A straightforward, no BS guide to Dodge Gym.


Henry Backhanded is a hapless freshman still finding his way, quite literally, at Columbia. He feels Sandra Allbright is, as her last name already suggests, a bright rising star in the field of theoretical physics. Two weeks ago outside of Furnald Hall, Henry met Sandra’s best friend, Lilianna Trustworth, for the first time and immediately fell in love. 

Today, Henry, having remembered Lilianna’s schedule, casually strolls down four flights of stairs and coincidentally bump into the two walking out the doors. Sandra was explaining to Lilianna the thermodynamics of going to the gym when Henry announced, “I’m going to work out at the gym!” 

“Rising Action”

“I’m a regular!” Sandra, who Henry found a bit intimidating, had spoken. While he didn’t believe her boasting, Henry’s eyes sparkled at the potential of finding answers. He was, after all, a hapless freshman. 

“So maybe you can help me out? I got lost at the door last time.” 

“Ask away,” said Sandra without betraying any judgment. 

“The Questions” 

  1. Uris Pool

“See… I’ve been trying to find…this place called Uris Pool? Should be somewhere on the third floor right?” 

“Ah! Actually underground. The pool. Literally reeks of rotten chlorine.” 

“Eww. Guess I’m not going there anytime soon.” Pause. “Seriously? How do people swim in there?” Sandra thought for a moment before explaining the exhausting truth,

“We just pray the stench and the lighting is harsh enough the coach doesn’t see us clearly and we just pass the swim test doing the bare minimum. Literally.” Sandra added that the pool was only open at ungodly hours. Like 5 AM and 9 AM Sundays. 

“Damn, I think I’ll give up going to Uris Pool then.” 

At that, Henry was glad he didn’t need to buy new trunks. 

  1. Fitness Room 

“Yeah I think that’s what makes sense,” said Sandra. 

“I think maybe I should try benching some weights, but I’m quite intimidated!”

“Yeah as you would be. Honestly there’s a secret ritual where people basically go to these fitness rooms and pretend to be strangers but actually they’re all friends who pretend to not be. They’re undercover for Dodge Gym Rat Control.”

“Wait…that’s a thing?” Henry furrowed his eyebrows at rat and control. 

“I was just as surprised as you were, but yeah, someone released a rat from the fitness room and that triggered the higher ups to do a complete search of the place. Also find out if the rat’s helping agent had an accomplice. ” 

“Oh god I love rats.” 

“Well guess you’re not Columbia’s priority then.” Henry was a little offended by that. Even though Sandra was being really helpful right now, it was unclear whether or not she was insulting him. 

  1. Squash Courts 

“Fine. The squash courts then. What about those?”

“Oh they’re actually badminton courts. Columbia lies about it being a squash court because of past wounds.” 

“Do tell!” 

“Well, they lost the 2004 Best Thigh Power Ivy Title to Cornell, which you know…was honestly a huge blow.” Sandra paused, pointing to her heart. 


  1. Running Track 

“At least I can try running! I guess they’re not hard to find, haha.” 

“Yeah, except the route is actually part of a scavenger hunt started by the Rat Control. They get paid for every participant who joins in to run that track.” 

“Oh my goodness! Am I inadvertently funding Rat Control?” A sense of disgust ripple through his body. 


  1. Aerobics Room 3 

“I mean my mom loved doing yoga. Maybe I’ll resort to that then.” Henry took a deep breath and prayed that Sarah won’t spoil that hope for him. 

“I mean that’s fine. Just make sure you are totally okay with the smell of human feet. I mean, it gets corporeal in there.” Henry wouldn’t take it anymore.

“That’s crap.” 

“I see that you’re optimistic. Hapless freshman.” 

Henry was certain that Sarah was insulting her. 

“Fast Forward” 

Henry Backhanded declared his major as Computer Science with a minor in Good Listening Skills. He has succeeded in escaping a life of Dodge Gym and has Sarah Allbright to thank. They will meet five years later in Chicago where Henry is a data hipster and Sarah Allbright is a fitness mind game coach.