May 13, 2008
There must be something like 5K road races in Austin every year. Seriously. Anyone with a working ink-jet printer and a box of safety pins seems to host some value of K. There are even kids’ Ks and dog Ks – which might lead you to ask: What the hell’s up with all the Ks, yo? It’s simple: “K” is short for “kilometer,” and runners don’t have the time or breath to pronounce huge, multisyllabic words like “kilometer,” much less spell them out. Here’s an example: Let’s say you’re a runner, and you’re blowing past some panting, purple-faced quitter who blurts out, “How far is it to the next first aid station?” You could stop and attempt to render assistance but that would shave precious seconds off your finish time, and you would be mortified to come in any lower than 6,543rd place, so instead you simply bark, “2K.” Problem solved – well, that one at least, but there’s also the larger problem of so many people exercising … and even worse … talking about exercising. Sure, exercise is a common thread in the modern human experience but so is breathing and taking a shit, either of which are infinitely more fascinating than hearing some hard-bodied half-wit drone on endlessly about her workout. What happened to the simpler times when exercising was more like masturbation – something to be done privately and in shame? Shame because back in the day a real job demanded a Herculean amount of effort – the kind of backbreaking toil that kept you from flabbing up like a sissy. If you happened to be one of those unfortunate bean counters with an embarrassingly cushy desk job, you spent your weekends doing something productive like chopping wood or digging potholes. Exercising for the sake of fitness alone was the type of limp-wristed bourgeois narcissism best left to Europeans and ancient Greeks. Sure, people still worked out, some even shamelessly and in public, but it wasn’t something you talked about outside of a confession booth. And really, admitting to anyone that you’re trying to sculpt your glutes should be worth at least 10 Hail Marys and a dozen Lord’s Prayers, minimum. No, there’s nothing inherently sinful about the sporting life – if Jesus were alive today, he would probably be on the pro-barefoot skiing circuit – but there’s nothing particularly virtuous about it either. Would the Lord rather see you run a marathon or spend the same energy framing houses with Habitat for Humanity? Admit it, running is a hugely narcissistic endeavor anyway, isn’t it? Unless you’re carrying an important message to your field commander or just shoplifted some food for your starving family, running is all about you. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but if you feel the urge to share the experience at a cocktail party, stifle it. That’s what blogs are for. Besides, talking about your workout is sort of like patting yourself on the ass for your self indulgence. Every once in a while it wouldn’t kill you to pat someone else on the ass (unless it’s verboten in the employee handbook), would it? Well here’s your chance: This Wednesday, May 21, from 6pm to 7:30pm at the Carver Museum, Liveable City will be hosting their annual Livable Vision Awards Party, which recognizes the contributions of local businesses and organizations in making Austin a more livable community (i.e., and even better place to host a few K more Ks). You’ve always wanted to check out the Carver Museum anyway, haven’t you? It’s right off the bus line, but if you live in Central Austin, it’s only a few K away, so you might as well jog.