Running from School, Part II

The Devil rubbed his eyes, awakened by a stream of light breaking through the cracked door of his bedroom. “Honey?” he asked. “What time is it?”

“Shh…” she replied. “It’s early. You can go back to sleep.”

“No, I’m awake. Where were you?”

Yawning, stretching slowly, she began to get undressed. “You remember that sucker who thought he’d try running again?”


“No, that’s the guy stuck between a rock and, well… you know. Same kind of winning record, though.”

The Devil paused. “I think so,” he said. “But, go on.”

“Well, this other guy, he thought he’d be smart and run last night. And it worked. I wasn’t paying attention, he made it all the way through, and he didn’t squeak a bit. This morning, however, he wasn’t as smart and tried again. That’s when I caught him, kicked him the left calf muscle, and grinned as he whined and cried all the way home.”

“Wow,” the Devil said. “That’s pretty—”

“No, wait, it gets better. So, his calf is hurting and he thought maybe he’d go biking during lunch because, well, did I mention the not smart thing?”

“You hurt his calf again?”

“No, no! Better! I ran across my pal, Cycling, at the store—you remember Cycling, right? She came over a few weekends ago, brought that weenie date who smelled like patchouli? What was his name? Oh, right, Yoga. But called himself Downward Dog.”

“I dunno,” admitted the Devil. “My mind was on a host of other things that night. We hit 1 Billion Served in our torture chambers, and I was trying to think of a theme for the celebration.”

“Who was the billionth?”

“Some nitwit who abandoned his kids and thought he could beat cancer with quack science.”

“I know that guy! Steve Jobs, right? Well, anyway, I ran across Cycling and asked her if maybe she’d do me a solid. And she did! She hurt his right knee ten miles into the ride.”

The Devil stared. “Damn. You’re one mean bitch, Running. Now come here, let’s snuggle.”

“Sounds heavenly.”

Running From School, Part I

“I,” I gasped, barely hanging on to dear life, “I am—”


“—going to get—”


“—elected to mayor or sheriff or street sweeper and—”


“I’ll BAN running!”

No one should run. It’s stupid. If human beings were meant to run, Nature wouldn’t have evolved two wheels, a carbon fiber frame, clipless shoes, 15 speeds and really cool bells you can mount on your handlebars. Bicycles are organic, free-range and most probably would be sold at Whole Foods if they didn’t have to make room for all their terrible-tasting food and quack homeopathic remedies.

But I ran. While walking my son to school each morning, I spied a mom dressed out in running clothes, ready to trot on home after she dropped her daughter off. “I can do that!” I beamed. “I mean, not her home (she might object), but my home, which is a scant one mile away. People run marathons, which are like five miles or something, so the least I can do is one mile per day.”

No. Wrong. No, no. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

The LEAST I can do is go back in time a million years, find the guy who invented running, and give him a bike. “Ah,” he’d nod, caveman club resting against his shoulder. “I knew running would be stupid, but I needed something to do while I waited for someone to invent the wheel. Say, this handlebar bell is really sweet!”

“Are we taking the dog this morning?” my son asked me.

“No way,” I replied. “Look at me: I’ve got my running shoes and running shorts and running shirt and running tunes and running face. I’m ready to—”

“Give up in defeat?”

I waited. He grinned. “No dessert for you tonight, buddy. Never again until you’re thirty.”

Nevertheless, after I handed him over to the terror chambers of kindergarten (where he faces such daily horrors as recess, lunch and construction paper pumpkins), I plugged in my music, shook a leg or two, and then I was off!

“Not bad,” I thought. “I’ve made it to the sidewalk. I can do this.”

… three steps later…

“GAAAH! I hate stupid running! A pox on running! Running is ugly, and so is its sister! GAAH!”

But tomorrow, I’ll do it again