Legend tells us we can thank some dude named Pheidippides for the origin of the marathon.
We’re told he ran like the dickens from a Greek battlefield at Marathon all the way to Athens - a distance of around 26 miles, give or take a few wrong turns - to tell the good people that those pesky Persians had finally been defeated.
But before they could empty a cooler full of GatorAde over his head in righteous celebration, he keeled over and died from exhaustion.
Let that be a lesson to you.
Being the bearer of good news isn’t always a good thing.
But being the bearer of bad news?
....I’d rather run a marathon.
* * *
I’m no expert, but even I know the indoor part of the central air conditioning unit shouldn’t have ice on it.
Maybe it had a secret desire to become a margarita maker.
And there I was. Completely out of limes.
We probably have tequila, though.
I was halfway to the bar before my brain screamed, “WE HAVE A MAJOR PROBLEM HERE, YOU BLONDE MORON!”
Then I spotted our 7-year-old son standing in the doorway to the basement storage room.
OK, now I kinda regretted dropping the F-bomb.
And, for the record, it wasn’t “fudge.”
Darnit. I’m gonna owe another quarter to the Curse Jar, also known as our son’s college fund.
We’ll be able to afford Harvard before he’s 10.
Unless....I turned to him, put a motherly arm around his tiny shoulders and pleaded, “I’ll give you a $1,000 if you break this bad news to your dad.”
Screw the Curse Jar and our son’s path to higher learning.
I just found a better use for it.
* * *
OK. I admit it.
After seeing the evidence and determining that we were probably screwed in a very big, very expensive way, my first instinct wasn’t to run right up the stairs to the main floor and inform my husband like a good, dutiful, respectful and responsible wife would.
....But come on. Nobody likes a tattle tale.
So, yeah, my first thought was centered entirely on self preservation and how I could quietly escape the house so as to be in Switzerland before dinner time.
Sure, I wasn’t at fault here. I didn’t turn the air conditioner into an ice machine.
But the fallout from my husband hearing this not-so-spectacular news as soon as he got home after a long day at work was bound to be horrendous.
The meteorite-that-wiped-out-the-dinosaurs horrendous.
So excuuuuuuse me if my first thought was turning tail, grabbing my passport and running for my life.
And before any of you sanctimonious people have the nerve to judge me and call me names and come after me with pitchforks and torches....
I know you married people.
You’d all be right there with me, calling shotgun, heading for higher ground.
Bravery is for soldiers, beekeepers, crocodile wrestlers, kindergarten teachers and people who test parachutes.
I may be the spider killer in the family, but that doesn’t make me a hero.
* * *
OK. I’m the type of person who lies about her weight on her driver’s license and is terrified of anything made of tofu.
But I’m no coward.
So I dug deep down and mustered the courage to call out to my better half.
He wandered downstairs to meet me, blissfully ignorant that the you-know-what was about to hit the A/C fan.
I just pointed over to the corner.
“What the hell?” he quietly muttered, stepping slowly and carefully toward the unit. He gestured toward the clumps of ice forming around the external hose and added, “That can’t be good.”
Then he just stared at it. And...then....nothing more.
Crud. He’s had a stroke, I thought, panic grabbed my heart. He’s done for. The lights are on but nobody’s home.
But just before I could really start to freak out, he looked at me and calmly suggested, “Guess we need to call the repair guy.”
I sighed in relief, smiled brightly and answered, “Yeah, right after we find that tequila.”
You can follow additional adventures at kelleybaldwinlifelikemine.blogspot.com. Kelley is a former editor of the Maryville Daily Forum.