“Life is like a box of chocolates – You never know what you’re gonna get”.
– Forrest Gump
“If exercise is also like a box of chocolates, which in fact it is not, then Blomquist is like that box after it has been picked over by an obsessive chocolate connoisseur, leaving only the ones with the inedible citrus middles.”
– Gwyneth Effingmouth
You may be thinking, “Thanks for a weird, fucked up metaphor, Gwyneth!” Allow me to explain myself.
Blomquist Recreational Center, or “Blom” for short, is also referred to as Northwestern’s Estrogym. In theory, Blomquist should fit my profile quite well. It’s the closest gym to the sorority quads and full of cardio equipment, and I am in fact a sorositute interested in the benefits of a good cardio sesh. Furthermore, I live in PARC, or “the armpit of Allison,” a res college located in the Deep South of campus. Yet despite the seemingly perfect match between Blom and I, the facility makes me want to puke my guts out – and not just because of vicarious bulimia induced by my sorori-roundings.
Here’s why: Blomquist basically takes exercise, a healthy and possibly enjoyable lifestyle choice, and sucks all of that good shit away with the force of a mega-vacuum, turning the otherwise-innocuous South Campus “gymnasium” into a sweaty, poorly-lit lower layer of Hell. Hence, I only go there when a) I hate myself, or b) I’d get mugged running outside because it’s late in the PM. Without further ado, let me present a well-researched and highly informed argument for why Blomquist is about as unappetizing as that last fermented Russell Stover bonbon in the box:
The Vending Machine
Out of the five times I’ve tried to buy a Powerade, the vending machine has “vended” it to me exactly once. (It was indeed delicious, one thing that even Blom can’t fuck up, but you can get that shit at the C-store.) And it’s intermittent, which means that the problem has been solved and then respawned. My personal hypothesis is that the vending machine is suicidal and on life support, because who wouldn’t want to off themselves after a lifetime dominated by Blom?
According to an inside informant, the lighting at Blomquist is specifically engineered to induce migraines, seizures, and self-loathing. I’m pretty sure I’ve never felt uglier than the few times I’ve seen myself in the gym’s mirrors, including that awkward phase in 6th grade when calling me “androgynous” would have been a compliment.
I’m sorry (not sorry) but they are SO WEIRDLY DESIGNED. WHAT THE FUCK. There are like five doors you have to open before getting to the main event, and they are all grey and heavy and cold, like dead elephants impeding everyone’s basic excretory needs.
However, my main beef with Blomquist is not with the facilities themselves. I’m a rich-ass college kid with an infinite supply of Cap’n Crunch and free Busch Light everywhere I turn. Some kids have to work for the money to buy that shit, and they sure as hell don’t get free gym memberships. No, what really pisses me off is the content that Blomquist’s managers choose to display on:
The Blomquist televisions, placed directly in front of the cardio equipment like barrels under the chins of St. Bernards, invariably display either really shitty soap operas, reality TV, or the Food Network. The former two offerings are understandable as a means of positive motivation. Television series, even vaguely nineties-esque lower-budget ones (and especially MTV-funded shitshows), tend to hire more attractive people than your average university student or BK security guard. When I see attractive people, I’m motivated to look like them, boosting my potential workout. Those shows usually have a couple of major uggo foil characters as well, which is also physically beneficial – when I see fat or unattractive people I cackle to myself, tightening my abs and boosting endorphins.
However. WHAT THE FLYING FUCK is the Food Network doing on a television in front of a bunch of people trying desperately to burn as many calories in as little time as possible? Why are the television operators trying to induce such masochism into the sweating college kids that spend so much of their precious time in this “gym”? It makes one wonder why, despite the fact that elliptical machines and treadmills are practically modern-age torture devices and studies have shown that fancy desserts may or may not equal .2 orgasms on the pleasure scale, we choose the former for ourselves. I’m reminded of that timeless moment from Dodgeball, when White Goodman preemptively punishes his desire for the doughnut in front of him with electric shocks:
“You want it, don’t you, fat boy?
You want that doughnut.
Go ahead and have a bite.
One little bite won’t hurt you.
In sum, I hate Blomquist and you should too. Don’t settle for Khloe “Kim on anabolic steroids” Kardashian, or Ace of Cakes-induced sadomasochism. Run to the Baha’i temple instead and have yourself a religious catharsis. Then maybe you won’t have to spend your free time reading god-forsaken rants about São Tomé and Príncipe.