If Richard Simmons Can Do It, So Can I!

8 Apr

I think role models are a wonderful thing. I just don’t think one should aim too high.

Think about it. What is the point of choosing to emulate someone who is way smarter, stronger or more talented than you are? You’re just courting dashed dreams with a side order of squashed hopes.

Think of all of the disappointed young people who, after aspiring to one harebrained goal or another, ran crying to their mothers, “I’ll never be smart like Stephen Hawking!” or “I’ll never be a famous writer like Ernest Hemingway!” or “I’ll never be a champion cyclist like Lance Armstrong!”

Only to have Mother reply, “Of course you won’t, dear”.

(And she wonders why I don’t call.)

Aspiration can mean a strong desire for achievement; an ambition, but it also means the act of breathing in. You do too much of either and you’re going to hyperventilate.

I learned a long time ago that too much aspiration is a bad thing. Aiming too high is a one way path to heartache and disappointment.

Keeping these things in mind, I have very carefully searched for the ideal role model for me. I am proud to say, I have chosen Richard Simmons.

Richard has many admirable qualities. He’s just so energetic! Where does he get all of that energy? If you’ve ever watched Richard on TV you’ve probably noticed your own energy level subsiding every time Richard opens his mouth. I know I have. That’s the feeling of Richard Simmons sucking the life out of you.

If Richard Simmons can do it, so can I!

Richard Simmons is an enigma. Take his sexuality, for example. Very mysterious. Who doesn’t love a mystery?

Richard wrote a tell all book in 1999, but refused to talk about his personal life in the book. When a reporter asked him about his sexuality at a 1999 press conference, Richard (do his friends call him Dick?) responded, “Look, I’m not your average man in his fifties. My persona was always what a man was never supposed to be: outrageous, gregarious, crazy, silly, funny.” Later he added, “You have to understand I was not ever close to men.”

Uh huh.

Way to keep em guessing, Richard! Color me mystified. And impressed!

I can’t believe I wasted all of that time and energy with that whole “coming out” thing when instead, like Richard, with a few deftly worded phrases, I could have just confused everyone forever.

From now on, when faced with an important decision like whether or not to reveal my sexuality, I will just ask myself, “What would Richard Simmons do?” (WWRSD?) Whatever answer comes back, that’s what I will do.

Mystifying Richard Simmons


If Richard Simmons can do it, so can I!

I think Richard Simmons’ most admirable quality–and the best reason to select him as my role model, is the way he conducts himself in airports.

Richard was in the Phoenix airport in March 2004. Another person in the airport–clearly an annoying man if ever there was one, saw Richard and called out, “Look, Richard Simmons. Drop your bags, lets rock to the 50s!”

Richard walked over to the man and said, “It’s not nice to make fun of people with issues.” To drive home the whole “issues” point, Richard then slapped the annoying man right in the face.

I so know where Richard was coming from.

People who hang out in airports are really annoying. They speak loudly into cell phones. They don’t discipline their children. They fall asleep and drool and snore. They occupy the bar stools way too long while I have to wait to be seated in the only decent bar at BWI.

Someone needs to slap the whole flippin’ lot of them!

A few years ago, while I was waiting by the gate to take a plane home from a particularly grueling business trip, I found myself sitting back to back with a couple who, for reasons known only to them, were reenacting, from memory,whole scenes from the movie Coal Miners Daughter. Complete with accents:

She: I ain’t getting in that thing. It looks like something from Mars!

He: Girl, what the hell do you know about Mars? I bet you ain’t never been outside the mouth of this holler.

She: I know I ain’t getting in that thing. If you like it so much you can walk me home.

He: Oh, Loretta, them pies ain’t the only thing salty about you. Wait a minute, I’m a comin’…

On and on it went. I didn’t wait around for the singing parts.

Damn, I wanted to slap those people.

I should say, I actually like that movie very much. I just didn’t appreciate the version performed by The Gate 28 Players.

Another time I was waiting for people to disembark from a plane so I could board. A mother was dragging her screeching four year old down the jet way. As soon as they got into the terminal, the screaming banshee of a kid threw herself face down on the carpet, shrieking at the top of her amazingly powerful little lungs. The mother, in a bizarre act of anti-parenting left the child there and proceeded down the concourse, leaving the rest of us to enjoy her child’s unwavering high pitched wailing.

I am of the opinion that unattended screaming children in airports should be treated like unattended packages–men in special suits should spirit them away and discreetly blow them up.

Or, at the very least, faced with someone else’s screaming child, I should be free to slap somebody.

Now that I have him as my new role model, I know that if Richard Simmons can do it, then so can I!

I think you can see why I have warmly embraced Richard Simmons as my new role model. It will mean big changes, but nothing too big.

I can’t wait to introduce the new “Richardized” me to my friends and colleagues at the office!

Casual Fridays will never be the same again!

I can only imagine what this will do for my career!

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