My running buds and I ran a race recently that was a memorial for a young man who’d died of brain cancer. The race was part of a larger celebration of his life: skateboarding, zombies and horror films, and awesome 90s grunge rock (think Alice in Chains). So at this race, the runners came dressed as zombies, and ran among skateboarders, and a DJ rolled some tunes he would have loved.
As my buds and I sat on the curb waiting for the run to start, I tried to figure out–in the most un-morbid way–what my and my friends’ memorial races would be like.
At my friend J’s memorial, we’d have country music and crafts; runners would make their own T-shirts with fabric paint and glitter; runners would have to contribute a baked good for an adjunct bake sale; there would be assorted christmas cookies for all finishing runners.
At my friend D’s memorial, we’d wear moose antlers and listen to Steeley Dan and Bruce Springsteen; runners would get Barcardi mixers at the finish line; t-shirts would be personalized with the runners’ names in letters made out of an Ellis Machine.
My memorial race would have Italian and Mexican food–a full-on buffet. I love food. The music could be anything as long as it was live (they could have my brother’s band; play). They could read some poetry (I’m partial to Pinsky and Cisneros and Szymborska) at the beginning of the race. And then at the end of the race, every one, every participant, would have to WRITE A RACE REPORT.
I’m thirty-something. I teach college writing. I have three children. I pretend to be healthy (I like to run), but I often undermine what would otherwise be a fairly healthy existence with my love for cream-cheese, pizza, doritos, and peanut butter.
My husband is a saint.