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A Running Joke

I've been running for years, and I don't expect I'll ever stop. It's not that I was wrongly convicted of murdering my wife, escaped from the bus transporting me to prison, and am now on the lam, simultaneously trying to outwit the relentless cop obsessed with my capture (played with dry ferocity by Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee Jones) and find the one-armed man who actually killed my wife.

No, when I say I've been running for years and I don't expect I'll ever stop, I mean that I run for exercise, and I've become addicted to it. But unlike the scads of runners who endlessly extol the joys of the "runner's high," smugly insisting that non-runners haven't really lived until they've experienced the endorphine rush that follows a grueling hill workout in 90-degree heat, I don't feel the need to proselytize.

Don't get me wrong; I consider myself superior to non-runners, and I certainly believe that non-runners live empty, meaningless lives. I just don't want to encourage them to change their ways. I enjoy feeling superior to a huge swath of the population. I enjoy imagining that my life has more meaning than other people's, and I have no desire to dilute that feeling by recruiting new runners.

I'll freely admit that there's no justification (or even excuse) for my reprehensible attitude. I mean, who do I think I am, trying to keep others down in order to build myself up? I'll tell you who I think I am: Neo (played with dull-eyed blandness by "actor" Keanu Reeves) from "The Matrix."

Of course, I don't actually think I'm Neo from "The Matrix." What I mean is that when the mythical "runner's high" overtakes on me, I feel as though the world begins moving in slow motion while I continue to move at normal speed. I feel, in other words, like I've entered the Matrix and I'm the One; capable of manipulating reality however I see fit. This phenomenon allows me to dodge bullets and dart through traffic and stare into space with dull-eyed blandness more deftly than usual. But, still, delusions of god-like grandeur don't make it all right to look down on non-runners.

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