Rabble Runners Part I: The Malady

By DuncanRhys C. Liancourt

 

––Have you known someone so full of energy, so tireless, so ambitious for new challenges, so curious, and so keen to test him or her self against those surprisingly changeable but ultimately irrefutable limits of human endurance that you can’t help but admire them yet simultaneously wish you could see them writhe in unquenchable agony? You have! How splendid when kindred spirits find one another. It’s not that we are indolent or slothful, merely that we subscribe to that truth so well articulated by Mr. Oscar Wilde: “work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do.” And if slavishness to work of the usual sort is distasteful enough, how unbearably repugnant, tedious, tiresome, irksome, and unendingly vexatious is that make-work scheme called “marathon running”?

Prepare yourself, dear like-minded sprite, to be well nigh vanquished by the discomfiting particulars with which I shall now acquaint you. But first your oath that you will not find me at fault, for I would not have us fall out over something so completely beyond my control, beyond even my ken. No, really, you must swear it upon something truly sacrosanct. Ah yes, your most cherished pair of kidskin, ermine-lined, silver-tasseled, royal purple cashmere-thread monogrammed slippers.

Well then, here it is: I have friends who run marathons. And there is not the consolation of their being mooching shirkers: they go to their jobs, at which they account for themselves well enough to keep them; they see to their family obligations; they keep their houses in satisfactory, if uninspired, fashion; and they comport themselves, for the most part, adequately as friends. They do all this and then voluntarily “sign up,” as they call it in their boxing gym jargon, to stumble through a pale simulation of the peregrinating exploit reputed to have been the death of Pheidippides. Could there be an activity more unsavory than one that involves not only the highly suspect veracity of Herodotus and images of sweating, scantily clad, sandal-wearing men with barbaric sesti-syllabic names but also spends the energy of these deviantly-abled citizens in a manner that devolves no benefit to their fellows? This question is, naturally, rhetorical, but there remains the real question of what to do about it.

Stay tuned for Part II: The Remedy

NB: rabble-runners often operate in packs, sometimes of up to 19 individuals. Should you have any doubt as to the diagnosis simply inquire of a suspect whether they have ever attended, plan to attend, or have considered attending something called the “Hoop-Dee-Do Revue;” any knowledge whatsoever of this phenomenon is conclusive.

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