“Is there a ninja in your pants? Cause your ass is kickin!” -Super Cheeseball
In 9th Grade, I decided to start lifting weights. The idea being that if I could cultivate some biceps, maybe it would balance out the zits on my face and enhance my appeal to the opposite sex.
So I joined the Nautilus Plus gym in the Town & Country mall in Encino, California. Not bothering to get a trainer, I’d show up and do curls with the barbells. That’s all I’d do. Just curls.
Oh yeah, I’d also stare at the most gorgeous girl I’d ever seen, Andrea Sarrity, a lovely blond in 10th Grade at Birmingham High School in Tarzana.
I’d go to the gym almost everyday and do curls while staring at Andrea on the stationary bike, Andrea on the nautilus machine, Andrea talking to the trainer, Andrea getting a drink of water, Andrea in aerobics, Andrea doing sit-ups, Andrea laughing, Andrea breathing.
My mom, with her thick New York accent, would drive me to Nautilus Plus and ask, “Don’t you think working out everyday is a little much?”
“I know but look at this mom,” and I’d flex my biceps.
“Maybe you should try for a little balance. Your dad said he’d pay for a trainer. You can’t just have big biceps. It looks stupid.”
“Big guns are where it’s at,” I’d say and again flex and stare at my emerging muscles. “The ladies love big guns.”
“What ladies? Do you have a girlfriend?”
God I hated that question.
“Do you? Is there a special lady in your life?”
I’d slam the door and walk into the gym while feeling the ever-firmer tone of my biceps. Flashing my membership card on one particular afternoon in March of 1988, I saw something that I’ll never, ever forget.
Andrea Sarrity was alone on the stationary bike. There were 2 rows of 20 bikes and each and every single bike was available except for the one with Andrea.
Oh my God, I thought. Could I actually talk to her?
There she was with her perfect tan, long blond hair, and a body as curvy as a race track.
And here I was, freckle on the lip, braces on the grill, too much hairspray in the dew, zits spread like chocolate chips around my mug, chicken legs, and big biceps.
I don’t know how I did it but moments like this make me believe in God. Each step I took toward that stationary bike felt like I had 10 pounds of weight in my shoes.
Mind you, there were 39 bikes available and I chose the one tucked into the far corner right next to her. Can you spell a-w-k-w-a-r-d?
I can only imagine Andrea’s inner dialogue, “I wonder if Billy likes me, what am I gonna wear to prom, I’m so hot who doesn’t want me, these tights are uncomfortable, who’s this dork that just sat down next to me?!”
I started peddling on the stationary bike while watching the time. 3 minutes elapsed. I promised myself I’d say something at 3:30. But I couldn’t spit out a sentence. 4:00 elapsed. I promised I’d say something at 4:30. But I was at a loss for words.
Finally, 5:00 after the extreme weirdness of sitting on the bike right next to Andrea, I spit out, “Y’know why he’s called Magic Johnson, right?”
I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“Um, not really sure. Cause he’s good at basketball?” she hesitantly answered.
“Well that, but also cause, his ah, johnson, is magic.”
“How do you know that?” she asked, smirking.
It was Revenge of the Nerds at Nautilus Plus.
Andrea was so sweet, I couldn’t believe it. “That’s funny, what’s your name?” she said enthusiastically.
And we chit-chatted for what must have been 20 minutes. She gave me her number before leaving to go home.
To make a long story short, we had some fantastic phone conversations until she suddenly stopped talking to me a few months later. It turns out one of my friends sold me down the river and told Andrea all about my crush.
But I was forever transformed. To this day, I think Andrea actually reciprocated my crush because after all, I was one of the few guys who even dared talk to her, such was the intimidating power of her beauty.
And I now realize, you never know unless you try. Soren Kierkegaard said, “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.”
Whether it’s daring to speak to the effervescent beauty queen or to ask your daunting boss for the raise or to stand up to the annoying co-worker who drives you insane, everything is possible in a world of action.
Because it’s too easy to languish on the couch watching the world drown and the economy falter. Step outside of your home, your fears, your comfort zone; and give life a chance.
As civil rights leader Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
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