Photo: Republic Records


Yes, That’s Me, Listening To Taylor Swift On The Elliptical

A middle-aged confession

8 min readApr 25, 2024


Fist bump.


Fist bump.

Hey, how many sets do you have left?

My girlfriend bought me a few sessions with a trainer at our local YMCA as a Christmas gift. She wants me to live a long, healthy life, so I must sweat. After all, I am a middle-aged man, which means I am slowly transforming into a human cupcake.

I complained at first and dragged my feet, but then I went. I didn’t want to admit I was nervous. A gym is a strange place for a sensitive poet like me, it’s the opposite of a couch, both physically and philosophically.

I have dim memories of high school locker rooms, the unholy smells, and the snap of wet towels. There are two types of people: those who are perfectly comfortable strutting around gym showers naked and those who react to public nakedness like vampires exposed to sunlight.

The trainer’s name was Ahmed, and he was exactly twenty-five years younger than me. Ahmed is lean and powerful, not too beefy. He’s studying to be a lawyer but he’s not sure. He’s sharp. We tell our best and brightest they can grow to be whatever they want to be…



John DeVore

I created Humungus, a blog about pop culture, politics, and feelings. Support the madness: