If There Were Men Like This

It happens, always at the wrong moments, when I’ve just had too
much pizza, or as I’m leaving the house to make a bad decision.

Invariably, as if the halo on my shoulder is lecturing me, this guy comes pounding down the sidewalk. He wears clothes, which seem laser-fitted. I say ‘pounding’, because he never jogs; I don’t imagine he’s even a guy that waters the lawn. He probably couldn’t sit still long enough to irrigate a cactus, to tell you the truth.

Bukowski wrote this (and I wouldn’t measure the world based upon Bukowski, but…):

if I were all the man
that he is
if there were men
like this
the world could

There are guys that water the lawn with great placidity, else guys that put on their running shoes, neon, and hit the curbs at dawn.

I was behind ‘Running Man’ at the store.

I was actually nervous. Or unnerved. This guy always appears in my peripheries, trying, when I try not at all. He pounds down the sidewalk while I enjoy the genetic lottery of svelte. It’s confusing, of course. But it’s not about being thin, since we confuse trim as health. Perhaps riboflavins are involved.

‘Running Man’ bought a wheel of ‘Laughing Cow’ cheese and a bag of bagels. I cradled a dozen eggs. He was breathless; I was waking up, still.

He exchanged words with Lauren, who was running the counter, and then—literally—ran out the door.

He told Lauren how his son, all of ten months, was getting fat.

This guy, who runs with a weighted backpack, was mad at cherubs.

I’ve seen him with his wife–she’s gorgeously complected–and  I’ve seem them altogether, he with a shirt off, there being some mad arithmetic with the number of abs he displays. No such thing as a six-pack with this guy. Twelve is the round approximation.

Every time I see him, it’s like holding a Doppler gun as he runs runs run, I realize he might be outrunning something.

Lauren swipes my eggs, my cereal, my water.

She has an accent:

“I go to the gym everyday you know.”

And she pauses.

“He says he’s fat.” We exchange eyes.

I thank Lauren, tidy my bill. I wonder, as I walk up the street, why why do we all run.


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