The Hills are Alive with the Sounds of…
By Bill Donnelly
A few weeks ago my running partner, who shall remain nameless, but whose initials are Diane McGuire, and I joined one Jesse Kregal while running a lap or two of
. Now Jesse is one of the Grand Old Men of Running, a title that only a very few hold, for you have to have been running since the day after Creation, and therefore you might have been good friends with Adam and Eve. Delaware Park
Jesse has been the Timpanist for the Buffalo Philharmonic since 1970, and it was about that time he and fellow Philharmonic Flutist John Burgess, along with the Late, great running dentist Allen Gross, formed the Buffalo Philharmonic AC. Jesse has been running ever since, and he still does quite well in the 70 to 74 age group.
Anyway, on this particular day a few weeks ago, as we were making small talk, the one who shall remain nameless, but whose initials are Diane McGuire, let out with a stupendous belch, but of course quickly followed by a contrite “excuse me!” Jesse chuckled a bit, and I tried to smooth things over by pointing out that we runners can be a veritable symphony of sounds. This got a much bigger chuckle from Jesse, who said he had to agree with me.
After that run, I got to thinking about my comment, and I soon came to the conclusion that there was definitely a story concerning this topic. I mean, we runners can get pretty gross out there at times. And not just the sounds we make and share as we run, but bodily fluids and projectiles that emanate from us. I strongly contend that this is why we are never invited to participate in certain events. How many runners did you see at Ronald Reagan’s funeral? Were there any Harriers jaunting about at President Bush’s Inauguration? And throughout the whole seventeen hours of the ceremony of Princess Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles, not a single singlet was to be seen on some fleet footed Peer.
And there are reasons for this. We can be soooo disgusting. We tend to get sweaty and smelly, we spit constantly without a how do you do, and those playful little projectiles we fondly refer to as “snot-rockets”. Whoo-Boy, no wonder Princess Diana put her foot down when Charlie wanted to invite his running friend, Camilla Parker Bowles, to the wedding.
By the way, when we were in
for the Boilermaker this year, one of the Belle Watlings saw a flyer for a local concert featuring a band called, and I’m not making this up, The Snot Rockets. We figured they were runners gone bad who formed a punk band. Utica
What’s nice about running is that it is so equal, no matter what gender a runner may be. We all do these things. Yeah, I know there are those few runners who can be running in 95 degree humid weather, and their hair is always in place and their makeup never runs. Fran Emerling is one such runner. Come to think of it, so was Camilla Parker Bowles. Maybe that’s what Charlie saw in her.
A few even pretend that they are different. The first time I ran with one young female runner who shall remain nameless, but whose initials are Julie Doell, (Ha, you thought I was going to say Diane McGuire, but remember, I said a “young” female runner – oh oh, I didn’t really just say that, did I? Please, nobody show this newsletter to Diane McGuire, ok?). Oh yeah, so this young nameless female tells us that she can’t spit when she runs! And she’s been running for about twenty years, which means she must have started when she was about three. And she can’t spit when she runs. OK.
Now to get to the noises. Of course you have your burps, your sneezing, and your wheezing, your heavy breathing, and your tummy-growls. (Gee, that could describe a certain someone that I know, who shall remain nameless, as she sleeps – really guys, DO NOT SHOW THIS NEWSLETTER TO Diane McGuire, OK!) You also have a whole multitude of sounds that your snot-rockets make, from the first explosive honk, the buzz-bomb like noise it makes traveling through the air, to the kerplunk as it lands on the back of the neck of your intended victim. (I’m just kidding about any of us runners ever aiming at anybody – so if number 739 from the Boilermaker is reading this, I wasn’t really trying to hit you on the neck!) (DO NOT SHOW THIS NEWSLETTER TO NUMBER 739 – OK!)
Now, none of “these” noises are really all that embarrassing, at least not to us runners. But there is that certain sound that once in a while escapes from the nether-regions of the body that most of us go to great pains to prevent. You know the sound. Some male runners I’ve run with would refer to it as “the moose are calling”, or “the geese are migrating early”, or “who cut the cheese?” We guys have a way with words when we get together.
I mean, it is just a natural function of the body; it’s just that in polite society, it’s not done. You certainly didn’t hear anybody doing it at Ronald Reagan’s funeral, or at President Bush’s Inauguration, or for that matter, I heard not one “toot” during the whole seventeen hour ceremony of Princess Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles. I understand another reason Princess Diana put her foot down was that Camilla Parker Bowles is known to be quite the flatulator, a talent she learned from running.
This sound is only embarrassing when males and females get together. For some reason, we do not want members of the opposite sex thinking that such harmonic noises could possibly be created by anything other than flapping ones arm while holding your hand under your armpit. In fact, when it is just a group of the guys running together, the quality and quantity of baritone sounds being put forth would amaze Leonard Bernstein, were he still alive. I’m sure this is true when you ladies run together; only the pitch is much higher.
The real problem arises when men and women begin running together, which happens quite a bit these days. Everything can be going along quite well, all loosey-goosey, you know, very relaxed. But if you pay attention, you will start to notice a runner, maybe two, who seem to be running with a tighter expression on their faces. If you look lower, you will notice a tighter expression on their butt-cheeks too. Pretty soon the whole group might be running tighter, and coming up with excuses as to why the rest of you should run ahead while he or she stretches a tight tendon. Listen sister, we all know it aint your tendon that’s tight.
I must tell you, all this is not healthy. Runners start to develop stomach problems similar to those side affects most drugs advertised on TV can possibly create in a small percentage of those taking said drugs. And remember when your mom would say do not make that face or it might stay like that? Well, scientific studies have shown that the tight, sour look one gets when trying to keep nature from taking its course can become permanent. The same is true for that tight running style, so be safe and just let it rip!
But I must say, all this talk of such things reminds me of a time I ran with a certain girl away back in about 1976. Ha! I bet you thought you could get through one of my stories without a Back in the Day routine, didn’t you. Sorry, no such luck.
Anyway, this young lady was named CeeCee, as in Rider, but I do not remember her last name. She burst onto the scene in 1975, having been a pretty good high school runner, and she held her own in the marathon, hitting close to . Pretty good for a girl back then, but what I liked was she was cute too. Being the shy guy I’ve always been, however, I never approached her just to talk and try to get to know each other.
My big chance came one beautiful spring day as I was running alone in
, and who should appear in the distance coming towards me but CeeCee, and she was alone, and she turned and joined me. Oh happy day! Until the burrito I had for lunch 45 minutes before caught up to me (I do have a cast iron stomach and can eat anything before running – just ask that certain someone who shall remain nameless – oh wait, don’t do that, she’ll want to see this newsletter –ok?) Delaware Park
I also have a cast iron memory for details from Back in the Day, as you may have noticed, so I do remember exactly how the run went. We were at the top of the hill near the statue of the hippy and his wolf and heading towards the police station. I will now write what exactly transpired for you, with what I was thinking in parentheses, and what she said in italics, so it should be easy to follow. Here Goes:
“Hi Bill, gosh, you are looking strong and good!”
(Holly Smokes! Come on Bill, a good comeback!)
“You Too.” (Duhhh!)
“Those legs of yours look so strong and fine. I bet you could keep going for hours!”
“Running is fun.” (Double DUHHHHH!)
“I sure would like to feel those legs to see how strong they really are!”
“Running is fun.” (Take me now Lord!)
“I think you might just wear me out!”
“Do you like running?” (OH OH! That burrito is making noise. Gots to hold it in!) “Toot” (Oh God! I hope she didn’t hear that. I got to make it to the bathroom.) “Hey, why don’t we pick up the pace a bit?”
“Sure, I’ll do whatever you want!”
“Great!” (Too far to go! Tighten-up!) “Friipp” (Oh no! She must have heard that) “FRAAPP” (Just 100 yards to the bathroom, I can make it!) “Bippity-boppity-Boo” (Just in time!)
“I’ll be a minute, so if you want to run ahead, just go as FAR as you want!” “POOT”
“I’ll just wait for you here by the door of the bathroom. I need to stretch my tendon.”
(Thank God, and there’s toilet paper too! I just wish she would move away from the door! Oh, sweet release!) “A WOP BOP A LOO BOP! A LOP BAM BOOM!” (My word, she will surely be a mile away by the time I get out of here. But wait, what do I see, is she waiting there for me? Ohhh, OOHHH, Pretty Woman.)
And that is exactly how I remember that run. You don’t think I would embellish on it, do you? I do practice honest journalism, you know. Oh yeah, nothing ever came of us, for as we were finishing the run, she “TOOTED” quite loudly, perhaps a sympathy toot, I’ll never know. It’s just that Back in the Day, how could any self-respecting man go out with such a girl. I just knew that if I did go out with her, I’d never be invited, as a couple, to Lady Di’s wedding. (Remember, DO NOT SHOW THIS NEWSLETTER TO LADY DI ane
?) McGuire, OK