Greetings and salutations, dear readers. I had so been looking forward to regaling you with the story of my victory at the Mall Walkers Club’s “half-marathon” yesterday. But alas, victory was not in the cards for The Codger, so the best I can hope to do is entertain you with the tale of my unjust defeat. It still stings (since, if all rules and procedures had been observed, I should have won), but I find that the more I talk about it, the better we’ll all feel.
I had spent all Saturday and part of Sunday training at the mall, back and forth from one end to the other, studying the nuances of the corridor so I could save every possible second in the race. In my brain I carefully mapped out the best way to navigate the mall to maximize my advantage, har har har. Key to my strategy was to track close to the food court, thereby avoiding the entrance to the Abercrombie & Finch store: During my training, I tried walking past it numerous times, but the scent of cologne never failed to irritate my sinuses. As long as I could avoid that store, it would be easy riding.
But on the day of the big race, I knew as soon as I arrived that something was amiss. This was my first time meeting the other members of the Club, and it was clear that they were a small, tightly-knit group averse to my outside influence. When I arrived, the Club’s Treasurer asked me for a $10 charity donation to participate. He said that the donations would benefit senior citizens. Well, I am a senior citizen myself, so I don’t understand why I would give him anything. The nerve of him even to ask! Of course, not wanting to make waves at my first Club event, I gave him the $10, mostly in change. That’ll show him.
But my primary complaint was that they roped off a special lane for the race, so all my route planning had been for naught. What’s worse, their route went right past the Abercrombie & Finch’s. I suppose it didn’t matter, since the most elite members ganged up right behind the Club’s President in the pace car (personal mobility scooter) and prevented me from breaking through to the front of the pack. The half-marathon went the entire length of the mall and then back to the center court just like that, the elites in the front, blocking The Codger from advancing. And, indignity of indignities, they flagrantly disregarded a wet floor sign, a clear violation of the rules! Well, that sealed my fate, as I complied with its warning and skirted the wet area, sending me to the very back of the pack. I had no chance of catching up.
The Club’s Secretary ended up winning the grand prize, a $25 gift certificate to the mall snack bar. The crowd, mostly consisting of friends of the elites, were unmoved by my cries of “She’s the Secretary! It was fixed! Gerrymander!” My support group, consisting of my two grandchildren, my son, and the common-law Mrs. Codger, took me to dinner at the snack bar as a consolation prize, but that consolation hot dog didn’t taste so sweet as my victory hot dog would have (the cinnamon roll, however, was quite sweet, as was the soda). I’m thinking of going AWOL from my Mall Walkers Club membership, despite having paid my dues for the next eleven months up-front. They could have tried much harder to welcome—and celebrate–my presence among them. Charity donations aside, I’ve got a strong feeling that they’re merely a self-serving bunch looking out for themselves.
Until next time!