Commentary 16 May 2008 04:51 am

Duck, duck, goose

I was chased by a goose while jogging recently.

 

To be honest, I’m not sure if it was a duck or a goose. Let’s call it a doose ” or a guck.

 

I’m not sure if I was jogging or running either. Let’s call it junning. It starts off at as a jog, morphs briefly into a run, and then degenerates into something that probably looks like a fish flopping in the bottom of a boat.

 

Previously, I jogged only when people chased me, and progressed to a run only if my pursuers were really fast or throwing rocks.

 

At the ripe old age of 22, I ran ” once ” around the block. No warm-up, no stretching, nothing. I just ran. And then fell into the bathtub and didn’t move for two hours until crawling into the kitchen for a Coca-Cola and a Hostess Ho-Ho.

 

Seventeen years later, I’m back at it. For my health, I guess.

 

Prevailing wisdom is that running is bad for you, that it pulverizes muscles and joints and is no fun besides. Certainly, the people I see running don’t look like they’re having much fun. Usually they grimace like they’re passing kidney stones.

I probably look like that too. It doesn’t matter. I’m still junning.

 

They say you need good shoes to run. Doesn’t apply to me. I’m junning. When my feet hurt, I slow down. When they feel better, I speed up. You can tell I’ve really researched this.

 

But back to this goose/doose/guck thing. I was junning on a very nice paved track around a small pond in Canton. Goose-zilla was shepherding some goslings across my path. I moved several feet off the path to give the family plenty of room, but the goose creature still hissed menacingly and moved toward me.

 

I imagined the creature in hot pursuit, mere inches from my ankles or buttocks. Remembering the words of an animal expert who said the only way to escape an angry animal that can run 10 mph for 30 seconds is to run 11 mph for 31 seconds, I ran faster.

 

On my second pass, the goose hissed again, even though I made a wider detour. If looks could kill, both that feather brain and I would have dropped. As a newspaper person, I’m cursed always to think in headlines, and the thought of going mano a mano with the creature conjured a doozy: Goose Gets Guy’s Goat.

 

But discretion won out over valor ” well, over public embarrassment anyway ” and I cut my run short and headed for the car, in a foul (or is that fowl?) mood.

 

Part of me wonders if my new dedication to junning isn’t some kind of midlife crisis. I’ll be 40 in a month, and in the last year, I’ve gone through new hobbies like food goes through a goose ” the harmonica, learning Latin, silent films, old-time radio, drawing, bicycling and ballroom dancing. OK, not so much with the dancing.

 

I do find a certain peace in junning, and not only because the ear buds vibrate off my head when I try to listen to music while doing it. I like the slower pace, the time to think things through, the sounds of birds singing in trees overhead and kids playing in backyards as I pass. It’s like looking at a Norman Rockwell painting while holding a jackhammer. You miss all that in a car.

 

Still, I can’t say for sure that junning isn’t another fad I’ll grow tired of in a few weeks. A lot depends on my body, and how long it will endure the pounding.

 

If junning doesn’t work out, maybe my next hobby will be cooking.

 

Anybody have a good recipe for goose? 

One Response to “Duck, duck, goose”

  1. on 18 May 2008 at 1.Terry H said …

    Chris,

    Best of luck with your running. Watch out, it can become addictive, but it’s a good addiction. I too have gone through a “harmonica phase” twice. Keep on the alert for other woodland creatures. I’ve been chased / attacked by a variety of critters including deer, snakes, hawks, dogs, squirrels, and the small, yet trecherous chipmunk. The most unusual has been the occasional, inebriated back country folk who break the silence of a peaceful evening run with, “Hey there fella in them shorts. You all sure have a pretty mouth.” As those comments echo into the night, I run faster and seek “deliverance.”

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