Friday, November 24, 2006

Large Stomach 

Sometimes I'm impressed by him in the fashion of a spectator. Other times, I wonder what drives him. But most of the time, I'm a little bit frightened of him. Reason #634,521,898 why the Internet is worthwhile: because you will never meet these people in real life.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The People Who Sing Out Loud 

There are people who sing in public. And then there are the rest of us.

I remember wondering about the "other" people . . . even as a young child. I never enjoyed musicals for the very non-reality of it all.

I have found that there are different degrees to singing in public:

1.) There is the tentative singer. I remember my 4th year in college, sitting in the car with my two co-captains and our new coach. It was an uncomfortable time. Things weren't gelling. The coach turned on the radio, and Neil Young's "Old Man" came on. My roommate at the time started singing it -- but just lightly, his voice cracking because of this. It's like he wanted to . . . but didn't really have the confidence for it. Sometimes I can't remember what I wore the day before; sometimes moments like this haunt me forever.

2.) There is the "bits and pieces" singer. This person -- oh, let's use my sister Amy as an example -- doesn't know all the words to the song, or she thinks she's so hilarious that she cracks up laughing after a couple phrases. But she'll start up again if/when the song gets back to the chorus (or whatever part she remembers).

3.) Then there is the Broadway performer. The one who belts it out. The wife and I were shopping, oh, it must have been about two years ago. Maybe longer. It was some awful chick department store thing, so I was in a bad setting to begin with. And, sure enough, one aisle over ambles another couple -- the woman checking out the clothes, the guy pacing slowly behind with his hands in his pockets. And then all the sudden, James Taylor comes over the speakers, singing "How Sweet it Is (To be Loved by You)", and the woman starts harmonizing with James on the vocal. And she sings the whole song -- I mean every single word -- but that's not all. The whole time, she had this big, ear-to-ear grin on her face as she walked the aisles, fingering the clothing. It was that self-satisfied smile I remember most as she sang -- she was just brimming with confidence and self-assurance, as if she went way, way, way beyond the mere belief in the words she was singing, but that she believed her man was lucky to love her. Oh, and how she just kept singing with that sick smile on the whole time -- like the Joker's smile in the Batman comics! I remember starting to sweat and wanting desperately to vomit. To date it remains one of my worst retail experiences, all time. A bus could have hit her, and I would have sighed relief.

I don't know what it is -- is it love of the song that these people have? Love of the ability to sing? Both? But you see, other facets must be factored in -- such as an absence of tact, a faith in their own ability (or lack thereof), a favoring of a Capella, not to mention a total disdain and disregard for the happiness of strangers.

And she killed that song for me -- for all time. For all of my life I will hate that song because of that cocky chick in the dresses section of Petite Sophisticate, belting how sweet it was to be loved.

Faster than Lance 

This is so late in coming that I should be embarrassed, but it's been a really long time since I've been online -- that's my excuse. Nevertheless, I want to congratulate our man, Zeke, who ran just one hell of a marathon last month.

Zeke has been in the sport a long time. I got a chance to run with him for a year, and if you read his site, you'll soon realize there is a lot of wisdom there. If anyone should be coaching, it's Zeke. And if the coaching ranks are missing anyone more desperately than him, I certainly haven't paid close enough attention.

But whether he coaches or not doesn't matter because he proved he's still a hell of a runner.

Eternity Awaits All of Us 

I know it's going to come up and bite me sometime. It's going to be unexpected, quick, and painful. Maybe it'll be running along the ridge with the jogging stroller - maybe a wheel will pop off, and I'll steer us over the bluff and onto the rocks below. Maybe it'll be a car, a heart attack, esophageal cancer, electrical fire, on and on. But it's coming. One doesn't get this lucky without a backflip of karma. It's coming.

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