Dear Sapphire Cross

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Dear Sapphire Cross,

Upon reading your email that I will be discounted $150 off my yearly fee if I can provide evidence of attending a qualified gym for 120 sessions during the calendar year 2015, I could feel my muscles twitching in anticipation. I have also received your FAQs about this policy, but I couldn’t find my own FAAs (Frequently Answered Answers). I am responding with some PIAQs (Probably Infrequently Asked Questions).

  • Can I use the gym in my neighbor’s basement?
  • Does this have to involve physical fitness? I have heard that challenging mental games like chess, bridge, and Battleship use as many calories as running 9 miles.
  • How long do I have to be at the gym?
  • How will you know if I just check in, get some water from the water fountain, sit in the locker room and read “How to Have a Great Body in 10 Minutes” for a half an hour, then leave?
  • What if I only go 119 times? Is this refund prorated? What if I go 110 times? 109? 90? 70? 20? 11?
  • Do you want to see my muscles?
  • Do you give a stipend for laundry detergent?  I have to use the washer and dryer in the basement, and that costs five quarters a load, so if I wash my clothes after every time I go to the gym, I won’t actually realize any savings after you give me $150.
  • Can I share this with my wife?  Can I go just 60 times during the year? She only wants to work out the upper part of her body and I only want to work out the lower part of my body, so I think that is fair.
  • If I meet someone when I am at gym, and then go out on a date afterwards, can I get an even larger refund to cover that?  Will you keep it from my wife?
  • If I have a heart attack at the gym, I’m going to sue you for inducing me to try to get healthy. In fact, I think I am going to sue you now.  Because this is entrapment. During my operation next month (which has been scheduled since last February, when I got some cash after being hit by an ice cream truck on its way to get more antifreeze), I will have a fat transplant from you-know-where to you-shouldn’t-ask.
  • If I work out so much that I rip open my shirts from my huge manly-man muscles, will you pay for them to get sewn or buy me new shirts? I’m a 15 ½ and like green plaid.
  • Do I really have to go to the gym?  I am into visualization, and can visualize myself working vigorously and am experienced enough to raise my heart rate thirty beats per minute, so that my body believes it is exercising and my mind is smelling that dirty sock smell that turns me on just a little bit.
  • Speaking of being turned on, does you-know-what count as exercise? I have heard it uses calories.  And I can’t do that at the gym. So what if I just stayed in my bathroom and kind of “exercised” each day, in the privacy of my own six-foot-tall distorted mirror that I bought used from an amusement park fun house?
  • Would you like to go out on a date with me?  (You can sign a HIPAA and I’ll only call you by your first name.)

Debbie Merion writes and exercises (occasionally in a real gym) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Read more of her stories at