Sunday, September 16, 2007

Couches of Fire

Last Saturday, I survived my first marathon. It took nearly all day to reach the finish line, but the important thing about getting through a marathon isn’t really getting to the end first, but getting there at all. Any true marathoner will tell you that your only real competition is yourself, which works out well, because there’s no way you’re catching those dudes from Kenya.

In fairness to the people who run the full 26.2-mile events, I should probably mention that this particular marathon wasn’t a traditional “race” involving things like “running” and “loss of bladder control,” but more of a day-long marathon of America’s Next Top Model on MTV. Still, that didn’t make it any less grueling.

My wife Kara had one of her friends and her little sister up to our place for the weekend, and our plans to go hiking had been foiled by the weather forecast. We quickly adapted, parking ourselves on the couch for so long that we had to call the neighbors occasionally to come in and roll us over to help keep the bedsores at bay. We became so useless that I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we showed up in the next Pottery Barn catalog. At one point, a three-toed sloth climbed up a tree outside the living room window, looked in and said, “Dang, they move so slowly. I’d hardly be able to tell that they’re alive if it weren’t for the blinking and the pretzels.”

The marathon lasted from early afternoon until midnight. One hour led right into the next nearly identical hour. It was like Groundhog Day. You’d think a show about gorgeous women trying to prove their sexiness would be entertaining, and for the majority of the people in our house that day it sure seemed to be, but somehow it just gave me the feeling that the Cretaceous Period would have been easier to sit through.

One of the judges on the show was Janice Dickinson, a former supermodel whose face has seen more injection molding than your average Hasbro factory. The only expression she can still make is one of complete surprise, like that’s the kabuki mask they gave her. In her defense, though, after all the work she’s had done, she still looks surprisingly reminiscent of a humanoid.

At one point during the show, she cut off the other judges to go off on a tangent about how, “I was Versace's muse, I was Valentino's muse, I was Alaia's muse.” It was nice to see that self-esteem issues weren’t slowing her down. Still, you have to have some serious gall to call yourself an artist’s muse, unless you are Helen of Troy or opium.

At the end of each episode, Tyra Banks kicked off one of the models for not “knowing herself” or some similar offense. Apparently, self-knowledge can be displayed through the proper puckering of one’s face while one is dressed like an ostrich and sitting on a sedated crocodile.

Fortunately for my remaining brain cells, I didn’t really sit through all of the episodes, as I had prepared an escape pod upstairs complete with a PlayStation2 and Fight Night 2004. There’s nothing like pummeling Rocky Marciano in four rounds to make you feel like a man again, even if it is on the little TV.

Honestly, I can’t complain about sitting around watching TV and playing video games all day. It’s good for your soul to be gluttonous and slovenly every now and again, just so long as you don’t make too much of a habit out of it. And programming choices aside, I had fun hanging out with the ladies last weekend. I guess in the end I also learned an important lesson from America’s Next Top Model about how to look your best. Just be yourself. Minus ten pounds.

You can hand Mike Todd a cup of water as he runs by at


  1. It’s good for your soul to be gluttonous and slovenly every now and again, just so long as you don’t make too much of a habit out of it.

    You'd have to define 'too much of a habit'.

    And isn't that cancelled out as long as you plan (emphasis on PLAN) to do your workout with Gilad at 7 the next morning?

    And,not for nothing, but you had me going on the marathon bit. Except for the part where I was thinking "but I thought all he did was fight zombies all day."

  2. Janelle -- Is Gilad like one of Sinbad's friends? And what's this 7 in the morning of which you speak? And I'm actually killing minotaurs now. It was time to give the zombies a break -- I was killing so many of them, yet somehow they still managed to eat my brain.

  3. OMGGGGGGGGGGGGg that icky yucky modeling show??? I feel so sorry for you!!! ahhhhhhhhhhhh

  4. You scared me at first. I thought you were posting about running: I ran a mile once. In junior high - it took me 12 minutes, thank you.

    Hey Janelle, (Jan el eee was another word (name of course)I used to mispronounce. When I mentioned boobs, I meant think of "busts" as in "bust her p". By the way, you have to stop monopolizing Mike's comments.

    I love the TV marathons during bad weather days. We watched an afternoon of Man vs Wild and loved it till we found out he was staying in hotel rooms (okay, only sometimes, but that's still cheating) instead of a snow cave. Now I'm a fan of Surviorman because he never really seems to get out of what he's into. Success to the mediocre.

  5. Burf -- I know it dude. That's why I'm dumb now. What, you can't tell the difference?

    Buster -- Dude, that's about all my buddies talked about last weekend. It makes it so much less cool to know that when Bear's squeezing elephant poop over his mouth, he's really just washing down his free continental breakfast. Survivorman definitely seems more genuine, but he just doesn't have the same flair. I dunno. Maybe I'll start watching Blue's Clues instead.

  6. Miiiike! Buster is yelling at me again.

    Hey, at least I don't monotonize!
    ooh, snap!
    Or, face!
    Or...I give up.

  7. Janelle, maybe you should do a storybookkitz about a dude who loses control of his mower and careens into something combustible. That would be awesome.

  8. Hey Janelle. Gotta love someone that uses a word that looks legit and one can figure out too. I copied and pasted into Google and I got: "tara reid" "you got served" "man boobs" "q" "ann arbor". Check it out - it is showing up in urbandictionary.

    A Boob theme (using hints given for the correct pronunciation of my nickname)seems too coincidental but I see 1, 3, and 5 (if it is Anne Archer, not Ann Arbor) way beyond the law of averages. Ha.

  9. Busterp-Maybe I'm just too petranoid to think straight, but you have seriously lost me. In other words, "whaaa?"

    Mike-You're helpful like my brother is helpful: "Oooh! Have the one guy grab the hot chocolate out of the other guy's hand,throw it out the window and say, "There's your f-in' cozy day."

    Of course, there's probably an even bigger market for that, huh?:)

  10. Janelle - too hard to explain but I love your new wave words.

  11. Busterp--Thanks! And I hadn't even busted out 'verisimthrillitude' yet. Okay, okay, I'll stop.