rose“Time is an illusion; on time, doubly so.” The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy.

If it’s now August, then in the “Zulu Delta World,” it must be time for some Valentine’s Day observations, and a story to go along with it. I was thinking of this as I scheduled my First Aid training today.

So, according to the movies, everyone loves a romantic Valentine’s Day story; this is not one of them, but it turned out OK. Right before I left work on Valentine’s Day, I spent a few minutes talking to one of my co-workers about the perils, and protocol landmines of Valentine’s Day. He told me how he had to try to think of something great to pick up for his wife on the way home, and I told him of my plan to continue to the YMCA to work out. The crux of my plan was based around the delusional idea that should there be any woman in the gym tonight, there was a good chance that they would be single, and just love to chat with me. We both laughed about either of our plans having a very successful outcome. I’m not sure how confident he was, but I was pretty sure I could convince myself that the woman next to me on the elliptical machine with the ripped faded grey sweatpants, and the black and gold oversize t-shirt with the lettering “TEAMSTERS-LOCAL 25 AFL-CIO” was actually a Sports Illustrated super model in disguise fending off unwanted advances from middle age men (not that I know who that would be).

Fast forward to the gym. No super models, no chatty single woman; just me spending my workout alone on a spin bike in a darken back room in front of two guys boxing each other. I’m thinking they were just beginners because one of the guys would occasionally stop to check the “Boxing APP” on his I-Phone to see how much time he had left in “his round.” The second guy spent his “in-between-rounds time” affectionately calling his girlfriend “idiot” because despite his expert opinion and guidance during her last sneaker purchase, she shunned his infinite wisdom, and attempted to buy “LeBron James sneakers when everyone knew you were only qualified to wear Kobe Bryant sneakers.” That is his exact quote. Having forgot my MP3 player at home, I settled for the comic distraction.

It had been about 2 years since I had gone into the sauna, but after my workout I thought it would be good for my sinuses, so off I went. Inside there were three guys sitting on the top bench. I will save my observations on sauna hierarchy and peculiarities for another time, but I will claim that it was the standard gym variety, sauna trinity; one loud mouth guy closest to the stone box who keeps dumping gallons of water on the rocks while running his flap non-stop. His friend to the left does the occasional grunt; characteristic of the “middle” guy who was not fast enough to climb to the seat furthest away from the “rain and temperature making guy,” and feels obligated to pretend he’s listing. Meanwhile the third guy all the way to the left has his head down, and I am sure he’s mentally debating the similarities between the sauna and dying in a smoke-filled volcano, as well as contemplating throwing himself on the sauna rocks to escape the obnoxious babbling of his friend all the way to the right. 

My seat was right in front of the outside window, so instead of listening to my brain rehash the failed attempt to lure in any female “Bay Watch-looking members,” I choose to read the large black print stating the sauna rules and regulations; over and over. I will not lie; this is not the first time I have “glanced over” these directions, and to prove it, I immediately recognize that one of the oldest rules was missing. There was always some rule there about spending no more than 10 or 15 minutes in the sauna. Despite the unsettling fact that the “alpha dog” up top was squeegee-ing more water off his body than my lawn sprinkler lays down on my grass during a hot August day, my sharp mind figured out the rule board logic problem. Apparently a new rule was needed on the board, and there was no room for it, so instead of making up a brand new board, the most common sense rule (stating time limits) was deleted to make way for the newest rule; it now said “Absolutely No Cell Phones Allowed In The Sauna.” I guess it was a tossup between that and “No toasters permitted!” Having had enough of the Sumo wrestler up top, and the heat, I choose to depart. I’m not saying there never was a time when I stayed in the sauna a bit too much, but as I walked out the door, I thought to myself; those 3 have been in there way too long.

Most nights, this YMCA is pretty busy and the locker room is filled with among other people, screaming young teens, elderly men “one-up-sking” each other on the total milligrams of medication they’re taking, and middle age guys loudly repeating the verbal dogma they just heard listening to talk radio on the way over. Tonight was quiet, and after a quick Navy shower, I was getting dressed in a near empty locker room. For a moment I thought I heard “HELP.” I turned around quickly and only saw the look on a young kid’s face that told me it wasn’t the usual kids chasing each other with water bottles. I heard “HELP” again. I ran through the empty locker room toward the showers. Another guy got there a second before me. He pulled back a curtain and yelled out “Oh my God!” He jumped back, and I jumped in prepared to find the worst. What I found was a man collapsed in the shower against the wall. The good part was there was no blood, AND he still had his gym shorts on! It turned out to be the third guy from the sauna; the one that looked like he was already passed out inside the sauna. He must have suffered some type of heat stroke, or some degree of sever de-hydration. Recalling my first aid training, I ran back toward the main locker room. To one guy I yelled “CALL 911 RIGHT NOW!” Suddenly there was a second guy in my face. I yelled “I need your water bottle!” The man’s arm recoiled in confusion. He was fast, I was faster. With the speed and agility of a zoo-born monkey who spots a 300 pound man standing too close to the cage with a hot dog in his hand, I lurched out, grabbed the water bottle and took off (I later apologized  to the guy). I ran back to the shower and with cold towels and cool water, I revived the guy until EMS got there.

The guy was going to be ok………but that’s not the reason I am “here” tonight. In the interest of promoting the “Brotherhood of Man,” I want to leave you with a few suggestions of advice on how to survive Valentine’s Day, and none of them have anything to do with paying attention the next time you’re in your First Aid class!

1. If it’s 6 PM on Valentine’s Day, and you don’t have a date………you’re not getting one!

2. If it’s 6 PM on Valentine’s Day, and you don’t have a great gift for your wife, you’re not getting one!

3. If it’s 6 PM on Valentine’s Day, and you think just because you bought an expensive necklace for your significant other, you’re going to get a kiss to “melt the world” but if you dare forget the 99 cent card, you’re not getting the kiss.

4. If it’s 6 PM on Valentine’s Day and your dateless; forget the gym; go spend the night at Victoria’s secret; First Aid there has to be a lot more appealing than the Y!!


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