W8R2 done, I sat down to reflect on my weekend. More specifically on the missed opportunity that was my inclusion in the ranks of volunteers for my local Parkrun. I was selected to be a marshall and I discharged my duties in what I like to think of as a cheery manner despite getting soaked through (and we're talking shoe-squelchingly soaked here) as I tried desperately to add to my repertoire of “Keep going!” and “You're what Parkrun is all about!” when wave after wave of runners came by my corner... three times each.
Having overcome the disappointing discovery that my “uniform” was a hi-vis vest, a whistle and some laminated instructions and not the hat, five cornered star and spurs I'd hoped for, I considered how much more I could have done as marshall had my powers been broader and the rules more imaginative.
So pardner, if you want to mosey on in to Pugwash City (or maybe Gulch – haven't quite decided yet) you will be extremely welcome as long as you abide by the following laws:
1. Citizens will warmly acknowledge fellow runners coming the other way and won't misinterpret their supposed expression of pained aloofness or disdain as anything other than their inner battle with pain and Laura's musical choices. Hey, we've all been there, right citizens?
2. Don't go mad in the narna mines. There are enough narnas for all of us. Additionally, remember that once mined they will wreak ripe-a-geddon in your fruit bowl.
3. Running togs of the day-glo in different colours variety must not been worn together e.g. lime green shorts with a yellow top – No! You are not a member of the Brazilian squad or the Fyffes sales team.
4. Shaving legs for speed advantage – ladies only please lads.
5. Parents running with one of those sporty type buggies are not to use them to gain “privileged advantage”. It is a conveyance for a precious thing and NOT a weapon.
6. Supplement salesmen will be shot on sight.
7. There will be no tax on Vaseline (other goop is available). No inferences are to be drawn for purchases in excess of 500g tubs. Knowing winks count as “inference being drawn” and such acts are punishable by one hour in the stocks being pelted with Jelly Babies (for the men) and marshmallows (for the women).
8. There is only one recognised religious icon and that is St Laura of Lycra – Our Lady of the Cock-eyed Optimists.
Sub-clause 8.1 Whilst there is only one “official” religious icon all religions are welcome (and atheists too – although agnostics really need to make up their minds or get off of the pot don't you think?) and have the inalienable right to worship untroubled. This includes even the breakaway, Falun Gong like cult that goes by the sobriquet of “Julie's Ghoulies”. At least I think that is how they spell it.
9. (This law was the easiest to draw up; with that hat in her avatar there was only ever one candidate). During my protracted and necessary absences at sea whilst I incompetently but benevolently pirate about a bit, my deputy will be... PoppyPug. All of my powers of hugs for random acts of kindness and of sentencing miscreants to the dreaded Jelly Baby stocks (see Law No.7) are automatically conferred on her the moment that my sedan chair comes to take me to the docks.
10. There is no “test of citizenship” to become a citizen of Pugwash Gulch (yes, I think I'll settle with Gulch – sounds more kinda “westerny” doncha think?) although, in order to get a full passport applicants must swear to either have read, or promise to read, Danny Wallace's book “Join Me” or watch his DVD “How to Start Your Own Country”. We can all learn a lot from them.
Signed in beetroot juice (never could stand the sight of blood) this day of the bla-de-bla-de-bla-de-bla-bla. And all that jazz.
Other suggested laws are, of course, welcome. Just try holding some of you lot back!