.

 

The Idiotarod

I want to set a story in Union Square Park, and so I went there to pace the park's boundaries and observe its statues. Suddenly, a group of men ran up, all in black, four of them tethered together to a shopping cart, one behind pushing the card, and yelled “timekeeper! Timekeeper!” No timekeeper was found.

“Well, damn, we won,” said one of them. “We beat the timekeeper.”

A similarly appointed team, in track suits, followed soon after, and then a third in painter's paper overalls. Eventually the timekeeper appeared, in a bright blue overcoat, along with cheerleaders wearing paper bag masks over their heads, and winners were proclaimed.

This was, it turned out, the Idiotarod. 20-odd groups, all in the same configuration, with 4 “dogs” and 1 sled driver, yelling “mush,” behind a shopping cart. Each group had run, or walked, or stumbled from Brooklyn, across the Manhattan Bridge, through Chinatown, and up Bowery to reach the finish line. More teams came, and passing observers, speaking English, Japanese, and Czech, rolled their videocameras.

“Who put this on?” a confused-looking man asked me, but I had no idea. A policeman looked on and laughed. The group crossing the finish line, and their supporters, quickly grew larger, and after a half-hour the final few stragglers—including one marvel, a full Chinese New Year's dragon operated by five good-looking women—pulled their carts up the steps and joined the celebrating crowd.

“Where do we go for the drinks?” someone asked, and slowly the group dispersed, some pulling their carts behind, some pushing them in front, and some riding in them with their legs sticking out of the front.


[Top]

Ftrain.com

PEEK

Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.

FACEBOOK

There is a Facebook group.

TWITTER

You will regret following me on Twitter here.

EMAIL

Enter your email address:

A TinyLetter Email Newsletter

About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.

POKE


Syndicate: RSS1.0, RSS2.0
Links: RSS1.0, RSS2.0

Contact

© 1974-2011 Paul Ford

Recent

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

Antilunchism, by Paul Ford. Snack trams. (May 11)

Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

The Moral Superiority of the Streetcar. (1) Long-form journalism fixes everything. (2) The moral superiority of the streetcar. (3) I like big bus and I cannot lie. (May 4)

More...
Tables of Contents