Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Jerks and Runners
One of my favorite cartoons from The Far Side shows God in his kitchen molding the orb of earth in his hands. He has a thought bubble over his head where he is thinking "Just to make things interesting..." as he sprinkles on some particles from a salt shaker that is labeled "Jerks".
Alas, it seems as though jerks are in fact everywhere. They are not really plentiful, but there seems to be one among nearly every large group you might encounter. Having said that, it has struck me recently that the running community appears to be refreshingly jerk-free.
I meet many runners on the trails, most wave or offer some type of head-nod greeting. I have gathered among thousands of runners at the starts of races, stretching and chatting, and noted nothing but courtesy and warmth. Same thing at the finish line. Sometimes I will sit next to a runner on a plane or at a public event (serious running shoes offer clear identification), and they are always amicable and unpretentious. They work and shop in running stores, they write in running magazines and on running websites, they volunteer at races, and generally permeate society. Yet, over the course of the last five years during which I have counted myself among this group, I cannot recall encountering a single jerk.
Could there be a causal relationship? Does running purge us of the stresses that cause jerk-like behaviors? Are jerks too busy annoying people to get out for a run? Anyone got a theory here?
Maybe...oh no...what if....do you think it's me? Maybe I am the jerk that has been sprinkled into this group? I'll need to give this some thought.