Most people don't believe me when I say that I've worked out with Richard Simmons, the father of the contemporary exercise movement. That's right, I once rubbed elbows (literally) with the man responsible for the field of entertainment workouts, the one who led to the eventual evolution of Billy Banx, P90x and Zumba.
Back then, 22 years ago this week, Richard visited our high school and led some of our students in a workout session. It was weird. And totally cool. Both weird and cool. Kinda like a lot of things.
We "worked those buns" and did leg kicks and got sweaty. Sounds weird.
But we also had the chance to learn that a celebrity was a real person who had actual personal struggles (as he shared with us some of his story regarding weight issues and esteem). That was cool.
I remember there were tears shed. That was weird.
And I also remember that he stank terribly with B.O. That was weird. And as a teenager… also kinda cool that I was close enough to notice.
Following the assembly at school, some of us were given the chance to get autographs and hang out with him for a few minutes. That's when the local Ft. Wayne newspaper snapped this photo– where it looks like my 17 year-old self is happily taking a bite out of the shoulder of Richard Simmons.
There is not necessarily a deep spiritual formation piece to this post… except maybe to say that as followers of Christ we live in a real world surrounded by real people who cross our paths (as we cross theirs). That's weird and cool.
But the main point of this post is to dispell the doubts from those of you who didn't believe me when I said that I had once hung out with Richard Simmons.
Oh… and sorry to some of my old high school friends who might have rather forgotten this moment.