Wednesday, December 10, 2008
And now for something completely different.
Macro Man hasn't got a whole lot of insight to add to another meandering session of holiday price action. Most prices on his screen remain well within established ranges; while there may be some marginal new news regarding an auto industry bailout and political corruption, it's hard to muster much enthusiasm.
December is traditionally a month of long lunches with market counterparties, ostensibly to celebrate another successful year's worth of trading together. While these occasions are probably closer to a wake this year, Macro Man has been surprised to see his calendar fill up relatively quickly. Without regular sessions at the gym, he'll be left feeling like the gentleman on the left.
Now, Macro Man has patronized a number of gyms in different cities over the years, and being an observant chap he has come to the realization that there are a number of standard characters, archetypes if you will, that one can find at most gyms. As a public service to those whose gym attendance is confined to the first two weeks of January, at which point the lure of the pub overcomes any further devotion to a new year's resolution, allow him to identify the cast of characters for you.
In the locker room
* The Slob. This guy leaves his stuff all over the floor, generally in a sweaty, un-bagged fashion. He doesn't bother putting his stuff away when he gets in the shower, and often drips water all over the place after he's managed to clean himself up. Macro Man always has to fight the temptation to stuff his crap into an empty locker when he shuffles off to the shower.
* "The Owner's Son". This chap doesn't spread his stuff all over the floor like the Slob, and he generally puts his things away when he's not changing clothes. What he does do, however, is spread his stuff all over the changing room benches, so that no one else can make use of what is relatively limited space at the best of times. This guy acts like he owns the place, and gets the hump if you dare to shift his stuff a bit to make room for your own bag.
* Narcissus. This guy demonstrates a singular inability to remove or don any article of clothing without gazing at himself out in the mirror. In locker rooms with sparsely spaced mirrors, Narcissus generally has to rein in his natural tendencies to check himself out; in Macro Man's current gym, however, there are plenty of locker room mirrors and a couple of egregious Narcissi. It's almost enough to make him want to wear a tie, so that he can tie it in front a mirror, thus blocking Narcissus's view.
* The Naked Guy. The man that modesty forgot, this guy stands and walks around naked for what seems to be hours at a time before bothering to get dressed. One particularly egregious example at one of Macro Man's old gyms used to blow-dry his hair naked, sending the odd blast of warm air "downstairs". It's always a downer to be changing next to Naked Guy and catch an unintentional eyeful as you turn to tie your shoes.
In the gym
* Mr. Myopia. Mr. Myopia must be cursed with Magoo-like ocular difficulties. Why else does he stand six inches away from a mirror whenever he performs a weight-lifting set, in many cases blocking access to a rack of dumbells or other equipment? The true answer, of course, is that Mr. Myopia is a mixture of Narcissus and The Owner's Son; such is his desire to check himself out as he exercises that he exhibits a blatant disregard for anyone else who might want to use any equipment.
* The Meathead. Perhaps the most stereotypical of all gym-goers, the Meathead is as wide as he is tall and looks like some of his muscles have come out of a syringe. What amuses Macro Man about the Meathead is the way that he walks with his arms sort of extended from his sides, almost like a cowboy in the Old West about to have a duel with a holstered six-shooter. The rationale, of course, is that the Meathead's arms are so big that they can't comfortably be carried at his sides like a normal human's. Yeah, right.
* Clark Kent. This guy aspires to be Superman, and piles way too much weight onto the bar whenever he performs an exercise. In reality, however, he is Clark Kent, and can only perform at most half repetitions with the overloaded bar. Clark Kent is the king of the bench press rep that stops eight inches above the chest, the squat with the barely-perceptible knee bend, and the bicep curl performed with bent-elbowed alligator arms.
* The Crowder. There is an unspoken code, an unwritten etiquette of the weight room, that you never come close to impinging upon someone else's space when there is room elsewhere on the floor. The Crowder blatantly ignores these rules, and will come and exercise next to you- perhaps even blocking your range of motion- when you are the only two people in the weight room. Oblivious to dirty looks, deaf to harrumphing, the Crowder is no doubt also a serial violator of urinal etiquette as well.
* The Madonna Dancer. While this guy is generally in pretty good shape, he seems to spend most of his time talking on the phone or "vogueing" in front of a mirror. All too often, the Madonna Dancer turns into the Naked Guy in the changing room.
* Oprah's Book Club. Did you ever see Lance Armstrong read War and Peace while riding in the Tour de France? Paula Radcliffe take in a bit of King Lear while running a marathon? Usain Bolt reading the Cliff's Notes to Wuthering Heights while setting world sprint records? Of course not. So why do some people think they can get a good cardiovascular workout on an exercise bike while reading a book or a newspaper? It boggles the mind. It's probably no coincidence that the only major athlete to read during a competition, Jim Courier (who once read a novel during changeovers in a tennis match), saw his career dwindle into medicority soon thereafter.
No doubt there are more; gym-going readers are invited to submit there own. Apologies to those readers looking for a reasoned, market-driven interpretation of China's November trade data, which showed a catastrophic collapse in volumes. Normal service will resume tomorrow. In the meantime, be comforted that the market doesn't care about data for the time being...perhaps they're all out to lunch?