FORT BELVOIR, Va. — With the arrival of three new and awkwardly worded passive-aggressive signs, Graves Fitness Center Manager Lou Austin believes he is one sign away from having a well-regulated gym.
“Most of the guys I see come in here are pressed for time and just want to get a workout in and get on with their day,” said Austin. “I just try to help them with that by reminding them to be courteous, professional and germaphobic.”
Austin’s most recent genre-defying breakthrough was to remove the sign he had written that said “no boots on cardio machines” with individual signs on each piece of equipment as boot friendly or not boot friendly. This was followed by labeling which equipment could be used to hang an ACU blouse, before deciding to change the policy to outlaw ACU blouses altogether.
“Everyone wants a clean fitness center, but I have to remind people to wipe down the weights before they lift, after they lift, and between sets,” he said. “If I had it my way, no one would lift. We’d all just wipe down the weights.”
Austin is also shocked and disgusted at the number of disinfectant wipes the gym uses in a given month, a fact belayed by the “USE WIPES EFFICIENTLY” sign hanging from each dispenser.
Austin is known for walking around the gym informing soldiers that their “Mother doesn’t work there” — a fact that is apparent to most.
In the eight years since Austin retired as an E7 and started his contractor position at Graves Fitness Center, his signs have become both more prolific and passive aggressive. “Professionals DO NOT spit in water fountains” was so successful it inspired him to create the “Courteous people rack their weights,” “Patrons should not move the sauna dial past the MARK.” And “TOWELS go INSIDE lockers.”
Before he retires the second time, Austin plans to address other pressing issues that affect the physical fitness of America’s soldiers, such as outlawing snatch grips, attempts to change the channel of one of the 16 TVs to anything other than FOX News or ESPN, filling water bottles in the water fountains, of using the calibrated scale to weigh yourself.
To date, Austin has not addressed the scourge of old retirees walking around the locker rooms butt ass naked for far longer than they need to.