Every day after work more and more people go out and run. Those who may be allergic to what floats in the air outside run in a gym, and those who get shin splints from running on a hard floor in a gym run in place in their bedrooms. Those who have no bedrooms run in the kitchen.
This running craze is very hard on the police, since "Suspect seen fleeing on foot" used to be a good description. It is also rough on dogs. I know a dog that lives next to a jogging trail, and it had a nervous breakdown trying to figure out whom to bite.
So many people enjoy jogging that one day scientists will probably prove it to be hazardous to your health. They will prove that prolonged jogging causes dropsy. But today it is generally assumed that jogging promotes good health, the way it used to be thought that eating nails made you mean. I have tried to prove that jogging, if nothing else, makes a person dull, but everybody who jogs talks about the joys of wind whistling through their hair, the thrill of bringing their knees up high and bursting through cobwebs as if crossing the finish line at the Olympics. Everybody who jogs regards everybody who does not jog as a sinner in need of salvation.
I don't mind running if there is something at the other end of the trip, like a fly ball or a cold beer, but running to that tree and back has never been my idea of a good time. I always felt self-conscious running without anything in my hands—a ball glove, a flame, the next-door neighbor's paper, somebody's Dodge flipper hubcap. And I felt silly in cutoff jeans, being passed on the jogging trail by men 20 years older than I, who wore tapered sweatsuits with racing stripes on the legs and on their headbands, wristbands and anklebands. It seemed that every time I jogged along a busy street somebody I knew would honk at me as I staggered red-faced toward an unknown goal, so I usually veered off into the bushes until the coast was clear.
April 24, 1977
This was before the advent of Quench Gum, which is distributed by the Mueller Chemical Co. of Prairie du Sac, Wis. You can purchase 100 pieces of Quench Gum for approximately $3.99. Quench Gum is advertised as an "energizing saliva stimulating sport gum," which contains dextrose, gum base, corn syrup, citric acid, softeners, potassium chloride, artificial flavor and color and .014% sodium saccharin.
Before Quench, I was always too tired to speak to cojoggers as we passed on the trail, but with two or three pieces of gum in my mouth, I merely nod and nobody knows I'm on my last legs.
Until recently, one of the hazards of jogging for me was that I became thirsty about every 20 yards. My mouth frequently felt as if I had fallen face first into the dirt. Quench Gum has a tangy lemon-lime flavor and it quenches thirst immediately. It is flexible and, after only a minute or so, can be blown into nice little bubbles. Unfortunately, it does not enable the jogger to run any faster or see around corners. But Quench Gum retains its taste and prevents dryness in the mouth for about five blocks of jogging. It also comes in a handy plastic container, ideal for storing bus fare that will carry you back to civilization once you have polished off the gum.