Oh man, now THIS first picture is embarrassing. I must be about 17 here. Yikes. Look at that hair. This is back when people used to tell me I had “David Hasseloff hair”. It was a “body wave”, aka perm, that I got back in my senior year of high school. As if I wasn’t enough of an outcast, having transferred to public school the year before, and quickly gaining a reputation as a complete non-partying teetotaler, the perm solution BURNT my skin, and left a huge, gaping, oozing sore on my forehead. Of course, all of the oh-so-understanding teenagers I went to school with said it was a “runaway zit”. It seemed to last forever, but I guess it really didn’t. There are no photos of me with it (thank God), only my scarred memories. I’m sure those must be Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, or something cheesey like that. Dig that 27 inch waist…I’d kill for that again! I have no idea what that “look” is on my face. Classic deer in the headlights, I think. Oh, yeah, you gotta love that wallpaper…
Anyway, it was about this time that I got out of my basement and started going other places to work out. One place was at my high school, in the football team’s weight room. I was the only non football player who worked out there. We had a pretty scrawny team, so I was really one of the strongest guys there. Believe it or not.
I also started working out at a “real gym”. The Greenville Athletic Club, it was called. It was dingy, smelly, and had lots of iron. No chromeplated machines, and very few women. All of the “cool guys” from my high school worked out there, so it kind of made me cool too, since I worked out with them. But not too cool. I was still the art guy who didn’t party. But I did get some notoriety around the gym. Some older guys (at least 25 …they were ancient!) even told me a few times what potential I had in bodybuilding. That just encouraged me more. I was sure I’d be Mr. Olympia in a few years. This was also the time when I first heard about steroids. I never knew they existed until then. I asked my uncles about this one guy who’d come into the gym (in striped spandex bike shorts…I still remember them!), and just go around posing in the mirrors, and talking to the few women who dared work out in the gym. He never worked out, it seemed, but he was HUGE! Plus, his skin was really, really red all of the time, and he had huge zits all over his back. All signs of steroid use, I learned from them. I promised myself right then that I’d never use them. Stay tuned, because this subject comes up again!
The second photo here was taken just yesterday. It’s a photo of two of my most prized possessions, actually. These muscle mags are some of the only things my Dad has from when he was a kid (along with the 45s I mentioned yesterday)! He gave them to me when I started getting interested in working out. I was about the same age then that he was when he bought them. I’ve had them longer now than he did! They were a part of the “Joe Weider Muscle Building Club”, where you got a membership card, etc. Unfortunately, he lost the card long ago.
I’d love to have it.