Saturday, December 15, 2012

Escaping Punishment: A Lazy Man's Work-out Guide

Nike's "Just do it!" just doesn't do it for me. No, I happen to be an all-pro procrastinator about physical exercise despite a long-standing membership and regular attendance at the New Orleans Athletic Club.

The grand old N.O.A.C is just ten blocks from my house, and maybe seven blocks from my office. Getting there is not the issue. It's what happens when I walk through the doors with all best intentions. So many opportunities for avoidance and delay of the inevitable greet this lazy-assed member.

C'mon inside and I'll show you.  
The N.O.A.C. library, a major distraction right off the bat. Nice big Christmas tree, comfy leather club chairs, quiet. Get my free cup of coffee? Catch up on the papers? New York Times? Wall Street Journal? Tempting.

So much history on the walls. I pause before the plaster cast of John L. Sullivan's mighty right arm, priceless relic of the Sullivan-Kilrain heavyweight championship fight of July 8, 1889 in Lamar County, Mississippi. Begin Joycean stream o' consciousness, a minor fugue on the theme of Celtic brutality: Holy Jesus, 75 rounds. Micks killing each other. Bare knuckles. Mississippi. July afternoon. Eight hours. The sun. The sun. Sweet merciful Mother of God, the sun! Blood. Kilrain near death. Sullivan trained here.  No. Uptown. Washington Avenue. The Behrman gym. Condos now. Wonder what they go for? Holy Jesus...
The obligatory male fantasy moment at the threshold of No Man's Land. Sorry, fellas, illegal spycams only beyond this point.

My goal at last, the fabled saltwater pool. Uh oh, what's this? Aquaciser ladies in session. Guess I'll hit the steamroom until they leave.


  1. A good friend who is a member and gets his haircut there told me the barber used to cut Tennessee Williams hair. That just wows me.
    Great pics. I want to go there one day myself.

  2. That would be "Mike the Barber" (no last name here to protect his privacy). Mike used to cut my hair too. A true eccentric and master of the art of barber chair talk -- politics, sports, gossip, philosophy, N.O.A.C. legend and lore, you name it. One day, about a year ago after dusting off a customer with talc, he announced: "That's it." He locked the door to his shop, walked out, and hasn't been seen since. This was after 35 years at the club -- no warning, no notice, and with a full appointment book for the rest of the day.

    We all miss Mike. I've had to make do at Supercuts. Different person every time, nice lady "haircutters" for the most part. But none of them professional barbers in the truest sense of their calling in life. Oh, well, sic transit gloria mundi again, I guess. Thanks for stopping by, Charlotte, always a pleasure. A.