If I bumped into Richard Simmons, I'd hug him. I'd instantly recognize him -- those nifty legs, candy-striped short-shorts, sparkling tank top, kinky curly hair, and his contagious smile.
He has joy in him and sends it out, shares and spreads it around with every hello no matter where he is. The boyish, not-young, sixty-two-year-old Simmons has a genius for giving himself, for being at the moment on the moment.
It's Zen -- being there -- being fully, utterly there, wherever you happen to be. The best dancing I ever did in my life was at the moment on the moment -- ditto with writing, cooking, or making love.
Simmons has credentials -- a Florida State University BA in Art. In NYC, after graduating, he was a waiter, a Maitre D'; in advertising, where he worked for Revlon and Coty Cosmetics. Meanwhile, he developed a diet, exercised, and lost 123 lbs, which he's kept off for 42 years. Even today, he's passionately promoting exercise-more-eat-less programs for public schools throughout the country.
This guy just does it and when you're near him you just join in. He calls his gym "Slimmons" -- his personal studio is "The Anatomy Asylum" -- daily exercise with music is called "Sweating to the Oldies."
Knowing all the secrets about staying fit, Simmons teaches, preaches, exemplifies -- "Love Yourself And Win," a title he created for a PBS pledge drive. He invents marvelously catchy titles -- Lighten Up, Super Sweatin', Never Say Diet, Fitness Fiesta, Wicked Workout, Walk Around the World, Shimmy Into Shape, Party Off the Pounds, and that's just a few of the titles you can buy and use by yourself -- 15 DVDs; 10 CDs; 10 cassettes, and 12 books.
Yes, he's a busy boy-guy-man -- a fantastically gay GAY? He's never said, but who cares? He lives alone in Hollywood Hills with two Dalmatians. He giggles and quotes the numbers -- he's been doing this for 35 years, and has probably helped humanity lose about 3,000,000 pounds.
The other exercise kings and queens -- including, Jane Fonda, Jillian Michaels of "Biggest-Loser" fame, Jack LaLanne, grandfather of U.S fitness, whorecently died, and others who have capitalized on what they know and what made them famous -- they are all people who help people, but Richard Simmons is unique, as a giver of joy.
Here he is, a spur of the moment, with a .group