'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
RUN FOR FUN? I DON’T THINK SO
Ah, spring is finally here. And after being dormant during the long cold winter, many marvelous and exotic creatures of nature appear on the scene once again in a burst of vivid colors and activity: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the joggers.
Yes, the joggers. They’re out in full force this time of year. But unlike the flowers and the trees and the birds, which have a clear purpose behind their springtime activity, joggers appear in great numbers on the highways and byways for no apparent reason. They are just there.
Urged on by the warmth of spring, flowers and trees bloom with glorious joy and beauty. The birds of spring sing their songs and are filled with happiness and excitement as they build their nests. Their purpose, their goal, is life itself: continuing the cycle of existence via pollen and seed and egg. The joggers of spring, however, trudge along the sides of the road grimacing, ashen-faced, seemingly intent on ruining life itself.
Let us list the obvious attributes of jogging: pain, sprained ankles, torn knee cartilage, insect bites, dog bites, pain, encounters with automobiles (being splashed by, which is bad, and being hit by, which is very bad), dirt on the face, dust in the eyes, bunions, blisters, sunburn, cramps, and if I haven’t mentioned it yet, pain. So far, these are fairly negative traits.
Now, let us list some positive attributes of jogging: umm … let’s see, uh, well, apparently, there aren’t any.
Of course joggers will insist they are experiencing a healthy cardiovascular workout. They neglect to mention the same degree of exercise can be achieved by doing push-ups and jumping jacks in the privacy of one’s living room, where, I should point out, the chances of being attacked by a squirrel or hit by a car are significantly reduced.
No, there’s something else at work here. Something subliminal and primeval must be spurring our forlorn joggers into their curious behavior. It’s probably a misaligned instinct which compels joggers to jog, similar to lemmings instinctively jumping off cliffs or moths flying into flames. Something deep-seated and odd must be driving joggers to ruin their health in the name of good health.
Now, at this point, skeptics among you may be saying something like, “You’re full of baloney, Dunn. You’re just criticizing joggers out of envy because you’re a lazy coach potato who only breaks a sweat when you’re too tired to get off your butt and turn on the air conditioner.”
If you said that, you are wrong. Although it is true I am a lazy couch potato who only breaks a sweat when I’m too tired to get off my butt and turn on the air conditioner, I am not criticizing joggers out of envy; I am criticizing them out of pity.
When I’m out driving and I see a jogger trudging along, his face twisted in anguish, it simply breaks my heart. I often have the urge to stop my car, shove him into the back seat (since he’d never go willingly in his delirious state of mind), and whisk him away to a place of comfort—preferably a Dunkin Donuts where a nice glazed cruller will not only remove the grimace from his face, but is far less dangerous to his health.
In a few months fall will arrive and the current burst of activity will cease. The flowers will be gone. The trees will shed their leaves and lie dormant till next year. The birds will fly away to warmer climes. And the joggers will no longer crowd the sides of the roads. But our hardy friends will not be inactive during the colder seasons. They will be very busy—busy visiting chiropractors and orthopedic surgeons in an attempt to fix all the damage being inflicted on their bodies right now.
I hope the doctors are wise enough to offer this prescription: “Take two glazed crullers and throw your running shoes in the trash.”
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