Thursday, November 29, 2012

Confessions of a Ragnarian

Confession is good for the soul, especially when you're confessing the sins of others.  The story that follows may or may not have been observed in person; it's entirely impossible that I heard this second or third hand, or that I was directly involved.  In attempt to make the story easy to read, I'll tell in in the first person.  (Also, some names may or may not have been changed in this telling of the story.)

These events took place as our van was halfway through the third leg of the Las Vegas Ragnar.  We were exhausted and looking forward to passing the slap bracelet off to Van 2.  With the sun slowly rising in the east above the mountains, we were waiting somewhere in Henderson for one of our runners to come into the exchange.  The lack of sleep and physical exhaustion was contributing to the beginning of what would become a moderately high level of hooliganism. 

It started with a quick text to Van 2 as an attempt to help wake them up:

"Ragnar Command Center.  First violation for indecent exposure."

It was sent from a phone with an area code that wouldn't be recognized quickly by our geographically separated teammates.  Within about five minutes I received a text from my father:

"What did you guys do?" 

Before I even finished reading it to the rest of our van, my phone rang.

It was my dad, sounding a bit tired and out of sorts:

"What did you guys do?"

"What do you mean?  What happened?"

"We just got a violation strike from the Ragnar folks for indecent exposure.  What did you guys do?"

"I can't think of anything.  Did you guys do something?  We've been busy running."

"No, we've been sleeping in the van.  We didn't do anything."

"Mmm, well, Huyser did lose a bet and had to run naked through a neighborhood.  It was dark though."

A short pause then, "Don't you think that might be the reason for the violation?"

Unable to control my laughter I quickly confessed to the prank text.  The fact that they believed Huyser capable and willing to run through a neighborhood naked was both disturbing and hilarious.

Our appetites for laughter at the expense of others whetted, we quickly thought of another team to text.

"Ragnar Command Center.  First violation for indecent exposure."

In short order a return text arrived:

"What indecent exposure?  What did we do?"

Reply: "This is a family friendly event.  Indecent exposure will not be tolerated.  If you wish to appeal, please reply to this text with this statement: 'Appeal to Violation 142: Nudity with Intent to Harm.'  We do, however, have digital images of the individual(s) committing the infraction."

After waiting a number of minutes we sent another text to them:

"Ragnar Command Center.  Second violation for obscene language to race staff or a volunteer."

A few short minutes later we receive a reply:

"We didn't use obscene language with anyone.  We would like to appeal this as well as the first violation."

"We received multiple notifications of obscene language used against an elderly volunteer at one of the exchanges.  In order to appeal both violations, please reply to this text with this statement: 'Appeal to Violation 142: Nudity with Intent to Harm."

Quickly we received the text with the phrase: "Appeal to Violation 142: Nudity with Intent to Harm."

With a sudden burst of overwhelming guilt, one of our teammates who is friends with the target of our texts called them, on speaker phone, to make sure they weren't making any direct inquiries to the real Ragnar Command Center.

Upon answering the phone our teammate asks, "So, have you received any violations?"

"Oh my, was that you.  You've given me a bad case of diarrhea.  Those texts looked so official.  We've been scared to death trying to figure out what we did.  I mean I did change while sitting up in the van and I wondered if someone else saw me.  I'm ready to start popping Xanax."

Throughout the conversation we couldn't help but laugh at their expense and at our cleverness.  After several profuse, but entirely insincere, apologies, we began making plans for even better prank texts at the next Ragnar. 

At the next van exchange we followed up on our first prank text to our own teammates.  They admitted to doing some soul searching to determine what they might have done to prompt a violation text.  One person was concerned that his actions were misconstrued as he washed his hands at the back of the van.  Another was concerned that she had been observed taking a mid-run potty break between two buildings.  It's funny how when accused of doing something improper that our first reaction is to look guiltily inward.  Oh, and more than one person in our other van expressed little or no surprise at the idea of Huyser running around in the nude somewhere.

Remember, exhibiting nudity with intent to harm will not be tolerated!  Ragnar on my friends!

Check out some of my other posts on my running adventures:
Emmalee Achieves Hero Status
Why I Ragnar
The Art of the Marathon

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