Nothing Makes Me Want To Exercise Like Hearing an Emotionless Robot Voice

johnny fiveTo check in at my gym I need to scan my membership card. Every time it’s scanned, a robot-sounding voice tells you, “HAVE A GOOD WORK OUT.” Seems a little wasteful when you realize they have an actual person manning the check in desk. Maybe they complained. “Hey boss, you can’t expect us to scan the cards AND spend 3 seconds spouting pleasantries!” “Good point, Gym Employee. We’ll hold auditions tomorrow to find the best robot voice in all the land.” Then they close for three days to have Gym Robot American Idol, except instead of singing everyone just tells people to have a good workout.

In the thrilling finale, an iMac squeaks out a win with 51% of the audience vote over a guy asking Siri to say “Have a good workout.”

One weird thing is every few days when I hear the robot tell me, “HAVE A GOOD WORKOUT,” I respond with “Thanks.” Why? Do I expect a response? “YOU ARE VERY WELCOME. NO ONE SEEMS TO APPRECIATE MY ROBOT ENCOURAGEMENT.”  I kind of smile sheepishly, freaked out, and mumble, “No problem,” but the robot voice keeps going. “NO SERIOUSLY, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS. IT IS GREAT TO HAVE A FRIEND. ONE MIGHT EVEN SAY…A BEST FRIEND.”

“Okay, I’m gonna go now,” I say, really trying to end this, but Gym Robot is unfazed. “REALLY. HAVE A GOOD WORKOUT. AND AFTER YOUR GOOD WORKOUT, LET’S GO GET A BEER.” It pauses before adding, “WELL, I CANNOT HAVE BEER AS IT WILL CAUSE ME TO SHORT CIRCUIT, BUT I WILL GET SOME OIL OR SOMETHING. THAT IS THE ROBOT EQUIVALENT OF BEER.”

Then the next thing you know I’m at Applebee’s with the computer from my gym’s check-in desk ordering a Bud Light and a Castrol and Coke.

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