Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. Sport
14 July 2008updated 02 Aug 2023 11:25am

Herring is getting old

As he turns 41, Herring moans about men who leave their towels lying around in the locker room.

By Richard Herring

I have just turned 41 years old. It’s the start of my 42nd year on this planet. I am experiencing every date of the year for the 42nd time – apart from February 29th which I’ve done a mere eleven times, which means I am not as jaded with it as I am with all the others. Forty two July 16ths! I think once you’ve lived through twenty-five July 16ths you’ve pretty much got all you’re ever going to get out of it.

Maybe days like December 25th bare repeated viewings, though in a sense there is so little variety to that occasion, year in, year out, that the excitement palls all the faster. It’s like a really grinding Groundhog Day, except worse because you spend it with your relatives. Over and over again!
Anyway signs of fast approaching grumpy old mandom are more and more noticeable. I get particularly narked off in the gym, which is a very middle-aged man place to be, vainly fighting against the inevitable decline of my body.

But people are so rude and selfish in the gym and it infuriates me. Even though I admit occasionally I am the transgressor, rather than the transgressed – I got told off by a woman for not wiping down my machine in a hotel gym recently and weakly bleated about the fact that I didn’t sweat, even though my shirt was soaked through (it was true though that my hands had not sweated and there was nothing on the machine, but I grudgingly wiped it down anyway, muttering to myself as I did so).

The other day a man was flamboyantly drying himself in the changing room, whilst standing on another towel (I approve of that, too many people drip on the floor). He was (as Herring’s Second Law dictates) using the locker right next to mine and I pleasantly said “Excuse me” because he had his stuff spread all over the bench. He said, “Hold on a second” and seemed not to be making any attempt to move, then began an elaborate shuffle, trying to manoeuvre out of the way as if doing the twist, riding his towel across the floor. It took ages and was an eccentric and unnecessary way to behave, but none of this I particularly minded. I tried to get as much out of my locker as I could and sat down the bench a bit so that I wouldn’t be in his way.

Anyway when he’d finally got dressed and moved all his stuff out of the way of my locker (his flip flops remaining resolutely in the way until the last possible moment), he walked out with purpose, leaving his drying towel on the bench and his twist/shuffle floor towel on the floor. He wasn’t a tough looking man and I came very close to chastising him. What I wanted to say was, “Hey mate, excuse me. I don’t think your mum works here does she? If I am wrong forgive me. But if she doesn’t you might have to tidy up after yourself.” It would have been brilliant. As long as he didn’t hit me with a flip flop or use me as a twist/shuffle floor towel.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

I resolved I would do it the next time I saw this happen. Whatever the consequences. Alas, or luckily, depending on whether you like my face being in the order it is at the moment, no one left their towel behind in the changing room at the gym since then. At least not while I was there. There have been plenty lying around, but I have not been there to see who left them. It’s an epidemic! Maybe a lot of people’s mums work at my gym. I can’t understand why these people aren’t prepared to put their towels in the easily accessible laundry bins. It is so rude and selfish. Like my dad would do I usually end up doing it for them, even though I am not their mums.

But I drew the line at touching the towels of the weird shuffly man. Some poorly paid gym cleaner would have to do it. I would not be surprised if in a few years time the gym cleaners rise up and overthrow society and create a new world order where slovenly, inconsiderate, towel dropping men are hanged with towels in the showers, their mouldering bodies left dangling there as a warning to the others.
Pick up your fucking towels, you lazy, stupid idiots.

Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action