When I got up Sunday morning, zipped up my skirt, slipped into my lacy stockings and sensible black pumps, did 50 one-armed pushups and ate a raw steak, I had one objective, and one objective only: to win. Sure, Running of the Gays was a jokey charity event to benefit Art from Ashes, an organization that tries to change the lives of troubled teens though art. People kept trying to tell me it "wasn't a race," but those people were wrong.
Because I wasn't running with the gays -- I was running against the gays, for a win that would either mean a victory for heterosexuality or that I was the best gay, either of which outcome fit into my personal philosophy of kicking ass, 100 percent of the time.
When I showed up, emcee Nick Orf was firing up the crowd for the race (or "running," if you want to be a nancy about it) and for the cause Art From Ashes was pushing -- namely, the nonprofit wants to expand its auspices to include kids from Rainbow Alley's youth program, which, like Art From Ashes, works with troubled teens -- the difference being that Rainbow Alley's teens are gay. "We've been trying to work with them for the longest time," said organizer Marie Verrett. "Those kids are really our target group, and they're some of the most troubled. They have horrendous outcomes in terms of suicide and that kind of thing."
Which made me kind of sad, and sadness is not good for winning, so I felt better when poet Cameron Shaw came out and did a poem called "I Am the Shit," which I applied to myself. Also helpful was that I was drunk.
It was time to get psyched. It was time to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and though I still had a good amount of bubblegum from the night before, I was at that point far more interested in kicking ass. The runners lined up. "I hope everybody brought enough gay," said Orf.
These gays do not yet know the defeat they will soon experience.
We had three blocks to go for Steuben's to JR's, and by about halfway there, a small pack of four or five runners had broken out in front. Around Emerson, I broke a heel -- but that ended up being a good thing, because it enabled me, at least on one leg, to run like I was wearing normal shoes. About twenty yards from the finish line, I broke into a full sprint, overtaking the guy ahead of me at the last second for a victory that looked something like this, except for less gay:
And then I was like:
After I collapsed in the grass, wept, lit a cigarette and coughed up half an ounce of dispensary weed, I felt well enough to also take this picture:
The winner's circle. Except for only one person won. And that person was me.
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As of this morning, Verrett said Art From Ashes had been able to raise about $2,000, which is not a bad haul for an event that featured transsexuals and drinking in the morning. "We're still waiting for some money to come in," she said.
So in the end, everybody won -- I just won more.