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or: Where the Streets Have No Shame

Attention, all runners. Specifically, all runners who look as though you’ve died mid-run yet continue to stumble forward because, being dead, you forgot how physics works. Are you listening? Of course not. Because you can’t run and listen at the same time. And you are running right now. This is known. Because you’re always running. On the street. Against traffic. Like you’re being hunted. And as an added bonus, the look of twisted anguish on your ashen faces haunts every innocent motorist who has the misfortune to roll past your lumbering, Nike-clad horror show.

That is why, if you were listening, this would be the message: Find the nearest stop sign and memorize it. Your masochistic insistence on pretending that you actually possess the coordination and stamina to run in public is a crime against humanity that should be punishable by up to five years in the grill of a ’72 Buick.

Have you ever seen yourselves? You have the tormented look of someone who has been forced to circumnavigate the globe on foot—twice—while being fed nothing but microwaved swamp water. If zombies were real, they would speed-shamble away from you, throwing moon-eyed looks of concern over their tattered shoulders. Melting Raiders of the Lost Ark Nazis are terrified by your faces. The Elephant Man thinks you’re animals. Eraserhead shrieks at your grotesque appearance. The gallons of sweat oozing from every pore; the eyes rolled back into your heads, searching in vain for a functioning brain that could stop the madness; the slack-jawed, quiver-lipped, please-kill-me facial expressions; the desperate, heaving pulmonary detonations; the useless hands dangling like wind chimes at the end of seized forearms; knees blowing out, ankles akimbo—all this in broad daylight on some of the busiest streets in the nation. For the love of all that is ambulatory, pick a different, less misanthropic hobby—serial killer, perhaps. You’re just not good at this one. Because you already look like this by the time you’ve reached the end of your own driveway. And then you continue to push on, raining terror on an unsuspecting, street-using populace.

This is an unconscionable attack on the fabric of society and the sanctity of human sight. You were not meant to run. This should be obvious simply by contrasting your meandering displays of personal bipedal agony with the activities of real runners.

People who can run do so with the ease of a hypnotized gazelle. Have you seen these people? They’re on their tenth mile and they look like an ad for department store mannequins on Xanax. No visible respiration, half-naked, faces aglow with the look of casual indifference, and gliding along more effortlessly than the two fingers you’d hold up to your seven-year-old face and squint at through one eye as they “ran” along the landscape passing outside the window of the family car on the long trip to Grandma’s while your brother sat beside you, picking his nose.

You are not these people. You will never be these people. Admission is the first step to recovery. Get real, get right and get off the street. Literally.

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