Baffling Warning at the Gym


Sunday, 08/15/2004
Around 5:00 p.m.

Baffling Warning at the Gym

Angel by Jimi Hendrix….97

Getting ready to do the next set of workouts, I waited next to one of the weight machines. Nevertheless, I was unaware how closely I was standing to the metal bars. Fixated on the latest in gym shoes, I had no idea the fate that was about to befall me – or would have – if I had not responded to an ensuing telepathic racket and the awesome words: “Move now!”

Almost involuntarily, I hopped to my left and, in less than a split second, a load of weights comes crashing to the floor! Sheer luck does not even come close to describing my fortune. The bars barely graze the hair on my down-turned head. If my crown had taken a direct hit, no doubt I would have suffered a concussion or I might have been killed. Stunned, I roll onto a nearby mat and whisper, “Thank you, whoever you are.” Choking back the tears, I silently say, I am so grateful!

Toweling-off, I sprawl out on the mat while trying to gain some sense of composure. Soon, from the periphery, I catch a bunch of people running in my direction.

Who me? I’m thinking.

“Hey, what happened?” says the first, a broad-shouldered fellow.

“Are you okay?”

Attempting to work up a smile, I say, “Yes, I’m fine, thanks. Just a little stunned, that’s all.”

The nice man nods and a couple of them behind him break into smiles. Others remain more reserved as if heeding caution.

I give them a wink and say, “Thanks for checkin’ on me.”

“Sure,” they say, almost in unison, and skip off to do their workouts.

Not wanting to be the center of attention, I pick up my stuff and move to the far corner of the gym; planning to take five and finish my routine. But as I bend down to tie my shoelaces, I soon realize my hands and legs are still shaking like the streamers on a gift box. Time to clean up, I suppose. Slowly, I make my way to the locker room.

In awe of the baffling warning that saved me from such a dreadful fate, I lug my gym bag and wobbly self to the car. Fumbling for the key, at last I toss my junk in the trunk and head home. Originally, I’d planned to have dinner out and do a little reading. It’s funny how quickly things change.

Peering through the windshield, I’m a turtle looking up at the fearsome sky – scoping out the cosmic possibility that somebody up there likes me. “Thank you for being there, whoever you are! There are just no words!” And I brush a tear from my eye.


97 Hendrix, Jimi. “Angel.” The Cry of Love. Reprise, 1971. LP.


(This excerpt was taken from Mandy Berlin’s 3rd book, Death Is Not “The End”)

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