Dear Mr. Gym Screamer,

I applaud your intensity, your work ethic, and your dedication to building freakishly huge biceps while managing to utterly forsake those fragile, colt-like stilts where your legs should be. During those brief moments that you lower yourself to look my way, you are no doubt perplexed by my apparent fascination with the treadmill and the rowing machine, and comforted by the fact that the otherworldly orange glow of your leathery tan eclipses me as you walk by. I am like a pale, thin ghost next to your magnificence, but you don’t need me to tell you that.

I can see in your eyes that you are smugly congratulating yourself on the knowledge that you could beat the ever-living shit out of me. This is probably true, provided you could catch me, but I don’t mind. I also don’t mind that you cause such a riot of commotion, what with all the noisy breathing and those heavy plates crashing to the ground. Nor do I mind that you spend so much time staring lovingly into the mirror at your profile, though this is unnecessary; just ask anyone in the gym and they’ll assure you that your arms are wicked huge, bro.

What I do mind are those startling war screams that occasionally escape from somewhere inside your bowels. When you did this yesterday, I nearly dropped the weights I was holding. It sounded like a cross between a dry heave and the come cry of some fantasy-novel humanoid—an ogre perhaps. Dry heaves are disgusting, and I imagine ogre sex is too.

After the initial shock of your gurgled scream wore off, I had only the sincerest concern. I assumed that anyone uttering that sound must have just had an aneurysm, and would be lying dead on the floor, or was perhaps battling a mean case of Giardia, and would be standing in a puddle of liquid excrement. I was, however, annoyed when I figured out that it was just you again, living in your steroid-induced moment of pure, weightlifting ecstasy.

So I beg you, please tone it down, so that I might break my humble sweat in peace. And save some of that intensity and energy for all of the nubile young women in the gym who are most certainly lusting after you. Because, as you are well aware, there’s nothing hotter than bulging shoulder veins tearing at the seams of a sleeveless T-shirt with the neck cut out.

Jonathan Kime