There I stood.
Workout gloves tightly wound around my hands. Towel draped across my shoulder. Left foot tapping away impatiently. See, this woman was sitting on my wide-chest press machine thingamabob and wasn’t using it.
Instead, she was blathering away to superstar basketball player Magic Johnson.
I asked her, “How many sets do you have left?”
She said, “Oh! I’m finished, but-”
Magic Johnson said, “Yeah, but I was going to use it next…”
Then, a huge silence. Normally at the gym, Magic’s line was usually followed up with a pause in the action and then a second sentence that was something like, “Do you want to work in?” or “We can share” or “Go ahead, we’ll pump iron together!”
But Magic Johnson doesn’t like to work in.
Let’s go back a few hours to when Magic Johnson woke up this morning. He sat at the foot of his massive bed, looking out across his massive property, thinking about all the movie theaters and businesses and vegan ice cream shops and gyms he’s financed and then looked to his wall of old-school magazine covers where he’d been featured. The good ol’ days had started to fall behind. He was starting to forget. He was feeling like he needed some good old fashioned fan-love.
So he decided to work-out at the Magic Johnson 24 Hour Fitness in Encino, California.
On his way to the gym, in his luxurious car, Magic thought to himself about the kind of work-out he hoped he’d have. Maybe some cardio, weight machines, and talking. Talking to his fans. That’s what he really wanted. That’s what he was hoping for. That would get him out of this rut.
When he walked in the front door of his club, the staff went agro. No one had warned them that the King was arriving. No one had prepared anything for his arrival. Yet Magic smiled genially and shared stories from his heyday, and went out onto the floor and started to talk to-, er, work-out.
Two hours and forty-five mini-conversations lately, Magic Johnson was sitting near the wide-chest press machine, talking up an African-American woman who was far more interested in Magic Johnson than making her chest, any wider or pressed.
And then, the white boy approached.
“How many more sets do you have left?” he asked.
The woman responded that she was pretty much done, but Magic wasn’t going to let this white boy ruin his game and, at the same time, use a machine that Magic had obviously planned to use next.
“Yeah,” said Magic. “But I was going to use it next.”
And then, there was a silence. Normal weight-room etiquette was that Magic’s next line should be something like, “But you can work in if you want” or “We could lift together if you want” but instead it was deathly quiet silence.
The white boy looked at the pair, waiting.
Eventually, he wasn’t going to let things fall to the wayside… He wasn’t going to let his workout schedule get ruined by a man who some have called the greatest basketball player on the face of the earth.
“Mind if I work in,” asked the white boy.
Another long bit of silence.
“Sorta on a time crunch,” said Magic Johnson. “Sorry!”
Like I said — Magic Johnson, a world reknowned athlete who periodically goes to a public gym to talk to his fans over the course of 5 hours, doesn’t like to work in.
Don’t ask me why — he just doesn’t.