Now that COVID hysteria has passed, we can reflect on some of the most absurd interventions. Outside the gym, I have a favorite I’ve experienced personally and one I’ve only read about.
When I went to the dentist in January 2022, the office required that I wear a mask while waiting for my appointment … wait until they get a load of what’s happening in the back! I have only read about a rule for high school wrestling in Illinois, I believe, where after the competitors finished climbing all over each other for several minutes, they were not allowed to shake hands at the end of the match.
At the gym, I have to give honorable mention to blocking off the showers, because washing off sweat and dirt during a pandemic is clearly contraindicated. In any event, here are my top three:
1. In the aerobics room, circles were marked on the floor in blue tape, I guess to indicate personal space for social distancing. Do people normally stumble around during aerobics class and bang into each other? Anyway, this is an indoor room full of people breathing heavily with exertion. No word on how social distancing was maintained after the class was over and members exited through the single set of doors. The biggest problem is that this tape is really sticky and I don’t know how the gym is going to eventually get this stuff off.
2. One day I strolled into the locker room and all of the benches for sitting were removed. Apparently germs won’t get you if you change your clothes and organize your stuff while seated on the ground.
3. There actually is an exercise mask designed for folks that want to simulate high altitude training and play games with their red blood cells. However, when authorities mandated masks at the gym, I don’t think artificial oxygen deprivation is what they had in mind. The grossest part was the way your mask got soggy with sweat and the individual threads of your mask started to come loose and tickle your face. I disposed of my mask after each use, but I don’t know how frequently the folks who showed up everyday in the same cloth mask washed theirs.
While there are still a few folks wearing masks at the gym, I am happy to report that members have stopped the fanatical soaking of barbells, dumbbells, and handles with the available spray bottles. Besides the puddles on the floor, I really didn’t like the times the individuals wildly fogging down everything sprayed me in the face.