Like Finding a Grain of Broken Rice in a Particularly-Soggy Bowl of Shredded Wheat


That’s an apt word for how I felt during my run on the Superior Hiking Trail last week.

Maybe Glimmery.

Possibly Elysian.

Having my feet off asphalt, dodging rocks and roots, listening to the creek burbling nearby, I very nearly wanted to whip up a quick fire and cremate myself right there and then, just so I could pay the place tribute by scattering my ashes amidst those trees.

The truth is I’m a tragic slogger of a runner; I might have popped my ankle on an unruly slab of the Canadian Shield at any minute; I could’ve been mauled by a crabby badger; yet I couldn’t have been more happlefunky.

As I huffed along, a googly smile on my face, I twigged to something: I’m a very simple soul.

Oh, yes, I is.

With nothing but time on my hands and mud on my shoes, I started cataloguing the tenets that result in my simplicity. Clearly, I think trails are crunk. But I’ve got other values, too, Luther. Like four of them. Pretty much, I think–

1) Stuff should be fun
2) I should stop and holler about stuff when it’s fun
3) Profiteroles should run for president, and then I would have something to vote for
4) People should say what they’re thinking and let the hell go of all that blah-blah-blah namby-pamby fake nodding and smiling. If there is any discrepancy between what people are thinking and what they are saying, their bodies should explode into rainbow-colored confetti and fall gently to the earth.

My values brainstorming continued throughout my 70 minute run, taking a breather only when I crouched down in a stand of browning ferns to empty my bladder…and then for the two minutes after that, as I struggled to retrieve my wayward Ipod–it suddenly fancying itself a speculum and me in for a pap smear–from the general region of my cooch. After the bathroom break and intimate struggle with technology (“Look! A very talented part of my nether regions pressed ‘Play’!”), I hopped back on the trail and revved it up again, adding, revising, tallying, working very hard to keep my values list tight, lest I overreach my calculated and complex hope of simplicity.

As the podcast I was listening to during my mental shenanigans ended, the playlist shifted to music, and I tell you, Moses, that if listening to The Cure on a fine fall afternoon while flitting through low-hanging branches doesn’t convince you that Friday you’re in love, then you need some cotton candy and a hug from your mama because you’re lolling in some serious doldrums.

The Cure morphed into Morrissey, and, perhaps trying to outrun the existential morosity, I sped up, racing the last twenty minutes back to the car, tacking on a final triumphant 100 meters at the end.

Out of habit, I stopped the timer on my watch and started digging into my shorts’ ultra-secret key pocket.

Or as I now call it, my ultra-secret lame-ass lose-your-key pocket.

Yup, mostly likely during my ungainly cha-cha with the Ipod after that powder room break amongst the ferns, roughly 35 minutes back, the key had tinkled to the ground, alongside my Mr. Peebodies.

Fer feck’s sake.

It was dusk; Groomeo was awaiting my return so he could have his go at running and peeing in the woods; and I suddenly had miles to go at a slow, slow creep. What to do?

Re-clipping the Ipod, restarting the watch, and turning my face downhill, I was off, a veritable Steve Prefontaine sans cheesy mustache (my mustache is much more delicate and feminine). Twenty-five minutes later, I encountered the whole family at our neighborhood playground, where Groom greeted me with a hearty, “So help me, if the kids ask one more time ‘When will Mommy be here?’, I’m going to duct tape their skulls together.”

After my brief-but-inspiring narration of the key-loss saga, Groom took off on his run, which he finished at the still-locked Toyota Camry near the trailhead. Nice job, that: having a ride home.

The next day, with daylight and refreshed spirits and cooches on our side, the entire family would join in on Key Hunt 2008 (not to be confused with Key Hunt 2006…and, man, wasn’t that a David Blaine fiasco!)

–a hunt which, in the dense foliage of the Northwoods, would be a challenging search akin to finding even a lick of foresight in one George W’s blindered brain.

By the end of that day, thus, I was back to my usual morally-nebulous self, finding that I’d failed to live up to even the simplest of my values:

1) I’d had some fun, but it had ended rather crud
2) I’d made some noise while I was having fun (who can’t sing along with “Please, please, please, let me/get what I want/this time”?), but then I shut up when the crud hit
3) Profiteroles were still not president
4) The only frank thing I had to say was, “When the Mara Salva Trucha gang offered me those ride-ganking and hot-wiring lessons back in ’97, I damn well should’ve taken them up on the offer, even if it would have relegated me to a year of payback as their international drug mule.”

(this story to be continued anon in “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want: This Key”)





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22 responses to “Like Finding a Grain of Broken Rice in a Particularly-Soggy Bowl of Shredded Wheat”

  1. Pam Avatar

    Jocelyn you’re just too funny- the best!That music at the end – sounded like the drunks down the road exiting the hotel at 2a.m. – thank god for the guitarist at the end, which I equate with the relief of the police car drawing up outside the hotel saying “move on”.Congratulations on your run – I’m a bit of an expert in the “toilet au naturale environs” myself (as a camper you understand) and admire your dexterity because a key is probably the last thing on your mind.Thanks for making my morning giggle along.

  2. lime Avatar

    may i just say that given what has transpired at chez lime during the last few days were i to give full voice to the thoughts in my mind i would have charred into unrecognizable ash whatever blackened timbers remain of the bridges someone else set afire.

    that being said, the image of your close encounters of the ipod kind brought a great grin across my face. for that reason alone i would be willing to campaign for profiteroles on your behalf.

  3. Shania Avatar

    This running thing…just can’t seem to do it. I actually went out yesterday afternoon to attempt to jog. At the top of my first hill I encountered a black bear. I believe sprint is the correct word for my retreat.

  4. Maddy Avatar

    Glad you kept your head together. I think I would have fainted on the spot. This is yet another of the many list of reasons why I am completely agin any form of exercise as it’s far too dangerous to my mental health.

  5. Say It Avatar
    Say It

    what a nightmare. Its a good thing you had enough energy to get home. I would have found a phone and called for a ride. yikes. Actually, I wouldn’t have been on a 70 minute run. ha-ha! Sorry about the key and the family fun hunt.

  6. Jeni Avatar

    You can definitely count me in as willing -and able -to vote for the profiteroles and probably even volunteer to campaign for ’em too.
    But your 4th item on your list -can you just imagine if a certain group of people known especially for talking out of both sides of their mouths were to follow your suggestion how big of an explosion that would create in Washington? Wow! Incredible, wouldn’t it be? And that’s probably the only way we’d ever be able to clean house there and try to find people who speak their own minds then to replace them, I suppose.
    Loved the post -great humor there even though I can’t share in your love of running as it hurries me to rise from my chair and takes a good minute or two to get all my fat and flab to resituate itself so I can walk to the kitchen for another cup of java.

  7. flutter Avatar

    profiteroles are rife with controversy.

    just sayin, this could get explosive.

  8. Princess Pointful Avatar
    Princess Pointful

    I lost you at 70 min run.
    Even She Sells Sanctuary isn’t that inspiring.

  9. chelle Avatar

    WOW! You are my hero that you can run that LONG!!! I will work up to that! Wow!

    Sorry you lost your key that really sucks.

  10. furiousBall Avatar

    man, I love me some Smiths. this was one of the greatest uses of their music since my friend videotaped his python eating a rat to “I Know It’s Over”

  11. cathy Avatar

    Yes, exercise is great until you have to do some more. I’m a bit out of shape of late, I can just about summon the strenth to strech a rubber band.Hope you find your key.

  12. lime Avatar

    this is one of those moments when, if i had your email, i would privately send you a note of thanks for your words of support. i would also share with you the carefully crafted letter i am sending to the viper as well as the less carefully crafted (though by no means impotent) one which i’d very much LIKE to send.

    i am also thinking back to your william carlos williams inspired vent regarding a most irritating student. it makes me smile.

    thank you kindly, my psychic sister.

  13. heartinsanfrancisco Avatar

    It’s quite astounding how such perfection of a day can suddenly turn to pure moldy shit when your key is MIA.

    Good luck with the search-and-rescue effort. At least, think how slinky fit your well-exercised body is!

  14. stepping over the junk Avatar
    stepping over the junk

    I totally hear you. Yesterday, I was on my walk and had this sudden urge to start running again, right there. Unfortunately I was wearing a regular underwire bra and was wearing walking shoes and not my running shoes. I believe today I will be putting my running shoes on

  15. citizen of the world Avatar
    citizen of the world

    Wouldn’t it be easier to just get a new key made?

  16. Glamourpuss Avatar

    So somewhere in the woods there’s a pee-covered key with your name (and pee) on it? Sounds like you need to ask the pixies and magic elves to find it for you.


  17. Franki Avatar

    Two things:

    1. “This dessert is not to be confused with puff pastry.” Heaven forbid. How insulting.

    2. If I tried to run for 70 minutes the only Smith song I would be singing is “Girlfriend in a Coma”.

  18. liv Avatar

    would you just allow me to sit in a corner of your brain for a couple of days? i need to laugh.

  19. Karen MEG Avatar
    Karen MEG

    Profiteroles, the Cure and Morissey all in one post …. no wonder I love you!!!

    Blissy is good!

  20. That Chick Over There Avatar
    That Chick Over There

    I want you to be President please.

    Thank you.

  21. Jazz Avatar

    Profiteroles and meters… are you going all European on us?

    Or Canadjun eh?

  22. pistols at dawn Avatar
    pistols at dawn

    My problem with getting Morrissey songs in my head is that I sing them like the Moz (but crappier), and there is no way to look tough and/or cool when you’re telling Fatty she’s the one for you.

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