Monthly Archive: July 2002

Musical interlude

I work out at the Nationwide gym. It’s a great deal, um, it’s free, you get personal trainer help on demand, fitness testing, and they have lots of great machines and free weights. (No pool.) Plus, everybody wears little name tags, so it’s easy to figure out who people are.

The only bad thing about the gym is the music. For the longest time, it was 100% oldies. Well, I remember all of the oldies because they were drilled into my head, driving around in the big conversion van in 1983. Unfortunately, these are only bad oldies… like, C-list oldies. “Hey there, Georgie girl,” the “down on South Street” song, “Everyone knows it’s Wendy,” and maybe they’ll play “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.” Oddly, the Beatles and Elvis are entirely missing from the Nationwide Wellness Center Oldies Canon.

I strongly suspect cheapness. Are obscure oldies cheaper than mainstays?

However, the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed a totally new sound. A grating, bizarre sound. It is now some kind of tribal dance music. Or occasionally a deep moody bassy song with a drum machine gone berserk. At first, I was really happy it wasn’t The Shirelles. But then I realized, hey, I don’t recognize a damn one of these songs — what’s going on? It’s got to be some kind of corporate techno! The dead giveaway, really, was this strange “California wild” female vocalist who comes in on, like, every single song, singing weird lines like “Ready, steady, go, hold my hand now!” or “One I two want three it yeah!” Honestly, is there no justice in this world?

Independence Day

July 4th has come and gone. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. As always, different people celebrate it in different ways: my brother celebrated it with foreigners in a basement club in Sydney, my friend Amy near the wildfire zones of Colorado anguished that there would be no fireworks, and the rest of my family, of course, did absolutely nothing. (At least, if they did, I wasn’t invited.)

For my part, I spent July 3rd (the traditional fireworks date in Columbus) right where I want to be, sitting on the curb on Broad Street by Veteran’s Memorial. As I explained to my odd band of co-celebrators, the lights twinkle and reflect in the glass of the Huntington building across the river. In years past, the police strung up sawhorses and depended on the good order of citizens not to go onto the bridge, since it could be dangerous to stand there. This year, there were chain link fences holding us back and a rumor that the bomb squad would have to sweep the bridge before we could cross it.

So, times have changed, and I find myself uncomfortably in a sober minority of people who take our new reality very seriously. In the last year, I’ve heard many people make tasteless jokes about terrorism, which I just can’t laugh at — because it’s real. I guess, as at funerals and in war, people have to break the tension in one way or another, but some things hit too close to home to say. I call for dignity.

I hope you enjoyed your holiday. The rest of the weekend stretches out ahead…