Friday, April 18, 2008

My Day At The Marathon

Today is MY WIFE's 19th birthday.

Well, OK, it's not really. It's her 19th birthday in the company of me. If I said what birthday it actually was, she'd get pissed. Since pissing someone off isn't my idea of a good birthday present, I won't be divulging that information.

If I was any sort of a magnificent husband, I would be writing a magnum opus concerning the love of my life. It would be full of flowery sentiments about undying love, extolling the virtues of this person with whom I hope to spend eternity.

(Considering where I might be spending eternity, that could be taken two ways. She might not want to accompany me. However, I digress.)

The fact of the matter is I'm a lazy slug-a-bed. Instead of composing a grand love poem, or showering her with effusive praise concerning her feminine pulchritude, I'm going to be re-printing something I wrote a couple of years ago. But that's OK. After reading it, you'll understand that we're soulmates. We are two peas in a slug-a-bed pod.

There are a couple of outdated references. For instance, Mark Loretta (Mark Loretta!) is playing second base for the Red Sox. But, generally speaking, it holds up well. And since this coming Monday will once again see the running of The Boston Marathon, it is timely even in it's untimeliness.

So, Happy Birthday, MY WIFE! It doesn't get any better than this (and more's the pity.)


MY WIFE and I talked about it Sunday night. Since she was still on vacation, and I had the day off, we would probably go to watch the Boston Marathon on Monday.

We had done so before and had a lot of fun. That was 10 years ago. We had taken the T to Coolidge Corner in Brookline, about two miles or so from the finish line, and stood on Beacon Street cheering the runners as they passed.

We gave hearty applause to the leaders, of course, but the best part was cheering for the guys who had no chance whatsoever of winning; those who ran just to be able to say they completed Boston. We took along the sports section from the Herald and looked up the numbers of all the runners named Sullivan, of which there were about 8 or 9. Whenever we spotted one, we’d yell, "Go, Sully! Just two more miles! You can do it, Sully!"

One runner from New York, named Sullivan, came into view. We started yelling, "Go, Sully! You’re almost home, Sully!" and when he got maybe three or four steps past us, he turned around and came back. His nipples were bleeding.

Struggling for breath, he said, “How do you (*gasp*) know my name?”

I said, “It’s in the paper, for goodness' sakes! Get back in the race!”

He turned around and started running again. I like to believe that anonymous people knowing who he was and rooting him on gave him that extra bit of strength to finish. Or maybe he enjoyed being an anonymous runner and the fact that some strangers knew who he was spooked him so much that he dropped out at Kenmore Square, took the T back to his hotel, and wondered for the rest of his life just which Boston newspaper had done a story on him and why. He could have had any number of strange thoughts. I admire their dedication, but people who run marathons are an odd lot, so who knows what he thought?


Since we were going to the marathon, I decided to get a really good night’s sleep. I didn’t want to be standing around for three or four hours without the proper rest. So, whereas I usually get up at 7 am on a Monday, I slept until 8:30.

You need the proper nutrition on race day. So, when I got up, I fixed myself a proper breakfast. There was leftover ham from Easter dinner, so I fried up two slices of it. Ham for breakfast isn’t any good without eggs, so I scrambled two. And what good are scrambled eggs if you don’t have toast? I popped two slices into the toaster and then slathered them with grape jelly when they popped up since grapes are a fruit and fruit is good for you. I had some coffee, of course; you’ve got to stay awake. I wanted to be healthy about things, though, so I only put half a teaspoon of sugar in it, along with my cream.

After breakfast, I joined MY WIFE in the living room. We had some time before we would have to leave, so we watched a bit of TV. There’s this excellent cartoon on Disney, called Charlie & Lola, and since its usual audience is 4 or 5 year-olds, we don’t often get a chance to see it at its regular time. We tape it, then watch a whole bunch of episodes at once.

(Really. It’s an excellent cartoon. The episode that was on yesterday was But I AM An Alligator! We had seen it at least three times before, but we watched it again.)

After the show was over, I decided to shave and take a shower. Even though I hate shaving, I believe one should look his best when he will be a representative of his home state, cheering on visitors from Kenya and Korea who will be whipping the butts of the American runners as usual.

After scraping the hair off of my face (and violently jamming Q-tips into my ears in an effort to get out the water that always finds its way into my skull when showering) I got back into my pajamas and lay on the couch. It was still a good hour or so before we had to leave to watch the race, so why not be comfortable?

I asked MY WIFE, "So, WIFE, do you still want to go to the race?"

She said, "I was just about to ask you if you still wanted to go. Do you?"

I said, "Well, I could watch the Red Sox game and then we can catch the marathon on TV. Do you really want to go, or would you rather just hang around?"

She said, "I’d rather just hang around."

That was the answer I was looking for, so I was fine with that. She decided to take a nap. She had been up since before I was; perhaps 7:00 or so. While she went off to the bedroom to lay down, I put on the Sox game.

For those of you unfamiliar with what happens on Patriot’s Day in Boston – which is a legal holiday around here, by the way – aside from the marathon, the Red Sox always have a game at 11am. That’s right; eleven o’clock in the morning. They were playing Seattle. This means that, for the folks back in Seattle who might wish to see the game, it was beginning at 8am. Certainly the television ad men in Seattle would have no trouble selling the usual beer and automobile ads for a telecast at that time of day…

Here in Boston, the game finishes at approximately the same time as the lead runners in the marathon are passing through Kenmore Square. As a result, you get the marathon crowd, the runners, and the 37,000 fans who just saw the Red Sox game, all converging on Kenmore Square at the same time. Therefore, I congratulated myself on the wisdom of not being in the middle of that mob by enjoying a bowl of Golden Crisp cereal as I sat on the couch.

I watched the first three innings and then decided that MY WIFE had had a lovely idea, so I decided to take a nap, too. I put the game on the radio (which is actually my favorite way to enjoy a baseball broadcast, rather than TV) and lay down.


When I woke up, it was almost two o’clock and the Red Sox were down to their final out in the 9th inning, trailing by a run. I groggily went out to the living room and switched on the television in time to see Kevin Youkilis beat out an infield single and then Mark Loretta (Mark Loretta!) hit a walk-off home run over the wall. I celebrated by eating a cream-filled chocolate.

I switched the TV over to the marathon coverage on channel 4, just in time to see a Kenyan cross the finish line. It turned out he had broken the course record by one second! Yay! I had another piece of chocolate.

MY WIFE joined me in watching the trailers cross the finish line. She had started baking some white-chocolate-macadamia-nut cookies while I was finishing up my nap and the first of them had just come out of the oven. The TV cameras were showing some folks further back on the course, not even through Natick yet. The announcers said that these people wouldn’t be finishing the race until 5:30 or 6:00. MY WIFE handed me a cookie, and she had one herself.

"5:30!" I said, as I took a bite of my cookie.

"That’s awfully slow", she said, as she bit into her cookie.

She finished her cookie and I finished mine. We each took a bite of a second one.

"Hell, I could walk the route in less time than that!" I said, as I wiped some crumbs from the front of my pajamas.

I finished my second cookie and lit up a cigarette.

After finishing my smoke, I lay down on the couch and flipped through the cable programming guide. Davey And Goliath was coming on in a couple of minutes, and after that, Leave It To Beaver. We watched a few more runners drag themselves across the finish line. By this time, we were seeing guys wearing viking horns and chicken suits, running the race backwards. The announcers were telling us their stories. I changed the channel.

I mean, what the hell? Who wants to hear about people so childish and unconnected to reality as that?


Balcony Gal said...

The Balcony Family wishes your WIFE a very happy birthday. She deserves it!

lime said...

LOL!!! first of all, happy birthday to your wife! hope it's a lovely day for her.

second of all i can attest to the extreme mental illness pervasive among marathoners. i am married to a guy who ran 2 of them.

Buck said...

Ah, Jim... I dunno just how many events my wives and I started out for but wound up in front of the teevee, instead. Upshot: you are MOST definitely my kinda guy, cartoons and all.

Happy Birthday to YOUR WIFE, and many happy returns!

Cath said...

Just saying hope YOUR WIFE has a great day! (It is up to you to ensure she does - job description of husband I reckon!)
Will read all the post later!

Hilary said...

Happy birthday to your wife. I hope you both enjoyed this one just as much.

Merisi said...


All the best to your wife,
may her new year be filled with joy!

Cath said...

Now I have come back and read it...
That is so funny. I love these sort of posts you do, laughing at yourself (you were, weren't you? No? Oh well forget that last comment)

That is so me anyway. I have been heard to say I would run a marathon to celebrate giving up smoking.

I need to do the first bit yet... lol

Thanks for your visit - and your comment at David's. Just seen it - very kind.

Real Live Lesbian said...

Happy Birthday to the wife!

Secondly, you've just made sure I'll never run a marathon...bleeding nipples. No way, man!

Chris Stone said...

Happy Birthday to YOUR WIFE! *I hope Sully finished the race!*

Anonymous said...

"which is actually my favorite way to enjoy a baseball broadcast, rather than TV) and lay down."

You know, it's mine, too. I think because it takes me back to the days when most of the time that was the only way to hear the game (no wall-to-wall NESN, and I'm in Maine so we got less TV than you did).

Of course, that was in the days of the championship drought, too.

Still, the thought of Ned Martin on the radio always makes me smile...

Happy Birthday to the missus!

Janet said...

Happy Birthday to YOUR WIFE! And thanks for reminding me of Davey and Goliath! Is it still on? I know several people who run marathons. On purpose. They're my friends but I have absolutely no clue why they would want to do something like that. Running should be reserved for chasing escaping children or running from mean people.

Minnesotablue said...

Happy Birthday to your wife.
I usually go to about ten games a year, the rest Of the time I just make snacks and do the TV route. Went to a Twins game yesterday and sat in the fifty dollar section (the tickets were given to us) and saw a great game. Also love the Sox especially Big Papa