Joe," wails a ballerina, "now you're calling me an elephant."
insult the elephant. An elephant could walk through this room, and you wouldn't
hear it. An elephant walks delicately. But you—clump, clump, clump! Americans!
Baseball players! No wonder they come to my gym with arthritis! Ulcers! Animals
don't have ulcers! Animals don't go on diets! Straight the knees! Out the
So the minutes
pass—flipping and wriggling through the Corkscrew, the Jackknife, the Seal.
It's not cheap ($5 a session, which lasts about 45 minutes), but as you go your
two or three times a week, the weeks become months, and the abuse becomes
interspersed with a few gruff congratulatory murmurs. Kindly Clara will admire
your new sleekness, gruff Hannah will say, "Well, about time." Perhaps
your head is a little higher in the street, above all the young gray faces.
Aches and twinges disappear. A day comes when you are able to get your ankles
into two loops hanging down from above, stretch your body, grab two upright
poles—and climb up. You reach the top with grunts of pleasure and suddenly
whoop in terror, "How do I get down?" "The same way you got
up." Down you come, hand after hand, with gasps and moans and a final yell
of triumph. In the hush of admiration Joe bellows out his final accolade:
"Now you are an animal!"