I have to apologize right now for taking a week-long sabbatical. Don’t you just hate it when work interferes with doing what you want to do, ie write humor? I have found that being physically and mentally exhausted makes me more cranky and less funny. Who would have thought there would be a correlation?

I could use this as a whine and complain session, but you haven’t waited all this time to hear my woes and sorrows. Well, some of you may have. Some people seem to thrive on listening to others complain. They ask questions that keep disgruntled people talking, like, “How have you been?” or “How’s work going?” These innocent prompts often lead to a virtual torrent of miseries of Biblical proportions.

In case you don’t know what Biblical proportions is, I’ll explain. In the Bible, you got your 40 days and 40 nights of rain, you got your turning all the people of whole towns into statues made of salt, you got your locusts covering the earth. These are things that trump every awful thing you could imagine – thusly, this term is used to describe something extraordinarily out of proportion.

I happened to use that saying this past weekend with my neighbor, Sunny. She was one of twenty people who volunteered with me to help at the Portland Marathon. It was raining cats and dogs – it was raining buckets – someone had opened the floodgates in the sky – in other words, it was a rain “of Biblical proportions.”

We were all bundled up with sweatshirts and rain gear, hats and gloves. Our job was to give water and “ultima replenisher” to Marathoners and cheer them on to the finish line (we were at mile 25 of the 26 point something race – I could look it up but I don’t have internet right this instant). The whole thing was quite entertaining. First, they lined two big gray plastic garbage cans with plastic bags and filled them with water from a fire hydrant. Then we dipped pitchers of water into the cans and filled hundreds of plastic cups. In the other can we mixed the Ultima replenisher, which probably tasted like sweetened ocean water. I didn’t try it because I’m not a huge fan of salty sweet liquids. The runners seemed to like it, though.

We held our arms out with the cups and the runners grabbed the drink as they ran by. This would have been great fun if not for the fact that they grabbed the cups from the first couple of people in the line, and the rest of us stood there with our cup for so long the water got warm. I gave out two cups of water. I wasn’t on the line the whole time, though. My T-shirt said, “Area captain.” It had been made for Goliath – a Biblical character who was a giant. Since David slew Goliath, he wasn’t there, so I got to wear the giant’s t-shirt, which came to my knees and kept getting longer as it got wetter. I walked along policing the line and trying to get people to stand behind the orange cones that were supposed to be the line. The problem was that these people were desperate to give the runners a drink. So they started easing out, and if you stayed behind the cone like you were supposed to, you’d be there all by yourself because everyone else had eased into the runners lane. Pretty soon the runners were practically elbowing their way through the funnel of people trying to get them to take a cup of water, so I had to beat the crowd back to the cones over and over.

Had it been a sunny, warm day, I think the runners would have partaken of our offerings more. However, in our experience, cold rain doesn’t make people thirsty. Plus, many of them had on little water bottle packs so they didn’t need water. But that didn’t stop our enthusiasm. The high school students, including my daughter, cheered everyone on with spry and happy salutations that were quite clever. Some or the runners had their names on their bibs (or jerseys), and some of the names were pretty fun – not your usual “Jason and Heather.” Some of them had names like, “Mom of 4” and “Billy Bob McGee.” So the kids were yelling, “Way to go Kokomo Joe,” and “You can do it, Betty Boop.”

We had about 12 tables set up with beverages because we’d gone to a meeting that told us to keep the tables full of water because we’d go through them so fast. We were supposed to stack them as much as 4 high with layers of cardboard in between so we wouldn’t run out. The cardboard got soaked so we had to abandon that after awhile, but we diligently refilled cups until rows upon rows upon rows of filled cups covered every square inch of every table. At the end of the race, we had to pour out many, many cups. This was a case of too much of a good thing. It was a veritable waste of Biblical proportions, but c’est la vie! Which is French and pronounced, “Parley voo Fron-say” and means, “The show’s over. Everyone go back to your homes and families. There’s nothing more to see here. Break it up, now. C’mon, keep moving, that’s right, keep moving.”

It was a good experience all the way around, except for the men whose nipples bled little waterfalls of red on their shirts – red blood all the way to their waists. Someone had warned me I’d see this. It’s caused by 26 point something miles of shirt bouncing and chafing. If I were a man, I’d get me a man-bra in nothing flat. I would not have bleeding nipples, but that’s just me. We used to have a local band around here called Sweaty Nipples. I’ve got a story to tell about that one of these days.

I want to point out to you who have made it this far that I have not complained even though I’ve got plenty to complain about – i.e. lack of sleep etc. etc. but I will not bore you with that no matter how much of a sicko you are and how much you want to know my miseries. Maybe tomorrow, though.