Imagine your way back to suburban Copenhagen in the late 1980's. Life was good; my brother and I, along with our two best friends, Anders and Thomas, were inseparable. Anders and I had one teacher, who was a gay socialist and another who preached capitalism. One cheered for the Warsaw Pact and another for NATO. It was a simple time of riding bicycles, playing soccer and playing video games on our Commodore 16. It was a great time.
Our family had a color TV and a VCR. This was a big deal, since we only had one Danish and two Swedish TV channels and half the time, there was nothing but "intermission fish" on. Seriously, between shows, there were hour-long airings of fish swimming around. We had, perhaps, 15 VHS tapes (yes, thankfully our family skirted the dangers or buying a Betamax or Video 8). These 15 tapes were guarded like the family jewels. Recording a movie was a huge deal, because it meant erasing another movie. And some movies were too sacred to even consider erasing. These included the Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies and anything with the French comedian Louis de Funes.
But the movie was Trading Places with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd. It was the rainy-day movie. The default movie we played, if we didn't feel like watching of any of the other 14 movies (the 240 minute VHS tapes were too fancy for our family, so generally one tape held one movie). I bet we watched that movie 500 times.
We were just starting to learn English in school, so the accents of Peters Sellers and Eddie Murphy had an inordinate effect on us. As did the expressions of certain characters; and this leads me to my potential downfall in life. In this one scene, Billy Ray Valentine (the character played by Eddie Murphy) is in jail. He is talking up a big game about how he was arrested, when another inmate says the following:
"When they brought you in and booked you, you was cryin' like a pussy!"
Here is the scene:
Just like a an Ironman finisher is an open window to infections, so were our little, innocent minds open to make any cool-sounding expression "ours". And, that we did. It got to a point, where one could not simply cry or weep. In our circle of friends one could only "cry like a pussy". I think we thought it meant something like "cry like a wimp". Inexplicably, I can't actually remember if we knew what it meant.
So now, many years later as a somewhat normal adult, I still can't say "cry" without biting my lip and repeating in my mind "don't say pussy", "don't say pussy". I also can't say "right over there" without tapping an imaginary car window and sounding like Eddie Murphy, but it's just not nearly as inflammatory a problem for me.
And my brother and dad have the same problem.
So do we ever slip up, you ask? As in :
[hands someone a box of Kleenex], says "just let it out, ifit feels good. go ahead and cry like a pussy".
(Ok, that never happened)
[my father, the CEO of Copenhagen's finest museum, speaks at our wedding, in English so the Girl's family can understand him], saying "I know I won't get through is speech without crying like a pussy". [Followed by a lot of hushed "what did he say"s]
(That did happen)
[consoling Natali after one of her tearful goodbyes to my ex wife], saying "cheer up. This will be fun. You will see her in no time. 6 months will fly by; you will be so busy. Don't cry like a pussy"
(I don't know if it happened, but Natti has heard us say it so many times, she just rolls her eyes)
See? It's fascinating how swearing or using dirty words can seem so innocent, if you're doing it in a foreing language.
Well, today on my run, I did, indeed, cry like a pussy. I have had some great runs lately, and this one was a perfect mix of great legs, spring weather, great trails, well-timed caffeine and good music. It's well-known to my family that I cry a lot. Whatevs, real men cry at credit card commercials. But it's become a bit of joke - and the joke is on me. Just when some corny moment happens in a movie, Natali's little devilish tear-dar turns on, and she turns to look at me, "dad, are you crying?" I usually am.
For me, it also means, if a long run does not include a good dose of shivers and tears, it hasn't been perfect.
All right. What's the lofty running goal? Well, the goal is to make the first Danish trail ultra national team. The next IAU trail ultra worlds will be held in 2015 and it sounds like Denmark will send a team. The qualifying race may end up being Hammer Trail 50 miles next spring.
It feels like I have been under-trained for years now, and still faking it up to 50K. Maybe it's time to fake it up to 50 miles. As I sit here, revelling in my glorious post-run high, I feel motivated to put in the necessary miles. And pretty much no matter where the Girl matches, I will have access to great trails. So there it is.
Now that I am over-sharing, let me tell you that I have become scarily buff and ripped. After a winter of skiing and strength training, I look like someone who could be the lead male in "Albino Baywatch". I mean, I am comparatively huge. I don't know if it will slow down my top-end speed. Time will tell. I think the old "track me" would feel self-conscious in a track singlet with shoulders and arms like mine, but there are definitely some ulra runners out there who are way more jacked than I am, and many who can run circles around me.
By now, you're probably thinking "wtf", if you are young enough to think in alphabetisms. If you are older than the texting generation, you may be thinking words that I would not repeat, on a reputable blog like this. And, yes, as always I am prone to exaggeration, if not outright lies. And after a run like mine today, on a day like this, that tendency may more pronounced.
Did I mention that I had a good run today?
Picture a high-on-caffeine hairy, pinkish-white hulk blasting down a trail, crying like a pussy.