Dream Gym

My dearly beloved gym, a family-owned place that stayed open all through COVID, defying governor’s orders and saving my sanity, is closing down. Nothing tragic, the owner simply decided to retire, take the money and go enjoy life. But I’m stuck looking for a new gym.

I was discussing the options with a very fit, very chic friend.

“Of course, there’s also gym such-and-such,” she says. “But I don’t recommend. It’s a very pretentious place for people who aren’t serious about working out and just go there to strut around with their designer water and meaningful T-shirts. Nobody even talks to each other because they are so full of themselves.”

“This!” I exclaim loudly. “This is the place for me!”

Civilization Makes a Comeback

After a struggle that lasted 3 years and 5 months, I have managed to persuade the university bureaucrats to change the title of my intro course on Hispanic Civilization to “Introduction to Hispanic Civilization.” The struggle entailed me having to explain that the words “Hispanic” and “civilization” are not offensive to black people.

Bureaucrats see the word “civilization” and interpret it as you saying that black people are uncivilized. Of course, the objection is always couched as, “some people will see the word ‘civilization’ and assume…” It’s a clear case of projection, and I find this whole idea of associating black people with lack of civilization deeply offensive, so it wasn’t hard to show sincere dismay during these discussions.

Today the course title was officially changed from “Learning a Foreign Language.” Which is something we never did in that course because it’s taught 100% in English. Now I will finally teach what the course title announces. And it only took 3,5 years, a mountain of paperwork and over a dozen (I stopped counting about 2 years in) levels of approval. To be clear, I have been teaching it as Intro to Hispanic Civilization since 2009. And it had been taught that way long before I showed up. It’s the title that was weird, not the course itself.