For Those About To Rock (We Salute You): An Exegesis

(Photo: Splashnews/ R Chiang)

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A terrible thing happened to me at the gym the other night. What’s that? Heavens no, nothing like that. Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

This happened as I ran on the treadmill, my pace somewhere between Roger Bannister’s closing in on glory at the turn and Roger Maltbie’s closing in on cobbler at the clubhouse. You’ll notice I said “at the gym.” This was intentional. While not critical to the story – I could have been on my treadmill at home, for instance – I want to make abundantly clear that I am not talking about those ridiculous treadmill desks, which no self-respecting person should use.

Desk treadmills. What an unnatural union. And running to stand still. How can this visual help office morale? Plus who knows what other Furies we’ll unleash once we start down this road. Stationary bike-phone, where pedal speed drives signal strength? Users of desk treadmills should be made to rig up a lightbulb to their equipment, just so everyone can see how little power they’re generating. My guess? Not enough heat to hatch that chicken egg like you did back in third grade with Mrs. Clovis. And gray wool suit with white reeboks? Melanie Griffith from Working Girl called, she wants her look back. This is a premeditated act of epic stupidity. Users are not worthy of sympathy in the way standing desk owners and stability ball chair sitters are deserving of a period of immediate post-purchase amnesty:

Me: Hey, Jim, how are you enjoying your new ball chair?

Jim: Great, just great. I mean sure, it feels like I’m practicing law aboard the Andrea Gail, and now everywhere I go I walk with the freakishly low center of gravity of a Russian folk dancer. But I bet that will pass. Anyway, whenever I need to stretch my legs I just mosey on over here to my new standing desk. It’s great for your posture and circulation.

Me: And how’s the standing desk working out for you?

Jim: It’s like standing in line all day at the DMV. It sucks.

Back to the gym treadmill. There I was, running at a nice clip with AC/DC rocking my earbuds when it hit me: the premise behind For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) is ridiculous. Let’s be clear on a couple of things. No disrespect to AC/DC. I love those guys, and they sure don’t need a salute from me to know that they’re all that and a bag of chips. But a critical term is undefined. What constitutes the rocking that is worthy of their salute?

Do I have to be in a band, touring the world and playing to packed stadiums? Because for that to occur two things must happen. First, the world is set afire with demand for a cappella Hall & Oates cover bands. Second, Jerry finds a way to rehearse with the rest of his bandmates in Artisanal Cheese, even when his wife has Bunco Night. Of course if AC/DC means I can rock other than literally, then I guess that’s fine. Just know that once you open that door, the compliment gets watered down pretty fast. Pretty soon everyone and his brother is getting a salute. And AC/DC is too old-school to be endorsing a “trophies for everyone” message.

It gets worse. Whatever rocking means, I don’t even have to be doing it to win AC/DC’s praise. I just have to be about todo it. This is where things really break down. After all, moments before being about to rock, I could be knitting with Henry Winkler on my sun porch. Just the two of us, drinking hibiscus tea and talking about reverse mortgages. Are the bad boys Down Under really saluting that? And then there’s accountability. I mean, I’ve been “about to do” a million things in my life, things that I never ended up doing. Build a birdhouse. Take my kids to a petting zoo. Learn to speak Italian. Paint in watercolors. Call 911. Is the band really going to give me a pass where my wife doesn’t?

Wife (looking out window toward the street): Are you going to bring in the trash cans?

Me (motionless on couch, watching The Big Lebowski): I’m about to.

Wife: About to is not good enough.

Me (to Malcolm and Angus Young, on other couch): What say you, boys?

AC/DC (after conferring, shouting): We salute you!

Bottom line? This imprecision is beneath such a great rock band. I can live with it from lesser Aussies like Men at Work, what with all that vegemite sandwich nonsense, and Midnight Oil, about whom I’m like okay, okay, the beds are burning, I get it, but not AC/DC. Come on, boys.