Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Power of Christ Annoys Thee

One of the things I like about running at my local outdoor track, instead of on the treadmill at the gym, is that nobody bothers me, until now. As I was finishing my first lap a woman in a sun hat, flowered dress, and sensible shoes tried to hand me a religious tract, while I’m running on the track. Say that three times fast why dontcha. When I’m working out, I don't carry a handbag and fanny packs are undignified. So where did she expect me to put a pamphlet? I had a few ideas, but all seemed rude and vaguely illegal.

I couldn't decide if this woman was lazy or an enterprising proselytizer. I decided the latter. Had she been lazy she would have stood in one spot and waited for the lost souls to walk, jog, and run by. But this christian soldier did not content herself with haranguing from the side lines. Oh no, she hustled her way around the track trying her best to catch as many converts as she could. 

Suddenly I missed the comfort and safety of the gym. There, security would have wasted no time escorting her out. They probably would have pulled her up short the minute she stepped out of the locker room without the proper foot wear. My gym is really picky about that sort of thing.

Let's be clear: I am not religious. Been there, done that, threw away the t-shirt. But that's not the point. The lady’s choice of venue was so ill-conceived I wondered if she'd even tried to think it through. Did she really expect anyone to interrupt a workout to listen to her sales pitch?Isn’t one of the Ten Commandments “Thou shalt not inflict thyself on others.” Well, it should be.

I don't mean to imply that running can't be a religious experience. There are times during my run-walk-shuffle-shamble when my knees send a prayer to my brain. They say, "Hey, let's go sit down somewhere, put on a ThermaCare Heat wrap, and sip mimosas? Let the joints say amen!"  But that conversation is between me, my muscles, and my bartender.

I think The Running Track Evangelist would have done better if she had handed out activity-specific things people could’ve actually used: bottled water, towels, pedometers, gel insoles. They could have little stickers on them that say, “I’m gelling for Jesus.”

"Here's some Bengay. Jesus loves you."

Set up a massage table staffed by a Jesus impersonator giving out free 10-minute sports massages. Not only can a good rub down help you see the light but there’s a natural alignment between religion and deep tissue work: they both purport to hurt you for your own good.

Sadly though, I only saw this woman once. But believe it or not, I hope she comes back. I shaved 30 seconds off my time just trying to stay one step ahead of her. Perhaps if she does come back she’ll take a more creative approach. It might be fun to see what’ll happen if she takes up a bull horn and starts yelling: "Run! Run! Satan's coming!”

Thanks for reading The Urban Erma. You can subscribe to the blogcast (yes, I made up this word) FREE on iTunes. And, in case you were wondering, in addition to blogging I am also an amazing stand-up comedian. I do "Thinking Cap Comedy." Basically, if comedy were music, I'd be Jazz. Want to see a show? Check out my schedule at @

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