Sunday, October 15, 2000


Today I woke up at around 8:30. Last Sunday, it was a different story. Up at 5:30, out of the house by 7. I was off to the Rock 'n Race. The goal of the Rock 'n Race was to raise money for and awareness of colon cancer. I must admit, though, it was the prospect of seeing Paul Simon at the post-walk concert that drew me in. That, and the 5K walk. I needed the exercise. In fact, my joke was that while everyone else was walking to fight colon cancer, I was walking to fight heart disease.

As the beginnning of the race approached, I joined the mob at the starting line. Looking around, everybody else had their number pinned to their shirt, like I did. But many people had placards pinned on their backs. "I am participating in memory of..." "Mom"..."Uncle Joe"..."Grandpa" Wow. That really got to me. Eventually I looked around and saw that some of the placards said, "I am participating in support of..." That made me feel somewhat better. Of course, eventually I noticed someone whose placard ended "...myself." Wow, and I was just out for a walk.

Then Katie Couric fired the starting airhorn and we were off. Shuffling very, very slowly. Was the whole walk going to be this slow? No, it turned out, it was just as we were passing by Katie Couric, and everybody strained to get a look, or a picture or an autograph. Once past her, the pack spread out to a reasonable pace, it was time for a nice walk around DC. We walked to Union Station, then swung back and walked up and down the mall. Beautiful day, nice and invigorating.

Then it was back to plop down on the mall for the entertainment portion. I munched on the breakfast provided for me. (Hey, between that and the t-shirt, I hope they saved some money out of my registration fee to fight colon cancer.) I listened to the Max Weinberg Seven and profiles of people who had survived colon cancer...and those who had lost loved ones to the disease. Again, pretty moving. And I should mention, it's worth reading up about colon cancer. Something like 90% of all cases are cureable if caught early enough, so if you're at risk, it's really worth it to get checked out. Please.

After that, by 11, it was time for the main attraction...Paul Simon. This summer I went through my entire CD collection and listened to all of the CDs. I realized how great Paul Simon was. Wow; the guy put out wonderful music from his work with Garfunkel in the '60s until 1990's The Rhythm of the Saints. (I wasn't familiar with the Capeman, and I don't have his new album yet.) And here was a chance to see a living legend for far less than a concert ticket. And get a free t-shirt! And fight colon cancer! How could I pass this up?

Anyway, it was a really nice experience. For an hour-long concert, he played quite a number of songs from Graceland...4, I believe -- Boy in the Bubble, Graceland, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes and You Can Call Me Al. He also did Bridge over Troubled Water, a very different version of Kodachrome, The Boxer and three songs from the new album. His encore was Late in the Evening.

As I shuffled off to the Metro to get back home in time for the Redskins game, I was pretty darn happy with what I had gotten accomplished by noon that day. Today, I'll have to settle for writing this as my accomplishment.

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