people are either more trusting than I am, or don't have anything worth stealing. After checking three, I get lucky and find an empty one near the corner. I change into my gym clothes, lock up all my stuff and get through a pretty good workout. After we're done, I decide I'm going to grab a quick shower. Yort didn't break a sweat because he is apparently more efficient than I am, so he just gets dressed and goes outside to wait.

I stuff my gym clothes in my bag, and because I'm not one of those free-dangle dudes who just walks around stark naked, I wrap my towel around me. I lock up my stuff and head for the shower. The thing about the towel is, the gym doesn't provide them so you have to bring your own. Last time, I brought a bath towel from home, but my wife buys these giant fluffy white things that you need a suitcase to carry around, and it didn't fit well in my small duffel. This time, I rooted around in the bottom of the closet and opted for a blue towel I found in the back that is closer in size to a large-ish hand towel. It barely covers my ass, in other words, and when I wrap it around me, it looks sorta like a mini skirt with a slit in it. It's very sexy.

After my shower, I dry off and wrap my towel back around my waist and go to my locker. Only problem is, the frigging lock won't open. I try it ten times. 1-3-17. Did I go past the three? Let me try again. 1-3-17. Wait, am I supposed to go past it twice? I forget. Or is it 3-1-17? No, I can't be that brain damaged. I just opened this fucking thing 5 minutes ago. I can feel it, and it wants to open. On the last number it drops down, but then won't disengage.

I look around to make sure I've got the right locker. I do. I open the lockers to either side, and they are both full of stuff. I wonder for a second if I've picked up someone else's lock that was sitting on the bench. Unlikely, but you never know. The place is crowded. I try it a few more times. I curse MasterLock and their shitty quality control.

Finally, after I'm standing there like an idiot in my terry cloth miniskirt for about ten minutes screwing with this lock, this nice old guy next to me says, "Do you want me to try?" I tell him the combination, feeling like a freshman on the first day of school, except it's more like one of those dreams where you show up for class and realize you're naked. He tries it and fails too. So now there's about three naked guys giving me suggestions. One guy who is just about dressed to leave says, "I'm on my way out -- you want me to tell the guy at the front desk? I don't think you want to go out there like that." I agree that it's probably not the best idea. So he leaves, and help is imminent.

Ten minutes later, I'm still standing there and there's exactly nobody from the front desk showing up. I'm getting tired of holding my towel closed with one hand, so I sit down on the bench. The towel is really short, so I sit with my legs pressed together like a grade school girl, trying to make sure my junk doesn't fall out. Another guy gets ready to leave, and as he passes me, I ask him to tell the front desk to send someone in.

This time it works, and they send in a kid with bolt cutters. I stand up. He comes over to the locker and says, "You the guy who needs the lock cut off?" I affirm that this is so, and he asks me for the combination. I tell him, and he tries it. "If it opens, I'll have to kill you," I say. Lucky for him, it didn't.

At this point, there doesn't seem to be any other recourse. Yort has been outside waiting by the car for at least twenty minutes, I'm late for work, and I have no dignity left. "You're sure you want me to cut the lock off?" the kid asks. "Yeah," I reply. "It won't be the first six bucks I've wasted."

He hits it with the bolt cutters, and it falls open, and I can finally get dressed and get to work.

Or I could have, if the locker hadn't been full of someone else's shit.

He looks at my confused expression, then says, "That's not your stuff, is it?" "Oh man," I say, feeling my face turn beet red. He just stares at me for a few seconds, and though I've never believed in telepathy until today, I clearly hear his thoughts. You are a fucking idiot, he thinks loudly. Oh yes, definitely, I think back, then look around.

My locker is on the exact opposite corner of the locker room. I slowly realize that the shower area has two entrances, and I walked into one, and after my shower, I walked out of the other. The identical lockers are on all four walls, and somehow I got turned around. Yes, I managed to get lost in a 15' x 15' room. I had simply walked out of the shower, and made a beeline for the first locked locker in the corner that I saw.

I get dressed, then I pay the counter guy six bucks to replace the lock of the poor unknown bastard who now needs to memorize a new combination.

As I am leaving, some guy says, "Hey, make sure you get into the right car!"

I think I'm going to work out at home from now on.


  1. Carolyn7:43 PM

    I got back to the airport after a week of vacation and had lost my car. I had to call security and we drove all through the lot pressing the panic button on the remote until my car lit up. I had unknowingly gone in the opposite direction when I got off the shuttle....

  2. Anonymous8:00 PM

    Oh Johnny, stories like this make me feel like I'm not the only one.

    I'm pretty sure I would have just put on the other person's stuff rather than admit what I'd done. Except the underwear. That would have been a commando day.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. LMAO. I thought I was the only dumbass that did stupid shit like this. I'm with Shine on this one. I'd have totally played it off like it was my stuff.

  5. Funny thing-this story. I just happened by a Planet Fitness on my way home from work today. I had taken an alternate route because it's my turn to bring the birthday cake for tomorrow's party (yay me!)

    Anyhow--I thought what a great idea--cheap, not really out of the way, I'll save the membership cost in EZ-Pass going the alternate route...sweet!

    Not so much now--you have put the fear of embarrassment in me. How's that for an excuse?!?!


  6. KMarie10:25 PM

    That's classic, JV!

    I've gone to the wrong car on more than one occasion.

  7. KidSister10:27 PM

    Once when my car wasn't where I thought it was, I autmatically assumed it was stolen. I even called my husband to come get me, then I realized my car was in the next aisle... meanwhile, I'm sure people noticed the panicked idiot running all over the parking lot...

  8. Hahahahahahaha!

    When i was in New York I rented a room in a sketchy Brooklyn suburb for 3 days. I had just arrived at the apartment and met the room mate and been given a key. She told me that you had to jimmy the key in the door a bit.

    I was starving so i went out in search for some food. I picked up some Subway and headed back into the apartment block i found the apartment and tried to unlock the door. I jimmyed it as i was told but no luck. I knock on the door. No answer. I kept trying and knocking for about 20mins. I was scared and frustrated. I was in a foreign city by myself and all my belongings were behind that solid wood door.

    Just as I was considering climbing the fire escape, i had a feeling that the entrance to the apartment block looked a little different to one i entered. So i decided to walk out and down the street i bit just to check.

    I had gone into n.o 98 instead of 89! Doh! They all look the same!

  9. i'm with shine... things like this make me feel a little sane.

    i drove my dads car to school one day. i got back in it after class wondering why it was unlocked. then i sat there in awe as i thought to myself "who took my bag of books? why are there running shoes and gym shorts in my backseat? why does the steering wheel say VW when my dad drives a lincoln?"

    ohhhhh. wrong car. whoops. life's hard.

  10. Anonymous2:02 AM

    this made me laugh so hard my stomach hurt, i also think i may have woken up my roommate.

  11. OMG - I am totally with the others - I would have said "thanks, man!" and just left $6 in the locker!

    Back when I was in college, I was rushing from campus to work. I drove into the parking lot, turned off the car, and ran inside so I wouldn't be late. After my shift, I went back out and my car wouldn't start. No clicking noise, so not the battery. I ended up calling my step-dad to come look at the car - which he did, though it was at least a 1/2 hour trip at rush hour to get there.

    He got in the car and immediately discovered that I had not put shifted it to "Park" when I stopped. Talk about a "duh!" moment!!

  12. I'm glad I'm not alone here. Several years ago my wife and I were doing some last minute Christmas shopping at the mall. We went into one of the big anchor stores, and noted the displays around the door so we'd make sure we went out the correct door later.

    Well, 2 hours later, we finished shopping, walked through the store, saw our display where we'd left it, and headed out. No car. Nowhere to be seen. I ran up and down 3 aisles either way thinking I'd miscounted. Nope, the damn thing was gone.

    I went in and talked to security, and they said they'd help me in 2 minutes to fill out a report. That's when my wife looked across the way and saw an identical display on the opposite end of the store. Yes, like others, I'd gone out the wrong side. Thankfully our car was right where we'd left it. That or someone had broken in, moved it, and then set up an identical display to throw us off. I'd almost rather think that's what happened.

  13. Hahahahaha, thank god you had the towel!

  14. I got ya bolt cutter right here...

  15. Oh, man, that had to be the worst feeling when you saw it wasn't your locker. It reminds me of that bit in Douglas Adams' Long Tea Time of the Soul where the guy is eating some crackers and realizes they're someone else's.

    Great post JV.

  16. I'm so glad you made this post-now I know I'm not the only one who does shit like that. The problem is: I do that stuff All The Time. I'm forever losing my car in a parking structure, not remembering which locker is mine at the gym, and having a hell of time finding the right door leaving a store. I'm a girl who needs a personal GPS.
    Thanks for the laughs!

  17. OMG Jv... SOO funny... I laughed so hard at work I spit my grapefruit juice all over my computer! What's even funnier is that they are just opening a Planet Fitness by my job and I was seriously considering joining. hey.. for 10 bucks a month? Just in my budget... LOL Good to know about the shower situation. I'll be sure to make a special mark on my locker - like how people tie a ribbon on their luggage? Yeah.. just look for the hotpink and puke green ribbon on the locker.. that's mine!

    Thanks for sharing.. you're wonderful!

  18. Oh this just brightened my life right up!! That is hilarious. And I wish I could simply laugh at you, but this is a with you laughter moment. I know I would have done that EXACT thing.

  19. It's just as funny reading about it the second time around, JV. Holy crap. I didn't stop laughing all afternoon yesterday after you told me.

    Unrelated P.S. That was a mini sombrero in that picture. I couldn't believe how small it was. I immediately had to put it on. Then when you asked me if there was a picture of me wearing a sombrero, I had to show it to you. Also I had just finished drinking a bellini and some wine so I mean...possibly some glassy eyes there.

    Unrelated P.P.S. I read through all your comments on your anniversary post. Amazing! You mean so much to so many people who don't even know you! I want to tell all of them how right they are! You're awesome in writing and in real life. Happy blogiversary. F*cking come to Cleveland. We'll go bowling.

  20. Oh my god...I needed that laugh. Thanks! And somehow...now I have this scene playing in my mind:


  21. "Or I could have, if the locker hadn't been full of someone else's shit."

    That's the money line. That's the one that made me spew coffee into my keyboard, fall out of my chair, and go into spasms of laughter; while everyone around me is thinking of me in a white coat and rubber room.

    I don't care who you are - that there was funny.

    And yes, I too am an idiot and have done the same kind of stupid shit. ...like the time I locked myself out of my car.

    While it was running.

    At the curb.

    At the airport drop off.

    With all the luggage still in it.

  22. Ouch. Looking stupid in front of strangers is it's own kind of hell.

    When I was little, I would greet my dad by running up to him and slapping him as hard as I could wherever I could reach - usually around the knee, or as I grew, the thigh. One Sunday morning at church, I decided to sneak up and get him from behind. As I was swinging, he turned...I got his backside...and it WASN'T MY DAD! I was speechless with mortification. I've made other embarrassing mistakes, but that was the worst.

  23. I do shit like that all the time! Everyone at you gym does, too. Go back - be proud. Laugh it off!

  24. holy crap! that made me laugh so much, i actually snorted! at work! haha!
    i love, LOVE reading your stories - they always have a way of cheering me up!
    oh and congratulations on the 5 years! i don't know how i stumbled onto the jc penney story but that's the one that brought me over to your blog. yours is the only blog i read and i think i read all of your posts from the past. the 'kitty porn' post brings me to tears from laughing so hard every time i read it - it's just priceless!

  25. I thought this stuff happened only to you, until I read the other comments. Then I realized that whenever I used my husband's car, which was a different color, I ALWAYS thought it had been stolen the first few minutes I go looking for it. Then, when I'm ready to hit the key remote to make it beep and see it's a different one, then I know.

  26. That story is just divine.

  27. Carolyn, I've done that too.

    Shine, I thought about it, but it was a suit, and I didn't have a wedding, funeral or interview to go to, so that was out.

    Jae, don't blame me! Go join the gym. You won't regret it. OK, you will, but still. Do it.

    Kid sister, I thought my car was stolen once too. I've also tried to get into the wrong car. (in my defense, same year, model and color)

    Sarah Jane (great genesis song, btw) that would have been so awesome if someone was home.

    Ginger Mandy, I jumped in a car once that that someone in the passenger seat. Awk. Ward.

    Jen, I did that once with my car on a hill. I came out and it was about 50 feet from where I parked it, up against a guardrail. Awesome.

    Sean, I've done the security guard ride in the little cart to find my car too. Not since highschool though.

    Mouse, having the towel was both a plus and a minus. It was way too small.

    JW, I'm seriously thinking of just adding something like a ring to my padlock.

    Gof, it's ok. Laugh AT me. I deserve it. Completely.

    Sarah, the first thing I did was text my wife, and the second thing I did was IM you, because I knew you'd laugh your ass off at my expense. Re: The sombrero picture -- I have a pic of anne and her friend in GIANT ones -- that's what I expected. But the mini one was awesome too. It looks like birthday hat. I still have to write the bowling story. I left everyone hanging.

    Diana, that's it!! That's exactly it. Thanks. Now everyone has a great visual.

    Roy, oh man. That sucks. At least there wasn't a baby in the car.

    KC, I did that to a girl once in college -- thought it was a friend of mine (it wasn't) and I smacked her a good one on the ass. It was embarrassing.

    Ira, Anhara, thanks!

  28. Excellent! So, so funny!!

  29. LOL! That is totally the kind of thing that would happen to me too. I'm with everybody else who can totally sympathize. But I try to surround myself with friends who will notice when I'm being a space cadet and help protect me from severe beet-rededness. Maybe you need to get a new friend?

  30. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha aaaa
    We've all been there although that was a better one than most..

  31. Jen A.9:54 AM

    Oh my god that is so funny. I feel for you I really do but that gave me a good laugh. Thanks for sharing. Did you cancel your membership?

  32. Anonymous1:36 PM

    Hand to GOD, I just laughed so loud and long, with tears streaming down my face, my coworkers came over to check on me. And find out what I was doing that clearly didn't involve work. You are amazing.

  33. LMAO!!! I'm so glad I'm not alone! On more than one occasion I have believed that my car had been stolen because I forget which level I park on from day to day!

  34. So, so, so funny. And the comments are funny too! Love it!

  35. That's okay...I get anxious when I park in a parking garage for that exact reason. I was feeling like crap today, but your story made me feel a little better. Thanks!

  36. That was hilarious. I'm crying, I'm laughing so hard. Maybe you should get a sticker to put on the back of your new lock...to use at your new gym. Becuase you're never going back there, right?

  37. I have to. It's ten bucks a month! Their motto is "The Judgement Free Zone" -- so I will put that to the test. They can't judge me just because I'm stupid.

  38. Hysterical! And yet one more reason I can add to the list of why NOT to go to the gym. Thanks!

  39. Anonymous1:59 PM

    F'n classic!

  40. This is pretty funny! Locker fail!

  41. Damn, you're funny dude. I'm going to start reading your blog.

  42. LoneAmaruq3:49 AM

    Johnny Virgil I don't know how you do it but somehow you are more awesome than me. Write a book and I will definitely buy it. I am humbled by the way you string words together and transform the mundane into the interesting and intriging, do you see everything in this light? Or is this just how you present it to us?

  43. Anonymous5:32 PM

    Oh JV you sexy beast. This story is one of many that make me go back and read your archives when I haven't had time to get to it in a long time.

    Going to that extent to open the wrong locker is funny. The fact that you're standing there in your blue terry miniskirt is hysterical!! Add to that the other naked men standing around giving you advice and it's enough to make me squirt diet coke out my nose.

    I can't remember when I found your blog but I'm really glad I did. Thanks for all the laughs.