Daily Prompt: Inside the Actor’s Studio

On the interview show Inside the Actors’ Studio (which I’ve never seen, but is the impetus for today’s daily prompt), host James Lipton asks each of his guests the same ten questions. What are your responses?

  • What is your favorite word?     I like the word accordingly. I feel the need to explain myself,  to explain my thinking and actions, and this word comes in handy during situations where this is required, especially when writing business letters.
  • What is your least favorite word?     Jesus Christ, when used as an interjection or exclamation, is an indication of  insensitivity, or, worse, immaturity or ignorance.
  • What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?     Enthusiasm will get me thinking creatively, whether it is my own or someone else’s. The incredible beauty of nature and the adaptations of its species ignites my spirituality. I am moved emotionally when I sense, even briefly, that I matter, that I am essential to someone’s well-being, when there is evidence that I inspired someone to want to change or make a difference. I am equally moved when I sense my insignificance in the grand scheme of things.
  • What turns you off?     People who overly project themselves on others or into a normal social setting turn me off. It could be a smell–cigarette smoke, perfume, body odor; a loud voice or car stereo; an out of control or excessively active body; or stepping, uninvited, into my personal space.
  • What is your favorite curse word?     I get a kick out of strings of profanity that people let loose when they are completely frustrated:  “Goddamnmotherfuckinpieceofmotherfuckinshit…” When I am at my wit’s end, I deliberately spew one of these and it always makes me smile and lightens up the situation. A perfect example is the scene in A Christmas Story when the 1940s dad crashes down the basement stairs to do battle with the furnace. Black smoke poofs through the vent into the kitchen where the wife and children sit, stunned, as he “weaves a tapestry of obscenity that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan.”
  • What sound or noise do you love?     I love the sound of silence. Not complete silence (is there such a thing?), but the silence that compels you to listen to all those sounds that your brain typically filters out–the wind, the hum of the refrigerator, the breaths of your child. Another type of silence is that which enables one to get completely lost in thought, lost to their surroundings, listening only to that  in the mind. And then there’s the sound of a comfortable silence, when I’m with someone who totally gets me, who already understands what I’m feeling and no words are needed. This is the sound that often comes along for the ride on a road trip through beautiful country.imagesCAR97PPJ
  • What sound or noise do you hate?     I hate the sound of silence. The sound of no talking, no interacting, no taking chances. The silence that follows a one-word answer. The silence that understates your value. It is the sound of walking on eggshells, of tiptoeing around passive aggression, of resentment. This was the predominant noise in my house for too many years.
  • What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?     I would do well with any career that recognizes initiative, rate of production, and results and compensates accordingly.
  • What profession would you not like to do?     I have no interest in touching strangers’ bodies or hair. I would, therefore, not enjoy hands-on medical work, styling hair, or giving pedicures.
  • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?     Come on in and you will see that everyone is here. You were right to believe that I would welcome everyone.


It’s a Major Award

Major AwardToday I ran a relay marathon; that is, my partner ran the first half and I ran the second half. That’s how you do a marathon when you really are in no shape to do a marathon. I’m not going to go into all the details (but I will go into the more interesting ones) because that’s not the point of this post. The point is [SPOIL ALERT]  I got A MAJOR AWARD.

I know what you’re thinking. I just wrote a couple of blogs about the “I’m not a real runner” quote (https://randeebergen.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/im-not-a-real-runner/ and https://randeebergen.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/real-runners-are-just-that/) and, now, here I am, just a few weeks later, getting A MAJOR AWARD.

The Rimrock Marathon

This event took place in my backyard, up and over the Colorado National Monument. If you are ever passing through the western OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAside of Colorado, you absolutely must take a short detour off I-70 to enjoy this scenic drive. I have run across the Monument a few times, road biked across it, and, of course, driven it, many times, but still, I had to stop and take photos along the way today.

My relay partner, Butch, who recently turned 60, offered to do the first leg of the race. I’ve run this on my own twice, the whole marathon, so I know what the first leg entails–getting bussed to the start, standing around in the cold for an hour, and then, then, four miles of uphill switchbacks followed by another seven or eight of rolling hills. Luckily, the scenery is out of this world.

All of us second-leggers were bussed to the approximate middle of the top of the Colorado National Monument, where we hung out until our partners arrived, pooped and ready to hand over the baton. It was an unseasonably warm November day so we could be out of the bus and watching all the marathoners go by as well as be on the lookout for our relay partners.

Butch Crotchety and the Slowpoke Kid

I waited about two hours before Butch showed up. During that time I drank a (second) Diet Coke, had a peanut butter and honey sandwich and a banana, and made a few trips to the bushes. I hung out with some of my running friends and got to know most of the others doing the downhill leg. And, I cheered for everyone going by. I also got amped up. I’d been awake since 5:00 a.m. and I didn’t start running until 10:25.

My leg of the relay was downhill. Serious downhill. Painful downhill. After six miles of rolling road, I started in on the four miles of steep switchbacks into the valley below. You’re supposed to train for this kind of running, pounding down steep pavement. I didn’t. I didn’t hurt too badly during it–just some localized knee pain that melted away when I hit the last three flat miles–but I’m sure I’ll feel it over the next few days.

Now, you might think that, since I was fresh, I passed a few marathoners along the way, but no. Several marathoners passed me. They were running a faster pace on the full 26.2 miles than I was running on my 14 downhill miles. I know, surprise, surprise.

As I approached the finish, there was Butch, just as I was there as he completed his half. He ran in with me, which was a good thing, 1460112_562664847143970_1716664291_nbecause I was barely moving along at that point. We went immediately to the food and beer because I was starving and had been for the last couple of miles. I got a turkey sandwich, chips, cookies, and hot soup and spread it all out on the table before me. Then I stared at it. For twenty minutes. It is impossible to eat immediately upon finishing a long run like that.

Finally, Butch and I could eat. We chowed down and gained back some strength and visited with others, oblivious that the awards were happening a short ways away.

The Award

Then, one of our local guys ran over and yelled, “Hey, you guys are getting an award. Come on!”

“What?” Of course, I thought it was a joke. But he was grabbing my arm and nudging us along.

It occurred to me, then, that we might be getting an award for the best team name–Butch Crotchety and the Slowpoke Kid.

The announcers were obviously waiting for us to arrive at the awards area. We went up and they repeated what I supposed they had 581263_10151803952186374_86010416_nsaid when we were way out of earshot. “Second place masters co-ed relay!”

Confusion, shock, and elation all on my part. “I’ve never won an award before!” I shouted to the awards people, my partner, the crowd.

“Here, take it,” said Butch, handing me the rock monolith-shaped plaque.

“You don’t want it?”

“Well, if you’ve never won an award before, you darn well better take it. I have plenty of awards.”


Anyone over the age of 40 is in “Masters” in running, but I’m not sure where that term came from or what exactly it means. You might think that the Masters group is full of old, slow people, but that is most definitely not the case. Some of the fastest runners are Masters and overall winners can easily be in the Masters age group. I always wonder if it means that, since you’re 40, surely you’ve mastered running by now. I, however, didn’t start running until I was 42.

But here’s something I may have mastered–how I can get an award, or at least have a better shot at getting one. Enter an event with a relay. Get a partner. The partner doesn’t need to be Speedy Gonzalez; “it” just needs to be a “he” and he needs to be an old guy (you know, OVER 40). Then, make sure all of my fast women friends partner up with other women, so they won’t be messing up my chances in the co-ed division.

Really, I think it must be that we were both Masters and that we were a male/female team to have gotten A MAJOR AWARD.

Or maybe, maybe, it’s because we were super fast relay marathoners who deserved it. [SPOIL ALERT] Not.