Friday, January 2, 2015

My kind of marathon

I think I might be in trouble.

I said I’d run a marathon this year and the prognosis is not good.  Already.  January 2, 2015 and I’m unsure of the outcome. 

No.  Actually I am sure.  I will not run a marathon this year.  Or next year.  Ever.  I will never run a marathon.

Whew.  That feels better.  Next December I’d like to look myself in the face and say something besides, “What the heck were you thinking with that ridiculous idea?!!”

Oh all right.  I didn’t even say I’d run a marathon.  That would have been stupid. 

I’m optimistic.  I’m game.  I am many things – including old with gravely knees.  And I am well aware that there’s no way I will run a marathon in this incarnation. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I can still do things.  For example, I might walk with a hurried expression.  Urgently.  Step aside!  I’m walkin’ here!

Maybe I’ll even lift my arms and do that exaggerated marching thing like a speed walking drum major.  Yeah.  That’s it.  I’ll cast dignity aside and churn my way through the New Year.

But, remember Ellen DeGeneres talking about her grandma beginning a new fitness regime at age 65?  “She started walking five miles a day.  Now she’s 72 and we don’t know where the hell she is!”

That could be me!  So, no long distance escapades on the horizon.

Unless of course we think in terms of the Twilight Zone.  I could run that marathon.  Thank you Hulu.  Season 1, Episode 1!  Here we go!

Oh yeah, I love this one!  “Where Is Everybody?”  Remember?  The guy who “finds himself in a town devoid of people and with no memory of who he is.”

It’s so creepy:  The diner with the jukebox playing.  Hot coffee on the stove and pies cooling on the counter, but no waitress.  No fry cook! 

A gas station without an attendant.  A mannequin in a delivery van.  A phone ringing but nobody on the line.

Even an empty police station with a lit cigarette burning in the ashtray.  At last, a clue.  Rod Serling has been here.

Curiously, none of these aberrations stop the man from talking right out loud.  He prattles on and on.  He just wants to know who he is and why he’s wearing that jumpsuit.    

This is awesome!  You can power through every episode in order, or you can pick and choose. 

Good.  I’m skipping the one with the misanthrope who buys a player piano that makes everyone tell the truth.  Spoiler alert:  They all hate him. 

And the one where Burgess Meredith is a bookworm and the sole survivor of a nuclear holocaust only to break his glasses and be unable to read.   Sorry!

I want to find the one where William Shatner sees a yeti dancing on the wing of an airplane at 20,000 feet.  Or the one where he and his new wife have car trouble in a small town and he starts to live by the fortunes dispensed from a one-cent slot machine. 

“Will we leave town soon?” asks our future Captain Kirk.  “Only time will tell!” replies the fiendish contraption!  Oh my god!

I love that goofy spiraling cone in the opening sequence.  And the blinking eye!  I love the funky sets and the cheesy technology – Season 1 Episode 3 has the protagonists preparing for a direct nuclear attack by telling them to take their radios with them to the center of the house. 

I love looking for that picture of the Scotty dog that hangs on the wall in multiple episodes.  They must have been working on the cheap!

Serling’s recurring themes – space travel, time travel, regret, annihilation and death.  Love turned upside down.  Purgatory.  Hell.  Rod had it going on!  Misguided notions of heaven and beauty.  Greed.  No wonder this show was so successful. 

Remember the one where Old Man Simpson turned down admission to heaven because St. Peter said his hound dog Rip couldn’t come in?  Makes an Okie appreciate the Pope!

I could go on indefinitely, which is good considering Season 1 has 36 episodes!  And five seasons altogether make a marathon!

I know!  I’ll find the one where Robert Redford plays Mr. Death!  I mean really – what a way to go.