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The Written Word, Features

Your 2016 Gaspee 5k Round-up

Comments Off on Your 2016 Gaspee 5k Round-up 12 June 2016


The 2016 Gaspee Days 5k was one for the books. I know yours truly will not soon forget it!

Yes, it’s true, the entire staff is still mourning the (temporary) loss of Reins while he follows his dream traversing the Cascade Mountains in search of an audience with the rare Yeti-like creature Panboche. We all long for his poetic prose and miss his sharp reporting on deli meats, foot stink and digestion. However his absence is most sorely felt on The Shade’s athletic squad anchoring our running team. For years his odd posture and nimble feet earned him the nickname ‘Sour puss’. He became a fixture at the Gaspee Days 5k. Whispers of anticipation could be heard around dumpsters weeks in advance of race day.

Alas – since his departure – the entire Race Team had been fretting about where inspiration would come from this year. Luckily the guiding hand of Zoroaster brought us a gift in the 11th hour – Felicity Schlitz and the Shimmy Sham Handshakes.

  • Yes, she is a singular entity that prefers to be spoken of in pluralities
  • Yes, she’s a chicken nugget aficionado
  • Yes, she prefers ‘plain shirts’
  • Yes, she’s the newest member of The Shade staff heading up the new Youth Beat initiative

In short, she gave us the kick in the pants we’ve so sorely needed since Reins dumped us (sad face). She bobbed when everyone else weaved. Zigged when everyone zagged. Boom! She even tricked me into buying her a pack of madeleine cookies 30 seconds after I swore up and down that I would never do anything of the sort. Now THAT’S panache!

She showed up to the race, scrunchie in-hand (see: hair), working the crowd with a business-like attitude. Eyes always on the prize. As some of you know the Gaspee race course is a hilly, unforgiving little sucker. Upon zipping right through the course Felicity reportedly “kicked those hills’ butts”. While the rest of wheezed our way through we were all pleased as punch to be drunk on her youthful exuberance.

While Felicity was clear MVP she was almost outdone by her foil that day – the Public Address Lady. Boy, this lady was a tremendous shithead! Normally I can appreciate anyone who commits themselves so thoroughly to sucking every ounce of fun out of a good time. It truly is an artform I admire. But this lady…..ooooof! She brought no artistry to the endeavor. A real JV squad effort on her part. If the team didn’t have a luncheon date at Wendy’s immediately following the race I would have personally sought her out to give her a verbal dressing down she could have told her grandkids about. But, she escaped unscathed – an injustice we’ll have to endure, I guess.

In closing I’d like to welcome Felicity to The Shade family! Your shirt is currently in development and we’ll expect your dues check in the mail.

Still Wet with Sweat in Watertown,


P.S. Mittens St. John (pictured below) was given a warm saucer a milk then tied up to a tree after reportedly attacking an elderly schmuck that was holding a Trump sign



The Written Word, Shades of Gray, reins

Staff Outing: The ROC Race

No Comments 04 August 2014



The day was grey with a steady drizzle. Traffic on 95 was bumper to bumper. I was dealing with a vicious headache and an upset tummy. Expectations were in the basement. The perfect setting for a Shade Staff event.

The destination? The ROC (Ridiculous Obstacle Course) 5k Race at Gillette stadium. We were all carrying injuries – Rayburn had a hangnail, Reins thought he had mono and Kweezy had the dreaded case of the Mondays on a Saturday. Per usual Reins really came through with a bag of wet sandwiches that really turned the day around.

I know what you’re thinking “Guys why would you put yourselves in harm’s way? If something happens to The Shade the internet would die or, at the very least, be 10.2% less fun.” And I’d agree with you. Which is why we took extra precautions by having a few beers prior to action.

We went in with 2 goals:

1. Highlight our bods with form fitting shirts – check

2. Maximize exposure of The Shade – check

Our first and only bad decision was made right after crossing the start line. I completely blame myself. In an absurdly out-of-character move I urged the group to jog the first 1/4 mile. What a poor choice. Sitting here now I still can’t remember what I was thinking. Could it be lingering effects of the wet sandwich?

Luckily Rayburn slapped some sense into me with some mean verbal and that was the last of the jogging for the day.

The first few obstacles were a breeze. A few highlights:

1. Rein’s mid-swing flatulence propelled him 3 bars on the Gorilla bars. Even the volunteers were impressed…the contestants behind Reins even gave him a nod when they came to.

2. Rayburn combined ninja skills with a solid haircut to get some serious style points on the World’s Largest Moon Bounce.

3. Kweezy did a Tennessee Two Step across the Tight Rope Traverse that turned more than a few heads.

Mid race update:

Injuries = 0 vs. Shade Shout outs on the PA system = 2 (see goal #2 above)

It was after we nailed the Foam of Fury where things went south. The Jump Balls were downright dangerous. Rumor was the organizers picked up Chuck E Cheese rejects on the cheap. Kweezy tweaked her back on her unexpected dismount, Reins violated one of the rubber balls and my shoe came untied. We all left battered and bruised except for Rayburn who was light on his feet and maintained his men’s regular.

The Tarzan Swing was not my event to say the least. Still thinking about my untied shoelace I took the rope unprepared to give 100%. I had a good start however. I made it about 1/10th of the way through my swing before my arms gave out. Going down like a sack of potatoes, my tush made such an impact on the mat that the momentum created some berserk type of inverted whiplash that, thankfully, shot the knot directly back into my face giving me a pretty cool bruise on my cheekbone. (If anyone reading this has video please send it my way….my insurance company is very interested in the play-by-play)


How we all faired on the Wrecking Ball obstacle will forever be lost to the sands of time. It was clear the only winner in that event was the slightly overweight man wearing the speedo that had “Arghhh” across the buttocks. He may have been Emcee’ing the event or just been a go-getter. Many things were unclear by this point.

In a shocking turn of a events upon landing at the bottom of the World’s Largest Inflatable Waterslide we were NOT met with crisp and delicious vodka tonics which was promised to us by a natty, stout man policing the parking lot pre race. Sadly, it was only water and NOT what the team was looking for.

We picked up the pieces and all put on a dry set of underpants. All in all it was a success. Could we have done more? Possibly, but who likes a show off? Could we have done it with more style? Impossible.

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