I almost bought it. Hook. Line. And Sinker. I was thrashing on the line just about to go over the edge of the aluminum boat, take a mallet to the head, and plop into the fisherman’s cooler.* Then, I realized what was happening. This guppy turned into a shark, severed the line and swam away just in time.
Nice try, Beardsley.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I recently celebrated a birthday. Don’t think I didn’t appreciate all of your ‘Happy birthday!’ comments (there were none). It’s really a testament to your character (you have none). I’m not going to go on one of those contrived ‘why didn’t you get me any presents’ rants but, as I stood there being sung to by a trio of familial carolers, the empty void of Gifts Not Given was distracting – and infuriating - to say the least. I made my birthday wish with furrowed brow and angry heart and plenty of open space on the table where gifts could have been. It’s said that, if you reveal your birthday wish, it will not come true. So I won’t. I’ve been Mr. Nice Guy until now but, after this latest slight, just wait until your birthday. It might look like chocolate on your birthday cake. Heck, it might even taste like chocolate. But that ain’t chocolate.** Revenge is best served applied like a thin veneer of frosting I always say.
The parade of Gifts Given came next. Maybe not a parade so much as a processional. Maybe not a processional per se but more of a strolling elderly couple heading for the Metamucil aisle. There were two gifts. Two. There are three ‘others’ in my family. So it appears they each chipped in to get me 2/3 of a gift each. That’s okay. I appreciate the effort. Besides, who’s counting? Who’s doing fractional math to make a point? Not this guy. (I just wonder what it’d be like to be driven 2/3’s of the way to school each morning. Sex? What would 2/3’s of an effort look like?***)
One of the gifts was a tool for which I can clean with. No kidding. Score! Second gift...well now, this is interesting. Is that….? Why, yes it is, that’s BEARDSLEY! A signed poster from the man almost personally responsible for my failure to win the 2008 Boston Marathon.****
I was taken aback. Was this a cooling off, a détente, between the titans? A gesture of civility? Perhaps a personal admission of responsibility for what occurred on Heartbreak Hill in April of 2008? Did Mrs. Nitmos intervene to resolve the issue before things spiraled out of control?
The writing reads: “To my greatest nemesis Nitmos, You’re the best. Keep up the great work you do! Dick Beardsley 2:08:53 Boston ‘82”
And this is where I found myself tethered to the line and, internally at least, thrashing about like a fish out of water. I looked at the poster. The furious tension that I’ve been carrying around for the last two years as a sub layer to my normally sunny disposition dissolved. I felt a renewed and refreshing sense of calmness. The omnipresent desire to squash kittens with the chipped heel end of an old army boot temporarily replaced with an overwhelming urge to plant dandelions randomly about town and drop off donations to an orphanage under the name of Anonymous. Sunshine? Yes, please, but only if it’ll make the clouds extra puffy like little balls of cotton candy holding their own little balls of cotton candy.
I was at the edge of the boat. My body smacking against the aluminum side. Mallet raised and poised for the strike.
And then it hit me. Not the mallet but the realization of what was happening. I was being placated. Pacified. Appeased. Mollified. Quelled. (Add your own word here…it’s easy with a thesaurus.) Robbed of the very anger that drives me towards redemption.
This was no gift. This was a Trojan horse sent into my home to slay me from the inside. IN MY HOME! WHERE MY WIFE SLEEPS…AND MY CHILDREN PLAY WITH THEIR TOYS! A devious plot to destroy my drive, my passion, my motivation. Détente, my ass. More like intente…to mess with my head.
Notice the sly reference to 2:08:53 on the poster. That’s my goal Bayshore time!***** I’m being mocked! I thought about crumpling the poster, ala Rocky crumpling Clubber Lang’s photo upon obtaining the Eye of the Tiger in Rocky III, and tossing it into the bin. But it’s kind of a neat poster. And Mrs. Nitmos went through all of the trouble and all…
So, I’ll just hang it on my wall as a reminder. The world is cruel. Folks don’t send internet strangers birthday gifts. Legendary runners hope your hamstrings snap before you best their PR.******
Something SNAPPED alright. The fishing line you were using to land this fish. You created a shark, Mr. Beardsley, and he’s swimming your way.
P.S. Save your belated 'Happy Birthday’s'. The damage has been done. I wouldn’t refuse delivery of a belated gift however. I’m not a jerk. Get your own poster here.
*Like one of my “dates” twenty years ago on a roofie.
**When’s the last time chocolate had bits of corn in it?
***Roughly, two minutes.
**** Besides training and ability.
***** Minus an hour.
****** Plus an hour.
17 miles this weekend in the cold and rain. Should be fun!