Friday, September 7, 2012

The Sound of the Season

Ah, the cooler weather can only mean one thing. No, it's not the return of Husker football. Nor is it the return of Glee for that matter. Wow, that actually hurt my brain typing that word, "Glee." Ah! There it is again,  sharp pain!

No, the return of cooler weather means that all those people who hate working out during the heat of summer -- the same ones who also hate working out during the cold of winter  -- the same that hate damp and chilly springs, and windy falls -- those people have approximately the next 3.5 weeks to go on a diet and start exercising again.

How do I know all of this?

Well yesterday, I was in the locker room when I heard an unmistakable sound of the season. From the space just around the lockers, from beyond the row of commercial faucets and sink bowls laid neatly in a slab of formica, and past the shower curtains, and wall mounted urinals, there emanated a deep guttural sound. One that begins to resonate in the infrasonic range well below human perception, and builds slowly, like a freight train rumbling towards you at 100 MPH from ten miles out, building gradually and louder until the last moment, erupting forcibly into a high frequency-piercing screech.

wrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeettcchhh!!! Ack THPPPT!!

There, in the semi-privacy of a toilet stall, a man standing in brand new sneakers pointing towards the commode is puking his brains out after pushing it too hard on that first 5K run in months. And he's making no effort to conceal his production. No, he's in there like a fire breathing dragon, roaring, hacking and spewing the technicolor contents of his guts into the porcelain bowl until there's nothing left but bitter yellow bile and the inevitable dry-heaves.

Make no mistake about it. EVERYONE in and outside the locker room pauses to take it all in.

Now I don't know about you, but when I hear such things, I don't feel pity. Nor am I overcome with arrogance for my own level of fitness.

No, when I heard that kind of puking, I feel energized.  Why is that?

Because that guy went for it. He gave it all and was paying the price as the puking man.

Puking man reminds of the many times I too pushed it beyond what I could take: wind sprints at the end of soccer practice, the first day of circuit training, or a 5K race that ends in fountain of Gatorade erupting from my stomach. Indeed, I owe it to puking man and that wretched sound of the season for a surge in personal motivation. I'm ready to push it again.To flee and to fight. It's go time. That's my kind of rhetoric.

I hoped to be inspired by the sound of the season many times during the next few weeks.  But like the Macinaw peaches that are ripe for a short window, this season will also soon pass.

Here's to the sound of the season! Let's make the best of it.


  1. Since you asked, I’m happy to tell you that I have the inside scoop on Glee!

    The season opens with the long overdue tribute to Charlie Burton. Since losing many of the cast members to “graduation,” the producers have been scrambling for ideas. It was during one of the board room shouting matches that a mail clerk made a joke that will change the way we watch television forever.

    “If we don’t keep it diverse, we’ll lose our base!,” complained one of the guys in that room.

    “I’m just saying we need to be a little less ‘gay’. We’ll still be really really gay, but let’s just take it down a peg or 2. I think we need to aim for our Fox News crowd a little.” reasoned some other guy in there.

    “The Fox News crowd?!? Don’t make me puke. I just got back from a lunch run and I’m right there on the edge anyway.” boasted the first guy.

    “What the hell’s a lunch run?” Asked the guy who didn’t run at lunch, “Do you mean actual physical activity where you actually, like run with your feet, like out in a park or something? And you do this instead of lunch?”, second guy was incredulous, “I guess that explains your goofy ideas, although honestly, at this point, I don’t remember which of us supports which Idea …”

    “Excuse me, I have an interoffice for ‘Decider number one’,” interrupts the mail clerk.

    “I’ll take that kid. Hey. What do you think about the show Glee! How should we save it?”

    “Me? I don’t know anything about …”

    “You think we do? Let’s hear it kid? If you were a big executive type, what would you do?”

    “You’ll laugh,” hesitated the mail clerk kid.

    “So what? Let’s hear it kid.”

    “Ok fine. I um, well. I think the cast of ‘House’ is free this season.”

    At that, Decider Number one dropped the parcel and stood as if frozen while the brilliance of the kid’s idea washed over him. He lost the use of his legs and reached for the table for support, but just missed and instead, thumped his head on the corner, dying instantly. As he was falling, Decider number 2, reached out to grab his friend, but was a little late and slipped on the parcel, also cracking his head. He did not die instantly though. He lived long enough to say to the mail clerk. “You’re in charge now kid. We’ll be watching you from hell. Please honor our final wishes and get the cast of ‘House’ To sing the songs of Charlie Burton. Ack.”

  2. The mail clerk panicked. He wasn't the CEO type. He was just a mail clerk that went to Harvard law, passed the bar, but chose to self-medicate by dodging taxis on a neon fixed-gear bicycle with deep-dish purple wheels over popping paxil and sitting in a stuffy courtroom. He wasn't about to inherit the CEO and boardroom stint.

    In addition to being a Harvard Law graduate and former lawyer, I should also mention that mail clerk was a vampire. So as the final synapses were leaving the limp body of decider number two, the mail clerk went into action. As the sunlight cast across the board room glinted off his vampire fangs, he began to bend over the body.

    Just then Shim bursts into the room screaming, "Got any Paper?" He sees the interoffice memo on the floor just as the ex-Harvard-lawyer-fixing-riding-mail-clerk-CEO-vampire was stepping on it to drive his fangs in to decider #2. Shim snatches the memo from beneath his foot. The vampire slips, bangs his his head on the table corner, sending a #2 pencil spinning in the air. Incredibly, the #2 pencil beats the vampire to the floor. The vampire falls on it, driving the pencil between his ribs and into his heart. How ironic, the ex Harvard law-blah-blah-blah-vampire thought: the same #2 pencil that allowed him to score a 1600 on the SAT that launched his Harvard education as a failed lawyer, bike messenger mail room clerk CEO was the one that did him in the end, saving him from an undead eternity of stuffy board rooms perpetually reinventing the shark jump.

    Shim was left as the last man standing, clutching the interoffice memo in his hands with an exasperated but hurried look on his face. The vampire, gasping his final breath, heard decider #3 say to Shim, "Please honor our former CEOs wishes. It's now on your shoulders to get the cast of ‘House’ To sing the songs of Charlie Burton..."

  3. This story has the Shim Trifecta of happy endings. Paper, Charlie Burton on Glee, and The Cast of House. You're welcome Shim.

  4. Charlie Burton was cast as Ex-PFC Wintergreen in the 1970 adaptation of Catch-22 starring Alan Arkin, Martin Sheen, Art Garfunkel and Bob Newhart. Alas, his scenes were cut when the memo-currier had sniffed too much mimeograph solution, fell and hit his head on the Kelvinator. The job of re-delivering the script changes that created a greater role for Charlie Burtn were taken on by the Yalie grandson (who later went to Harvard...)of the Senator from Connecticut, who was not yet in the Air Force Reserves, and still drinking heavily. This man later became Decider #1.

    Unfortunately for Charlie Burton, the script never got there and Mike Nichols, director of Catch 22 thought ex PRC Wintergreen was too prolix.

  5. Thanks murphini - I always wondered why they were called "Charlie Burton and the Cutouts". That answers it nicely.