In honor of this family tradition of mine, I thought I would share an incident/conversation that was inspired by the 2007 Chicago Marathon.
As you can imagine, just like many other charity races, many of the runners in the Chicago Marathon run for a cause, or a specific person who is fighting cancer, has died, etc. Well two years ago at the start line we saw a man running in what we thought was a potato costume. I recall cheering him on, "Yeah, Potato Man!!" I then quickly realized that his large, brown costume was not a potato at all. He was running for testicular cancer research, and his costume was in fact, supposed to be a testicle. I took back my potato comment quickly, we all giggled on the sideline for a bit (while of course recognizing the great and admirable cause he was running for), and continued to joke about it throughout the rest of the day.
Well this testicle formerly known as a potato continued to appear during the day, notably at the finish line. Above the finish line there are various commentators with computers they can use to look up the numbers of runners who they can see approaching the finish line. For example, they type in #3452 and say, "And here is Pastor Tom, running his 6th marathon today in the 60 plus age group..." Or "here is spectator #537, aka the Daily Bailey, Blogger Extraordinaire." They can also comment on all of the ridiculous, eccentric, hilarious runners that come through the crowd. In my time of marathon observing I have seen a running bride and groom, a chicken suit, a gorilla suit, really old people, pretty young people, people running pushing others in wheelchairs, etc. Needless to say, the giggles immediately returned to our group when one of the commentators made the same mistake I did, stating into his microphone, "Here comes a potato…No, no, no…not a potato."
After returning home after that year's marathon, I sent my friend Kristen an email about the hilarity. I told her, "There was a man running in the marathon wearing a big foam TESTICLE costume. Funniest thing I've seen in a loooooooooooong time, Kristen.
To which she replied, "If I saw a giant testicle running down the street, well Bailey, I...I have no idea what I would do. I'm not sure that I would find it as funny as you did. But, Bailey, if a big foam testicle is what brings you joy, then I am completely weirded out, but happy for you."
And that, my friends, is true friendship. Being happy for your crazy friends even when you cannot understand their harmless albeit somewhat disturbing joys in life.