$100: What is this hematoma on my arm?
Thanks to some inexpert poking by a clumsy phlebotomist (which should totally be the prequel to The Drowsy Chaperone), I have a big ugly bruise in the crook of my arm. And the damn thing keeps growing and darkening, albeit at the speed of a Palin in a spelling bee. So I’m not worried that I’m slowly dying of an internal hemorrhage.
$200: What is my belt?
Never buy a $9.99 belt from H&M. Unless you’re a contestant on The Biggest Loser and you want belt-related proof of dramatic weight loss. Because my ultra-cool belt that fit perfectly three months ago now reaches past my left hip bone as it wraps around my waist. And it makes me look like I’m playing dress-up from my daddy’s closet. My daddy’s ultra-cool-belt-containing closet, but my daddy’s closet nonetheless.
$300: What is my faith in humanity?
There is a lot to make people think humanity has hit an all-time low. To wit: Newt Gingrich. But then every morning I encounter a little glimmer of hope that could make him go away. If we were lucky. There’s an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair who parks on the same corner in the Loop every morning, right under the El tracks. Nearly everyone who walks by says hi or brings him something or drops a coin in his cup, all of which could completely counteract the Gingrich Effect. Except it doesn’t. But there’s another group of people who wave at this gentleman too. And their collective gesture alone elevates my opinion of all of humanity (except, of course, Newt). They’re the El conductors who actually slow down their trains, lean out their windows from two stories up, toot their horns and wave at the old guy. I’ve never seen it not happen as a train goes by. And I’ve always seen the gentleman sit up straighter in his wheelchair when it does, as if he’s saying Do you see that? I have the power to make the trains slow down. I’m somebody!
$400: What are my quads?
After the marathon in November, my trainer ratcheted up the brutality of our workouts about a thousandfold. And since I’m not doing any cardio, the damn workouts are working! I crossed the finish line somewhere around 190 lbs, which is an artificially low post-run weight from my normal 195ish lbs. But now, five months and no miles later, I’m tipping the scales at 218 lbs, which is 13 lbs heavier than I’ve ever been! Woot! A lot of the growth seems to be in my upper thighs and my brand-new, never-before-existed butt, which (un)fortunately means most of my jeans don’t fit anymore. And it’s not like they don’t fit just a little; they totally won’t go over my upper-leg area. It’s becoming an expensive problem to have, but it’s the welcome price of gay male vanity. Plus it totally proves my cheap $9.99 H&M belt is stretching farther than the truth as spoken by Michele Bachmann.
$500: What are my feet?
Back when I was just running 5K races, I bought running shoes in cool colors … and in my always-been-this-way-since-college 10.5 street-shoe size. Which always felt pinchy, but what did I know about how running shoes should fit? Before my first marathon, though, I got fitted for running shoes by the friendly experts at Fleet Feet (true motto: Never buy running shoes based on color) and got bumped up to a 11.5 wide shoe, since your feet tend to spread out as you pound out the miles and they need someplace to go. Now, a full eight years after that first fitting, I can barely squeeze my dogs into my regular size-10.5 street shoes. In fact, the 11.5s don’t fit so well either. My feet have actually grown to a size 12 in the last few years. Which means one thing (or maybe two, but this is a family blog): I get to buy all new shoes!