People are asking about the embarrassing “Greg the Bunny” incident referenced in the Deezo Friday Five, so here goes.
But you have to understand the setting and some of the players.
The paper got us discounted memberships at a health club not far from the office. In its day, it must have been a pretty cool place.
There was a pool, full basketball court, racquetball courts and a whole array of exercise gear.
But it appeared there were some financial issues, because the owners seemed to be cutting corners on things like cleaning and maintaining machines. This was confirmed about a year later when it closed its doors for good.
There were about a dozen treadmills and exercise bikes facing one wall, which would stink except that each had its own little television hanging in front of it. If you were lucky, you could get a spot where both the treadmill and the television were working.
A typical night for me would be to arrive after work at 9 p.m. and run on the treadmill for an hour or more. The television program selection at that time of night was pretty lousy, so I’d usually bring my Walkman and listen to music and just flip around the channels to have something to look at.
There were two other runners on most nights. Actually, one was more of a walker, an older guy who always had a headband and a towel around his neck, who seemed to have the treadmill going at its slowest rate. And he’d usually get engrossed in a show and stand straddling the spinning belt.
Then there was a younger woman who seemed to have the treadmill set on “cheetah.” I couldn’t run that fast even with Derek F. Jeter chasing me trying to put a Yankees cap on my head.
I’d typically keep the setting between 5 and 6 mph, which is just fast enough to keep jogging and make you pay attention to what you’re doing.
And in typical health club form, I never had a conversation with either of these people. It was a bunch of people in headphones never communicating with anyone except the kid downstairs who handed out the towels.
Well, one night I discovered the show “Greg the Bunny,” which had Seth Green and Eugene Levy, and was about a show like the “Muppet Show” with people and puppets. It lasted on FOX about as long as Chan Ho Park lasted with the Mets.
In a rare move, I plugged the headphones into the television instead of the tape player.
And in the show, the puppet Greg bought some novelty eyes that played “Mr. Bojangles” when put together. I think there were some Sammy Davis Jr. jokes.
Anyway, Greg was being tormented by a dog owned by Seth Green’s girlfriend, and some of the other characters decided to chill out the pooch by neutering him on the sly. Then they thought the dog’s, um, area, looked deflated and their handiwork would be discovered. So they stuck Greg’s toy eyes in there.
Naturally, the girlfriend came back, the dog woke up and stood up, and “Mr. Bojangles” started playing from you-know-where and they were busted. It’s funnier when you see it.
Which I did. As I was running. I was laughing throughout the show, but when “Bojangles” started playing, I started laughing so hard that I was coughing and couldn’t catch my breath.
At which point, I lost my footing, fell in my butt on the treadmill, which, of course was still rolling since I refused to wear that kill clip on the string.
That sent me rolling off the back of the treadmill and onto the floor, tumbling over in a move that would make Mary Lou Retton proud. I was still barely breathing from laughing so hard. I never caught the full ending of the show until we bought the DVDs last year.
At this point, cheetah girl and slow-mo guy looked over to see me sprawled on the floor, beet red at the embarrassment.
Not that they stopped running – or not running, in the case of slow-mo guy – or even asked if I was OK.
There is no graceful way to recover from this. After picking myself up off the floor and limping back on the treadmill I said something like, “So, um, you guys watching the show with the bunny? Be careful.”
Which is not to say that I don't occasionally fall off the treadmill. But now that we have one in the basement it's not as embarrassing.
No, the embarrassing moments are now saved for more crowded events, like my first Komen 5K and the disastrous first water stop.