I'd like to think of myself as a portrait of modesty and discretion, something I credit to a good, proper Southern upbringing. I was raised to say "yes, sir" and "no, ma'am." I was taught to open the door for a lady and offer the last buttered biscuit to company. It's just the way we do things down in Dixie.
But I've noticed that some runners seem to lack those basic skills. In other words --- they just don't have good manners! At first I thought it was just a regional thing. Folks in New York City tend to be wound up tighter than a pair of polyester pants on Rosie O'Donnell. But when you live next door to 10 million people --- it's understandable. Between you and me, though, their bark is worse than their bite. As my Uncle Jerry in Coldwater, Mississippi is known to say, "They're good people."
But there are some folks out there who just don't play well with others. A few months ago, I was running the Brooklyn Half Marathon. If you ever have a chance to run a race sponsored by the New York Road Runners, you should give it a shot. They do a great job organizing and hosting races and they make every one feel like they are elite runners. The Brooklyn race was no different. It was a flat, fast course that started on the world-famous Coney Island Boardwalk and ended in Prospect Park.
Before the race began, an announcer delivered a litany of instructions, including behavior that could get you disqualified from the run. There was one indiscretion, in particular, that caught my attention."Runners, please be advised you are only allowed to use the bathroom in portable toilets located along the race course," the announcer shouted. "Anyone caught using the bathroom on the race course will be disqualified."
Never in a million years would I have imagined that would actually be an issue. I'm mean, really! Dropping your drawers and doing your business right in front of God and country? On second thought, this is New York City. Anything's possible. Once, I was chased down the street by a naked black lady. I'll save that story for another day.
Honestly though, it's bad enough we have to dodge potholes on the race course. Now we're supposed to be on the lookout for people's dingle berries? Sweet mercy. So in the spirit of goodwill for runners across our fruited plain, I'd like to offer a few more rules that should add a measure of decency and modesty to the running world.
1. Grown men should refrain from wearing purple spandex. I can appreciate the contributions metrosexuals have made to the world, (i.e. antiquing, man purses) but for goodness sakes, running a race is no excuse to let it all hang out.
2. Well-rounded ladies should refrain from wearing spandex. Let's just say that a large badonkadonk and a bumpy roadway could cause your fellow runners to go cross-eyed.
3. No farting on the race course. I actually overheard a fellow runner explaining to a companion that passing gas made him run faster. I'm not so sure about that, but you can bet that anybody running behind gas-guy will be running faster.
4. No cell phones. I was about nine miles in to a half marathon, when I heard someone's cell phone ring. It wasn't a normal ring tone. It was an edited version of Justin Timberlake's Sexy Back. The runner was a middle-aged woman who carried on a conversation that involved spanking, being a bad boy, and promising not to pee on the rug. She was either correcting a naughty pooch or is in dire need of a marriage counselor.
5. And that brings me to my final rule for the road --- No Justin Timberlake songs.
Coming tomorrow, how to lose 100 pounds without spending a dime.