What it’s like to be laughed at on the Internet
One night, about 10 months ago, I got an email from a friend in Vermont, with the subject line “Is this you!?” I clicked it open, and the friend had sent me a link to a website called “Youredoingitwrong.com,” which is a site of all viewer-submitted photos of people doing things hilariously, ignorantly wrong in public. The exact page, or image, that this friend had sent was the inside of a Snap Fitness workout center, and the camera point-of-view was looking at the back of a person on a treadmill—looking through and past some pieces of exercise equipment in the foreground, as if, you know, spying.
The person we see on the treadmill is quite large, and though we can’t see her face, she seems to be female because she has long hair in pigtails. She’s wearing denim overalls, big denim overalls, like a farmer, and—this is the important part—she’s not walking on the treadmill. Her big body in her big overalls is sitting in one of Snap’s spindly little red folding chairs, on the treadmill—which is not moving—and she’s looking up above the treadmill display, watching the flat-screen TV that’s mounted on the wall. She is definitely “doing it wrong.”
“Is this you?!” wrote my friend Angie.
A couple hours later—this is truly crazy—I got an email from my mother, with whom I haven’t spoken in a decade, because we’re estranged. She wrote, “Hi, Amy. I hope you’re doing well. I got a hip replaced. Your sister had two more babies. Say, I’m on Ellen DeGeneres’s funny mailing list, and…is this you?!” And what she attached was—apparently Ellen sends out a humorous email to her bazillion-people fan base once a week, and on this particular week, she sent viewer-submitted photos of humans doing hilariously misguided shenanigans, and there was that same photo—of the fat woman, in overalls, sitting in a chair, on a treadmill…watching TV.
Flashback to November 2010.
I had had an acting gig, doing improv at a party, and afterwards, I was all revved up, and I thought, “Ooh, I’m going to go work out!” And so I went to my gym, the Snap Fitness on Lagoon Avenue in Uptown—which, if you’ve seen it, you know is basically a crappy little storefront. The selling point, however, is that it’s open 24 hours, and I’m a night owl, and I am poverty-stricken and don’t have TV at home; I mean, I have a TV, that exists as a horizontal surface to set things down on, but I can’t afford cable—so I got in the groove of treadmilling late at night, while watching television.
So, on this November night, in 2010, I got on my favorite treadmill, which was the one closest to Snap’s big glass window, and I stumbled upon a House marathon. I know! Like, five episodes in a row! One of them’s gotta be lupus! I treaded for 80 minutes, my typical time, and when I was done, there was still more House to partake in, so I changed back into my regular clothes, dragged a chair onto the treadmill, and kept watching.
Categories:Advocacy | Health | General