That Time Richard Simmons Bit My Grandfather

This is a true story. Scout’s honor. It’s isn’t my story, but no one who lived it has a blog, and it needs to be heard. Richard Simmons’ reign of dental terror must end.

Many years ago, my husband’s grandparents decided that Chicago winters are far too cold for reasonable humans, and they purchased a condo in Florida. They became fully committed snow birds, migrating with the seasons to spend half the year in each location. As they settled into the laid back Floridian lifestyle, my grandfather (in-law) devoted himself to golf and boating, like any Southern gentleman. And, in the time-honored tradition of Southern women, my grandmother (in-law) devoted herself to drinking cocktails and learning all kinds of details about the lives of her neighbors.

After a few months of this, without the subtle calorie burn caused by constantly shivering in Chicago, my grandmother had grown pleasantly plump. My grandfather, meanwhile, stayed trim. Around this time, the two of them headed to the mall for a day of Christmas shopping. As they wandered the tiled floors, thinking of family, they were unexpectedly halted by a high-pitched shout from across the promenade.

“Hey there! I think you need what I’ve got!” …and there was Richard Simmons, in a fluorescent tank top and legwarmers, barreling towards them.

He looked my grandmother up and down. “Oh yes, oh yes, you’re simply amazing. But you’re not moving your body enough, are you? *tsk tsk tsk* …How can you be your brilliant self if you don’t treat your body like something sacred?!”

At this point, my grandfather – who built a hugely successful advertising firm from nothing and was used to people abiding by his wishes – sternly said, “Sir, I’ll have to ask you to leave my wife alone. We are not interested.”

At that, Richard Simmons only became more animated, driven by his primal need to help my grandmother find herself through the power of Jazzercise. “Oh, but don’t you see you’re holding her back?! She has to re-discover her own amazing self! We’ll have so! Much! Fun!” At this, my grandfather shook his index finger in Richard Simmon’s face, then turned to walk away. Except…

His finger was gently trapped between the pearly white incisors of the Workout King. Richard Simmons growled, very softly, and then released my grandfather’s hand so he could admonish him: “You’re being a very bad husband! You’re not letting your wife decide what she wants, so I didn’t let you decide whether I should bite you! How does that feel, huh?!”

After this point, the story becomes unclear. Some versions state that mall security appeared and escorted Richard Simmons away; others tell us that my grandfather attempted to end Richard Simmons right there outside The Gap. What is certain, amidst the swirling mists of legend, is that Richard Simmons is not fucking kidding about fitness.

Richard Simmons cheerfully pushes away all the above rumors with his patented "cannibal arm thrust!"

Richard Simmons cheerfully pushes away all the above rumors with his patented “Cannibal Arm Thrust!”

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49 responses to “That Time Richard Simmons Bit My Grandfather

  1. Wow. That’s too funny! Yes, this story definitely needed to be told. Thanks for sharing it with us, and for the laugh.

    • I know. I kind of love him in this – he was adorably misguided if he thought sheer enthusiasm would make my grandparents do a damn thing they’re not interested in. Grandma is not a Jazzercise kind of lady.

    • I’m right there with you! But I have to admit, I was reading some quotes from him last night, and The Simmons has said some really smart things, like: “I think it is very important that you like yourself for who you are and not want to look like anyone else. You also have to understand, many people have had cosmetic surgeries in order to look the way they look. So why look like them when you can just look like you? There is nothing wrong with looking like you.”

      …and also…

      “When I lost my weight, I went and bought about 15 different types of underwear to see what would look good on my new body. It’s exciting!”

      …that one made my day.

  2. Hahaha!! I remember this story, Jennie. It makes me laugh every time. I cannot believe that little man did this to your grandma. He better never come up to me and say “Hey, I can help you with those extra pounds”, because I might just have to snap him in half. Hahahaha! Thank you for officially writing this story down for all of your blogosphere friends, honey. Priceless! Love you, sis!

    • Right, like there’s this great sadness underneath all the pep? And eventually he’s going to snap? Say, by biting someone… I just don’t think anyone can genuinely be that cheerful all the time.

  3. Hahaaa! Jennie, your Grandpa sounds like a top bloke. I bet your Grandma could tell heaps of stories where she’s thought or said “Oooh, I wouldn’t do that if I were you, sonny.” only to watch her hubby dish out another life lesson to some over-enthusiastic peanut. Love it, tell us more. LLH&R REDdog

    • Yeah, they don’t suffer fools! I don’t have too many stories about them, but my husband has told me one great one anecdote that proves Grandma Joan is pretty no-nonsense, too. She taught him to play gin rummy when he was 6, and they always bet with real money. If he lost, she’d take his allowance. I was like, “Really? Your grandma wouldn’t let you out of the bet? You were SIX!” And he said, “Hell no – and I learned the game really, really well.”

    • You know, I hadn’t seen that, so I Googled it. And I found this link, and – as complicated a personality as Richard Simmons is – this actually made me feel really fond of him. The whole interview at the bottom is kind of amazing, especially the Dr. Phil impression. He may totally rub you the wrong way, and I would get that… I guess I just don’t mind a little crazy when the person’s well intentioned, and at least he’s positive and never boring!

  4. What! Is this real life?! He BIT him?! Oh my lord. I’d bite him back and be like “and you didn’t decide to wear shorts that fit today.”
    This is a scary story a la “Are You Afraid of the Dark.”

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