Saturday, May 13, 2006

A lie

A Lie

So this guy, Justin Gatlin, runs a 9.76 100 Meter, and suddenly he gets claim to the title "World's Fastest Man."

About five years ago, I was mowing the yard, and I ran the lawnmower over a yellowjackets' nest. Now, with the mower going, you can't hear the stupid, hole-in-the-ground hiding buggers flying around. But you can feel them sting.

My heavens, can you feel a yellowjacket sting.

Yep. Got stung. Just once. I was mowing, and then I was running.

And I ran from where I was mowing to a nearby rock pond, a distance of precisely 100 meters, to get away from the angry, stinging yellowjackets. And I did so in precisely 9.23 seconds. A full half a second faster than what Mr. Gatlin ran his 100 meter dash.

I contemplated this after I jumped into the pond, and hid from the yellowjackets. As I hid under the water, breathing through a straw that I carry with me for just such an eventuality, I marveled at the fact that I had not only broken the World Record for the 100 meter dash, but obliterated it! I thought about it as the yellowjackets kind of buzzed around, looking to and fro for me. Finally, the swarm formed a question mark in the air, indicating their confusion, and then left to continue sniffing the garbage cans.

I pulled myself from the pond, and immediately got in touch with the folks who keep track of such things.

Seems there are three problems with my claim to the title "World's Fastest Man."

1.) There were no witnesses. I have many times attempted to work some form of truce out with the yellowjacket swarm, to see if they would verify my story, but to no avail.

2.) There was no official time or distance. The distance, well, I've measured that off using something I like to call "The Metric System." It measures precisely 100 meters. On the dot. I figure this seeming coincidence, of my start and finish points being so precise, is indication that God wanted me to break the World Record that day.

I am most insulted at the implication that my timing is shoddy. As I go through my day, I keep a constant track of time. I count the seconds, using a sophisticated and complicated method, mostly involving the practice of counting "One Mississippi, Two Mississippi..." The time it took me to get from where I'd run to from where I'd run took me precisely 9.23 Mississippis.

3.) Lastly, the folks at the World Record Bureau seem to think that the times Justin Gatlin, and others who've laid claim to the title "World's Fastest Man," ran "unaided by outside forces." Seems that even if they were to consider my time, they would have to disqualify me because I had "aid in the form of bees."

I tried to correct them, saying that they were "yellowjackets, not bees."

But apparently it's all the same, to them. (It's not...a bee can sting you just once...yellowjackets can sting, and sting, and sting some more).

My request that at the next such race, and for every race after that, all competitors run using my conditions. I say that just prior to firing the starter's pistol, a responsible individual release a swarm of angry yellowjackets. Or, failing that, let all runners start the race by running a lawnmower over a bunch of yellowjackets' nests.

I think it's fair, and I think I'm being magnanimous here, because those guys who run these races are already in great shape. I'm shaped like a lazy amoeba. So, I bet with the proper motivation (which is how I choose to think of the yellowjackets), we'd have an 8 second 100 meter dash.

But they don't let me decide these things.


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