When the strong-arming began to tax gym memberships and exercise classes in D.C. (as is already done in many states), opponents to the tax turned out to protest by striking yoga poses in public spaces — the warrior pose, the mountain pose, assorted poses with arms, hips and torsos thrust at interesting angles. The protest was so much more original than the usual placard-carrying protests that I immediately raised my free weights in support.
“Power to the posers!” It wasn’t much power, as the weights were only 2-pounders, but still. When all the posing and posturing ended, the council triumphed over their opponents who were, shall we say, stretched thin.
Opponents to “wellness taxes” often claim such surcharges discourage people from joining gyms. If you ask anyone with two cases of soda and nine bags of chips in their grocery cart whether a tax on gym memberships keeps them from working out, the answer will likely be, “Cool ranch.”
My concern is that taxing workouts will one day include my personal morning workout, which consists of elbow bends as I lift coffee to my mouth in a series of strenuous reps. Lift, drink, repeat. Exhale. Lift, drink, repeat. Feel the burn.
I propose we lift all taxes (striking a warrior pose here) on gyms, classes and morning coffee reps, and instead raise revenue by taxing every silly and false claim touted by the workout industry.
I know. You’re saying, “That’s ridiculous, it can’t be done.” Of course it can’t, but I’m proposing it anyway.
Let’s start with “Sexy Summer Arms.” Every time a workout promises sexy summer arms, tax it. I’m sick of hearing about sexy summer arms. Most people have winter arms. They took all fall and winter to get that way and there’s no workout under the sun that will turn them into sexy summer arms before the next frost.
I also propose taxing that annoying online ad, “Five Foods You Should Never Eat,” which always pictures a banana. Tax them for disparaging the humble and potassium-rich banana. Dole will have my back on this one.
I also propose taxing the word “killer,” as in killer cardio, killer body and killer abs. When was the last time someone stopped a crime by using killer abs? “Put the gun down now, or I’ll flash my killer abs.” I thought so. Killer anything — tax it.
“A New Body in 2 Weeks!” You’re not going to have a new body in two weeks; you’re going to have an older body in two weeks. Tax it.
I also propose taxing all workout instructors with long arms. They make it look easy to lie on your back, extend your legs at a 45 degree angle, lift your head and chest, extend your arms and touch your toes. People with short arms cannot do this no matter how much the long-armed instructor purrs, “Stretch, stretch, stretch.”
Finally, tax each and every workout that promises to have you wearing Daisy Duke shorts. Nobody — I repeat, nobody — should be wearing Daisy Duke shorts. Not even Daisy Duke. Tax the shorts. Tax Daisy, too. The way the debt is soaring, we’ll need the revenue.
Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.