Monday, April 11, 2016

Ghosts At A Potluck Dinner Party

A friend organises a potluck dinner party at a public park on a weekend. Plenty of food and beverage from the contributors—in fact, a ridiculous amount of those. There is music and dancing as well as silly games that we've all enjoyed as kids; and even lucky draws too. Sounds like an event not to be missed.

Not everyone is crazy about such a potluck dinner party, of course, but there are people who wouldn't miss it for the world. The vast majority of those who're attending would gladly contribute in terms of food and beverage in return for the enjoyment they're getting from the party.

But there will be some who're unwilling to contribute—they merely self-invite themselves and appear at the party without any contribution whatsoever and conveniently blend in with the crowd. They are like ghosts, if you like, that are there at the party, but are too cheap to pay for the enjoyment, even if they can afford to pay. They could of course organise their own little party if they want to, except that it's probably not gonna be the same without the crowd and all those exciting stuff?

Thankfully, I'm not a big fan of parties with ridiculous amounts of food, and all the impossibly loud music akin to a war zone. I therefore don't have to sneak into a friend's party uninvited. But on the other hand, I'm imagining that even if I do enjoy such parties, I wouldn't attend them as a "ghost". Quite on the contrary, I'd gladly contribute, because I'm gonna be meeting friends and relatives at the party, and I can't bear the thought of them seeing me as a cheapskate bum.

The point is that I have pride in myself, and I crave for people to admire me, not just for my achievements in life—however big or small those are—but for achieving them in a respectable way. After all, I've always said that if one yearns for others' respect and admiration, then one has to behave respectably. In other words, one shouldn't be complaining when others are looking down on him if that is a result of his own actions.

These were the thoughts passing my mind when a friend approached me recently to share my views on ghost runners in this blog. I know the whole potluck dinner story above is a little confusing, but I wanted to give a proper context of the subject before I dive into it. You will have to excuse me for my long-winded approach, but I just can't help it; I'm born with a torturous mind!

Anyway, if you're unfamiliar with the term "ghost runner", it means someone who'd join in the fun of an organised running event, but unwilling to pay for the registration fee. He therefore runs without a bib. In the past, these people would do it sneakily, and tried to keep a low profile so as not to attract attention. The lesser people know about him, the better. But times have since changed, ghost runners are seemingly proud of "running for free" nowadays. As a matter of fact, they try to publicize about their "achievement" too. They create groups of ghost runners, and they compliment each other for running free.

It's a very long shot, but one of these days, these ghost runners may become sick because of severe dehydration. Or perhaps serious cramps and blisters that require medical assistance. Or even other life-threatening issues such as heart attack and the likes. It would be interesting to know how they would react if they are denied drinks at the water stations; or denied medical help despite emergencies. Beyond that, in an emergency, information such as allergies, or emergency contact etc, will not be readily available to the medics. In some cases that may mean life and death. Unlikely scenarios, I know, but just imagine...

Of the many readers arriving at this blog and reading this post, there's bound to be a ghost runner. I can almost see the smile on your face and the thoughts running through your mind right now. These are far-fetched scenarios that just won't happen to you. For your sake, I really hope that you're right!

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