Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fast Mike

Earlier today, I was strolling downtown when three homeless people sitting on a bench asked me to stop. Normally, that means a request for money. Usually, I say, "No thank you," though on a few occasions I've said yes. Most of my so-called "homeless money" goes to my church, which is part of the Room in the Inn program, which I encourage homeless people to attend. Check out the video at the link.

Anyhoo, I stopped and listened. This is usually uncomfortable, but I think it's important not to stay in my comfort zone 24/7. They started asking me who I thought was the greatest comedian. I said Richard Pryor was very good, but they said, "No, old school, like the 1970s and before." Hmmm, I pondered and then thought, "Wonder when they're going to ask me for money?"

I then shared a few old school comedians who were naturally funny, not just folks who memorized lines. Lily Tomlin. "Yes!" one of the two African American men said. A semi-toothless women smiled at the enthusiasm generated, and another said, "What about Tim Conway? Carol Burnett?" Yes, I concurred ... good ones.

"Foster Brooks," I quipped, not realizing the probable irony of the selection until seconds later but prompting another emphatic "yes." I said the best of all was Gene Wilder, who had me in stitches in every comedy movie he appeared - Willy Wonka, Blazing Saddles, Stir Crazy, Young Frankenstein and others. The choice earned a knuckle from my new friends.

They never asked for money. One said, "God be with you," to which I said, "You, too." We're all brothers and sisters, no matter our situation. I'm glad I exited my comfort zone today.

Shifting gears, my 40-year-old cousin, Michael, is a serious runner in Long Island. His personal best is a 3:30, an incredible time but leaving him short of one of his goals - qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Mike raced last Sunday in the Long Island Marathon, and tore it up. His 3:20 PR placed him 45th in the field and earned him a trip to Beantown in 2010. He e-mailed me and said the last mile he thought of his sister Lynn, who recently died from ovarian cancer. He also said he repeated Lance Armstrong's quote when the going got rough: "Pain is temporary; quitting lasts forever." Mike, we're proud of you.

Back in Normal Run World, I've run three times since my 13-miler Saturday. Monday's early morning four-mile run was actually sorta fast, a good sign. Last night's five-miler was an easy one, and today has been a rest day. I'm eying the 11.2 in Percy Warner Park this weekend with an add-on 5.5. That would be a distance PR and part of the process in determining a race schedule.

1 comment:

ChuckEastNashville said...

Congratulations to your cousin Michael. Take it from me, he will enjoy Boston.