Hands-down, The Clash is the greatest band of all time, period. It’s also what I’ve been listening to while running through my neighborhood these days - which is crazy because it’s like a surreal, post-punk soundtrack for my suburban life. No really, it’s true. I feel like I’m trapped in a David Lynch movie as I listen to London Calling on my iPod and wave at Stepford wives with strollers and affluent business men with accessory dogs, all-the-while waiting to see an ear randomly lying on the road. But I digress.
The point is that a few weeks ago I started running again. And by running, I mean that I’m lying to you. I’m actually doing the Couch Potato to 5K, which goes something like this: after you map out a route, get new shoes and make a play list, you have to actually use all of it… at the same time. Now, for the record, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that there are as many stages of grief as there are kilometers to finish or that they intersect at key points along the way. For example:
At 1K, I immediately go into Denial. This is the part where I say to myself, “Self, I don’t care if I stroke out and die. I’m actually ready to meet my Maker.” That said, whether or not God is prepared to meet me is an entirely different question. Personally, I’m betting no, which technically means that I shouldn’t need to run after all. I’m just saying.
At 2K, I hit the second phase, Anger. At this stage, I find myself furious at people who name races. Instead of things like The Kafka 5K or Dante’s Marathon - Where you think you’re getting hotter but it’s only because you’re going through Hell, they misleadingly call it stuff like, “Run for your life…” which is ironic, because my life was actually better and happier before I went for a jog. Seriously.
At 3K, you begin to Bargain. No lie, I will actually begin to believe that I should just go on Lipitor because it’s possible to achieve better living through pharmaceuticals; which makes me think that I lost the war on drugs; which makes me think of George Bush, who said the same thing about America’s War on Drugs; which makes me laugh because somewhere a bunch of stoners are eating Doritos and winning.
At 4K, because I realize that someone is eating junk food and watching Cheech and Chong while I’m sweating profusely and silently swearing at strangers, I become Depressed. I don’t want to be this person. I don’t want to be bitter and hostile, but I have to be, because God hates me and my cholesterol sucks. That’s right, I’m the victim here.
At 5K, I transcend into Acceptance. In other words, the pain stops but only because I'm finally home. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, if you were to see me pull into my driveway, you would think I had just finished a half-marathon. One because of the amount of time I was gone, and two because I look like Rocky on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. No wonder my neighbor stands at his mailbox and yells, “Finish strong!” I want to scream back, "Fucking really? The only thing I finish strongly are books, doughnuts and New York Times crossword puzzles." But I like him, so I don't. Instead I politely wave and listen to Death or Glory as I limp into my air-conditioned house.
Talk to you later.