A Letter to Mr. Vaughn

Posted: November 1, 2014 in Lifestyle, Run

It’s not often I feel the need to respond to things that randomly pop up on my Facebook feed as I realize that when it comes to the Internet, opinions are like assholes in that everybody has one. Of course, the odd kitty cat video will still garner the periodic response from me (we all have our weaknesses) but, still, usually I’m pretty good at letting things go. But recently, I read a link to a post put forth by Brian Vaughn that even I couldn’t resist responding to.  After all, I have an opinion like everyone else and, hey, it’s my recovery day and currently raining outside so I’m feeling a bit antsy.

In his post entitled ‘Why We All Hate Your 13.1 Sticker’ (click HERE) Mr. Vaughn makes some rather disparaging remarks about those who choose to decorate their vehicles with 13.1 bumper stickers. I’m choosing to respond in this case not as a runner, or as a triathlete, but because, for whatever reason, it lingered a little too long in my lizard brain and cut a little close to home and, hey, I can be an asshole too.  For the record, I have no stickers presently on my bumper but I do own a 13.1 sticker.  Just sayin’…

Let’s start with the title of the article itself: ‘Why We All Hate Your 13.1 Sticker’. Geez, it must be nice to be the singular voice for the entire human species; the pressures you face must face. However, given the number of people I see sporting these stickers, not to mention the number of runners I see out on the road lately or the growing number of participants in local running events, suggests to me that not ALL people see these stickers in quite the same light as you. Likewise, I’m sorry that these stickers make you want to “run (them) off the road”  but remember that sometimes radio stations advertise their position on the dial with numbers and decimals so, if you’re going to commit vehicular homicide please make sure it’s for the right reason.

Anyway, I think your anger might be a little misguided.  Seriously?  Anger much?  What with everything going on in the world today, BUMPER STICKERS are what you choose to publicly crusade against?  Whatever your reason, please don’t loop me, my fellow runners, or anyone else who might feel differently into your toxic little world. Furthermore, when you suggest how “three numbers and a decimal point can single-handedly turn someone into a big, arrogant butthole”, that’s your impression of which you are certainly entitled to, however, recognize that most runners I know are anything but and you don’t strike me as the kind of person who regularly frequents the Running Room anyway, so maybe your impression is a bit skewed.  We apologize if our hobby or active lifestyle choices somehow threaten your status as a tater-tot chomping lay about but, well, that’s not really our problem.  By the way, how does it feel to have assumptions made about you?

Just curious.

You go on in your article to explain how bumper stickers in general are for the purpose of touting one’s appreciation for something specific; be it a particular interest, location, destination, band or whatever it is that’s managed to capture someone’s ultimate attention just as you profess to have done yourself.  And I agree with you for the record, but you lose me when you then suggest how the 13.1 stickers do exactly the opposite. So interests expressed through bumper stickers are fine, just as long as they mirror your own.  Really?  So if anyone should dare to support something that they might be passionate about – like running – they’re “arrogant buttholes”  simply because you don’t share that same passion or interest?  How.  That’s good to know I guess. Thank you for putting me back on the right track.

Dodged that bullet.

Maybe herein lies the problem, runners aren’t necessarily decorating their bumpers to impress you. In fact, I doubt they care about what you think at all.  Who’s the arrogant butthole now?  Likewise, I don’t think they’re bragging about their half (or full) marathon at all but simply documenting something that they are proud of and then communicating it with others of the same community who might either feel or have experienced the same, just as a Smiths fan is doing when they choose to affix their Smiths sticker to their own bumper.  It’s their way of advertising to the world ‘Hey, I like this too!”.  The notion that runners are different in that they are “defending (their) interests”  or trying to “quantify their love”  for running, or in some way suggesting that they’re better than someone else because they a) run and assume others don’t, and b) run more than other runners is fucking ridiculous. That’s like saying all Smiths fans are snobby, pretentious douche bags because they assume they have more Smiths albums in their record collection.  Should they instead only have ‘I Love Music”, or maybe just a treble clef to advertise their interest instead?  For runners, the ‘three numbers and a decimal’ are simply a way of celebrating their accomplishment.  That’s it.  So either you’re a complete idiot or you’ve been listening to too much Morrissey.  It’s just a number, dude.  Relax.  Take some vitamin C.  Maybe go for a run.  You’ll feel better. Trust me.

Oh, and by the way: it never stops.  Can anyone ever have too many Smiths albums?  Can anyone like the Outer Banks too much?  What’s it to you anyway?


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