Googly Eyes: Make Love Not War,  Triathlons

Don’t Listen to the Penis

I realize that in all my writings about belly buttons, tattoos, dance clubs (where we don’t dance) and the boys, sometimes my beloved husband does not get his fair share of type. He may come across as just one more of the four penises in the house. Actually, I’m afraid this story does nothing to dispel that notion.

Bill is one of those odd humans who “relaxes” by exerting himself. Every morning he gets up at five a.m and either bikes, runs or swims with a group of similarly insane men. Every few weeks they indulge their competitive spirits in a race involving one or more of those sports.

A couple of weeks ago we, along with three other families, headed to Florida so the guys could compete in a half-ironman triathlon. This meant the men would swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles and run 13.2 miles in suffocating heat. Their goal was to do all this in under six hours. Fun!

Meanwhile, the four wives would get the twelve children to the finish line and entertain them until the husbands crossed the line and we could cover their sweaty bodies with kisses and hugs. I am unsure whether the men or the women had the harder task.

I packed two important things for our trip. First, I had made T-shirts for each family. Each family’s shirts were a different color. Ours were green. The kids’ shirts said “GO DADDY!” on the front and had the kid’s name on the back. The wives’ shirts said “GO {name of husband!}” and had our names on the back. I had also made a personalized shirt for each dad to wear once he crossed the finish line. They said “I DID IT!” on the front and had their names on the back. Not only did they demonstrate our unwavering support, I predicted they’d be incredibly useful for keeping up with our children during the race and at mass events for months thereafter.

Second, I packed the new shirt I had purchased in New York. Michelle, the saleslady at the small SoHo boutique I visited, pulled it out as soon as I walked in.

“This is the perfect shirt for you,” she said in a beautiful accent, holding it up. It was sleeveless and made of a stretchy, light blue material. It had two small, tasteful zippers that started at the waist and came up over the bosoms to the shoulders.

“It is best for the women with the small breasts, because the large breasts put too much pressure on it,” she said. I went into the dressing room and tried it on, and came out and modeled for Michelle.

She adjusted the zippers so that they were zipped to just above my bra, revealing slits of bare skin above. Thanks to my Neutrogena Self-Tanning Foam, my skin is beautifully bronzed, and the contrast of pale blue with my tan and my new brown hair did look nice.

“The shirt drives men wild with desire,” Michelle said. “It is the zippers. They cannot seem to keep their hands off them.”

I figured that after the race we’d have a nice dinner to celebrate the end of all the training, and The Shirt would be the main component of the perfect outfit.

The day of the race was sunny and humid. The men left early in the morning while the wives packed coolers filled with hundreds of crackers, sandwiches, bottles of water and juice boxes. We loaded up the crew in three vans and drove to downtown Panama City, the armpit of the world. The finish line was very near Club La Vela , the Largest Nightclub in the USA, which was a wonderful atmosphere for children. (Please– click the link so you can see exactly what I mean! The intro is enough! How about that sexy voice?)

The sixteen of us hiked about a mile from the parking lot to the finish line, carrying coolers, towels, toys and sunscreen. We looked like the Bedouin trekking in the desert, except for our color coordinated T-shirts and the loud music emanating from Club La Vela.

In nomadic fashion, we set up camp near the finish line and waited for our spouses to arrive. The sun rose in the sky and still we waited, looking eagerly down the stretch for any signs of our athletes. The children grew hungry and thirsty, so we set out sandwiches and drinks on the towels.

The children began playing in the sand, which was brown and gritty. I noticed that a couple of slices of cheese had melted into the beach towels. The smell of steamy peanut butter permeated the air. And still we waited.

At last there was a diversion! A nearby hose sprang a leak. The water hit our children, dousing them with cool water. The younger children wailed, and we dried their tears with the sandy beach towels and wet wipes. After they calmed down, they turned their attention to the sand, which had now turned into a thick concrete like substance as a result of the water. The children soon became covered in brown goop, as if they had been in the path of an oncoming volcano. They really looked like nomads now.

We were more faithful than Horton the Elephant. We took turns watching the children and cheering on the runners. I stood at the finish, yelling until my voice was hoarse.

Suddenly, a loud voice came from the tent behind the finish line.

“Anna Gamora, report to the finish line immediately!”

That is not my name, so I ignored the announcement and kept cheering and sweating. The next time the announcement was made, however, I went to investigate. Of course it was me they were paging. Bill had collapsed at the other end of Club La Vela, only a few hundred yards from the finish, and was on his way to the hospital.

I ran to the Bedouins and told them the situation. They immediately agreed to take charge of my kids but I thought that Finn, at least, might be helpful. Porter and Drew had stripped down to their underwear and were covered in thick mud. My friends decided to take them back to the house and wait for word on Bill’s condition.

As Finn and I hurried to the van, for a brief moment I felt euphoric, realizing that the twins would be getting into someone else’s van and spreading brown goop all over it. I had just cleaned out my van the day before. I am ashamed to say that this thought made me so happy that for a moment I forgot about the emergency at hand. But only for a moment.

We reached the van and raced to the hospital.

We found Bill in a room, hooked up to a million wires and tubes, looking pale. He’d suffered an electrolyte problem that caused him to cramp from his feet to his chest, fall over, and ask to be taken to the hospital instead of the finish line. He was teary when he saw us, and said he had thought he was going to die.

“I ran off the course so I wouldn’t get in the way of the other runners, and I was outside the Club La Vela. I fell to my knees and yelled for help. Some guy asked if he could get me a beer, and I couldn’t even move enough to say no. Fortunately, one of the race monitors saw me stumble over there and she came over and called for help,” he said.

“Oh, honey,” I said.

“The worst part about it,” Bill said, “was that I was lying on the ground, and it was supposed to be the part where your life flashes before your eyes, but I had a hard time concentrating on all my memories because ‘My Sharona’ was playing so loudly from Club La Vela.”

“I’m so sorry, honey,” I murmured.

“Can you imagine?” he asked. “Then I realized I was lying on the ground outside the country’s Largest Nightclub, and I got really grossed out thinking about all people who had puked on that ground, and that’s when I started throwing up. Then they loaded me into the ambulance and brought me here.”

He was silent a few moments, contemplating the tubes and machines around him.

“I cannot believe I almost died at Club La Vela,” he said, shaking his head.

He was discharged a couple of hours later with strict instructions to drink plenty of fluids and refrain from any strenuous activity for the next week. I drove him back to the house, tucked him in bed with plenty of Gatorade, then spent a couple of hours at the beach with the boys.

Later I took them to the pool where I got to enjoy 58 minutes with the ladies before it was time to shower and get ready to go out for a Mother’s Day dinner.

I was really looking forward to getting clean, dressing up, putting on makeup and perfume and sitting around after my arduous weekend of lugging, cheering, nursing, waiting, and sweating. I was triathloned out and just needed to feel pretty. That’s when I brought out The Shirt.

I put it on with a pair of tight black capris and started to put on my makeup. Just then, Bill came in the bedroom. His eyes got wide as he looked at The Shirt. He started panting. I couldn’t tell if it was dehydration or lust or a little of both.

“Ooh, honey,” he said, grabbing me on the butt and twirling me around. “Do those zippers unzip? Because I’d sure like to try them out.” He fell back on the bed, but I wasn’t sure if he had lost his balance or if he was initiating some hanky-panky.

I pushed him away. “Of course they unzip, but I have them where I want them,” I said.

“That’s not where I want them,” he said, eying me hungrily. “Let’s have a quickie.”

Even Michelle had not done The Shirt justice when describing its effect on men. Bill, who hours earlier had been near death, was no longer weak and listless. In fact, I would say that every fiber of his body was quivering with anticipation.

I did not want a quickie or a slowie or anything that involved me doing anything but getting and remaining fully dressed and drinking a gin and tonic. I certainly did not want to roll around on the bed getting all sweaty and worked up. I did not want to mess up my hair.

Most of all, I did not want my husband to injure himself through overexertion.

“Honey, why don’t you go check on the kids?” I asked.

Bill got up slowly, pulled me to him and kissed me. “The kids are fine. They are all upstairs watching Shrek. It’s Mother’s Day, and I want a piece of mother!” he shouted. He started to sway from side to side.

“No no no no no no! Mother does not want to give you a piece, and the doctor told you to avoid strenuous activity. If we get into it, honey, it’s gonna be strenuous,” I said. I marched to the bathroom and locked the door so he would cool off.

A few minutes later I came out and found, to my relief, that Bill was lying on the bed, clothed, deeply immersed in the latest issue of Biking magazine. Once again he looked a little pale and tired, like a man who had almost finished a half-ironman and then nearly met his demise on the grounds of the country’s largest nightclub.

“Should I go take a shower?” he asked.

“Yes, we have to leave in 20 minutes,” I said.

“Do you know where the boys are?” he asked.

“Yes, you said they were upstairs watching Shrek,” I replied.

“I did?” Bill asked. “When did I say that? I haven’t seen them in about an hour.”

“You told me that about five minutes ago when you wanted a piece of mother,” I reminded him.

“Oh,” he said. “Well, that wasn’t me talking. That was my penis talking. I don’t have any idea where they are.”

I sighed. “Honey, get in the shower, and I will find the boys,” I said.

And I did. They were in the driveway throwing rocks.

We had a great dinner, during which each of the other men ogled The Shirt. I know this because each of the women asked if they could borrow it. I told them that if they put it on, they better be prepared to put out, and they should make sure their children were somewhere safe first.

Mother’s Day weekend provided us with some valuable lessons. Bill decided he was very thankful for his family, because when he was cramping up and thinking he was going to die at Club La Vela, all that was going through his mind was that he sure did want to see me and the boys again, although ‘My Sharona’ prevented him from thinking this very clearly.

And I learned not to listen to the penis. It does not provide reliable information.


  • Karin

    I hope your husband is feeling better now – and I would love to see a picture of The Shirt! Hmm, that sounds suspicious, I didn’t mean on you – I mean a link to somewhere where it can be inspected and perhaps puchased? Anyway, thanks for another funny post.
    PS: Never ever listen to the penis!

  • T

    The boutique you got that shirt from—Do they do online orders!? LOL

    I think a guy should start a blog titled–

    “It is the penis talking”

    Ha– I would put it on my favs. 😉

  • sharon

    The perfect title for your book when it comes out.This is one of your best yet–perhaps THE best. I’m still laughing. (Saying no to the penis probably saved Bill from another trip to the ER.)

  • al

    Why is it that the “macho man” lunatic not only likes to torture himself physically but also sexually when he is seeing double from over excersion? I am sure our lives spent with the crazed iron man are similar and equally mind boggling. Race day is a proof that whether your man has a finish or no finish at all, sex is always the trophy. I guess Bill needed to triumph after all. You should have let him go away feeling like a winner.