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Fun on Friday: My Trip from Joy to Rage

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I never imagined I would get this much joy from going to the gym. Or that joy could so quickly turn to rage.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I went to the gym yesterday. It was one of the most thrilling moments I’ve had in about six weeks.

Mind you, going to the gym isn’t normally a thrill. In fact, it hurts me.

You see, I’ve never been a gym rat. I work out so I can play hockey. And so I don’t end up weighing 300 pounds. I have this really unhealthy relationship with cannolis that I can’t seem to extricate myself from. So, a daily trip to the gym helps mitigate some, if not all, of the fall out from that illicit affair.

But I haven’t been able to go to the gym since Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis closed them for coronavirus weeks ago. It’s been rough. I really can’t run long distances because my hip is old and arthritic. I can’t skate because our fearless leader closed the ice rink as well. I bought and bike, so I’ve at least been able to do some cardio. But it’s not the same as working out at the gym.

At first, I was like, “Weee!, This is great! I have an excuse to not go work out!” But after about a week I was missing it. After about four, my belly was showing it. Damn cannolis.

Well, Florida still hasn’t opened up gyms. But Georgia – oh that peach of a state – has! And I only live about 10 miles from the Florida-Georgia line. So, yesterday I packed up my gym bag and made the 18-mile trek the Anytime Fitness location in St. Mary’s, Georgia.

And I worked out.

It was so wonderfully – normal.

Everybody was a lot more conscious about wiping things down. Every other cardio machine was turned off for social distancing purposes. And the staff was wearing masks (mandated I believed.) But other than that, it was a normal workout at the gym.

I was filled with inexplicable joy. It wasn’t just working out. It was that sense of normalcy and the hope that we are moving a bit closer to putting this lockdown nightmare behind us.

I headed home in high spirits.

And that’s when my good mood was crushed by reality.

We’re nowhere near normal.

I usually take the first exit off I-95 in Florida to get home. It was blocked off.

Uh-oh.

Then I saw the signs. COVID-19 CHECKPOINT AHEAD.

Yes. I had to go through a border checkpoint to travel into Florida from Georgia.

Papers, please!

I was aware that the governor had ordered these checkpoints. But I had forgotten all about it.

As traffic slowed to a crawl and I crept toward the checkpoint, I was filled with rage.

Now, to be honest, the process was harmless enough. All passenger vehicles were herded into the weigh station. Eventually, we reached the actual checkpoint. There were three unarmed government workers in orange vests, wearing masks, waving us along. Seriously, three people standing shoulder-to-shoulder all waving to proceed. There were also a lot of armed government workers standing around looking useless. I think maybe they were there to make sure the unarmed government workers didn’t run off.

The whole point of this, by the way, is to ferret out people entering Florida from New York, New Jersey and Louisiana. They have to sign papers promising to self-quarantine for 14 days.

So anyway, I never had to stop, or show my papers, or explain myself. It was basically just 15 minutes out of my life that I’ll never get back.

But it wasn’t really the inconvenience that made me angry. It was the principle. Border checkpoints — right here in the land of the free! (Queue Lee Greenwood.)

I get it. The coronavirus is a dangerous disease. I don’t mean to understate that. But I have to be honest, I think some of the big-government precedents we’re seeing are an even more dangerous disease. Because I suspect they will be with us long after coronavirus has faded into a bad memory. Now that governments know they can do this stuff, they’ll be quicker to pull the trigger during the next “emergency.”

Anyway, I made it home without further incident. I even resisted the urge to stop at Publix and grab some cannolis. I’m still thankful I can go to the gym. And hopeful the checkpoint will be gone soon. And grateful for cannolis.

Fun on Friday is a weekly SchiffGold feature. We dig up some of the off-the-wall and off-beat stories relating to precious metals and share them with you – with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Click here to read other posts in this series.

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About The Author

Michael Maharrey is the managing editor of the SchiffGold blog, and the host of the Friday Gold Wrap Podcast and It's Your Dime interview series.
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