Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Last Saturday, I decided to do a four-miler on the Central Lakes Trail at about 2 p.m.—and the trail was absolutely desserted. I walked for the first two miles without seeing another soul, and finally on mile three, a solitary cotton-clad biker wheezed past me (as opposed to spandex-clad bikers that whiz past).

Usually I can keep my mind busy when I’m walking, even without artificial aids like headphones pumping Pearl Jam. I’d usually rather listen to the frogs and the birds and watch the other people out on the trail. But since I was so incredibly alone, I found myself wishing I knew a jodie or two. Jodies are those marching cadences that soldiers use to stay on pace and keep their spirits up when hauling 50-pound packs on a ten-mile hike.

The only song I could remember that works well for keeping up a brisk pace was “The Ants Go Marching One by One.” So I sang it (under my breath, not at the top of my lungs, for anyone concerned about trail etiquette) over and over with the self-imposed stipulation that I could never repeat the same verse twice.

For example, when the ants went marching three by three, the first time, the “little one stopped to climb a tree.” Then the second time, the little one had to “cop a plea,” and the third time he had to “take a pee.” It worked pretty well, except that I started to dread marching six by six. For some reason, every time I got to six, the little one could only think of nasty things to stop and do. Once he stopped to “turn some tricks” and another time he stopped to “harass chicks.” A third time he “watched porno flicks.” Of course, right now I can think of lots of words to rhyme with six—like “eat some Trix.” But at the time, marching six by six seemed like an excuse for the little ant to misbehave.

To prepare for the next time I am out alone on the trail, I decided to learn a real jody:

I used to drive a Chevrolet,
Now I’m marching all the way.
They took away my faded shoes,
Now I’m wearing Air Force blues.
Used to drive a Cadillac,
Now I haul it on my back.
I used to date a beauty queen,
Now I hug my M-16.
Sound off (1,2),
Sound off (3,4)
1,2—3, 4 !

I think I could march for ten miles chanting that jody—and make up a few verses of my own. Let’s see:

Used to be a disco queen,
Now my feet have gangarene.
Used to flash a ring that glints,
Now have bilateral shin splints.
(Oops, have to take a little extra shuffle step on that one.)
Sound off (1, 2) . . .

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