I’ve written previously about some of the characters who exercise beside me at the gym. Recently I’ve had my eye on a guy I think of in my head as Rick Moranis. I think of him this way because he looks exactly like—and I do mean exactly like—Ghostbusters-era Rick Moranis.

Like the actor, my Rick is tiny: in clogs he’s probably 5’6″ and fished directly from the pool can’t weigh more than 125lbs. He always wears an oversized cotton sweat-suit to the gym: the real deal too: pants and long-sleeved hooded top. The suit hangs so comically large on him that it makes him look clownish, and therefore somehow even more diminutive.

I first noticed Rick at the gym several months ago when I overheard him loudly and earnestly talking about his “Olympic weight-lifting routine. I’ve since observed him many times kicking at the heavy bag, sweat condensing on his brow thickly while his little legs strike furiously with a force that, were it repeated enough times upon an infirm individual, might cause a mild contusion.

Last week I was at the record store picking through the bins, which is one of my favorite ways to frivolously pass time. I found an old-time favorite of mine and had just placed the listening station headphones over my ears when I noticed a guy standing nervously beside me: it was Rick. Had he looked my way I would have happily given him an approving nod. What’s up Rick? Cool to see you out.

But he didn’t look my way. Instead Rick was trying to get the attention of one of the record-store guys milling behind the counter. As I dropped the needle on my album I heard him, in the same loud and un-self-aware voice he employs at the gym, yell what sounded like,

I’m looking for a Depeche Mode album with the song Sex Wolf on it!

On hearing this, first record-store guy checked his usual condescension to look at second record-store guy with a look of stumped confusion, a look that was returned with wide-eyed solemnity. It was clear that Rick had presented them both with an arcana neither of them knew; happily, both record-store guys rose to the occasion as Rick’s query succeeded in pulling them from their usual supercilious aloofness.

With eyebrows raised and ears cocked they asked him to repeat himself. Rick’s question had moved down the line of record-store guys and back like the colliding balls in a Newton’s Cradle, and I looked on intrigued. Once again Rick hollered his request: clearly he is the sort of guy incapable of using appropriate indoor volume or experiencing embarrassment. With one hand he held forth a stack of CD’s; with his other he brandished a photographer’s loupe connected by a leather lanyard about his neck.

I read through all the small print on these albums but can’t find it!

Checking what should obviously have elicited guffaws from them both, the record-store guys assured him sincerely that they’d look and see if they couldn’t find out more about the song; satisfied, Rick wandered off towards a row of CD’s.

Intrigued, I lowered the headphones and asked first record-store guy, “Did he just ask for a song called Sex Wolf?”

No, he replied, the song’s called Sex Dwarf.

“Sex wharf? I asked, confused.

He shook his head, Not wharf. Dwarf.

“You mean like”—and I held my hand in the middle of my chest, palm-downwards in the international gesture of Little person? Record-store guy nodded his head as I slowly digested this information. Finally, I felt sufficiently clear and looked at him and shrugged shyly. He replied with the perfect sentiment,

I’m just glad that someone wrote that song.

I was also glad that a song called Sex Dwarf had already been recorded. With gratitude I checked that off my To Do list. I was about to put the headphones back on when suddenly Rick was back beside me, waving a CD elatedly in his hands and yelling, I got it! It’s okay! I found it!

I sure hope he did.



(MUSIC NOTE: “Sex Dwarf” is a song performed by Soft Cell, the British synth-pop duo best known for the early 80’s hit “Tainted Love.” The video for the song caused quite a stir when it was released: apparently it was so racy that the actual hard-copy of the video was confiscated and destroyed by the police. A grainy, soft-porn copy of it can be found with a little digging by the curious. Though the song’s been covered multiple times I’m yet to find any record of Depeche Mode having recorded it, though it’s possible they remixed it or used portions of it elsewhere.)