Point of View: Heard the One About?

    By the time I got home from the Hamptons Marathon I felt as if I’d run one. Standing for a long time trying to find recognizable faces from whom to cajole quotes in a crowd of 2,000 can make you feel like you’ve hit the wall.
    My time was four hours and change. Coffee stops at John Vassilaros’s stand in the parking lot got me through it.
    He and I talked a bit about tennis and about how a fellow player with two knee replacements — as is the case with me — had been persuaded to get a new shoulder too. That gave me an idea. We should have an all-prosthetic tournament! Scott Rubenstein once phoned to see if I’d be interested in being the fourth in just such a grouping, but I called back too late, they’d already found somebody. I forgot to ask if he was whole or modified.
    The marathon, half-marathon, and 5K weren’t the only sporting things going on that day. There were a whole bunch of other contests scheduled as part of the high school’s homecoming, not to mention the rugby team’s fall debut here — too much excitement (or ennui, as the case may be) for a septuagenarian who’d been told recently by his mother-in-law that he was stooping again.
    She was right. I had been feeling as if a weight were pressing down. I couldn’t wait, frankly, for Carolyn Giacalone’s men’s stretch class at the Y to begin again in mid-September so that I could resume my fight against gravity.
    I not only did so through that hour and a half of stretching, I did so on the tennis court when I turned to my partner and asked him if he’d heard the one about the shrinking man.
    This guy, I said, goes to a doctor and tells him he’s shrinking. “You’re shrinking?” says the doctor.
    “Yes,” says the man.
    “Well, you’ll just have to be a little patient.”
    (I owe that one, by the way, to Mary.)
    The only other joke I know that’s worth telling is the one about the Dalai Lama and the hot dog vendor, but you’ve probably heard that.
    Thinking about Buddhists reminds me of the laughing boat that was supposed to sail all over the world promoting laughter. Perhaps it’s been torpedoed or hit a mine. I don’t know, I haven’t heard about it lately. It sounded like a good idea.
    Certainly we need more of that kind of thing. Everyone knows laughter’s good for you, releasing the endorphins that running long distances releases, but in much less time (and without running the risk of hyperthermia) so that you can do other things. Like take a nap.
 


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