Okay, I renounced the prize money, right? Because after having cheated in, I counted, five different ways for three months, I not only lost a larger percentage of body mass than anyone else, I also achieved a kind of moral nirvana in which I became more honest and true to principle than anyone else in the contest at least and probably the entire country. And once again all because of horseracing, the sport of spotless saints.
At the "awards" "banquet," I found out from the hastily appointed leader of this farcical affair (a sweet, harmless boy who should never have been saddled with this nightmare--he hardly qualifies as a Gym Person, and it is my hope that he will escape before he becomes... Like The Others) that even had I not lost a single pound during that final ten days when I ramped up the cheating to heights never before achieved except by jockeys who are dead today, I still would have beaten Slick. I had only to maintain. So no spitting, no hotbox, no evil, cynical blood donating, no renal failure. When I heard that and thought about the chunk of change I was giving up in refusing to sign the purity pledge, I almost collapsed, and not just because all I'd had to eat that day were a couple loaves of bread and a pineapple and a turkey. I thought I would have to spend the rest of my life kicking myself. But I was very wrong in this surmise. In fact, I have never before been so richly rewarded for momentarily declining to indulge in the delicious falsehoods that are my usual fare. To say I dodged a bullet would be a crime not so much because "dodged a bullet" is a cliché but because it would be such a monstrous understatement.
This post is about what happened at the potluck awards banquet.
First, here is all the bad stuff I nipped neatly around:
*The feeble opener: they announced that they'd changed the rules. Now instead of a first place winner and a second place winner, there would be an overall male winner and an overall female winner. Translation? No glory whatsoever. I could've shambled along in low gear the whole way and been two points behind Slick and still won top honors. Pa to the thetic.
*The bombshell: They announced that they weren't going to award cash prizes. Apparently, any prize over $600 they have to fill out forms with the IRS and you have to report it on your tax return. So why didn't they give the first place winner $600 and $150 worth of Rice-a-Roni? Why didn't they give the second place winner $350 as per the original contract? Because they are a bunch of shifty double crossing GYM PEOPLE, that's why! I shouldn't have trusted a word they said from the get-go!
*The nuclear warhead: the "prize" to the first place winners, plural, male and female, was nine months free GYM MEMBERSHIP and a few hours of time in the company of your choice of the know-nothing personal trainers (Earlton excepted from the know-nothing class). I could have colleagued with Satan and signed their purity pledge. Then I'd've won nine months more of going to Step, Jump and Pump and PowerJamz "classes." Nine months of being told to "engage your core." Nine months of looking at other patrons' CoolerThanThou steel water bottles. Nine months of yogablab, which is Hindi translated into English and then re-translated into new millennium Americanese about breath. I don't want to listen to you tell me to listen to my breath, Gym People. I don't want to hear you say the word "core" or the word "breath." I don't want to hear you tell me to "take it to a march, take the march to the right, now give me a knee for four! Grapevine left!" I don't want to hear you Gym People. I don't want to hear you. Ever. Again. (Earlton excepted. I love Earlton.)
Next, great stuff that happened!
* My friend won! My friend (who didn't cheat in any of the five ways or any other ways that I know of) won FIRST PRIZE! And my friend likes the Gym and the Gym People--all of them, not just Earlton! So the nine months plus training sessions are actually an okay prize, though, of course, bullshit compared to the $350 that would've been the prize had the doublecrossing bastards stuck with the original contract we all signed.
* My friend and I had the wrong guy pegged as Slick! The real Slick was not the demonic blancmange I had been thinking, but this totally inoffensive quiet chappy with a ponytail who never made a moment's trouble for anybody. The other Slick was also pretty inoffensive and quiet and also made no trouble, but somehow the difference in haircuts enabled me to pile on the hate for the imposter Slick. Bizarre, and probably the result of decreased lipids to the brain.
* A little consolation prize: I signed up to bring a quiche to the "awards" "banquet", but the quiche in Q refused to set up in the oven despite the fact that I left it in a full 40 minutes longer than it said to in the recipe. Which meant that I brought something that looked delicious and all Martha Stewart but that nobody obsessed with healthy eating could touch, since it was essentially a panful of lightly browned raw eggs. So I, the purest of conscience and the paragon of low bodymass, wronged, deprived of my prize by the throngs of lesser-thans surrounding me, I at last revenged myself by eating everybody else's food. And I did not have to share my own perfect food with the tiresome children and significant others of a bunch of low-percentile gobblers of steel-cut oats who could not reduce their body mass if they had both hands tied behind their back and their hair was on fire. I went home with my quiche unmolested and put it back in the oven and my friend the prizewinner and I ate a pile of it while we watched the debates and drank elephant liquor (recommended). Then for the next several days I and my other beloved friends and my dear, cherished family polished the quiche off and no Gym Person had so much as a crumb of its delicious pecan crumblecrust. This is my kind of Gym People potluck.