Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How to P**s Off A D*****s

I am a person who runs a great deal, and spending an inordinate amount of time on the lake front running and biking path I sometimes have occasion to encounter some people who are less than civil. This is the story of one of those encounters. If you are a person who is easily offended by less than civil language, please read no further. If you really don't give a rat's ass, read on. In this little story I will make reference to: 1) Being pissed off, and 2) Someone being a real dumb-ass. Okay, perhaps not as bad as you anticipated, but still not the kind of talk for more sophisticated society.

So anyway, I was out running a little 5 mile Wednesday afternooner and I was on the lake front path that is shared by runners, bikers, roller bladers, various gawking tourists, and mothers pushing strollers. I was somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 1/2 miles into the run when I found myself approaching the North Avenue biking, roller blading, pedestrian, gawking tourist, and mothers pushing strollers bridge over Lake Shore Drive. On this particular day I was planning a trip over the bridge into Lincoln Park proper and not to proceed directly up the lake front. I looked briefly over my shoulder, turned, and took a step to the left to head across the path to the bridge.

This is where it turned ugly. Excuse me. I had to visit the bathroom momentarily. So where was I anway? Oh yeah. It turned ugly. When I had turned my body to the left and taken one step, I realized that there was a bike closing in on me quickly. I stopped dead in my tracks. The guy on the bike whizzed by about two feet in front of me. I recall thinking to myself, "Oops," somewhat cheerfully. Then the guy on the bike slowed down, turned gave me a really dirty look, and made a rude gesture, suggesting that I had done something really wrong and he was terribly put upon.

He pissed me off. I responded. "So say something dumb-ass, like on your left. How am I supposed to know you're there?" Okay so I shouldn't have included the term dumb-ass in the retort. It leaped unbidden from my lips. So sue me. Well turns out the guy wasn't the kind of guy who wasn't into suing me. He was pissed. He turned his bike around and came back to where I was off on the path heading to the bridge. He rode up and stopped his bike right in front of me.

So now this guy who was looked to be in the neighborhood of 30 years old, 6 feet tall, and possibly an abuser of steroids was right in my face. The first thing out of his mouth? "Don't call me a dumb-ass." Oops.

So anyway, discretion may be the better part of valor, but my mouth wasn't into too much discretion or valor at that time and this ape on a bicycle was really annoying me. I replied, "Well you are a dumb-ass." Oops. I thought for a moment of adding, "So what are you going to do, beat me up?" Then discretion kicked in. I thought that maybe I didn't want to put any of those kind of ideas in his dumb-ass brain. He might follow up on the suggestion.

Anyway, the guy got really flustered when I insisted that he really was a dumb-ass, and at that point, he of the crimson face began spitting out his reply, "Yeah, you know what you are? You're a fat old man. You're a fat, disgusting old man. You are just disgusting and ..........." on and on infinitum.

At this point I elected to roll my eyes and continue my run. Instead of continuing straight up the lake front in the direction he had been riding, he followed me over the bridge, all the while screaming, "You're a fat, old, disgusting man and......." Who knows what other insults he chose to hurl at me? I tuned him out and ran on.

On the other side of the bridge he hurled a few last insults at me, "Fat! Old! Disgusting!" Yada! Yada! Yada! I continued my run through the park. He rode his bike ahead to a water fountain about 200 yards up the path and stopped for a drink of water. I kept on running at my usual 9:30 pace.

Then he turned around and began riding back up the path toward me and as he neared, he purposely swerved to his left so he was riding directly toward me. When he got close enough to hear me what came out of my mouth was, "Now you are really acting like a dumb-ass." I kept running. He swerved back to his right and went around me, shouting as he rode into the distance, "Fat! Old! Disgusting!"

The odd thing was that he was obviously trying to intimidate me and I didn't feel very intimidated. If he had actually gotten off the bike, perhaps I would have, but basically all I could think was, "Jesus what a dumb-ass prick!" He rode off into the distance and I ran the rest of my 5 miler, smiling and enjoying the day.

Now as for the accusations of being fat, old, and disgusting, well the truth is that I will have my 60th birthday in a couple of weeks. The truth is that I stand 5'8" and I currently weigh 205 lb., a bit too much for a guy my height. Trouble is that after you reach a certain age your metabolism slows down and it gets to be a bitch to keep the weight off. I've been running 30 miles/week for the past 3 months and though the weight is easing off, it's not exactly melting away. As for the disgusting part, well that's a value judgement and my wife, family, friends, and work colleagues don't seem to share that view, unless they're just being nice and not saying it. Who knows?

The thing is that when I was this guy's age I weighed 165 lb. and even though I weigh significantly more now, I'm in better shape. Resting heart rate in the neighborhood of 50 beats/minute. My blood pressure is good. My cholesterol is good. I suspect angry dumb-ass guy is on the road to high blood pressure and an early heart attack.

The thought occurred to me that maybe I was out of line and this guy was so angry about being called a dumb-ass because he really is mentally challenged and it was like called a kid who is mentally handicapped a retard. His reactions suggest that he certainly is emotionally stunted. If this is the case, I certainly apologize. I was way out of line. It is just unconscionable to be taunting a mentally handicapped individual with calling them a dumb-ass.

Do I believe that? Nah! It is altogether likely that the guy is just a Type A dumb-ass prick, and he needs some serious anger management. Don't guys like this have anything better to do than harass 60 year old men who are just out for a run to try and keep themselves healthy and to enjoy a warm sunny afternoon? I guess not.


  1. OH!! I am so incensed I could flip. Fat, old, man--no way. You are the epitome of youth, even at age 60. Why I oughta... he IS a dumb-ass. A big fat dumb-ass.

  2. I have encountered similarly dumb ass people in cars from my bicycle seat. The last one was going up a hill on a narrow country road and the car had to wait as I downshifted and pumped up the hill. As I crested the hill she (it was a she ) yelled "get a car A**hole" I responded in kind complete with an obcene hand jesture and when she stopped I wasn't quite sure what to do. When I saw the backup lights come on I was sure I didn't know what to do. I accelerated (it's harder to hit a moving target) and she slammed it back in drive and sped off. My heart rate was up from the climb but now the adrenaline was pumping so the rest of my ride was much faster than normal. Since this is country West Virginia I have decided that I will not do that again. Never know what kind of pistol she has under the seat. And for the record I am also 60, 210 lbs trying to keep myself healthy. Why do some people have to be dumb asses.

  3. As Forrest Gump would say, "Dumb-ass is as dumb-ass does." And for the record some dumb-asses really do a lot of dumb-ass shit. Are there anti-dumb-ass laws?

  4. Rex, We've all run into people like this through every facet and decade of our lives. Discretion not being my better part of valor, I would have had the same reaction as yours. Maybe you can read his obit next week, as he clutched his heart and fell off his bike, because someone once again challenged his ass (get it, you called it dumb?)!