FIRST TO THE FIN­ISH LINE

The Day - - FRONT PAGE - MIKE DIMAURO m.dimauro@theday.com

Yuki Kawauchi of Japan crosses the fin­ish line Mon­day to win the 122nd Bos­ton Marathon. He is the first Ja­panese man to win the race since 1987. The fe­male win­ner, De­siree Lin­den, was the first Amer­i­can woman to win since 1985.

Per­haps it was the day's rain that forced a sy­napse or two in the old nog­gin to run a cross­ing pat­tern. But I got won­der­ing …

Is­sue I: Some­times I think I'm the only one who strug­gles with the sim­pler tasks in life.

Is­sue II: So why not pe­ti­tion the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee to turn some of them into Olympic events?

In the spirit of hop­ing that I'm not alone, here's a boffo idea about my lat­est plight: Buy­ing gas.

Put it this way: If biathlon (ski­ing and try­ing to shoot things) is an Olympic sport, why isn't buy­ing gas?

It's not like we all don't make it a game.

Like try­ing to fin­ish a 60-mile trip with enough gas to go 50 miles. Which I just did. There was a scare, sure, as I coasted through the exit ramp, gas light il­lu­mi­nated, as if to say, “you pushed it too far this time, dummy.” I shut off the heat, ra­dio and was tempted to shut off the head­lights, but thought bet­ter of it.

There is one gas sta­tion be­tween me and the next 30 miles of my jour­ney.

As I'm cruis­ing along, I thought about who I might call if I did run out of gas. My par­ents came to mind. But the hu­mil­i­a­tion of hav­ing to call them to say I was in the mid­dle of nowhere and out of gas quickly con­sumed me.

I thought of a cop friend of mine who was work­ing nearby. But fig­ured he would find a spot­light to shine on my stranded self and use the PA sys­tem to an­nounce “DiMauro. Is that you out of gas? Did you run out of gas, Mike DiMauro?”

I thought about call­ing my friends, but was afraid they would ac­tu­ally show up, take pic­tures and would never let me live it down.

Need­less to say, the car qui­etly (very qui­etly) coasted into the gas sta­tion. I feel triumphant in my vic­tory of mak­ing it so far, with so lit­tle.

So now I'm won­der­ing ... at the next Olympics, ev­ery­body gets in the car 60 miles away with 50 miles' worth of gas and see who makes it first. (No hy­brids al­lowed). Maybe we could get Dale Jr. as the guest an­a­lyst. Then there's the whole fill up thing. What to do with the spare time? First, I tried to cross my feet and lean against the car in a sort of Clint East­wood­meets-the-gas pump-move. All I was miss­ing was a piece of straw hang­ing out of my mouth.

Next, I thought about get­ting out my cell phone, but then de­cided I could sur­vive this three min­utes with­out it.

I started to hum. Got a dirty look and stopped hum­ming.

The win­dow thing seemed like a good idea. Al­though, my wind­shield was in much bet­ter shape be­fore I tried to clean it. So were my clothes. Ev­ery time I tried to lean over, I ended up brush­ing against the car and looked more and more like a dust rag.

I started to clean the in­side of my car by throw­ing away trash. I must ask: Are the garbage bins at gas sta­tions in­tended to be so small so that peo­ple like me don't do a full car clean­ing? How much is too much to throw away? I think I may have hit that mark when I had to push the trash down. Anec­do­tally, I feel the same way when I see a garbage can at the end of driveway through. If they put it there, they want me to use it, right?

So, now that I've filled the tank, I smell like gas, my clothes are dirty, and my hands feel like I just worked on the en­gine. I don't have any left­over nap­kins be­cause I threw them all away. So I slide into my car and in­fect my steer­ing wheel.

My friends, I ask you ... is buy­ing gas this dif­fi­cult for you? Seems Olympic sport wor­thy to me. This is the opin­ion of Day sports colum­nist Mike DiMauro

ELISE AMEN­DOLA/AP PHOTO

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