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Title:What Ever Happened To [...] #1011
Date:Friday June 8th, 2012
[Default Article Image][In keeping with, or trying to restore, "the spirit of Bad Joke Fridays," I've decided to chip in the following "take" on all these currently wildly exotic--and damned expensive!--versions of excursions that equally wildly exotic race directors are now concocting. Never mind just Badwater and MdS, now sullenly we have this: Click on RACE > ENTRY DETAILS. But you'd better sit down first. Welcome to Bad Joke Friday.]

The Eisenhower Administraction Presents…


Yes. What ever happened to, you know, scratching a line with a stick in the earth, standing behind it along with a dozen or so of your worst enemies on Earth, agreeing on a destination some two or three hundred yards (or miles) hence, somebody saying "on your mark, get set, go!"--and then indeed all going, at full speed (or ultra pace) toward that destination?

And then, forever afterwards, claiming bragging rights for getting there first?

What has happened to THAT idea? Race-running at its purest. At its most basic. At its gut-level, Neanderthal, cavepeople best. Just pickin' out the four-legged critter y'all wanna eat, then runnin' like hell to "get there first." Then killin' and eatin' it. And to hell with all those other worst cave-settlement enemies on earth.

During those joyous and tra-la/tra-la carefree Eisenhower years, we had track meets and Wheaties boxes and Sir Hoozits, Roger Somebody, who first broke the four-minute mile. Then it was Som Otherbuddy who broke the 10-second barrier for 100 meters (we used to call it the "hundred yard dash") and still Sum Other-Marathoner-Bud who then broke this, then that, and lately the other World Record.

Boom. (Running Boom!) All to the good, and we all rejoiced. Boom-shaka-laka, boom-shaka-laka, boom-boom-boom. AND THEN, I suppose, hippies got involved and running and racing haven't quite been the same since.

THEN, sullenly, you had "ultramarathons." And owe-my-gaud what a travesty THAT became. Now there were goofy things like running across cities, counties, even countries! And oceans (aboard ship)! And running around the world!! Oh, wait, a hundred years before that (which we forgot about, sorry) you had "pedestrian events"--like walking (in leather shoes!) for six days inside something like a "velodrome." And you-gotta-be-kidding-me oh-what-a-travesty THAT was.

So NOW whudda ya got? You've got races across deserts and races over mountains and through canyons and in swamps and stepping over alligators and rappelling down buildings and wading through rivers and zip-lining at The Barkley and (OMG, did I hafta mention "Barkley"?) and…and…and…. And it all started out first from that line in the dirt towards that lone dinosaur over yonder--for FREE!

But not any more. Now if you want to test yourself against a few dozen of your best strangers, ya gotta COUGH UP. Pieces of eight, baby. Cash on the barrelhead. Ante up the credit card. Most recently: THREE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS and what does that buy you? A bus ride, shared tent space, water, and motel/hotel for the (2 only) days before/after. Planefare? Fuhgeddaboud it. Aid stations with soup and sandwiches and all the M&Ms you can grab? Ya gotta carry THAT stuff with! Gawd help ya, but don't worry; good insurance has CYA'd the race management against any Neanderthal feigning injury and greedily hiring some fancy-ass 21st century attorney to SUE 'em.

What EVER happened, for example, to "race-day sign-up"? You just showed up in your non-leather spongy-rubbered light-weight waffle-soled running shoes, plunked down your ten bucks, pinned on your bib, and you were ready. "ON YER MARX, GIT SET, GOE!!!" You could be out there for a lap or two, ten minutes or days, one mile or three-hundred-and-fourteen! And beyond….

Interestingly enough--and bucking ALL the trends--the very latest incarnation of the 314-mile footrace costs absolutely nothing. Well, ya do gotta pay the ferrymen for the initial boat ride both ways. Oh, and now there's a bus fee. But compared to $3,200 apiece for a bib number and four safety pins??? OMG, the Last Annual Vol-State Race is a ridiculous bargain. A joy and a re-joy. Joi de vivre! Boom-shaka-laka, boom. Invented, methinks, by an old tryin'-not-to-be hippie.

Sure beats being REQUIRED to apply first, pay an application-fee-just-to-ask-to-be-invited, then get "invited" and pay MORE and have to guarantee not one but TWO separate vans with ice and supplies and CREWS--and pay all those folks for THEIR travel and living expenses!--and finally, you know, outfit yourself in the very latest of high-tech hot-desert high-fashion adornments, look pretty, smile a lot, and finally, yes, when the cheap bullhorn cackles and sputters some signal--start running.

THAT total "investment"? We're talking five figures, my friends, not just four.

So whatever happens now? Where is all THIS going and when will it end?

I'll tell you when it will end, and then…how it will continue.

It all ends when the country does. When the democracy is totally bankrupt and the dictator arrives "to fix everything." And the peeps and the sheeps will all be fed up enough to support such a one, and so will all the sailors and the soldiers and the peeved people with the ships and the guns and the drones and STUFF.

Shortly after that, there'll be no disposable income OR high-tech "toughest" races on Earth, and THEN ya know what happens? The poor (but athletic!) peeps start scratching lines in the dirt with sticks again and sayin', "Hey! I'll race ya to the fence! First one over without getting shot wins!!"

And my relay-team-family will race your relay-team-family to the dinosaur! Nah, mutant six-legged three-horned two-headed buffalo. We'll run him down like our ancestors did.

( O_O )

Yours troubly,

The Troubadour
"by the time my Middle Ages came along, of course, all the dinosaurs were gone; so, I've decided to replace one"

Yankee Folly of the Day:
Hey! Race ya to the iPhone with the instant electronic banking withdrawal app so the loser can pay the winner in pseudo cash!

And Tomorrow's Illogical Yankee Corollary:
When ATM machines are small enough to fit in iPhones, the value of the buck goes down, too. And so much for high-fashion purses and wallets. They'll be too small for anyone to see 'em.
Posted:June 12th, 2012 3:56 pm
Last View:June 19th, 2021 5:00 am
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