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Tips for Grandma’s Marathon

– Let’s be honest. Lots of people have finished marathons. It’s not special. But has anyone ever finished a marathon while dressed as a burrito? That is special. That’s what’s going to get sexy young people to go home with you from the bar.

– Marathons are 26 miles because that’s how far Greek messenger Pheidippides ran to tell the people of Athens they had won the Battle of Marathon. However, Greek historian Herodotus claims Pheidippides actually ran 300 miles, not 26. So in many ways, you running only 26.2 miles makes you a big pussy.

– It’s important to tape your nipples before running a marathon. I will have a tent sent up in Canal Park for ladies age 18 to 35 before the race.

– Many people advise against running a marathon in jeans, but have those people ever won a marathon? Probably not. Don’t take advice from people who have lost every marathon they’ve ever competed in.

– If running marathons sometimes makes your toenails fall off, don’t worry. That’s normal. It’s certainly not God sending you a warning that you’re running too goddamn much.

A few words about sex with bears

Last Sunday, I looked at the front page of the Duluth News-Tribune and saw a photo of an elderly man french kissing a bear. If I were discussing this with you in person, I would’ve waited for your confused expression and then repeated myself. “I’m serious. There’s an old dude in the newspaper making out with a bear.”

You probably would have doubted me, suggesting that my contact lens prescription was outdated and that the “bear” I saw was likely just his oversized human wife. But I’d stand my ground, and you’d call me a liar and storm off, only to return an hour later, newspaper in hand, to apologize for doubting me. “I’m sorry, Paul. You were right. That old dude is totally smooching a bear on the front page.”

I would accept your apology, but remind you that saying “on the front page” is redundant, because really, when an old man is kissing a bear, where else is that photo going to be located?

Upon first seeing the photo, I laughed and thought, “Certainly, the headline of this article will give a rational explanation as to why this man is canoodling a bear.” Nope. No explanation in the headline. So I thought, “Surely, the photo caption will enlighten me as to why this man is treating this bear better than most men treat their wives.” Yet the caption only noted that this was a tame bear, and warned readers against seducing wild bears on their own.

Which is good advice, by the way. A recent survey shows that nearly 64 percent of wild bears oppose public displays of affection. Minnesota’s community of bears is surprisingly uptight. If you snuck up on a bear and kissed it, that bear would likely charge you with rape. Or eat your face. One of the two.

A one-act play about smoking outdoors

A man stands at a bus stop smoking a cigarette. A woman approaches and frowns.

Lady: Excuse me, sir. You can’t smoke here.

Dude: Why?

Lady: Because it’s illegal and harmful to others.

Dude: How so?

Lady: Because you’re smoking!

Dude: But we’re outside.

Lady: It’s still harmful.

Dude: No, it’s not. The great thing about outside is that it’s outside.

I smell carnies in the summer breeze

It was a gorgeous summer day in 2004. The breeze lightly ruffled the feathers of the thrushes and warblers perched in the trees, the sun’s warm rays covered the road like a blanket, and a mentally retarded man chased me down the block, shouting, “Picture in the newspaper! Picture in the newspaper!”

I was a reporter working for a weekly newspaper in La Crescent, Minnesota, and the mentally retarded man was an employee at a nearby traveling carnival. I was writing an article about the carnies, finding out where they came from and what had led them to this unusual line of work. What had they been through? What stories did they have to tell from all these years on the road?

Sure, everybody knows carnies are all fugitives wanted for rape in 12 states, but it’s much more charming if you dance around that fact for a few hundred words before blowing your journalistic wad, so to speak.

The Miss USA pageant: Dumpster of love

Sunday was a very special day. There I sat, in nothing but a pair of boxer shorts, eating an entire bucket of fried chicken by myself. Most of you probably think I spend every day this way, but you’re mistaken. I’m a man of discipline. True hedonists know moderation is the key to keeping decadent acts enjoyable. So when you see me half-nude, drinking scotch out of an empty fried chicken bucket, it can only mean the Miss USA pageant is on TV.

And if you see me doing that completely nude, that means the Miss Teen USA pageant is on TV.

To those of you disappointed in me for watching the sexist prison that is the Miss USA pageant, let me offer three rebuttals: 1) Have you read this column before? I’m a horrible person. 2) It could be worse. For instance, on the third Wednesday of each month I watch Mary Kate and Ashley VHS tapes while performing autoerotic asphyxiation. 3) When you said “sexist prison”, I only thought about how much hotter the Miss USA pageant would be if all of them were dressed in prison outfits and forced to battle each other with shivs.