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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.

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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.

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