The priest26

As I was running by Queensboro Hall, a very big building on Queens Boulevard, I saw a priest crossing the street in front of me. He was about 60 years old and wearing a black robe. Suddenly he said, “Damn you!”

I stopped and said, “Father, why do you swear?”

The priest said, “Why not? All the time I see people like you running, running, running. Why don’t you run inwardly? You don’t believe in Heaven? By running in the street, do you think you will be able to go to Heaven?”

I was in a joking mood so I said to the priest, “I will find Heaven everywhere except inside your tongue.”

He said, “Who are you, after all?”

“I am an ordinary man,” I answered. “As you see, I am just a runner.”

The priest said, “Why do you have to run?”

I said, “I am getting ready for the New York Marathon.”

“You dark fool!” he shouted. “Look at your head, look at your head.”

“It seems I have more hair than you,” I said.

He said, “Like you, thousands and thousands of fools will be running in the New York Marathon. Go back to your running. I shall pray for your salvation.”

I said, “Perhaps you need salvation more desperately than I do.”

Then the priest swore again, “Damn you!” and crossed himself.

RB 90. 30 September 1979