The Strangest Thing I Heard All Week

Every day I fall deeper into corporate cliches. My most recent descent is listening to podcast while I work. It started as just catching up on The Read and Insecuritea. Then I exhausted the new episodes of those shows and found myself listening to a narrative I never thought I’d care about.

I flung my headphones off after listening to the first episode and said to my co-workers, “Y’all, Richard Simmons is missing!!”

Missing Richard Simmons Podcast

While most people had only known Richard Simmons as the loud and fun VHS exercise instructor, he was far more complex. Apparently Richard Simmons had developed deep connections with dozens of fans-turned-friends. But one day, 3 years ago, he stopped speaking to everyone. He stopped teaching his public workout class that he’s been teaching for decades. He stopped greeting tourists outside his house. And he stopped it all suddenly, without a notice or explanation.

The podcast, Missing Richard Simmons, is narrated by Dan Taberski, a filmmaker and long-term acquaintance of Simmons.

The series is only 6 episodes long, but about half way through I had already drawn some conclusions on the mystery. Many of the people Richard had befriended over the past decades were people he was helping through their depression and weight loss journey. After hearing so many stories of him literally saving people’s lives, I had concluded, “Maybe Richard grew tired of taking care of so many people. After all, had he any time to work through his own problems?”

This series was enticing and a bit dissatisfying toward the end, in the way complex mysteries can be. Needless to say, I consumed the entire series in one day.

Listen to Missing Richard Simmons (podcast)

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