the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Buddy System


Back in my single days, I liked to entertain a woman on a first date with this little trick. After dinner, as we walked hand-in-hand in the crisp night air, I would take off my shirt and ask her to bounce a quarter off of my chest. Women would be amazed as the quarter would spring off the tautness of my muscles and fly 150 feet away.

This afternoon, I was in Staples buying an ink-jet refill, when I found a quarter on the floor. For old-times sake, I asked this cheerful mother of two (buying colored construction paper for her adorable little girl — hello, Rachel!) if she would bounce the quarter off of my bare chest. She happily agreed, and as her two daughters looked on, she threw the quarter against my body. While the mother was very impressed with the result — the quarter flew smack into the middle of faraway aisle 12 (“Digital Media”), I was very disappointed that the quarter only went 75 feet. This meant only one thing — it was time for me to go back to the gym.

The only problem is that I don’t like going to the gym. It is BORING! I’m also a major procrastinator. When I try to do something I really don’t want to do it, I find a million reasons to put it off. For instance:

Neil 1: “I thought about going to the gym tonight.”

Neil 2: “But whoops, I just ate”

Neil 1: “Maybe later. ”

Neil 2: “Oh, I’m sorry. I have to wash some towels later.”

Neil 1: “How about after that? ”

Neil 2: “Hey, isn’t playing with yourself considered exercise? I’ll do that instead!”

Remember, I live in Los Angeles. Being in the best shape is very important here, especially in the summer. Showing off your body is actually SO important to Angelenos that law firms in Century City now allow their partners to come in wearing bathing suits and bikinis during the summer months.

I need help with this gym thing. And here’s where YOU come in.

A week ago, I was reading a post by the charming Caitlin at Caitlinator. She was writing about how she was avoiding writing some resumes. I instantly related, because I just happen to procrastinate on writing resumes as much as I do about going to the gym. I wrote a comment to her, joking that we should make sure the other wrote ten resumes this week. If one of us didn’t, we’d have to pay the other ten bucks. I completely forgot about this “deal” until today. And you know what? — it’s not a bad idea!

Think about how much easier it is to write your blog posts than any of your “regular” writing. That’s because you know that someone — even if it is a crazy stranger living thousands of miles away — is reading your blog. We’re always motivated by others!.

So, I’m looking for a virtual exercise buddy for the next week. Just one week to see if it works — and get us both started. This person should be someone as lazy as me. He/she should hate going to the gym.

This is the deal: We each go to our gym, or exercise in some other way — let’s say twice this week — nothing too over-the-top. By the end of the week, if one of us fails to accomplish the mission, the loser has to:

1) Write a post humiliating yourself in front of the world.
2) Buy your buddy a CD of his/her choice.
3) Donate twenty bucks to some cancer research charity.

I think the fear of humiliation alone will make us exercise.

Anyone want to be my buddy?

A Year Ago in Citizen of the Month:  My Date with Rob and Kai.


  1. jackt

    I’d offer to buddy up, but for me it’s all downside and no upside since all my posts are already self-humiliating!

  2. jackt

    And I’m too cheap to buy CDs after I don’t exercise!
    (this sentence didn’t make it in the first time I commented for some strange reason).

  3. anne

    You could make a fortune with this kind of scheme, you know that, don’t you?

  4. the Yearning Heart

    Neil: I’ll be your buddy, but it has to be longer than a week. Today’s my birthday and I need to do this for a year, and see where I’m at by the next year. I’ll be your buddy but we have to do it for a whole year. Anyway, two visits to the gym won’t do us that much good. We have to commit to this.

  5. LisaBinDaCity

    OK, I’ll be your workout buddy with a couple of provisos.

    First, it can’t start until AFTER Memorial Day Weekend. I am co-hosting a big party and until then I’m busy preparing lots of homemade baked goods.

    Second, I want us to do it er work out for 3 months.


  6. Mari

    I could do with a buddy ^^^ I agree with that guy, though, it has to be longer than a week. Do we set our own goals? how does this work? I have written a post inspired by your post on my blog.

  7. lizardek

    Well, I would, but I really AM washing towels. How pathetic is that??!

  8. Michele

    Sweetie, blogging is all about humiliating yourself every day for the whole world. It’s just not scary enough to motivate me. But donating money to cancer research? Now that is a risk. . . *grin*

    If you want a work out buddy, I’m there for you. I’ll go for the twice this week, no proviso. And I’d like the latest Death Cab For Cutie CD when you lose.

    I hate the gym. I believe that people on cardio machines look like Borg drones, especially when they’re all in black gear and wearing iPods. If you don’t believe me, I’ll write a post this week about how much I hate the gym.

    Caveat — you have to send me an email detailing your workout once you get home on the days you go to the gym, not a summary at the end of the week. I’ll do the same.

    And you have to send me a photo of a hot surfer guy with blond hair at the beach.

    OK, just kidding about the photo. That’s just so I have a new pretend boyfriend. I’m getting bored with the one I have now. So sterile.

    Now go SWEAT. And suffer nobly for it.

  9. Alison

    Well, you’ve got volunteers already. I’ll join you, as well, but it has to be longer than a week.

  10. Kvetch

    I think a week is a perfect timeframe. One step at a time – on a stair stepper, on an eliptical or around the block. Twice this week. You’ve got a deal. Gee, I hope I remember in between all the loads of laundry.

  11. Heather

    Write a post humiliating yourself in front of the world.

    And the oppression of the non bloggers continues….

  12. rachh

    good idea about the gym thing, i hired a personal trainer for the same gym phobia as you have. thing is when he comes round 3 times a week, we have cappuccinos and talk about my sex life. your plan falls short because any muppet can say they went to the gym twice this week. you could see yourself buying a whole load of cd’s.

  13. Brooke

    How do you expect to pick up women if you start your posts with, “Back in my single days…”

  14. cruisin-mom

    Is throwing a quarter at your chest every 15 minutes considered cardio? (I can do that)

  15. Neil

    OK, I hear you. Even the Constitution had revisions.

    1) It is now one month, not one week.

    2) Maybe the CD is a bad idea. How about a twenty dollar donation to charity EVERY WEEK a person fails + the humiliation, of course.

    3) I trust you, but I will post a cameraphone shot on this post each time I visit the gym as proof that I was there.

    4) Now what’s better — one buddy or more than one? Maybe I can start a service pairing lazy people together.

  16. Nance

    geeze. i need a buddy to force me to *blog* more than once a week! things are gettin’ mighty sparse over at the Dept.

  17. better safe than sorry

    i’d be your buddy but i’m not lazy so i’m not sure how that would work out.
    you should get yourself a personal trainer, for real.

  18. Stefanie

    Am I the only person around here who actually loves to go to the gym? Well, not when someone’s next to me on their cell phone or trimming their hair in the locker room but, seriously, the gym is a break for me. I get all my reading done on the elliptical machine and listen to music instead of the monotony of “mama, mama, uppa uppa.” Maybe you should all have a baby and that will be all the motivation you need to leave the house for an hour.

  19. Neil

    Why is my “24 hour Fitness” only open to midnight?

    Michelle, Alison, Kvetch, Mari — is one month good? As for goals, just an hour working out each time — doing anything you want. Just walking into the gym is the big hurdle. (drinking pineapple smoothies at the gym “fruit bar” not considered exercise, though)

  20. Michele

    I’m good for a month as soon as you learn to spell my name with one L instead of two.

    Hour workout, twice a week, is also a good start.

    And they don’t allow camera phones (and I’m guessing cameras in general) at my gym, so I can’t photo. But I’ll email you after I go. You’re totally right that getting to the gym is the hardest part. Once I get there, I’m fine.

    And I drink Mango Smoothies, but not at the gym. We don’t have this “fruit bar” thing of which you speak.

  21. Neil

    OK, now I remember — Michele one L, Alison one L, Neil one L. Elliptical machine, two “L”s.

  22. plain jane

    Not only do I not have a blog, but the town I live in is so small we don’t have a gym–I feel small and insignificant (when I’m not feeling flabby).

  23. Neil

    Plain Jane — You can always do pushups, situps, and run around the block (unless your town is only one block). I think that would probably be more exercise than going to the gym. And if you want, I’ll be glad to humiliate you here.

  24. [Ar En In] - The Horrors of Exercise

    […] Reading Neil’s post about going to the Gym, has made me realize how much I need to get into some sort of keep fit routine. […]

  25. Caitlinator

    Ooh, I started this challenge against myself about a month ago and so far I have been doing… well, let’s just say I owe myself about $2,000.

    I’m in, Neil. I’m so in.

  26. maribeth

    Hey, what 24-hour Fitness do you go to?

  27. Denise

    OK, so it’s twice a week for an hour – every week – for a month? I can do that!

  28. Neil

    Caitlin — Great, since you were the inspiration. The clock starts ticking tomorrow.

    Maribeth — I hate to correct someone else’s grammar, but the question is written incorrectly “…do you GO to?”

    Now if you mean “…do I INTEND to GO to?” — I have three that I could go to — Pico, Mid Wilshire, or West Hollywood. As a consumer sucker, I paid extra to be able to go to any of them, including the “Sport” one (talk about irony).

  29. Mari

    THANK YOU. This is basically what I needed to get my lazy arse out of the ‘puter-chair and exercising! You see, I agree with you- people motivate people. I haven’t have a gym membership, yet whilst I see what is available to me I will do things like run around the park, sit-ups, pushups (no clap betweens yet), etc. Besos, Mari! xxx

  30. Rabbit

    I WAS exercising 3 or more times a week, but the last couple weeks I’ve gotten lazy. Naps are so much better than squats.

  31. schrodinger

    I find the trick is to NOT go to the gym, and do your workout elsewhere…rollerblading at the beach for example. It SEEMS like fun, but is actually a workout. You’ve got to trick your mind…sad, but true.

  32. Kathie

    May I partner…er…join the group?

  33. Heather

    Oh fine. Jane gets humiliated. I need some Star Trek loving computer programmers to come up with the conspiracy behind this.

  34. bettyonthebeach

    Over the weekend a girlfriend of mine told me she had started working out. I asked her if she’d joined a gym. She said that she works out at home…she puts on her iPod and dances around her apartment like a crazy woman for an hour after she gets home from work. I thought that was brilliant! Sounds a hell of a lot better than the boring gym!

  35. Jenni

    You should go to a class at the gym. I do step aerobics and weight lifting classes. They motivate you and offer something different. Try it!

  36. kimananda

    Hmmm…looks like I’m a bit late for this amazing special offer…but it is a good idea!

  37. Kevin

    Too late to sign up?

  38. Neil

    Never too late.

  39. Neil

    Be on the look out for some upcoming buddy lists in the following months:

    I vow to get a better job by September.

    I vow to finish that novel by November.

    I vow to have sex at least twice this month.

  40. maribeth

    Ah. If you went to Manhattan Beach, I was going to offer to spy on you, and post pictures of your workouts on my blog if you skipped a day.

    Of course, this doesn’t work if you just never go.

  41. Dagny

    OK. I’m down with the upcoming buddylists — specifically numbers 1 and 3.

  42. supa

    must … resist … healthfulness.

    Am slowly spooning chocolate over top of spinach. And then lighting a cigarette.

  43. serena

    Neil…cutting edge of the blogosphere with blogger buddies : )

  44. Thesaurus Rex

    Um, I’ll work out this week if you’ll post us some pictures of that bare chest for us to enjoy. Otherwise, no deal.

  45. Jack

    The man’s man.

  46. introspectre

    I’m on, pal.
    I know, sex doesn’t count. I’ve been biking to do as many errands as I can.

    I’m so totally ON!

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