Gym Butt Highlanders - Or - The War of the Rumps

Think of the great rivalries. Cato and Ceaser. Michelangelo and da Vinci. Burr and Hamilton. Edison and Tesla. Kanye West and . . . everyone not Kanye West.


These were nothing compared to what I saw on that fateful early June afternoon. I saw my sleepy little town’s gym turn into thunderdome. I saw . . .

. . . Two 19 year old wannabe Instagram Butt Models girls competing in a B*tch Off.

Laugh if you want. You weren’t there. I was.

The following events are 100% true. The names are changed to protect the innocent . . . or made up. Look, I didn’t know their real names. (Music and sound effects were added in post for dramatic effect :) )

It was 5 minutes to 3pm. After finishing my warm up of the elliptical I made my way to the free weight section. The normal afternoon patrons were there. Older people, a few early 40's folk like me trying like hell to fight off age, and of course the bevvy of young redneck men who believed camouflage was a way of life.


All were familiar faces . . . save one. A young, fit, brunette girl in the tightest, high-waisted, olive green workout leggings. The kind that divided the butt into individual cheeks and left no room for imagination. She wore a matching low cut top that exposed cleavage and a bare mid-rift. In my mind I named this new comer “Thunder Butt.” Why? Because every exercise she did was thigh and butt based.


(The butt and thigh exercises had become something of the latest trend at my gym with the local gals. And I’d take this moment to say this: I am not mocking this girl. You can read THIS POST to see my feelings on such shaming. I say if you have it, flaunt it for as long as you can. Time, gravity, and McNuggets are everyone’s enemy. All I ask is that you temper your confidence with just a touch of humility. Because if you spend your gym time looking down on others, I WILL mock you when you eventually get injured, or lazy, and get flabby. )

 - Now, back to the scene -

The single, redneck men watched Thunder Butt with sideways glances. They began picking up heavier and heavier weights as the primate portion of their brains told them to compete for the females attention. The males of the pack failed to notice the two thing that did matter to Thunder Butt: her upward held smart phone and the mirror. Between sets she would stand, legs askance, rump forward, side boob in frame, and camera out. Followers, not suitors, were her target.

It was then that I saw her head snap to the side. Her eyes narrowed. Thunder Butt sniffed the air. Something had her spooked. Like a highlander she knew there was something . . . amiss. I looked back towards the walkway and there I saw it. Or rather, her.

Ruby Rumble Buns. The ginger queen of the afternoon rump regiment.

(Yes . . . I name strangers at the gym. Sue me. I get bored during my elliptical work outs/between sets and giving different people at the gym nick-names is kind of my thing. In another post I can tell you all about Eminem McChicken Legs, Joey-Beard-Fashion, Captain Tans-Too-Much, Sad-Sally Trophy Tits, Roid Rage Roger, Bench-Press Mario, and Methusala’s Corpse.)

Thunder Butt scowled at the newcomer. Sadly, ole TB didn’t know that 330pm was when Ruby Rumble Buns liked to make her entrance. On this day, Ruby was sporting low-rise, dark gray leggings, with a light gray swirl pattern that circled her equally dominant backside. Ruby Rumble Buns tossed her strawberry-blonde pigtails back and pulled out her own phone. But . . . oops, she dropped it.

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Instead of picking it up like a regular human, RRB bent over at the waist, without bending her knees, to retrieve her device and to give the now frenzied young folk of the gym a show. But her real target was obvious. Ruby Rumble Buns stared right at Thunder Butt . . . and smirked.

Oh . . . SNAP!

If there was a mic, it would have been dropped. The room grew cold. Both women glared at one another. I could hear Clancy Brown’s gravely voice clear as day declare:



Over the gym stereo, Queen’s “Princes of the Universe” played (ok, it didn’t. But for the sake of the story just go with it.)

What transpired next was an epic war of one-upsmanship as the two titans of the tush began their war. Ruby Rumble Butt began with single dumbbell squats. She looked over ever-so-slightly at Thunder Butt with a smile that said “Go home little girl”.

Thunder Butt’s lips thinned. Her glare hardened. Thunder Butt stormed over to the assisted chin-up machine. But instead of working her upper body as designed, she placed one foot on the knee pad, and executed multiple sets of single-leg presses. Bringing her knee to her chest, she ensured the glutes would be maximized. Once done, and a picture taken, she threw a catty glance over to Ruby.

But Ruby was having none of Thunder Butt’s shade. Instead she was performing deep, side lunges with a 45lb plate in front of two young men. Once she completed her set, Ruby Rumble Buns snapped a few pics of herself, then looked up at Thunder Butt in a “Oh . . . are you still here?” look.


Oh no she didn’t!

More exercises were done. Poses made. Pictures were taken. I give credit to Thunder Butt, she tried. She fought valiantly. But, she’d been at the gym longer, and it was clear she was tired. Ruby Rumble Buns was fresher. Determined. To Ruby Rumble Buns, it wasn’t just posing and snapping selfies. No no no. Each move she made, every step she took, ensured that the butt came first. A drink of water? Knees together, butt out. Picking up of weights? Drop it like it's hot. Even standing and checking her phone was an exercise in modeling, with one hip canted ridiculously high.

Outmatched and defeated, Thunder Butt lowered her head in shame and left the gym.

There can be only one . . . butt. And on that day, Ruby Rumble Butt won “the prize”.



Let’s Get Back to Scaring Children -or- Meh . . . a Little Therapy is Good for You

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

― Frank HerbertDune

Despite the title of this post, I’m not advocating that we should traumatize kids. Nor am I saying that we should lie in wait and spring out from the darkness with a clown mask and roaring chainsaw . . .

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. . . But that being said, that would be a moment they’d never forget. Heh, good times.

This thought’s been rattling around my head for a while, scaring kids that is. As a part time writer, I’m constantly pondering new, and horrible, scenarios to put my protagonists through. In order for a story to be "good", the hero has to go through a crucible. What good is a story if there is no challenge, no stakes, and . . . no fear?

Because that’s the rub of heroism isn’t? What is courage, or bravery, if not doing what needs to be done in the face of fear?

Of course kids face fear all the time. My own son, by the time of this post, is 6 and a half. When he’s scared, I tell him that it’s okay. But, just because your scared, doesn’t mean you get to quit doing what what we’re doing.

He gets it, mostly. And in time, he’ll understand it better. But as I look at my son, I ponder: what “scary” things I should expose him to? Where are the new primers to teach a little fear? The movies, the shows, the books?

Who remembers Choose Your Own Adventure and being too scared to turn to page 26 to find out your fate? (Pro tip: If you keep your finger at the decision page, it doesn’t count.) Doing a little bit of research, I’m happy to see that scary books, like Goosebumps and others, still exist for kids. But, what about the scary movies?

A quick Google search of popular scary movies for kids came up with a list that is primarily from my childhood and formative years, with a few here and there.

By no means am I saying I’m an expert, or is this meant to come off preachy in the “kids these days aren’t tough enough”. No. Far too many young kids face real fears and horrors that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I’m honestly wondering: Where are the popular, modern versions of The Secret of NIMH, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Neverending Story, Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, Willy Wonka, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Goonies, Gremlins, Star Wars, or Witches? The movies, while entertaining, are also full of dread, consequences, fear . . . hope, perseverance, and ultimately triumph through courage?

I guess Stranger Things, fits part of that, as do the modern sequels of some of those movies. But, is it the same? Are those meant for kids? Maybe I’m wrong, but, it feels like we are missing our modern Grimm’s Fairy Tales. The lessons taught to kids to give them a healthy respect of the unknown, while also thickening the emotional skin. And I’m talking about the actual Grimm’s Tales, the ones with the dark forests, cannibalism, eyeball pecking, grandma killing, toe cutting, abduction, and creepy as F*CK adults who don’t care one whit for the life of the young.



Sure, the old movies I, and many of us, grew up on are still there. But, shouldn’t there be a new generation of film makers actively trying to murder/scare kids like Stephen Spielberg did in E.T., Hook, and Jurassic Park? For God's sake, the man killed Rufio!

I guess all I’m wondering is: are we still willing to scare the young, properly, thus instilling the value of fear? Are we still willing to teach them that The Fratelli’s will chop off your hand in a blender? That to Raptors, you are food? That Mr. Dark's Pandemonium Carnival is most likely operated by an agent of the Devil? That Darth Vader will chop off your hand, even if you are his son? That to Witches, children smell obnoxious and that they, The Witches, are demons in mortal form?

I’d like to think so. Special shout out to Guillermo del Toro and Pan's Labyrinth for keeping fear alive! 

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A taste of fear is good. A sense of the dark is good. Given a controlled space, it helps the psyche experiment with the macabre, reason with mortality, and cope better in times of real stress. 

But not TOO much. If there's too much, well,  I think we know where that leads.