Inside Texas Running - Why I Don't Run

I have a truck. Sure I could stop right there, but the reasons to not run are myriad. Like annoying telemarketers, there's a different one every place you look.

I've heard all the arguments for health benefits. My running friends never tire of telling me how exhilarating it is when they get up at dawn to lope through the streets in the 85 degree chill of a Houston morning. You feel better because you're fit, that line of thinking goes. But let's take a moment to think about health and fitness, shall we? The French have study after study to prove that slugging down several snifters of vin rouge every day makes you live longer. The most popular weight loss diet in America has you eating pounds of bacon and rare t-bones. Above all, most everyone will tell you that stress is just plain bad. And nothing stresses me out more than the thought of not sleeping till ten or ten-thirty. So why not roll over and dream about a steaming rack of ribs and a bottle of Chilean Cabernet? I feel better already.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not content with being a slob. I don't want to "return to a fat guy" either, as some might say. (Although if he can cook, clean and doesn't watch Jerry Springer, I'm willing to listen.) Like anyone else in our society, I love the feeling of putting on your jeans and being able to twist them around a little, to know that you could smuggle Calista Flockhart if you had to. But the answer to that is easy, buy them a size too big. Trust me, your friends will notice. "What have you been doing, man?! Your clothes are falling off of you!"

And not to be indelicate, but there is no shortage of ugly, skinny folks. Having a lean body does not automatically translate into being a chick magnet. We've all leered at that sexy someone from behind, but when they turn around, we get an involuntary shudder like we just imagined eating pudding off Peter Boyle's back. If you think skinny is always beautiful, I have two words for you- Randy Johnson.

And that, my friends, brings us to the root of all guy activity since the Mesozoic Period. Women. Everything a guy does is designed to get him women. Everything. Every stupid little thing. If he shows butt-crack and tattoos, he's after biker babes. If he wears black socks with shorts, he's angling for the tea lady at Luby's. It may not even be a conscious thought, but that tiny little guy brain is always toiling away, dreaming up some scheme that will get him women. And some sad stop along the line, the male runner has deluded himself into thinking that he is the only one who has figured this out.

To be sure there are some women who are into runners. It takes all kinds. Why else would Newt Gingrich have had sex? But I'll bet money that just as many sweat-soaked women are plodding around the track thinking, "Lord, I wish some guy in an air-conditioned car would hand me an ice cold lemonade and drive me to liposuction." I think most women would like to snuggle up next to a guy and not inadvertently cut themselves on a shoulder blade.

Finally, before you dismissively shake your head and think I just flat out miss the point, let me say how much I empathize with the esthetic value of enjoying nature from a mountain trail. See, I, too, have a daughter. Even now I can imagine us standing in the sun-dappled Smoky Mountains, listening to the music of a racing creek, sharing the proverbial bonding moment as we soak it all in, awestruck by the pallet of fall color bathing ridge after ridge until the horizon gives way to the pale blue October sky. We each take a deep breath of the frosty air. Then we snap a few pictures, get back in the car and drive to the pizza joint in town. What are we, stupid?