Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Trouble With Harry

It wasn't that he was naturally a pessimist, it was that he was naturally a pessimist and circumstance kept reinforcing his belief.

From a glass half full or half empty perspective, the glass was half empty, cracked and leaking badly.

Running, and running with the Knitting Circle, didn't exempt him from misfortune and bad happenstance. Running just made that misfortune bearable. Harry hydrated and, um, unhydrated appropriately before most big scheduled races. That wasn't the issue. It was a timing thing. He'd start on Gatorade or some other reptile-flavored sports drink well before the race started and try to get balance in his body. Trouble was all that fluid didn't pass in a timely fashion. It sort of hung around the pancreas or lower aorta for an hour or so and didn't decide to "git" until about ten minutes before the starting gun went off.

Running with Harry for the rest of the Circle usually involved warmup sprints to the port-a-potty to bang on the door and yell for him to hurry.

There wasn't much equipment, so there wasn't much that could mechanically go wrong. That, at the very least, was good. It was a given that if anybody carpooled, somebody other than Harry would drive. But Harry seemed to get a little more than his fair share of broken laces or snapped spandex.

He didn't complain. That was fortunate. He was a pretty smart guy for all the things that seemed to only go wrong for him, but he had figured out long ago that complaining:

-didn't fix anything
-tended to piss other runners off

There was the one time after a half marathon when he warned Jim about the sandwiches. They looked like Italian cold cuts and for the most part, were. Somewhere along the line though somebody had gotten the idea to incorporate habanero and other peppers into the sandwich as some sort of cross cultural orgy. The thing wound up tasting like salami with a liberal sprinkling of fire ants.

Harry didn't get to Jim on time. Jim had already swigged his post race twelve ounce water and lit into the sandwich. Twelve fluid ounces quickly sweated themselves off the top of Jim's head and left the rest of him fire engine red. When Mike caught up with them at the refreshment table he looked at Jim and said:

"Jimmy, if you're going to stroke out, could you give me your ATM password now?"

Jim glared and said something over the fire on his palate that sounded like "muft fooo!" Harry could speculate but never testify to it under oath.


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