I was at a thrift store a short time ago looking for a computer desk (no luck there by the way) and ran across one of those oddities of life in this world that makes you stop and ask yourself the age old philosophical question, “Huh?”
“Huh?” is often mistakenly confused with its close relatives “What the…?” (or simply “Wha?”) and “Eh?” However, the latter two more aptly describe circumstances in which one is not sure what they have encountered and/or just heard about. “Huh?” is best reserved for times when one is quite certain they have a firm grasp on the reality and facts of the situation, but their mind fumbles futilely to conjure up any logical or reasonable explanation for why the item exists, deed was done, words were spoken, etc. Consider Caffeine Free Diet Coke for example: No caffeine, no sugar, aspartame aftertaste, yet people still buy it… huh?
Back to my original story – The item in question which produced the “huh?” response that day was a Marlboro two-piece running suit. Just how many packs of cigarettes do you have to smoke to earn enough Marlboro points to send in for your very own Marlboro two-piece running suit? Or if you don’t earn it and simply purchase it, does the Marlboro Company actually have that many fiercely loyal customers who are also addicted to running? I can just imagine the monthly meeting for the local chapter of Marlboro Runners.
Frank: “All right everyone, let’s make this quick. We only have the smokers’ lounge reserved for the next ten minutes and then we have to head back outside near the picnic table for the duration of the meeting. It’s 20 below out there so let’s do our best to wrap this up in the first ten minutes. Okay, first item on the agenda: thank you to everyone who showed up for last month’s run. It was a grueling quarter mile, but thanks to Jimmy, and the well planned smoking breaks every twenty minutes, the time seemed to just fly by. Also, I’m pleased to announce that Earl had a new personal best time – mainly because he forgot his oxygen tank at home and didn’t have its weight dragging him down like usual; but a personal best nonetheless. Oh, and while we’re on the subject, we’ll be accepting donations at the back as you leave for a small thank you gift for the emergency medical technicians who revived Earl at the finish line. We thought we lost you for a minute there, Earl!”
Frank: “Okay, next subject. For safety reasons it was suggested and accepted unanimously that this month’s run consist of two laps around the hospital block. Since we can’t smoke directly in front of the building, please ensure all cigarettes are properly extinguished for the thirty feet before and after the main entrance. Yes, Dale, that means you too.”
Frank: “No, Earl, I still haven’t been able to get any of the local medical supply centers to sponsor us and provide free oxygen tank recharging. However, the manager at Simon’s Brewery did say he might consider giving me a call sometime about our request for donations to fund the purchase of the latest Marlboro running suits.”
Frank: “Yes, Earl, the top-of-the line ones that come with the oxygen backpack and cigarette holster as standard equipment.”
Frank: “Sorry, Earl, we don’t have time to go into that now. Jimmy just finished his second pack which means our time is up for today. Please be generous with your donations on the way out. Everyone have a good week and remember the Marlboro Runners’ Motto: ‘Just breath through the pain…as best you can.’”