The amazing Christmas race

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It’s a race. It’s a reality show. It’s CBS’s “Amazing Race!” It reminds me of how I feel during the Christmas season rush, like I am in a mad race to go nowhere and when I get there I am not sure why?

This is how American Christmas is celebrated, just like the “Amazing Race.” All of our friends and families frantically race from store to mall to store, performing feats such as rushing through the maze of mall shoppers, locating the chosen gift at a certain low price, fighting with our partners on everything from how to drive, where to park, how to get there, running out of cash, and of course, the dreaded road block where you end up sending in one of your team to do something all by his or her self that he or she totally messes up!

Yes, life is an amazing race.

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But life during Christmas time is the contest on full speed. Our hearts pound, our adrenaline gushes as we cross the world (or at least the South region) in search of presents, decorations, food ingredients, and the perfect dress to wear to the office party.

The main difference between a group of couples traversing the world by plane, bus, and crazy cab drivers is that at the end of the reality show one of those stressed out frazzled teams gets a million dollars. Now, what would you do for such an amount of dough? It truly “is” amazing what I have seen reality show participants from “Survivor,” “Fear Factor” or “Amazing Race” do for a big check. Can a soul be purchased via Mark Burnett?

In our Christmas race we get to go on our own adventure through harrowing traffic and angry mothers with wild eyed fatigue syndrome but at the finish line instead of receiving monetary gain we owe about a million dollars or at least it may seem like that much when we get the January statement. The credit cards grow fat with things for Aunt Sally and little Johnny — stuff that soon is unappreciated, returned or broken. Its brief instant gratification will pass.

Yes, I recently tried out for “Survivor” (or what I like to call the “eating bugs while bugs eat me” competition) and yes I would go on “Amazing Race” as well. I get hyped up watching the race. I feel like running down the road after I watch a show, or hailing a cab and rushing somewhere. It’s a fast-paced adventure and I have discussed running it with both my husband and my friend, Ginger (community editor Ginger that is). But which one?

After all, she and I ran a dramatic race together in real estate after Hurricane Katrina! What’s a sprint around the world packed with eating horrible animal parts, jumping off bridges, and climbing towers compared to working the post Katrina housing market in Pearl River County while eating thawed animal parts out of powerless freezers.

As we have pondered our racing on the television show, we noted that both of us are afraid of many things. Could we actually repel down a bluff or a skyscraper? Could we carry 50 bags of flour weighing 50 pounds each? Could we eat four pounds of grilled mystery meat?

On the other hand, luck plays a big part so maybe we would get a break? You know, get the cab driver with a GPS system?

At least Ginger and I have loads of personality which we would use to our advantage as we are eager to entertain. Wouldn’t it be wildly compelling watching us overcome our fears or die trying? We would work together, fret over every detail and cry often. Ginger would have to reign me in when I go out on a blonde limb and I would have to calm her down when other teams try to cheat.

My only fear is during all the never ending running, the teams never take a bathroom break. Well, after four kids and a few decades of wear and tear, my bladder requires me to pause the DVR button at least once while watching the hour long show.

We both have also considered doing this world wide race with our spouses. At the first wrong turn of events we fear that we may not remain married women. Not only would we trash our marriages but we could never win doing so. What’s the point? Does anyone ever cheer for the team that is in marital meltdown in front of millions of viewers? And we all know… men won’t ask for directions! So how is that going to help us win?

Plus, I read the application. It gives me some concern when I read phrases like: “Applicants must be in good physical and mental health (Ok that might be a problem already) and must be aware that the activities in the program may involve risks and hazards (like driving on Caesar Road?), and that participating may expose applicant to the risk of death, serious injury, illness and property damage caused by the risks associated with their participation in the program (try having four boys), including the following: latent or apparent defects or conditions in any equipment, acts of other people, producers, weather or other natural conditions, the nature of travel, defects and human error (I live for defects and human error), sleep deprivations (again with children… big deal), First-aid, exposure to illness (nothing more germish than boy twins), consumption of food or drink (I have eaten off the beaten path in foreign countries and am here today), acts of God, war or riots (the twins have war and riots every day) and terrorism (try the terror of two year old twins… bring it on).

Sounds like a bunch of fun… death, war, and exposure to acts of God. It also sounds a lot like my normal routine.

Which takes me back to the Christmas shopping…