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Sunday, November 06, 2005

26.2 miles of cheering and jeering

today was the new york city marathon. as it happens, the course passes by our street -- the runners travel down 4th ave in brooklyn. we live half a block up from 4th ave, so it's simple for us to walk to the corner and cheer. people, let me tell you something: there are few things more awesome in this world that cheering a marathon runner. i don't care what city you live in, when your local marathon comes through town GO to it and CHEER the runners -- many of them make it easy for you by printing their names on their jerseys. shout their names. tell them that they can do it. tell them they are awesome. they are running 26.2 miles -- and i'm sorry but even if you are a professional kenyan marathoner, that is a fucking hard thing to do. cheer your local marathon. do it for the children.

ok, fine. the truth? two years ago mrs nice guy and i trained for and ran the wonderful burlington vermont marathon -- me on my stumpy little gimp legs -- and every time someone took the trouble to stand on the sidewalk to cheer us "runners," straggling behind at the 9-minute mile mark, it made our sweaty little day.

so to return the marathon karma that was bestowed upon us all those moons ago, mrs nice guy and i went to our street corner to cheer the runners today. we brought the kid. we brought the kid last year too, but that was easier since she was still inside my wife. this time it required a stroller and eight gallons of coffee. off in the distance we could hear the low murmur of the oncoming stampede: hrumbelowhrumbelowhrumbelow. and so we began to cheer. we cheered until we lost our voices. then we cheered a little more.

a note on cheering at marathons: clap, make noise. be as uncool as you can be. as i said before, if someone has their name printed on their shirt SHOUT IT OUT like you were in the ejaculatory throes of some wild orgiastic bacchanal and this person was the greatest lover the world has ever known: "GO GRETCHEN, YOU CAN DO IT HELEN! MY GOD YOU ARE AWESOME!" no one is a more enthusiastic cheerer than mrs nice guy. if you're running, she's your biggest fan. the slower you are, the harder she cheers -- don't even get her started on the blind double amputees waaay in the back of the the pack. she cheers for them like they were the beatles at shea stadium. so sweet.

anyway, as she hooted and hollered, i walked up and down the sidewalk, taking pictures and enjoying the scene (our street corner was at the exact seven-mile mark, not quite as cool as 8 Mile would have been. still, some of the fastest runners made it to us a scant 35 minutes after the race had started. think about that for a second. do the math. then hate yourself).

i returned to my wife and child, standing behind them to provide mrs nice guy with a good vantage point. as i stood there, soaking up the scene on this gorgeous autumn day, i overheard the douchebag standing next to me talking to his ladyfriend: "hey, lookit that baby. looks like she bopped herself good on the nose. lookit that bruise! she got clocked!" the woman he was with whispered in one of those whispers-that-everyone-within-12-blocks-can-hear: "sshhh. i think that's the baby's father" and out of the corner of my eye i sensed her motioning towards me. he took it in stride and said "yeah? well it looks like she bopped herself right on the nose! probably in the crib!"

i, uncharacteristically, said nothing. i was stunned, paralysed with hate. i was beyond angry. i was frangry.

later on in the day i relayed the comment to my wife. her response was excellent: "THAT'S when you should have turned around and totally whipped it out: 'yes, i am her father. and yeah her nose looks weird, because SHE HAS A TUMOR.'"

of course, she's absolutely right. i definitely had that impulse, but ultimately i rejected it because i would have had to deal with his apology or whatever. frankly, i didn't want to engage him.

but still, all of the above just goes to show: this is why i married my wife.


Anonymous AdventureDad said...

I don't see why you would be angry at the comment. They probably thought it looked funny and made a comment about it. When our son was born he didn't really want to come out so his head bumped against his mothers bones for a while. For a month or two he had a swelling of the head called cephalohematoma. Then the body absorbed it. It's quite common and looked part funny and part weird. If someone made a comment it would never upset me.
My advice is to just chill and get used to it.


11/07/2005 4:33 AM  
Blogger mr. nice guy said...


look adventure dad, i am not really all that angry. i realize she has a bruise on her nose. i realize people are going to notice it and wonder what it is. but admitting that would make this entry even less funny than it already is. it would take a lot more than that to actually get me authentically frangry ... and i probably wouldn't write about it here.

that said, it is true that i am consistently stunned by the tactlessness of many people.

11/07/2005 7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey adventuredad, how's the weather up there on your high horse?

11/07/2005 9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not be angry at the comment? Sure people notice these things but just because you THINK it does NOT mean it is ok to SAY it.

11/07/2005 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should have stepped up to the plate and threatened to make his nose look worse. The guy is either an asshole and not a father (and so doesn't understand what a baby's health and appearance means to a parent) or is just an asshole. Either way, he's an asshole and deserve to be confronted.

11/07/2005 11:09 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

It's just common courtesy to NOT DO THOSE THINGS. That's what "behind closed doors" is for.

My god, if people on the street knew half the stuff my husband and I mocked them for...we'd be dead.

But we do it PRIVATELY. And we make ourselves laugh, and we say we're going to hell.

And no one else knows, and no one gets hurt.

11/07/2005 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to take the other side to this issue. People love to look at babies, and if they are big, or small, or have a bruise it is not evil for someone who is looking at the little one to make a comment. It is not insensitive. It is a form of conversation. Parents become overly sensitive to the comments as they are sensitive to the issue whatever it is. To say oh, she is little or oh he is big is merely conversation to most people. It isn't necessarily bad or critical, just an observation, and most likely from one who has no baby to actually compare the child in question to. Now, commenting on a cleft palate or a deformed limb, that would indeed be bad, horrible, etc. A bit of perspective here all you guys. You take yourselves too seriously.

11/07/2005 2:02 PM  
Blogger Lesley said...

Right, Mr Nice Guy, this is what we're going to do. You get the douchebag's address and you and me and the nice commenters here are going to get a posse together and we're going to go round to his house and we're going to pound his puny little body into the ground. All in the nicest possible, chilled-out way of course. And then we'll all go and tell Freya over and over again what an absolutely beautiful baby she is.

11/07/2005 3:09 PM  
Anonymous MIL Nice Guy said...

Of course, she's the brightest, most beautiful, lovely and good natured baby you have ever seen!

11/07/2005 3:40 PM  
Blogger MommaSpaz said...

I wouldn't even tell them where to go and how to get there... I would help them get to there :P Some people have NO sensitivity to others. Gawd, and some people wonder why no one likes them :P

11/07/2005 3:53 PM  
Blogger Kara said...

you went to a MARATHON?!?!?!?!?
Wow! I LOVE marathons!
And right near your home to boot.
wow. good times.

11/07/2005 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Dutch said...

cripes, when did Mr. Nice Guy become the dude upon whom we heap the responsibility of arbitrating when and how we all should be sensitive about what TOTAL FUCKING ASSHOLES say about our babies. I'm as guilty of it as anyone else (see last post about tiny babies). He's just expressing his feelings, people.

As for cheering on marathoners, I couldn't agree more. I ran the San Francisco marathon a few years ago and the only people who said shit to me were a couple old toothless homeless dudes standing outside the cave at the eastern edge of golden gate park who seemed to get a kick out of telling us how much further we had to go and how tired we looked.

11/07/2005 5:06 PM  
Blogger mr. nice guy said...

kara, was that a haiku? wait, are you mocking me? don't you know how seriously i take myself?!?

11/07/2005 5:09 PM  
Anonymous egohound said...

RE: A Haiku

People are rude;
Both in person and on-line.
That’s why I hate them.

11/07/2005 5:42 PM  
Blogger Betina said...

Mr Nice Guy-
My boy has torticollis (crooked neck). Everyone comments about it, esp. on the latest brace or helmet he has to wear.

Though curiosity is natural I sometimes just want to SCREAM at the stupid things people say. Hmm. Perhaps the douche bag has relatives in my neck of the woods. The comment has such a familiar ring to it.

I feel your pain.

11/07/2005 10:12 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

Hey, "anonymous number 4" (and just how original is *that*, after telling us that we take ourselves too seriously....), the thing is, if you read this blog regularly, you'd know that the thing on the unbearably adorable and perfect Baby Nice Guy *isn't* a "normal" bruise.

Read up and shut up.

Oh, wait, this isn't my blog. Sorry, Nice Guys. I get a little defensive sometimes.

11/08/2005 11:54 AM  
Blogger I am a Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...

Feeding more often periodically and being wakeful after having settled into a nice sleep pattern is normal. It's growth spurts: 3 wks, 6 wks, 3 months, 6 months, and they continue as the kiddle grows. We teach that in childbirth and breastfeeding classes.

No fun, but necessary. :)


11/08/2005 10:35 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

My sympathies about the sudden-onset aphasia when somebody says something obnoxious about one's baby--I get an appalling remark now and then and usually say something like "huh?". The Perfect Cutting Remark usually comes an hour or two later.

Re marathons: ever want to stand at the 2-miles-to-go spot yelling, "Hey, only 10 miles to go! Whoo hooo!" No? Just me?

11/09/2005 2:13 PM  
Blogger Mellie said...

Hey. I've never commented here, but find that I can no longer help myself. I am a teenager of 16, and know nothing of the baby-ful joys of parenthood(and hopefully won't for qutie some time!) but I find that just... Down right rude for someone to say that, and after the better half of them (wifey of course) trying to get them to shut the heck up, they continue?
Honestly I don't know where to begin. Shouldn't something like thi sbe taught along the lines of don't call after 9 pm(which I have found many of my friends were never taught... interesting...)? I mean really, it's kind of common sense. If you have something to say, say it, if it is something you know nothing about, and can't help but say something, ASK the person about it. Honestly.
I am 16 years old. How is it that I can see clearly what is wrong with that and "adventuredad" can't?
I will leave this comment on a very high- merriful note, knowing that Mr. Nice guy will raise his very beautiful baby to know the simple, common sense things every child should be brought up with. And please, teach your child not to call after 9 pm. I mean REALLY. I have faith in you, especially Mrs. nice guy.

Much love to baby and co.,
Mellie, the internet obsessed teenager.

11/10/2005 6:16 PM  
Blogger mr. nice guy said...

thanks, all. mellie: keep on rockin' in the free world. just not after 9.

11/10/2005 9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People are so rude sometimes it baffles me. My 14 month old daugter has a hemangioma as well, it is on her arm; it is flat and fairly large. Some stupid people say things like "OH MY GOD WHAT HAPPENED TO HER ARM??!!" or "WHAT DID SHE BURN HERSELF ON?" Idiots. Mostly though people do not say anything. Punching would be good hey!

11/12/2005 9:46 AM  

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