Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Life lesson: You can’t run from who you really are

I run with a fanny pack. There’s really no other way to put it—I’ve tried to manufacture other names to call it like “runner’s belt” or “awesome pouch” but it’s a fanny pack. I wear it backwards and underneath my shirt so as not to draw attention to it and bring shame on my family. I need it to hold my iPhone and other things like a note that reads, “If you find me passed out on the side of the road, tell the world this is an ‘awesome pouch.’”

I wore my fanny pack while running the PF Chang’s half-marathon recently in Tempe. In an effort to not have to check any bags, I was forced to put other things into my fanny pack, namely my car keys and driver’s license. The latter item was not for identification purposes should something happen, but specifically so that I had the proper credentials to acquire the post race free beer.

After I finished, I happily arrived at a spot on the field to wait for my mom and father-in-law. That feeling of relief and satisfaction was immediately replaced with a sense of angst and unease when I looked in my fanny pack and realized my license was gone.

At the beginning of the run, my music had stopped playing for some reason, so I took my phone out to see what was going on. It was then, I realized, I must have dropped my license on the street, leaving it the unenviable fate of being mercilessly trampled by thousands of people. I shook my fist to the sky and screamed, “Darn you, fanny paaaaaaack!”

Really though, I was perturbed. My license—my identification—was now loose in, of all places, a college town. I imagined some punk ASU freshman picking it up and using it to get into local bars. The guys at the frat house would jokingly refer to him by his bar name, Mike Kenny, instead of his birth name, Steve Glortman, and express disbelief that he consistently passes for 34 instead of a more realistic 22. My name would become an inside joke, a legend of sorts. “That’d be kind of cool, actually,” I thought.

Less cool, however, was the thought of somebody using it for more salacious purposes, like trying to pretend they are me in order to set up a Swiss bank account to launder money. I’ll be but a pawn in their ruthless game—the fall guy! I have seen that kind of stuff in the movies, and I know it happens every day in real life. “Great, I am going to prison,” I thought. I was so upset I couldn’t even think about getting my free beer. (That is a lie.)

Worse yet, I would have to call or—gasp—go to the Motor Vehicles Department. I had just paid an absurd $220 for my annual registration, so I couldn’t wait to discover what they charge to replace a license. Not to mention that, according to science, every interaction with the MVD kills a portion of the soul.

I feigned happiness at finishing the race and seeing my mom and father-in-law finish, too, but inside I was upset. As we walked out, my father-in-law suggested I try the information tent just to see. I figured why not, but I knew the chances were slim to none. I told the girl what happened and gave her my last name, and she broke out a handful of licenses from a box on a shelf. “Cool, I’m not the only idiot,” I reassured myself. On the very last one, she looked up and said, “Michael?” and my heart leapt for joy. “You’re on your own, Steve Glortman!” I said, and the girl was confused as she handed me my license.

Thank you to whoever found my license and returned it. You saved me a stint in prison and a portion of my soul. More so, you proved there are still good people in this world, and that fanny packs are unattractive and unreliable. Both are equally reassuring lessons.

Be careful out there, brah! (Note: This is not me.)

Note: This column appears in the 1/31 issue of The Glendale Star and the 2/1 issue of the Peoria Times.

2 comments:

tourist504 said...

I still have several fanny packs. I call them BELT PACKS. I will never throw them away.

mkenny59 said...

Belt packs. Boom. Done. Thank you. (deletes post.)