I have found some Hell.
It is Tuesday and Thursday from 1.00 to 2.00.
It is our classroom exercise hour.
The tables are put up, the television rolled out, and a particular DVD is put into the player.
This DVD is the port of entry into Hell.
It is Richard Simmons Sweatin' to the Oldies 20th Anniversary Edition.
Hairy chested satyr men in sky blue tanktops cavort with nymphs built like hourglasses that forgot to narrow in the middle.
The sand simply drops from the top to the bottom.
The nymphs have managed to wedge their peach leotards over their T-shirts and down into their elastic-waisted jean shorts.
And the master of ceremonies is the great god Pan Simmons himself, now pelvic thrusting to Dancin' in the Streets, now playfully swatting the tushies of forty-something males who uncomfortably bat their eyes and mouth 'Oh Richard'.
Pan Simmons in his impossibly short shorts, his hair stolen from the Greatest American Hero, his tan buttered on him seconds before showtime.
And in our classroom, Hell.
Hot, sweaty Hell.
No one but a few well-meaning staff follow the moves accurately. No one claps on beat. No one shimmies when Richard shimmies, or kicks when Richard kicks.
All is discord; moaning, spastic flailing. A smell of feet, breath, and private musk begins to fill the air, stewing and thickening throughout the exercise hour.
On the screen, a succubus in a pink skirt, sporting a black bowler hat, wails away on Its My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To; she goes cheek to cheek with Richard and the two of them stare lasciviciously out of the TV.
Come play with us, they seem to say, come play with us forever.
I am sorry for my sins and I am very scared.
Though, to be fair, Richard Simmons has done more for human beings than I will probably ever do in my lifetime.
And he has his own toyline, which is even more important than helping people.
It turns out that Richard is an avid doll collector, and he has a line of dolls you can purchase from his website.
About his dolls, Richard writes "so magical....you can almost hear their little voices."Some of them are real good:
I think this one is Richard himself, but they didn't get the hair right.
This one is "Herb the Nerd". From the description:
"He loves nature and collects everything natural, from bugs to butterflies, for a hobby.
Herb surfs the Internet to study the names of many different butterflies, moths and critters he has captured over his years of collection. He has met many collectors only from all over the world."
Is it his years of collection that makes him a nerd? Or that he surfs the Internet? Or that he has only met collectors from all over the world?
I feel like I need to know more.
This one is "Lillian, Belle of the Ball".
I know I am immature, but her wrinkly, overtly emphasized cleavage creeps me out.
"Lillian, relives the old days of the Big Band Era."
Dementia immortalized in booby doll form.
This one is called "Treat Yourself" and is not offered for sale to purchasers of "Sweatin to the Oldies".
There are lots more here.
But there is one that really bothers me.
This is "Webbie Hannah."
"Hi, I'm Webbie Hannah from California. I'm so glad you could join me! I love to collect buttons! My first button is still my favorite, it's a gold antique flower that came from my grandmother's wedding dress. I keep it on a string with my other favorites. I meet lots of new people everyday while chatting with the Webbies. We get together to visit, and best of all we search websites and chat rooms to find little treasures, like... you know, buttons. My collection of buttons continues to grow but the search must I go on. I've been busy as a bee and could use a little help. Maybe you should join us! I really hope you do. See you then! :-) Webbie Hannah."
What is going on here? What seedy behavior is being promoted?
Webbie Hannah has unsupervised Internet access, and she is meeting up with the people she meets in chat rooms.
"little treasures, like...you know, buttons."
Why the pause Hannah, what are you alluding to that I just don't get?
I feared that little treasures/buttons was some kind of unsavory reference or slang, so I did a little research.
Sure enough, I came back with this image:
Who is this? Is this who Webbie Hannah meets on weekends? Are those drugs that this hippie freak is ogling, like he ogles Webbie Hannah's uneasily prominent front teeth?
And worst of all, the whole thing is a recruitment drive. "I have been busy as a bee, and could use a little help. Maybe you should join us! I really hope you do." Like any circle of perverts, these two are always on the make, looking to bring a few more lambs into their sick little fold.
Shame on you, Richard Simmons, for promoting this.
And shame on you, little Webbie Hannah, I'll see you