Hiding in the Shadows of a Paris Cafe

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As I came to the sideline, there she was, the beautiful Jasmine Cho (not her real name). Then suddenly…uh oh, please, not now…

Lately the temperatures in eastern Kentucky have been as hot as the conjunctiva of a Portland rallyer doused with pepper spray.

I took this photo on a very hot day in Paris while atop an open-air bus.  The only breeze was when we were moving about 40 miles-per-hour.  This is the shade we are all looking for right now.

This brings to mind the days I spent in Houston as a student.  Every day in the summer was like this, ninety-plus degrees with breathing in more water than air.  I can’t believe we played basketball outside and played intramural flag football in August. Ah, to be young again.

One particular robustly, sunny and humid Sunday morning in August when the temps had already hit 90 and I broke out into a drenching sweat just walking out of my apartment into my car.  I was on my way to an intramural flag football game.  I  just had enough time to polish off some barbecue Fritos for a healthy breakfast and washed it down with a Coke before going on the field.

It was late in the game and I was playing wide receiver that day and our quarterback, who was being fanned by the center between plays with a large palm frond, thought it would be in the teams best interest to send me on a fly pattern .  If you don’t know football jargon, a fly pattern is the receiver running down the sideline as fast as he can till he runs under the football thrown by the quarterback who is standing peacefully in the shade of his lineman and sipping a cool drink.  When he has his fill, he looks up to find the receiver running like a meth-cooker with his lab on fire.  He sits his drink down and throws the football as far as he can.

Astoundingly enough, this play did not work on the first try.  After I finally made it back to the huddle…he called it again.  The second try was not successful either.  This time I staggered back to the huddle as the quarterback was polishing off his second cold drink.  Much to my displeasure, he called the play for the third time.  Now my face was feeling as if I had a skin peel with a Texas chili pepper.  I was so exhausted, I couldn’t speak to voice my indignation at this recent decision, but I was a gamer and sacrificed my personal comfort for the betterment of the Nittany Lens flag-football team, a motley crew of first year optometry students.

I mustered all the strength and energy that was left in me as I flew down the sideline.  I caught the perfectly thrown ball, helped by the ball being sticky with lemonade from the quarterback’s fingers.  I caught a touchdown to get us back in the game.  They were yelling for me to come and huddle up for the extra point attempt, however I was indisposed as I was stumbling to our team bench looking like Jerry Quarry after taking a well-placed punch to the face from Muhammad Ali.

As I got closer, I could make out the angelic appearance of Jasmine Cho (again, not her real name), the lovely, athletic fourth-year optometry student unfazed by the Houston heat.  As I approached her, she was about to speak to this lowly plebe to whom she never had spoken.

“Nice catch”, came the words from her lips.

I tried to respond with something clever and debonair but no words came…uh oh.

What proceeded out of my mouth was my breakfast of  barbecue Fritos and Coke right next to her pristine sneakers.  Even in her haste to quickly leave the premises, she was cool and unruffled…almost like she expected it.

I wish that was the end of it, but alas there was another demeaning chapter with Jasmine Cho (still not her real name).

Our social fraternity sponsored a fun run (unfortunately this was the real name) in the spring.  I never knew why they called it that, I never had fun running.  Anyway we were to run the circumference of Memorial Park in Houston, a soothing three-mile run in the Texas humidity.

I wish I could blame the next humiliating incident on the heat, but it was just stupidity.  You see my buddy challenged me to run the full three miles, not our usual one mile.  Bear in mind that neither of us had ever run this far and struggled with the one mile, but a challenge was made and I had eaten my usual power breakfast (see above) so I felt up to the task.

As we approached the finish after this grueling affair of walking more than running.  We decided to sprint the last leg to see who would finish ahead of the other.  I don’t really remember who won, I just remember seeing Jasmine Cho (once again, not her real name) standing at the finish line cheering all of us moronic runners struggling to bring an end to this “fun” time.  You see, she had already finished her three miles, probably ate her lunch and looked like she just came from a spa date.  I was just hoping she didn’t recognize me.  I did notice she had new shoes.

I walked up to her, in hopes of redeeming my last encounter with her.  She said something like she was proud of us to finish the race.  In response I threw up again at her feet.

I have since stopped eating barbecue Fritos and drinking Coke for breakfast. As I don’t want to barf at my lovely wife’s feet, who I  may add is more beautiful than the aforementioned Ms. Cho and I am paying for her sneakers.


If you like this picture you can see more of my photos here.