the holiday relay race

I’m trying to figure out why talking smack brings me so much joy.

In lieu of a holiday party, my organization is having — among other things — a relay race around the building (which means block) on Friday at 11 a.m. Four to a team.

If you don’t like to run, said the e-mail, come down for some hot chocolate and cheer.

On Tuesday, the digital arts department challenged digital news. T. from finance, who is on the holiday planning committee, came down to issue the challenge. We, of course, accepted and decided that whatever team name the arts team dreamed up, we would add ‘Crushers’ to the end of it for ours.

But then they chose ‘Art Attacks’ and ‘Art Attacks Crushers’ just didn’t work. So we brainstormed this morning — playing on Dig (that’s pronounced Dij) for digital — and words that would prevent heart attacks (or somehow beat them). DIGfibrillators, we said, and threw our heads back, laughing. We decided on the ‘Fightin’ CarDIGologists.’ (Which our supervisor, J., said was just dumb.) It is also impossible to say. Try it. Every time I try, I laugh.

Then I decided to challenge All Things Considered. T sent an email issuing the challenge to two teams of four (when I called her with our team name, she laughed). Her email to ATC said: “It really won’t take much of your time and this race is really heating up to be one of the greats. Beijing-like quality athletes, right here at our own NPR, are gearing up for this event.”

One team accepted the challenge, and is now known as ‘Consider Our Dust, Jerks!’ And when they accepted, they said the others aren’t doing it probably because they’re scared. I wrote back: “I don’t blame ’em for being scared. Be prepared to be destroyed. We have a practice scheduled for tomorrow, and I’m bringing in a whistle and a stopwatch!”

A., in turn, wrote: “Oooh. practice. ‘Consider Our Dust, Jerks’ requires no practice. Of course, that’s because we all get up at 4 am and run wind sprints before reading ALL the papers (like Sarah Palin).”

And then B., from my team, wrote: “I ran home 3.4 miles today in 12:34…with 30 pound weights on my ankles…blindfolded…earplugged…up a 60 degree hill…towing several large schoolchildren behind me in a Radio Flyer. I hope you’re ready.”

Another group talking smack, it shall be noted, is the music team. S. came down today to say that his team won last year, and he’s the only champion left in the building (all three of his teammates don’t work there anymore). They are the Greased Cheetahs — which they say is the fastest animal in the universe and with the grease, it’s positively aerodynamic. (S. used to work for The Onion in case it’s not obvious).

All of these shenanigans have me giddy. That, and I’ve been be-bopping to the Noah and the Whale song “5 Years Time,” which makes me happy. That, and I went to a National Geographic event last night and saw the photographer Reza and the writer Sebastian Junger, who wrote The Perfect Storm speak — and shook Junger’s hand — and felt inspired.

More smack talking to come, I’m sure. And stay tuned on who will win the race. (I can assure you it won’t be us.)

**Update: The winner was the Greased Cheetahs. S. gloated all day and evening at the unofficial holiday party. Our baton was a blow-up fish, which now hangs above our cubes — even if we did lose (I knew we would!)

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