Monday, February 28, 2011

Randomly Richer!

The Drawing for the CSN Stores $70 Gift Code/Card

The Gods of Generation, Lords of Luckytown, Rulers of Randomness have been fed their input and returned an output. Thirty-four hopefuls prayed at the altar of divine chance but only one could walk away $70 gift code virtual dollars richer. If you did not win, it’s probably because your soul was found to be lacking. I’m not trying to over-dramatize the random number generator (from but I truly believe that it measures your entry against your very qualities as a human being. If your number was not returned, you must ask yourself ‘why’. What is wrong with you that you were not chosen? Is it personal hygiene…the hair cut? Both? Probably….and a whole lot more. When’s the last time you called your mother for chrissakes??

That’s right, the number returned was ‘20’. Twenty is a good, solid, wholesome number. No hyphens. Easily divisible by both 10 and 5. Heck, it’s even topical in nature. Twenty is the first two digits of our year. The twenty dollar bill features Old Hickory himself, Andrew Jackson, famous for taking on the power of the banking industry during his Presidency. And just try to compose a list of your Top 20 favorite FMS posts without it!

Plus, it’s the very amount I obtained, in addition to the offered $50 amount, with my humiliating acts at the Ft. Wayne Super 8. Shudders.

A quick check against the entries reveals that comment #20 belongs to CANYONCAIRNS. Though (she?) doesn’t have word verification, she did correctly answer the question about where the quote came from – Reality Bites – indicating a detailed reading of the ENTIRE entry rules post including all asterisks (which contained the ‘easy out’ for those worried about the word verification requirement.)

I was tempted to just award the $70 to Debbie for going with another Reality Bites quote: “There’s an IQ prerequisite but there’s no secret handshake.” If you count “IQ” as one word, the quote totals exactly 9 words and, therefore, eligible for the contest. Plus, it’s a pretty good life philosophy, isn’t it?

But, sorry, rulez are rulez.

I did enjoy the other 9 word philosophies from several of you. Very creative. I guess you aren’t all mindless chimpanzees! Congrats!

CANYONCAIRNS, please contact me at the email shown under About Me on the sidebar to claim your $70 prize.

The rest of you? Time for a good hard look in the mirror I guess.

Happy introspecting.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bad Break-up

In happier times, we went together like marathons and nipple chafing: She with her four voluptuous curvy mounds; me with my taunt, sweaty, exhausted muscles working hard to earn her respect. I felt both vigorously alive and hopelessly overwhelmed navigating the succession of her mounds, each more physically demanding than the last.

Oh, I wanted her. I spent years wanting her. She wanted me too. I could tell, when the time came, by the way she eagerly accepted my online payment for future services rendered. No hesitation. No ‘Unable to Display Page’. It was a great relationship while it lasted. Now it appears to be over. I didn’t end it. She doesn’t seem to want me anymore.

I know I haven’t changed. I’m the same ordinary, amateurish shclub that appealed to her once long ago. I haven’t gotten any smarter (see: Jersey Shore); I haven’t gotten any faster (see: fudge stripe cookies); I haven’t gotten any sexier (see:…impossible!). But I haven’t gotten any worse at any of those things either. I’m the same Little Engine That Could runner I always was.

I guess what I’m saying is: It’s not me, it’s her right?

Here we were in happier times:

Remember when I carved her initials in the tree?

That’s all gone now. She’s moved on to a faster crowd. She tells me it’s a crowd I’d have a tough time keeping up with though I’m welcome to try. I understand. You don’t have to condescend to my Garmin. There are eight seats available at the cool kids’ cafeteria table and I’m student number nine, holding my tray full of sad little dried out peas and beefless lasagna(ish) scanning the room for another seat while you try to look away so that I won’t embarrass you in front of your new friends.

You tell me that you are the same that you always were as well. Just that things change and you have different standards you are looking for. But suddenly you won’t accept my online payment attempt. My best is no longer good enough. I won’t get to feel those mounds against my body. I won’t get to prematurely dehydrate between your slopes.

Well, missy, I’ve moved on as well. You won’t see me busting my butt trying to keep up with your crowd. Besides, your new friends are all lame. Is that guy’s hair frosted? Is that a goatee AND a gold necklace? Where’s his Trans Am parked? I look at you now and I just want to guffaw. Guffaw, guffaw, derisive snort, guffaw. And I want my ABBA CD back (the one hidden in the Linkin Park CD case.)

Look what I did to your tree:

You’ll be back. You’ll see. You’re just a fad right now. You’re Bieber trendy. Fads fade and….well, so does fast but you get my point. One day, I’ll be sitting around looking at photos of all my other conquests….mounds much greater than yours…and you’ll want me back. You’ll suddenly think I’m in the fast crowd.

Maybe I’ll take you back. Maybe I won’t. But, for now, we need to see others. I think it’s best for both of us.

When you feel you can lower your standards again, perhaps I’ll pay for your services.

Happy trails.

Another Unasked For Epinion:

Contrary to the above little fiction, I support the BAA’s tougher entrance requirements. I think they tried to hedge around too much with the “rolling admission” based on how many minutes you beat the standard bullshit, however. Drop that crap and just go with a straight time requirement. From there, quickest finger to the draw on registration day! Look, you can’t please everyone and it is a mistake to even try. Boston is an exclusive race and, based on the current marathon explosion, the demand quickly outgrew supply of available spots. They haven’t adjusted their qualifying standards in like 30 years. It simply makes sense to tighten things up for awhile. It probably should have been done a few years back when it became obvious that the Second Great Running Boom was upon us.

I’d like to know that they put some analytical thought into the qualifying times and the male/female standards, etc. based on actual data. Maybe they have but I just haven’t seen it yet. Why do they think tightening up by exactly 5 minutes will solve the issue? How did the rolling admission process play into their concerns about the entrance standards? It seems a bit arbitrary but, then again, it’s their race so they can be as arbitrary as they want, arbitrarily speaking.

I trust – and expect – that the BAA will revisit the standard every few years. Eventually, the amateur athlete will find a new interest – I’m looking at you competitive jousting – and the demand will shrink and standards eased.

But, if not, better run a bit harder right? That’s one thing you can control.

There is still time to enter for a $70 Gift Code to CSN Stores (you have until Sunday at midnight, Eastern). As of now, as I suspected, there are only 28 comments on that post. Of those, about 6-8 comments are from people who DON’T want to enter (odd, no?) and people who didn’t read the entrance requirements carefully and disqualified themselves (note: if you don’t have a blog, you can still answer the question I proposed or, at the very least, READ THE ASTERISKED FOOTNOTE - which has already been answered by others - for an ‘easy in’.)

I can't in good conscience award a prize to someone who couldn't read two simple instructions. Sorry. Your odds are good. Enter away!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Yet Another CSN Stores Giveaway!

You’ve heard the expression “everyone and their Nitmos” right? Quite literally, I believe EVERYONE has given away a CSN Stores gift certificate at this point. And now your Nitmos has too. Like losing your virginity - or watching The Bounty Hunter – it’s something you do just once.

After intense negotiations, consultation with lawyers, and a luxurious wine-n-dine getaway at a Ft. Wayne, IN spa/Super 8, we settled on the oddball amount of:


That’s right, no cheap $50 gift certificate around these parts. Your loyalty is worth an extra $20 (and apparently so is my self-respect based on the happenings in Ft. Wayne.) That’s $70 to spend at CSN Stores ( A quick perusal of their website – based on their product categories - indicates that you can get Bed & Bath, Lighting, D├ęcor, and Baby & Kids. I have enough baby and kids at my home but, if I were in the market, $70 for a baby is a GREAT price. I doubt Madonna gets them any cheaper. Once you get that baby and/or kids, they might need a place to play. Then head on over and check out the swing sets available here.

I’m not going to burden you with a bunch of “follow mes” and “add my websites” and “tweet me” and “come over and clean my gutters” requirements. If you want the $70, there are two simple rules:

1) Leave a comment.
2) Make sure you use word verification for comments on YOUR blog.

That’s it! What? Oh, right, the word verification thingy. You must use word verification on your blog. You didn’t expect this to be too easy, did you? Remember whose blog this is? I’m going to be a jerk about it too. I’ll use a random number generator to draw the winner. You may enter with a comment time stamped now through Sunday, February 27th at midnight. When the generator…generates a number, I will visit your blog and verify the…verification. No word verification, then it is back into the generator to…generate another number. I will continue to be a jerk as…jerkishly as I want until a winner is found. Hey, if you knew what I had to go through to get that extra $20 for you people*, you wouldn’t complain about the lousy little word verification part of this contest.

I guess – and maybe I’m going soft in the waning days of my thirties – I can let you enter the contest WITHOUT the word verification requirement. If you still want in, but refuse to use word ver, your comment should include a "brief justification for the ontological necessity of modern man's existential dilemma" in exactly NINE words. No more, no less. That’s the price you pay for not using word verification. **

So, get crack-a-lackin’ with a comment! Other times when I have run a contest like this, I’ve gotten no more than 30-35 comments due to my low readership so your odds are pretty good. And I didn’t have the verification requirement for those.

Don’t need $70? Well, you must have a job with a bank, Wall Street, or the health care industry and don’t need such hand-outs (unless they come from the government – ba dum dum). You can leave us commoners to our own private little money grab.

Enter once only. (NOTE: Open to residents of US and Canada.) Good luck!

Happy commenting.

*One Night in Nitmos. Roger Ebert raves "...much more disgusting and pudding-soaked than One Night in Paris. Comparatively, Hilton's "film" is PG. Abhorrent!"
**At the very least, correctly identify the movie the above quote comes from.

The White Death has returned. Or, at least, I hear people complaining about it. I’ve already mentally started spring so I see nothing more than an accumulation of pollen from the blooming greenery. The pollen is 8 inches deep. I’ve used the occasion to get out my pollen shovel and do some cross-training by making little pollen banks at the sides of my driveway and sidewalks.

I hope I don’t have to Return to War with the Mailman over the pollen blockade in front of my mailbox. As Pooh says, “Oh, bother.”

Friday, February 18, 2011

Podium Post #3: Fat is Phat!

I mentioned last week, before my lame thumbcuff joke(sorry for that), that I would like to feature a blog post that I found on the blogwaves that is either funny or interesting or funresting or interfunny or some fractional combination of funny and interesting. Actual percentage of each doesn’t matter as long as it is gluten-free. Now I realize this is a bit pretentious. This assumes that (a) You care what I find funny/interesting (b) The blog writer cares that I featured them and gave them an inappropriately-named award and (c) That you haven’t already read it anyhow because their blog is probably way more popular than mine, for obvious reasons.

Despite all these good reasons not to do it, I’m going to do it anyway. I still own Enron stock.

I didn’t highlight Podium Posts #1 and #2 as I should have but they are tucked into the bottom of my inane ramblings here and here if you care to backtrack.

This week’s recipient of the coveted P.P. is Charlotte from The Great Fitness Experiment. I think the title alone earned a nomination: “Which is Worse: Being Called “Fat” or “Whore”?” Then, throw in a picture of Jesus on a piece of toast and, well, you got a winner! You know my rule: If you can combine fat, whore, and Jesus toast into a single blog post without coming off as blasphemous, the world is your piano and the rest of us are merely differently colored, and sized keys.

Charlotte makes a number of interfunny observations about pop culture and the current discrimination towards the fat. It’s going to be tough to make my usual sophomoric (heck, eighth graderic?) jokes about such an erudite post but, as mentioned, I’m willing to press on and embarrass myself for your benefit.

I’ll link you to read it yourself. It’s pretty phat!

Choice quote #1:

“…publicly pillorying fat people is the modern equivalent of sending away a
pregnant teen until her shame resolves itself. There is a new scarlet letter in
town: it's spelled XXL.”

She even bravely includes a photo of two larger-than-average humans enjoying a ride on a stressed scooter. Of course, she points out all of the horrible things people said about the photo to reinforce the obvious social media harassment that is taking place. Can’t argue with her conclusion. I’ve long felt that being fat, in this culture, is viewed as a crime. If it’s not a felony, than it’s at least a serious misdemeanor (with a side of cream cheese). (Note: Being phat, however, is still awesome! No change there.) However, it might be the most delicious of all the crimes!

Did I feel a little shameful when chuckling at some of the jokes people wrote? Yes. Did I spend more than a few seconds trying to come up with a clever one myself? Yes. (At least he’s not being chicked, amirite? What’s the mpg? 1/8th?) Did I futilely try to find the source of the photo? Maybe.

I do feel terrible. I need a scarlet letter of my own. Perhaps a giant “L”? (For “loser” not Laverne DeFazio.)

Seriously, this is another example of a well-written, thought-provoking blog post – which the internet should really be about – that you don’t get around here. Instead, you get offensive jokes and cheap word play. And that’s only as funny as a blown scooter transmission.

Her conclusion asks:

Choice Quote #2:

“Which is worse these days: Being called fat or whore?”

Why choose? They can be neatly combined for maximum effect.

Congratulations Charlotte for winning an award you’d probably rather not have. It’s your fault for writing a terrific post. Check it out. Now.

Off to get some Jesus toast with some Leviticus jelly.

Happy trails.


C'mon fellas, we need some quality writing from the male runners. We've been chicked three weeks in a row!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sigh No More

I’m done sighing. It’s nearly over.

The Winter Winds that have littered the local lonely runners these last few months seem to be turning its blustery puffs another direction. The snow is melting. The end (of winter) is near. As the snow retreats, the Thistle & Weeds reappear. Michigan is awash in dirty, running water, slush and mud. This is the time of year when we collectively soak in our filthy winter bath water only to emerge fresh and clean come spring.

I love it. I just might wear shorts on my run today. The size of my smile is directly proportional to the amount of exposed deer and raccoon carcasses along the road side ditches. You can have your lilacs and fresh cut lawn; nothing says spring to me like the rancid odor of a two month old, picked over raccoon with empty, gaping eye sockets.

This morning, I stared at my White Blank Page trying to determine how I’d communicate the joy I feel about this 50 degree day. I can feel my inner Little Lion Man growling. Some 800’s are near, finally!

Winter, I Gave You All. But it’s time for us to Roll Away Your Stone and emerge from The Cave. The wonderful world of running sans Himalayan mountain gear is upon us. Sure, I know we are bound to get another blast of cold and freezing temperatures…perhaps another inch or two of snow as well. I realize that I’m tempting fate by celebrating the arrival of spring on February 17th. In Michigan. I don’t care. Define your Timshel. Thou mayest choose to fear the evil past racing up from behind or look towards the glorious future. Awake My Soul, it’s time to run longer and faster!

It’s amazing that we’ve arrived at this point so soon After The Storm. I was about to choke on the noose around my neck. The chair was wobbly; one little kick – or a hard sneeze - would have toppled it and sent me into the dead man’s dance.

But here we are. I’m running today in shorts and 50 degrees. It’s a heat wave. Come summer, this slushy, wet land will look more like a Dust Bowl.

But that’s a problem for another day.

Sigh no more, little lion man, sigh no more.

Happy trails.

Other Unasked For Updates

Note from the front:
In my
last post, I announced WAR with the mailman. The mailman lost. I did not shovel. The snow melted enough a day later that he could find no reason to continue suspending delivery. I got my two days worth of credit card applications and unsolicited insurance appraisals. The mailmen may look imposing in their dress blues but, trust me, they can be beaten by a simple shift in the weather pattern.

Laughter is the Best Medicine:
And beer. Mrs. Nitmos and I attended the
2nd annual Comedy Festival along with some friends of ours over the weekend. I won’t tell you if Jeffrey Ross, Comedy Central’s Roastmaster General, is funny or not. If you find it amusing that he brought an obnoxiously drunk blond on stage and asked her “when the last time you had a microphone up your ass. I mean, today” then you probably get the general flow of the show. Good times, good times. Next year, people, you can attend also. Save the date.

A Microbrew Festival of some sort happened to be going on in town at the same time. This was unfortunate as it turned my favorite local restaurant into a fraternity party. I could smell Axe everywhere. I waited in line 10 guys deep just to use the pisser and, once inside, found two “ladies” using one of the men’s stalls. Where am I? Is this 1990? Am I in the basement of the TKE house?

Finally, our good friend
Viper has “picked” a new blog to tell you everything you want to know about banjers. It promises lots of good information, interviews, news and notes about everything banjo related. Since he’s an interesting writer, it’ll no doubt be a good read even if you aren’t a banjo enthusiast. Go there and support him. At press time, no word on whether the site will discuss toothless sodomites.

Main post musical references provided by these guys.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

At War with the Mailman

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” - Herodotus, about 500 B.C.

I call bullshit.

My mailman and I are at war. I didn’t get my mail for two days straight last week during the Great Snow Event. I was fine with it. We couldn’t even back out of our driveway so I didn’t expect to find a mailbox full of the usual, ZERO PERCENT INTEREST FOR 12 MONTHS! credit card applications and subpoenas. It was a welcome break really. Standing over the trash can sorting 90% of the unopened mail directly into the garbage can be a real chore.

Then, the roads were plowed. Life resumed. My mail box became full again for a few days.

We’ve received no meaningful snow accumulation since last week. If anything, the piles of Snow Event have started to dwindle. But yesterday, I received a note rubber banded to my mail that reminds me that the “approach and retreat from my mail box must be clear for 30 feet in either direction to allow for the postal worker to complete their task.” They even provided helpful little pictures to show me how I’m supposed to shovel my snow in a tapered arch starting 30 feet from my mail box and then again tapering out 30 feet on the other side of my mail box. It’s like a mail carriers delivery parabola – the most inconsequential parabola in parabola history. They conclude by fairly sneering at me, “Your cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated.”

Not so bad, is it?

Well, I ain’t gonna do it. I didn’t do it.

And I didn’t get my mail today. The mailman has joined the fight! I realize resistance is futile. Ultimately, I need my mail. I need my latest issue of Runner’s World so I can discover the 10 Keys to Your Best 5k (because I’m too lazy to look back at the preceding 46 issues.) Any “victory” I feel is Pyrrhic at best. I’ll destroy myself before the post office runs out of junk mail. But when fighting BIG MAIL, I’ll go without discovering the Pet of the Month if that’s what it takes.* Life is full of sacrifices…

The post office is becoming increasingly antiquated. Everyone knows it. Email, cell phones, netbooks, etc. are making mail delivery as outdated as horseback delivery when the automobile was invented. They even tried to make a movie glamorizing postal delivery and that failed. Remember The Postman? I didn’t think so. It was the bomb Kevin Costner made after the bomb he made called Waterworld. In The Postman, our hero rebels, fights, and survives a post-apocalyptic world jut so he can defiantly…deliver mail?! That was the premise, I kid not. Try not to become overcome with tears. I watched it so you don’t have to. That’s the kind of thing I do for you people.

So what happens now? There aren’t too many chess pieces to play in a Mail Addressee vs. Mail Deliverer stand-off. A fine? How are they going to notify me? How are they going to bill me? How will I know? If this goes on too long, I suppose the subpoenas will eventually turn into arrest warrants. I might need to continue paying 12.99% interest on some of my credit debt when I could be paying 0%.** And how will I know what shoes Runner’s World recommends? Do I assume it is the same shoes they recommended the last time, just the newest generation?***

Is it too much to ask the mailman to reach an extra three inches to drop some letters in a box? Do I have to go out and open the little door too because this would aid the postal worker in completing their task and that they really appreciate my cooperation in this matter? You see the photo. Am I out of line?

I’ll probably just hold off until next week. The forecast promises above freezing temperatures which means melting snow and increasingly expanding mail delivery parabolas. Then, I’ll get my mail; he’ll know I didn’t lift a finger over his little note.

Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Probably, but that’s what you expect around here.

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…”

Rain? Snow? Heat? Gloom of night? Maybe. I bet Herodotus thought he had it all covered. But “lean a couple extra inches out of the heated, cushioned, radio-entertained vehicle”? Apparently, he missed that one. That’s just a bridge too far.

Happy delivery.

*I hope that’s not what it takes.
**Some restrictions apply.
***Safe bet.

Last week it was Elizathon. This week’s featured Podium Post (i.e. post filled with creativity that rises to a place worthy of a spot on the weekly blog post podium) is from Two Motivate. Help beet-lover Drea name a group of runners. We desperately need one.

(I’m looking for a post each week to feature in the Podium Post section. In the future, I may even bump it to a whole post of my own…if I feel like it. If your blog entries are a dry regurgitation of run stats better suited for a Facebook, Twitter or Daily Mile entry, don’t expect to “win”. If it contains donkey fights and tons of hyperbole, well, you might be in the running!)

Off to the Comedy Festival tomorrow! How drunk do you think I’ll get Saturday night on a scale of 1 to 10 (drunkest)? I’m guessing about a 7 but I wouldn’t put a 9 past me. Ever been thumb-cuffed? Weird experience. Brace yourself Mrs. Nitmos.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Speed Fiend

I’m Jonasing for some speed. I know what you are thinking and, no, I’m not “Jonesing”. That was not a typo. I’m not quite that bad yet for a full on Jonesing. Instead, I’m a lesser version, a pseudo-imitation-whinier-thicker-browed version. I feel like running fast. I feel like doing speed work. I can’t. This lovable, heaven-blessed blanket of snow is getting in my way. I’m feeling slightly annoyed – not significantly so –but enough to cast sad-faced glances at my snowed in high school track as I pass by for – sigh – another easy run.

Jonasing (v): (1) To want something, mildly so. (2) To wish you had something but not enough to compel to action. (3) To desire insignificantly (4) To overlook pitchy vocals and caterpillar-browed brothers

I’m not sure how much progress I’m making with my running so far this year. I’m just spinning my wheels like a car stuck on a sheet of ice (topical simile!) All of my runs are within 10-15 seconds of the same pace. Fortunately, there’s still over three months to go until my half marathon. Plenty of time for thawing, speed work, re-freezing, thawing again, speed work, and another Jonas album. In the meantime, I am in full on Maintenance Mode.

I don’t think I‘ve ever had such a prolonged stretch of base-building, maintenance style running. Usually the weather breaks here and there - the temperature climbs above freezing for a few days - where you can sneak in a nice track work-out a few times during winter. It hasn’t happened since New Year’s Day. And who does speed work when there are football bowl games to watch and left over NYE beer to drink? Heck, I usually spend New Year’s Day alternating between football and walking around my llama-strewn house scratching my unwashed, unkempt hair asking ‘what the hell happened last night?’ while arranging for rides home for the midget with the Tostada chip bowl sombrero.

But I’m starting to feel that itchy, burning desire for speed. Either that or my herpes is flaring again. Without signs of painful bumps and rash, I’m going to assume it is the speed fiend within growling with hunger.* I’m tired of boring easy runs. I want SPEED. I mean, I’m not referring to the injectable kind. I emphatically denounce recreational drug use. In fact, if you have the methamphetamine kind of speed and thought that’s what I wanted, you should email me using the address on the sidebar so that I can reply in a strongly-worded missive about how much I don’t WANT IT and how you shouldn’t SEND IT TO ME along with a box of 10 ML DISPOSABLE NEEDLES.

It is 8 degrees right now. I’m going to wait until it hits 15 degrees later this afternoon and then slide on my YakTrax and head out onto the snow-covered sidewalks for another easy run. I’ll run past the local high school track, per usual for my lunch hour run, and look wistfully at the stacked hurdles and indecipherable lanes around the football field. I might engage in a heavy sigh if I think the sucking of wind won’t freeze my lungs. It’s sad to think that the only thing keeping me from my beloved 800’s is some crystallized water. It gives life…and it takes it away.

For me, the goal is to make it to March. March is where the thaw begins! March is when the 800’s bloom! March is when my speed fiend is satiated!

But if March turns out just as bad as January and February? Well, forget about Jonasing. I’ll be in full on Biebering.

Biebering (v): (1) To strongly desire something disproportionately to its actual value/talent. (2) To feel compelled to punch Usher. (3) To be poorly coiffed but able to convince others otherwise by some sort of mass brainwashing.

Seriously, if you have speed, email me.

Happy injecting.

*But keep an eye on that llama. There is one with bumps and a red rash.

Mrs. Nitmos and I will be heading north – North, can you believe it after I just complained about winter! – for the 2nd Annual Comedy Arts Festival. Once again, I wasn’t asked to perform (marking the second straight year I was overlooked, unintentionally I’m sure.) We’ll be taking in the comedy stylings of one of my favorite filthy-tongued Comedy Central roasters, Jeffrey Ross. I hope he has great material that I can steal and pass off as my own on this blog next week! Oh, plus add in a hot tub, red wine and delicious seafood and you have the rest of our planned weekend. Jeff Ross isn’t invited to the hot tub…unless he shaves.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Shame Run

I have a YMCA membership. So besides being reminded of the Village People every time I walk in the place, I also have to be surrounded by unapologetically naked old men in the locker room. It’s normally after about the third septuagenarian that rounds the corner from the showers and, while I sit on the bench changing into my running clothes, stands next to me drying the hair on the back of their head with THEIR ONLY TOWEL that makes me sigh hopelessly. Each shift of the towel against their scalp is performed with a hip thrust that creates a mid-section swinging motion – oh, God, a swinging motion! – that brings me a smidgen closer to meeting their Mr. Wanky. I pay for this right? I’m sorry but, if you have only one towel when emerging from a public shower, it better not be wrapped around your head.

Part of me admires a person that is so comfortable in their own skin that they can stand in front of strangers naked as jaybird, free as a…ball, unencumbered by societal values and the long-standing unwritten rules of common decency. To not give a damn what crevice is exposed nor the audience viewing it must be an intoxicating feeling. I’ve been intoxicated; I know the feeling.

But part of me is also sickened and annoyed. I just came in for a run on the treadmill. I’m already feeling shameful about it because I wimped out of an outside run. I didn’t come in to be the unwitting judge of an Antiquated Genitalia beauty pageant. Apparently, my changing stool was front row on the runway. Where’s Cojo? I need my judging abacus.

I only use a treadmill a handful of times a year. Inevitably, every January and February, I’ll sprinkle in a few trips to the Y to get me past those really rough winter days. I always feel a bit dirty about it…like I’m cheating on running. I mean, the belt moves on its own. It’s padded. There’s a giant fan behind me with selectable settings. I’m watching Cupcake Wars. It just doesn’t feel right. It’s like hiring a call girl without a venereal disease. It’s supposed to be a bit dirty right?

I only did 6 ½ miles today. I didn’t feel like the treadmill deserved for me to round it off to an even mile. Fractions! Take that! If you run on a treadmill, I don’t think you should do it the honor of ending on an exact mile point either.

Then it was back to the YMCA locker room and the horrors within.

Normally, I sulk in with shoulders hunched and head bowed manifesting my shame run regret. I get in; I get out. The only thing I see is the feet of the nude old men as they walk across the floor sans shoes stepping in clumps of others’ abandoned hair with every step. Inwardly, my Edvard Munch is going crazy: NOOOO, don’t step there….yuck, it’s on your big toe…NOOOO, don’t step there either….Oh, that one’s attached to your heel. NOOOOO, that’s a Band-Aid, too late. NOOOO….

Today, I took a stand for the non-baby boomers everywhere. I marched in with head held high determined to not bring the shame from my adulterous run into the locker room. Bring on the old naked boomers! I kept my sight line at shoulder height. I half-smiled. I half-nodded. I tried to look distracted with my own belongings. I performed all of the acceptable ritualistic social greetings expected in a men’s locker room. I pretended not to notice when the old naked guy passed back and forth in front of me four times because he kept forgetting things in the shower but couldn't, at least, get his underwear on first. I watched his feet absorb the discarded pubes of others. I watched. I waited. I started changing.

Then, just after I had completely removed all of my clothes, I casually walked over in front of four Brat Pack fans that had paraded before me for the last ten minutes. I dropped my keys on the ground with a reverberating jangle. They all snapped their heads up in my direction. I bent over at the hips - without bending my knees - to pick them up. I was as exposed as exposed could be. Then, in full on right angle, I looked over my shoulder at the stunned Golden Boys, smiled, and slyly said, “I’m pre-Op.”

I didn’t wait for a reaction. I quickly dressed and hustled out to my car. At first, I felt intoxicated but that quickly gave way to more shame. I hate running on a treadmill. It makes me feel dirty.

Young man, there's no need to feel down.
I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground.
I said, young man, 'cause you're in a new town
There's no need to be unhappy.

It's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A.

It's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A

Happy trails.

Here’s a much more thoughtful – and much truer – tale of interaction with a boomer runner from I enjoyed it and now you will too. Go here.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Unless you live in a cave or are busy protesting in the Middle East over less important things, you know there is a giant snow storm pummeling the Midwest and eastward. You should know this because the media will not let you forget it. The dire predictions began on Sunday. The hyperbole-laced headlines began Sunday also.


It’s true that there is a lot of snow out there. It fell last night while I was snuggled with my snookums in our sin bin. When I awoke, I could hear the wailing cries and revolving tires on the stationary cars of the snow stuck and the shovel weary. Their cars were trapped in the 12-18 inches of snow while futilely attempting their morning commute. Their tears and anguish put a bounce in my step. Sipping my warm coffee and taking in the sadness of my snowbound neighbors through my window, I was compelled to shut the front drapes. Who needs to see that? My commute involves 13 snow-less steps and, usually, no shoveling. I yawned, scratched my ass, and consumed some Activia yogurt so I could ‘get my bowels on’ later this morning.


Mrs. Nitmos is one of the unlucky commuters stuck at home. She’ll work as much as one can in her position from home. Without her employer present, there’s nothing preventing the steady stream of Wife Swap reruns on Lifetime Network. However, with me present, there’s nothing preventing the demands for soup and shoulder rubs while I revert to a child-like state of perpetual whine and neediness. I may have to shovel intermittently for a half hour at a time but that’ll be followed with a good 45 minutes of complaints about my “wrenched” shoulder and charley-horsed flux capacitor. Day off from work? Oh, think not.


I do feel bad for the neighbor lady. Her Oldsmobile is hopelessly encased in blizzard barf. She’s in her late 70’s and lives alone. The snow plow will be making its way through the neighborhood later today plowing up an impenetrable wall of hardened snow at the end of her driveway. Methinks it won’t be a Metamucil day. She’s pretty feisty. I’m sure I’ll see her out there with her tiny shovel and loosely connected vertebrae later this morning. From the warmth of my home office and mounds of Activia, I’ll smile, wave, and pull the side drapes closed. That’s why we were given two hips right?


So far, my internet connection works. There’s no reason I can’t work today…other than it just “feels” like a snow day. Whenever someone needs me on email or instant messaging, I’m sure I’ll be “shoveling”. And by shoveling, of course I mean, completing the job Activia began or watching those Wife Swap reruns over a bowl of soup. Just because I don’t have an external commute doesn’t me I should be punished with work right?


Running is out for the time being. I got 5 ½ miles in yesterday. That should hold me until Friday when enough paths open back up for the YakTrax to find some footing. Until then, I’m going to stay inside and watch the horror unfold from the comfort of my couch. There’s my neighbor, with ice clinging to his out-of-fashion porn goatee, frantically pressing on the accelerator sending a shower of snow pelting against his siding. Look at old lady Oldsmobile out to give it the Ole College Try with her tiny shovel! Well, she was there. Now I just see the top of a tiny shovel sticking out of a snow bank next to that weird indentation in the snow…

Hey, what happened to the cable?



Happy sledding.