1. Tony The Tiger:
Tony: Meet me at Gold’s at 8:30.
Me: Is that a bar?
Tony: Gym, bro.
We spend 3 hours doing various chest exercises. Tony’s the type of guy whose never done a leg workout in his life, but more than makes up for that with his frightening benchpress intimacy. In between his sets, he yells things like “theeeey’re great!” and “eat shit, miniwheats!”
We spend a good two hours sitting at the juice bar. Tony orders the “Tone,” which is apparently named after him and consists solely of whey protein and granulated sugar. He flirts with the girl behind the counter the entire time, serenading her with stories of his newly souped up Pontiac Firebird. He has a dangerously thick Jersey accent. He lives and breathes his hometown of Howell, New Jersey.
He drives me home, blasting an album put out by his friend from high school whose never really left town. The album is self-described as “Springsteen meets dubstep.” Tony thanks me for spotting him on the deadlifts, and tells me that I can’t avoid going to Atlantic City with him forever.
2. The Pringles Man:
We meet at a Whiskey bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s the type of place that charges you $18 for whiskey because it has a clever name and Jon Hamm once mentioned he visited the place in a GQ article.
This is the Pringles Man’s regular spot, which at first makes me skeptical given that he’s a freelance barber for a living. But after hearing him talk for 5 minutes, it becomes pretty evident that he’s got some hidden family money. I’m guessing the means by which his family acquired that money heavily contradicts his exhaustingly liberal views.
He then spends a good 45 minutes regaling me with the struggles being a freelance barber. Specifically, how he’s had the same mustache since ’98, and how his signature fashion style has been hijacked by all the other freelance barbers in Williamsburg. He then pops a molly, and tells me that if I pop a molly, the fun won’t stop.
I decline. Clearly irked, he calls up his friend whose name is something or other the fourth, and they head off to some hotel. I’m invited, but not really.
3. Snap, Crackle, Pop:
I meet them right after their almost sold-out improv show. Snap and Pop are buried in their phones — arguing with a troll on twitter, who apparently bears an uncanny resemblance the frog from Honey Smacks.
Snap makes some comment about how he didn’t realize it, but that he’s totally a big deal now that he has 5,500 twitter followers. Crackle notes that it’s good they’re a few blocks away from the East River, because it’s getting harder and harder not to shove Snap in it.
4. The Keebler Elf:
I meet the Keebler Elf at a diner in the Theater District. He’s a bit rude and sexist to the waitress, though she doesn’t seem to mind. She gives me a look that seems to say I can handle it…par for the course from guys that age.
Since the waitress and I shared an intimate moment, I spend the majority of the lunch ignoring everything he has to say — he mostly talks about how he’s got to hide his vast fortune of cookies from DeBlasio’s insane tax rates — and decide that this is the time I’m finally gonna leave my number for a waitress.
This plan, however, is foiled. The Elf refuses to let me chip in for my buffalo chicken sandwich, saying that the entire point of being a Baby Boomer is to always pay so that Millennials can be dependent on them forever. With no plan to woo the waitress, I decide I’ll drop by the diner the next time I’m in the theater district. I assume that she’ll be working at that time, because I live in a deranged world where I think people who I meet at a place actually never leave that place.
Upon departure, the Keebler Elf tells me to send him my resume, which he says he’ll send over to his contacts over at Nabisco and JP Morgan. Immediately after, my parents call and ask me how it went. I tell them it went well, and everybody is appeased for another day.
5. Chester The Cheetah:
He lives in one of those walkups that seem stubbornly rooted in a time where people openly knifed each other in the streets — when the city was on fire, when people had really negative opinions about Nancy Reagan.
I buzz up. I spend two minutes looking around uneasily before I’m let in the building. Four flights up, and the door’s wide open. He’s in the middle of cooking an omelette. Blasting the Dead Kennedys, flipping the egg, tomato and onion creation in between lines of coke. He offers me some. I decline, acknowledging that I’m very much out of my element. His roommate, who up until this point hand been sitting on the couch watching Saw II, springs to life:
Roommate: What you some kind of Dorito-slinging pussy?
Me: Oh no, I’m just…it’s not…
Roommate: (mimicking)“Oh no, I’m just.” What the fuck Chesty. This shit again? I TOLD you…
He then eyes me uneasily
Roommate: You a cop? Huh? HUH? YOU A FUCKING COP?
Chester: Cool it dude, he’s alright…
At this point the roommate whips a 12 inch blade right out of the side of his gym shorts, springs up, and pushes it gently against my face.
Chester: MR. PLANTER, CHILL!
Mr. Planter: You ain’t workin with that Toucan, are you?