First, a brief note on the post title. It is a more clever – and possibly more accurate? – play off the best seller titled The Kite Runner. I wouldn’t call it an homage to that title. More like an improvement. Waiting for my call from Oprah. And a future VH1 Where Are They Now? special. Movie rights? Yes, please.
Today, I’m going to be ‘that guy’. Not the guy with the unshaven face, permanently congealed to Adidas wind pants, walking the dog at all hours of the day. The guy everybody assumes doesn’t have a job and what a lazy sack of llama dung he must be and why does his lovely wife put up with him. And how many days in a row now has he worn those same gray wind pants and maroon sweatshirt?
I’m already THAT guy.*
No, I’m going to be that other guy. The guy running at noon. When others are racing to pick up their McDonald’s fat burger before their lunch hour expires, they’ll pass a certain hirsute runner knocking out a few miles. They’ll think ‘man, I really shouldn’t eat this Mickey D’s’ as they view my majestic stride and mesmerizingly taunt pecs that bounce once – for that is all they need to release their kinetic energy** in one quick snap out the nipple tops – with every foot fall. They’ll shove delicious salty French fried num nums into their holes and console themselves with the incorrect conclusion that, ‘sure, it’s easy for that guy to run. He’s unemployed. He’s one step up from a bum.’
My filly has already called me a hobo. Did I mention this? True story. My first day working from home, in fact. We were heading out the door for the drive to school and she viewed my whiskered chin (that may or may not have had a Frosted Flake shard caught in the lower southeastern quadrant), assemblage of mismatched, well-worn casual wear, and complete lack of time-angst anxiety on my face and innocently asked, “Dad, are you a hobo now? Cuz hobos don’t have jobs.”
I laughed (and immediately decided not to stoop down to retrieve the half-smoked menthol cigarette butt from the sidewalk – what a waste, right?) and explained to her the complex corporate financial maneuverings that led to the path in which daddy doesn’t shave or shower anymore. I’m not unemployed…I’m just de-officed, I concluded. She smiled – what a sweet condescending smile – and asked to be dropped off two blocks from school. Which was fine. I had kicked a rock next to the cigarette butt in an effort to conceal it during my corporate dynamic dissertation and was eager to retrieve it. Another bewindpanted Dad was walking his dog with a full beard (!) in the area at the time and that unemployed sonofabitch was not going to get it if I could help it.
Soon I’ll be lacing up for my inaugural lunch run. I’ll run by offices. I’ll run across busy intersections with folks hurrying to various business appointments. I’ll run by schools where my filly’s friends will ask ‘Is that your dad?’ and she’ll respond ‘No, that’s just some hobo I think.’ I’ll smile and wave as she turns and cries in humiliation.
I’ll do five or six miles. Just long enough to load up 15-20 emails to my Inbox. I’ll return sweaty and satisfied with full intentions to shower. But I better check the emails first. One leads to another and another and, before long, the sweat has dried and the nostrils don’t even recognize the stank. What’s the point of cleaning up now? Time to pick up the kids from school.
Back into the wind pants. Another day done.
I’m the lunch runner. I have a job though it doesn’t appear that I do. I exist in my own little world adjacent, but isolated, from everyone else….from normal societal hygiene customs. There are two types of people in the world: Those that wear wind pants to work and everyone else.
The lunch runners wear the wind pants. We may look and smell like hobos but we are not. We run on our lunch hour because we can. We don’t shower afterwards because we don’t have to.
I’m THAT guy.
* I was explaining my new home-work dynamic to another soccer dad at my son’s practice the other day and he said “I wondered why you haven’t been shaving.” Yes, yes, it has begun.
** You loose pec'ed, slow nippled folks would require 3-4 bounces at a minimum.