Monday, August 07, 2006

the mailbag

I get comments, occasionally. Yay! Here’s one:
you could take up running as a kid-free activity, but i'm not sure if something that's just for your own betterment (not the family's) would feel as 'productive'...

Actually, if you parse it right for yourself, running is a selfless activity. The logic goes like this: I’m getting older, as are the kids. For them it means they’re getting bigger and stronger. For me it means I’m getting bigger and weaker. Therefore, in order to keep up and be a physically entertaining Dad (kids can’t always work out with ironies and Beta versions of jokes-to-be), I need to keep in shape. See? I run for them.
I have a double-wide running stroller. So it’s not really a kid-free activity. Sure, with the iPod in my ears and the kids in front of me, either sleeping or reading or genially admiring the landscape, it is almost a solitary activity.
On a tangent here, but related. One of the reasons I doubt I’d make a good stand-up (aside from the obvious lack of time and, gulp, hard-hitting humor talent) is that I don’t like repeating my jokes.
Yet, when I go running, the following two set-ups always present themselves, and I’m running out of varieties of the same punch lines.
Situation 1:
Me: Excuse me. Coming through!
Pedestrians: Watch out. A double-wide.
Me (patting my hips as I pass): Aw, c’mon. I’m working on it.
Situation 2 (when running with only Coco in the double stroller):
Pedestrian (almost always a male): You lost one.
Me (screeching to a halt, slapping forehead): Oh, crap! Where?
There are other standard lines I hear for which I still need to come up with short answers:
Shouldn’t they be pushing you?
Soon they’ll be pushing you?
Ah, that’s the life. [addressed to the kids]
The time goes by faster than you think.
But in none of these do the speakers really open themselves to a quick comeback. They need to be pried open a little to expose the laziness inherent in the comment and probed to see if they see it as well and have a sense of humor about it.
So my witty response is: “Yeah.”
(Except for the last one. If anyone uses the phrasing, “IT goes by so fast,” I can say, “Why, thank you. Just wait till I really pick up the speed.”
But I’m usually stuck with “yeah.”


xineymarie said...

Not witty, not brilliant, not interesting... but possibly (just possibly) better than "yeah" -- I humbly submit the following:

"Shouldn’t they be pushing you?"
+ They're actually pulling me.

"Soon they’ll be pushing you."
+ Tried that -- it doesn't go as fast when they do it.
(Alternate: Their mom yells at me when I make them do that.)

"Ah, that’s the life."
[addressed to the kids]
+ (...or so you assume. Just imagine that it's actually directed towards you -- you who has a kickass family, a loving home and, from what I hear, numerous talents [CLEAN talents; we only discuss the clean ones at work] -- and feel sorry for the passer-by who will clearly die alone.)

"The time goes by faster than you think."
+ Actually, they're already in their late twenties -- I just don't feed them.

(Why am I the only regular commentator? Is no one else underemployed?)

Goedi said...

winners, all.