I have a few words for Erica Schachter, the young lady who so rudely attacked the Malkin Athletic Center (MAC) in last Wednesday's Crimson ("Personal Hygiene, Anyone?", signed piece, Oct. 24). She frames her barrage of ludicrous jabs as a response to the MAC's assault on all five of her senses, though it seems she has very little sense to begin with.
She begins with her eyesight, which is myopic at best. She finds, to her horror, that the Nautilus machines are brown. An outrage even if it weren't true, which it isn't! The machines are clearly black, though I'm sure she would never deign to get close enough to them either to use them or to study their pigmentation. She finds newspapers near the stairmasters and stationary bikes, and as if that weren't the last straw, she finds no treadmills to set trash down next to. Although, as she says (and I believe her) health clubs across the land have come to recognize the treadmill as the preferred acrobic exercise machine she has failed to realize that Harvard not a health club. If she needs a treadmail, let her walk to the ORAC. I'll understand though, if that's a bit too far to actually walk in order to do some virtual walking. And Heaven forbid that she should master the steps up to the gym to find the fifth stairmaster! She complains of the somewhat dated weight machines in the stair-master room. Beware, dearie, lest you put on muscle in spite of your impeccable sense of exercise fashion and modernity. Though our thoroughly sanitized sports-writer-in-a-bubble has surely never let slide a drop of sweat (telling, isn't it?) and smells only of flowers, she begrudges her fellow athletes a real workout. She wishes fervently that all sweaters wipe every drop of their salt from the machines lest she contract it. If the large windows do not offer superb ventilation, they are at least satisfactory. If only she has the strength to open them! She plans to make the MAC off-limits to anyone capable of lifting enough weight to justify grunting, with the music police on high alert.
I can see that her piece was partly in jest, as is mine. But the bottom line remains: the equipment and facilities in the MAC can make an athlete out of the puniest of us. Demanding the latest machines and sterilizing technology is like refusing to wear last year's clothes because they're out of style or have a spot on them. This obsession with the "newest" and "best" is obscene in its own right, but her complaining also mistakes the MAC's purpose. It is not a fashion show nor the plush, sterilized health spa she so ardently desires. It is to provide facilities for those serious about getting and staying in shape. I suggest she try this before she clutters our newspaper with any more of her insufferable whining. --Drew Cummings '96