I thought I was safe here on ScienceBlogs

Apparently I’m not safe, even here. I thought I could escape him.

Who am I talking about?

Richard Simmons, that’s who, and he’s shown up on ScienceBlogs on the mothership’s official blog.

I’m having acid flashbacks.

You see, there was a time, back in 1997 or 1998, when I briefly met Richard Simmons. It was at BookExpo America, back when I was living in Chicago. Richard Simmons was pushing some cookbook or other of healthy recipes, as I recall, and, just for yucks, my wife and I decided to get in the line for a signing.

Well, Richard seemed to like me, and said I “looked very smart.” When he found out I was a doctor, he said he was going to medical school. (Oddly enough, I see nothing on his official website mentioning that he had finished.)

As we were heading away from the line, my wife commented to me, “You know, I think he really liked you.”

I thought I had, after 9 or 10 years, finally recovered from the experience, and then Sarah had to go and plaster his visage on ScienceBlogs.

The pain…


  1. #1 Dawn
    February 10, 2007

    I hate to cause you more pain, but the Daily Record had an article about autism and NJ yesterday, and the ONLY quote(s) from parents with autistic children was from a woman who belongs to the mercury militia. I’m working on a letter to the editor. At least the article said many times that there was NO PROOF for that belief, but I have always believed that quotes from “real people” are believed more by readers than quotes from generic government agencies.

  2. #2 Sid Schwab
    February 10, 2007

    But isn’t this blog (Fridays, anyway) about sweatin’ to the oddities?

  3. #3 DuWayne
    February 10, 2007

    You know, I have never been a big fan of Simmons. But if he can help get phys-ed, back into public schools, he will get my appreciation. Though I would still consider suicide, over Sweating to the Oldies.

  4. #4 PlanetaryGear
    February 10, 2007

    oh come on, Physed is in schools and there is a special place in Hell for all those gym teachers that I lived through in grade school and high school.

    Running laps around the gym or getting slammed into the mat by a bigger kid is no way to make kids get out and enjoy their exercise. I think gym class gave me serious anti-exercize imprints that I still fight to this day.

    I always thought that Richard was OK, if a little silly. Eat right and exercise, and exercise doesn’t have to be miserable I always took away as his message. That works for me, except the part about it not being miserable.

    Thank you gym teachers of the world for making me hate sports so much 😉

    The only time I got better than a C in gym class was the floor hockey semester sophomore year in high school. I got tired of being picked on and checked one of the bigger kids right in the face. He fell down, I got yelled at, but I got a B grade that semester for being more interested.

    Gym class is a waste of time in school. Let the kids out an hour earlier and make everybody join some team or something outside the smothering administrative uselessness of the public school system.

  5. #5 decrepitoldfool
    February 10, 2007

    I hated phys-ed in school (it’s been a while) but I have heard that some schools have created what amount to health clubs for their students, where they can do cardio, strength training, team sports if they want to, and generally get into fitness habits they can keep for life. I had to do this all on my own in middle age, though a physical therapist helped.

    As for RS, not my cuppa, but he seems to have helped a lot of people build good exercise habits.

  6. #6 kath
    February 10, 2007

    I hate to use a net-ism but just ewwwwwwwwww to have Richard Simmons ‘really like’ you:) Poor you, if only there were a filter so you could block or avoid his visage, so the trauma would fade.:)

  7. #7 Clare
    February 10, 2007

    I have heard that some schools have created what amount to health clubs for their students

    The choices for PE at my daughter’s high-school include something like this, and other relatively enlightened choices that are from the horrors that made my high school life miserable. At the same time, team sports are still given too high a priority, to the extent that to an outsider’s eyes (I grew up outside the US), athletic activities seem to be the most important thing a school does. Student athletes spend hours after school, every day, on practice. They must conform to strict rules and discipline, and excellence is insisted upon. I often wonder what would happen if they handled what goes on inside school hours the way they handle what goes on outside (for better or worse).

  8. #8 jufulu
    February 11, 2007

    Back in the day, they graded you on how well you performed and not on how well you tried or improved. As a kid who was 6′ befor he was 16 and having no motor skills at all, It was pretty ugly. I loved college P.E. Not once did I have someone putting me down even when my main goal in weight training was to do one pull-up.
    Talking to my kids, it is a bit different now. They still expect performance, but they are not aiming so high for excellence.

  9. #9 Blake Stacey
    February 11, 2007

    Gym was tedious in elementary school, hellish in middle school and mostly pointless in Virgil I. Grissom High. We only had to take a year of it, so it didn’t even instill any worthwhile habits. In fact, now that I look back from a safe distance, I think ninth-grade P.E. ranks up there with eleventh-grade Pre-Calculus as a waste of time. Feh.

    I satisfied my university P.E. requirements with skiing and archery. Overall, I’m probably a little healthier now than I was in high school, but that’s only because I always lived a mile from campus (and now, two miles from my job) in a city where you don’t drive everywhere you go.

  10. #10 Interrobang
    February 11, 2007

    I hated gym class. Hated it. I’m mildly handicapped, although not enough to be given a waiver for phys ed, just enough that I’m terrible at most of the sorts of sports done in elementary and high school phys ed programmes. My high school gym teacher was an asshole, and I fell off the uneven bars because of her (she refused to let me have spotters) and landed on my face. I should have sued, frankly.

    I would rather see phys ed relegated to something like “World Religions” — you can take it if you want to, or not, but it’s generally left up to you to do at home if you like. I already did three sports noncompetitively through my entire childhood and adolescence; I didn’t really need to be humiliated in gym class.

    That said, not enough people do exercise. I probably don’t exercise enough, myself. I blame gym class.

  11. #11 llewelly
    February 11, 2007

    Middle school gym was a vile nightmare. I’ll hate team sports for the rest of my life.

    As for fitness – blah, I live on a hill (beats the ROM machine anyday) and I walk anyplace nearer than 4 miles. Whether that’s enough or not I don’t know.

  12. #12 ironpoptart
    February 12, 2007

    I was in a similar situation to Interrobang, and I agree that there’s a place in hell specifically reserved for gym teachers. The only time I didn’t get awful grades in gym was when my high school offered a wilderness survival course for gym credit. Still a waste of time, but at least it wasn’t active humiliation. Luckily, my university discourages taking gym.

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