Valium Vickie

Monday, December 19, 2016

26 Things I Saw, Heard, Smelled and Tasted at the Philadelphia Marathon


Against all odds, these four Norristown natives beat the Kenyans!



1. A Juggler. Not just some random dude juggling occasionally in the crowd, a runner who ran the marathon while juggling.

 2. Allen Iverson standing outside of DiNardo's Famous Crabs cheering on runners. OK, maybe it wasn't actually Allen Iverson, maybe it was just some dude who looked like the Philadelphia icon. OK, maybe the person was so bundled up there's a chance it wasn't even a guy. In my fevered state, however, I transformed the man/woman outside of AI's favorite Philly eatery into the recent NBA Hall of Famer and visualized him cheering for me.

 3. Homemade gummy bears. At around mile 20, some strange woman handed me the type of cup they used for patient meds in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. "Homemade Gummy Bears," she said with a strange smile. I've not sure if it was the bears or plain exhaustion, but I did mildly hallucinate during the last mile.

 4. A giant cardboard cutout of a cat's head. I saw dozens of people holding up giant blown up photos of the runners' faces they came to support, but just one lone feline head. I hope the sight of his head amongst the sea of human faces was enough inspiration to help the cat it was made for reach the finish line.

5. Adam Joseph's ass. Granted, the posterior of the beloved weatherman was well ahead of me both times I caught a glimpse, but I'm 63% sure it was Joseph and his toned rear. One thing I'm 100% sure of: It wasn't Hurricane Schwartz's saggy ass.

6. Hippie drum circles. If the over/under on hippie drum circles was two, I would've taken the under -- and lost big. For some reason, I spotted at least a handful of these "musicians" banging away gleefully on their bongos like a bunch of toddlers at a day care. The sight of the members in these drum circles on served to strengthen one of my most steadfast beliefs: White people should NEVER, EVER, EVER where dreadlocks.

7. A man shooting NO-XPLODE next to a man smoking crack. Prior to the race, I saw a man shoot (dump one or more scoops directly into your mouth) the popular pre-workout supplement right in the same general area of a man who appeared to be smoking crack (disclaimer: it could've been meth). Everybody prepares for big races differently.

8. Nelson Agholor's lucky gloves. When I passed the troubled receivers' unmistakable lucky gloves right around the Delaware Ave. section of the course, I knew it foreshadowed something bad, but I didn't actually think it would lead to a performance against the Seahawks that got him benched and could ultimately cost him his career in Philadelphia.

9. A Philadelphia sunrise. I still believe the sight of the sun rising up above the horizon and illuminating the famous Norristown skyline is the most beautiful juxtaposition of mother nature and human progress on the entire planet. But a Philly sunrise is nice, too.




10. The worst/best sign ever. On a single sheet of white typing paper, a sign in thin, black pen ink simply read: "Grace." I'm still not sure if the owner was a spectator supporting a runner, an artist making a point or an incompetent limo driver trying to locate a customer.

11. Milton Street and his famous hot dog cart. Granted, it was a man impersonating the former mayor's tax-averse brother and his beloved hot dog cart, but both the man and the cart bore an uncanny resemblance to the originals.

12. A daughter's heartfelt plea. One girl had a sign that read "Please Don't Die Dad" accompanied by a photo of an older gentleman who looked like he very well could die during the course of a 26-mile run. I checked both the news and the obituaries for three days following the race, and I'm pretty sure the girl's father made it.

13. The remains of "The Laff House." It was the first time I'd seen the building where I took in my first comedy show (TuRae) in years, and it was sad to see the place where stars like Kevin Hart got started in such a sad state.

14. Urine. On most days, the overwhelming smell of urine (Philly was ranked the second most "Piss-filled" city in the U.S. by "Public Urination Monthly") you get from many pockets of the city is an inconvenience. But during a marathon, the stench acts like ammonia smelling salts, giving you a huge burst when you need it most.

15. A weave chunk. I thought it was the remains of a small, dead animal. That's why I screamed in a high-pitched, effeminate manner when I almost stepped on it. People sacrifice a lot to complete a marathon, but perhaps no runner sacrificed more than the owner of this weave chunk.

16. A proposal. It could've just been a girl waiting for her running partner while he bent down to tie his shoe, but I'm 36% positive it was an earnest marriage proposal. Of course, the tears could've just been the result of sore feet.

17. "Great work! The Kenyans just passed here!" A spectator yelled that to me about three hours into the race as a means of encouragement or sarcasm. Obviously, the Kenyans hadn't just passed unless they finished the marathon and decided to do the whole course in reverse.

18. A lot of anti-Trump signs. It seemed a little strange for people to hold up political signs at such a non-political event. My guess is they made the signs to protest, but decided the marathon would be a lot more fun. They didn't want their efforts to go to waste so they brought their signs to the marathon. Also, one sign's stray apostrophe highlighted the importance of proofreading your protest sign: "Love Trump's Hate." Based on the other sign the dude was holding -- "Not My President!" -- I'm guessing the creator didn't mean to express his affinity for the President-elect's vitriol, but that's exactly how it came off.

19. My wife, daughter, mother-in-law, Boston Terrier, cousin and cousin's Finance. Yeah, I knew they were going to be there, but I didn't expect to actually see them -- and the kiss from my Boston Terrier, Judith, gave me just the second wind I needed at mile 18.

20. A pile of horse shit. Almost exactly at the halfway point (13.1 miles in), I had to change my course to avoid the pile of horse shit in my path. It foreshadowed how my feet would feel from that point onward.

21. A close-up of the tail end of a herpes breakout. Let your friends know: If they're going to blow up a picture to make a custom cardboard cutout of your actual face, make sure they don't use a picture showing you at the end stages of a painful and embarrassing herpes breakout. Those sores look even more disgusting when they're magnified.

22. Free beer. At around the 19th and the 22nd miles, some kind soles (running pun!) were giving out tiny cups of beer. If you put on a fake bib and went back and forth between the two stations, you could probably wind up with a decent buzz before anyone caught on.

23. One Gentle Leader®. I'm specifically pointing out that I only saw one dog wearing the safe, effective headcollar by Petsafe because I saw at least 10 of them during the half marathon I ran a few years ago. Either the Gentle Leader® company is having some problems or more dogs in the Philadelphia area are going to obedience school.

24. Early morning frat parties. The Marathon's course take you right through Drexel's fraternity house section (My uncle's Alma Mater!), and at 8:30 in the morning, there were quite a few full-on parties taking place. I'm not talking about a few drunk dudes sitting on a porch and using the marathon as an excuse to drink in the morning. I'm talking about crowded co-ed parties with multiple kegs and loud music blaring. Whether the hosts kept everything from the previous night going or woke up early specifically for a marathon party, it definitely took dedication -- and probably some cocaine. OK, definitely some cocaine.

25. Some industrious Good Samaritans. Most runners dress warmly to start and then shed clothing once they get moving. To capitalize on the clothing, a number of local charities stationed themselves in beginning of the course, identified their various charities with signage and encouraged runners to donate their extra jackets, sweatshirts, hats and gloves to a worthy cause. Some lucky unlucky person got my lined, zip-up black hoodie (Retail price $17.99, Wal-Mart).

26. The Finish. There was no giant banner letting you know you'd just completed the Philadelphia Marathon. Instead, there was just a bunch of volunteers who stopped you, draped a weird, aluminum-foil-like blanket over your shoulders and directed you to a tent filled with fruits and pretzels and chili to help you get back some of the thousands of calories you lost during the race. I honestly wasn't sure I'd ever make it to the finish/calorie-replenishment station because I had a dream the night before the race that I had a heart attack and died at some point early on in the marathon.



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Flying With a Baby: Not Hell, But Not Far From It (Excerpt)

I have a dirty, sweaty, cranky, sleep-deprived baby tethered to me via the wonders of the Ergobaby 360, a $150 baby carrier that transforms ordinary human parents into kangaroos and gives customers full use of their arms. I’m using my free limbs to lug an overstuffed diaper bag and lead a frantic Boston Terrier, Judith, through the San Diego airport.*

To read the full post, click here:

(*Note: I have a new gig where I'm writing weekly posts for a site called Parent Co. I can't put the post up here, but if you can view them on the Parent Co. website for free. And if you enjoy them, "like" and "share" on Facebook so I can make some extra money.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dear Marathon Director: About my Viagra usage ...

One of Valium Vickie's most-valued contributors, Kenneth Larson (find Mr. Larson's work here and here), recently had a detailed email correspondence with the director of a well-known marathon. Below is the word-for-word transcript of that correspondence.* *Note: The name, race and even the organization have been changed to protect the dignity of those involved.




From: Kenneth Larson [mailto:XXXXXXXX@XXXXXX.com]
Sent: Monday, May 09, 2016 12:13 PM
To: XXX@XXXXXX.org
Subject: Question about upcoming the annual Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon



I really want to take part in this year's Half-Marathon, but I have one small concern. Is this the right email for questions (it's a medical question)?

Sincerely,
Kenneth Larson

RE: Question about upcoming Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Half Marathon 




Tricky Dick's 

|
5/9/2016

You
You replied on 5/10/2016 9:52 AM.
Yes, this is the correct email.

What can I help you with?

Patrice Odette Csonger-Dalfo
Associate Director
Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon

Tricky Dick's Center for Sexual Awareness
2242, Red State, TX 48691
(P) XXX XXX XXXXX Ext XXX (F) XXX XXX XXXXX

All great journeys begin with a single 'Dick.'

From: Kenneth Larson [mailto:XXXXXXXXX@XXXXXXXXX.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 10, 2016 6:52 AM
To: Tricky Dick's  <XXXXX@XXXXXXXXXX.org>
Subject: Re: Question about upcoming 
Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon

Patrice,

Like I said, I have a concern about a medical condition -- something that actually impacted my performance in the last half marathon I ran (The Philadelphia half-marathon). Here's the issue, it's an issue I'm extremely sensitive and self-conscious about, so please keep that in mind: Currently, I take Viagra to treat my hypertension. If you think this is some type of a joke, here's a medical article that links to a well-respected study confirming the use of this drug for some individuals with hypertension. Now, would you be comfortable answering my question, Patrice, or is there someone else I need to speak to about the situation?

Kenn

RE: Question about upcoming Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Half Marathon 




Tricky Dick's

|
5/10/2016

You
You replied on 5/10/2016 11:20 PM.
Ask me what you need to

Patrice Odette Csonger-Dalfo
Associate Director
Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon

Tricky Dick's Center for Sexual Awareness
2242, Red State, TX 48691
(P) XXX XXX XXXXX Ext XXX (F) XXX XXX XXXXX

All great journeys begin with a single 'Dick.'

From: Kenneth Larson [mailto:XXXXXXXXXXX@XXXXXX.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 10, 2016 8:21 PM
To: Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon <XXXXX@XXXXXXX.org>
Subject: Re: Question about upcoming 
Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon

Patrice,

Like I said, I'm extremely embarrassed about my treatment/condition, so please keep that in mind with your response. I've always been an avid runner, but this heart condition has been challenging and I've tried several treatments, but the Viagra is far and away the most effective. During the Philadelphia half marathon, I must have become erect, an erection no doubt caused a combination of my medication (Viagra for hypertension) and the intensity of race. I was so focused on trying to beat my personal time that I didn't notice, but apparently somebody was offended and contacted the police about "an aroused man making a scene and disrupting the race." I was stopped mid-race by the police and, although it was easy enough to explain the situation to the officers, I was mortified. Plus, the stoppage destroyed my time (and I was on pace for a personal best). Look, I know this is an usual situation, but I wanted to let you know about my condition and see if there was anything that could be done to guarantee I didn't have a repeat of the Philadelphia incident at the Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon. Any suggestions would be welcome.

Sincerely,
Kenn

RE: Question about upcoming Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Half Marathon 




Tricky Dick's

|
5/11/2016

You
You replied on 5/11/2016 10:49 PM.
Hi Kenn

Wow, that had to be pretty frustrating for you as a runner.

Are you ok with me getting your bib number and notifying the police and radio volunteers of your medical condition so that no one stops you in case it happens again?
I think if they have your bib number and are aware, they can address anyone who expresses a concern right away without stopping you.

Let me know if you are comfortable with that or if you have any other suggestions.

Patrice

Patrice Odette Csonger-Dalfo
Associate Director
Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon

Tricky Dick's Center for Sexual Awareness
2242, Red State, TX 48691
(P) XXX XXX XXXXX Ext XXX (F) XXX XXX XXXXX

All great journeys begin with a single 'Dick.'

RE: Question about upcoming Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Half Marathon 




Tricky Dick's

|
5/11/2016


You replied on 5/11/2016 10:49 PM.

From: Kenneth Larson [mailto:XXXXXXXX@XXXXXXX.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 7:50 PM
To: Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon <XXXXXX@XXXXXXXX.org>
Subject: Re: Question about upcoming 
Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon

Patrice,

First off, I sincerely want to thank you for listening to my concerns and taking them seriously. I was actually very nervous about divulging my situation, and I thought you'd either openly ridicule me or not take the situation seriously. Besides my therapist and my doctor, I haven't been able to talk to anyone about this.

I am absolutely OK with 
with you getting my bib number and notifying the police and radio volunteers of your medical condition -- and I think that's a very good idea. Thanks so much for taking the time to think about some workarounds for this situation.

And yes, Patrice, the situation was extremely frustrating. See, I've always thought of myself as a runner -- it's who I am; it's part of my identity. This heart condition/erection side-effect issue has really been a challenge for me. During my research, I've discovered that Viagra is increasingly being used to treat hypertension in middle-age adult males -- specifically middle-age adult males with athletic lifestyles. Were you aware of this in any way, Patrice? I'm very curious to see what the public at large knows about this medical issue.

Based on that research, it's not too much of a stretch to envision a time in the near future when there will be several male competitors in an event like the Tricky Dick's Rock Hard marathon running and competing with the full-on erection side effect that stems from their treatment -- and that can potentially be an issue with spectators. I think race organizers should be aware of this likely scenario.


Sincerely,
Kenn

P.S. I didn't mention this in the previous email because I was very embarrassed about the situation, the police stoppage wasn't the only unfortunate incident during the previous race.  I figure I can tell you since you do genuinely seem to want to help me with this issue. During the half marathon, a group of teenager boys or young men in their early 20s must've noticed my medical erection. One of the boys yelled, "Look that old dude's got a boner." Then, the leader of the group, a portly kid with horrible acne, ran right up to me, said, "Here's some food for your boner you big creep!" and threw a Wendy's King Frostie right at my crotch area. The Frostie exploded all over my pants, and I ran like that until I was stopped by the police (like I mentioned in the previous email). Everything about that day was beyond mortifying for a grown man who is so passionate about competitive running, and I seriously considered giving up the sport altogether after that day -- one of the worst, most embarrassing days of my life.

RE: Question about upcoming Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Half Marathon 




Tricky Dick's

|
5/12/2016

You
Good morning Kenn

No, I hadn’t heard of that medical treatment before and its effects on runners.
I hope the same thing doesn’t happen to you here. But we are dealing with people who can be very insensitive at times, so we can just hope for the best!!
I will pass on the information to the people that need to know.

Good luck running on Saturday.

Patrice Odette Csonger-Dalfo
Associate Director
Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon

Tricky Dick's Center for Sexual Awareness
2242, Red State, TX 48691
(P) XXX XXX XXXXX Ext XXX (F) XXX XXX XXXXX

All great journeys begin with a single 'Dick.'

RE: Question about upcoming Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Half Marathon 




Tricky Dick's

|
5/12/2016

You
You replied on 6/8/2016 4:44 PM.
One more thing…

It is suggested that you wear compression shorts underneath your running shorts.
Also, bring something from your doctor to have on you…just in case

Patrice Odette Csonger-Dalfo
Associate Director
Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon

Tricky Dick's Center for Sexual Awareness
2242, Red State, TX 48691
(P) XXX XXX XXXXX Ext XXX (F) XXX XXX XXXXX

All great journeys begin with a single 'Dick.'

From: Kenneth Larson [mailto:XXXXXXXX@XXXXXXX.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2016 1:45 PM
To: Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon <XXXXXX@XXXXXXXX.org>
Subject: APOLOGY ATTEMPT -- Re: Question about upcoming 
Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon


Ms. Patrice,

I have been the victim of a hacking situation and none of the emails below were sent from me. Please let me know if you've received this, as I feel a compelling need to explain the issue and see that you receive the proper apology.

Kenneth Larson


From: Kenneth Larson [mailto:XXXXXXXX@XXXXXXX.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2016 5:34 PM
To: Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon <XXXXXX@XXXXXXXX.org>
Subject: 
APOLOGY ATTEMPT -- Re: Question about upcoming Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon

Do not send any other emails.
You did not participate in our race this year

Patrice Odette Csonger-Dalfo
Associate Director
Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon

Tricky Dick's Center for Sexual Awareness
2242, Red State, TX 48691
(P) XXX XXX XXXXX Ext XXX (F) XXX XXX XXXXX

All great journeys begin with a single 'Dick.'

Re: APOLOGY ATTEMPT -- Re: Question about upcoming Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Half Marathon 

Patrice Odette Csonger-Dalfo (XXX@XXXX.org)
Ms. Patrice,

That's what I'm trying to explain. I DIDN'T participate in your race, and I DIDN'T send you those emails. I'm not sure how he did it (this is an account I only use for functions), but my son hacked into my email and has been playing a number of pranks. He's been punished, but I believe he owes it to both of us to send you a sincere apology over the phone. If you'd like, I can explain further. Or, if you'd prefer, we can set up a time for him to call and make his apology over the phone. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. My son is not a bad kid, and this behavior is completely out of character.

Sincerely,
Kenn


RE: APOLOGY ATTEMPT -- Re: Question about upcoming Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Half Marathon 




Laura Winniford-Hodgins

|
6/10/2016

You
I am not interested. Please cease and desist in contacting me or I will be sending this to our Tricky Dick's attorney

Patrice Odette Csonger-Dalfo
Associate Director
Tricky Dick's Rock Hard Marathon

Tricky Dick's Center for Sexual Awareness
2242, Red State, TX 48691
(P) XXX XXX XXXXX Ext XXX (F) XXX XXX XXXXX



All great journeys begin with a single 'Dick.'