By DJ Gallo
Special to Page 2

Marathons should be illegal.

Today is the 110th running of the Boston Marathon, and if it were up to me, there wouldn't be a 111th.

Boston Marathon
Anybody have a Band-aid?

If you're wondering why someone could be so opposed to marathons, then you've obviously never seen one in person. I've had the misfortune of witnessing two. And they are horrific experiences that still haunt my dreams.

Let me set the stage for you.

You go to see someone participate in a marathon. You're standing at, say, the Mile 18 marker. And here come the runners off in the distance. At first, you think your eyes are deceiving you. A runner glides past you. There are two distinct red spots on his shirt, chest high, about 14 inches apart.

You shake the thought out of your head. No! It just can't be.

But here comes another runner. And another one. And another. All with the same pair of crimson stains on their shirt. Nausea sweeps over you. You dry heave at the realization of what you're seeing.

It's dozens -- maybe even hundreds -- of people, men and women, with ... bloody nipples!

The friction of their shirts bouncing up and down throughout the race has chafed them to the extent that blood has spilled forth from a place blood is not intended ever to spill forth from. Some of these mutilated people know what has occurred. You can see it on their faces. Pure terror. Their pace has quickened as though they're trying to flee from reality.

Others have no idea. They may not know until the race is over and their shirt has dried and they try to remove it and ... oh, sweet Lord! The humanity. And when you're not vomiting on the side of the road, you want to call out to these people to inform them of their inhuman affliction. But then you think better of it. Let them enjoy whatever time they have left of their blissful ignorance, for after today they will see their life simply as pre-nipple bleed and post-NB.

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Thankfully, most of those who compete in marathons do not face this unspeakable carnage. They wear smooth shirts, lube up their chest or place tape over their precious teat tops.

But in every marathon, there are those who experience the horror I have described. And as long as there is even one such poor soul, marathons should be outlawed.

And I don't want to know the person who thinks otherwise.

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Four Things I Thought I Thought While Passing Miguel Tejada on the Way to Second …

1. Curt Schilling is 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA, and I can't think of anything better that could have happened for the world. Now that Schilling is back to his dominating self, I'm hopeful he'll have the confidence again to enlighten us all with his insights on the world, from domestic politics and global warming to the war in Iraq and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If there's anything we all need right now, it is to hear from Mr. Schilling. Is it a coincidence that 2005 was one of the worst years in recent history -- with seemingly endless natural disasters, wars and unchecked corruption -- while Schilling was out of the spotlight with injuries and a 5-plus ERA? I think not. World leaders did not know how to act without his guidance. But now that he's back, we have a chance. So, Curt, tell us your thoughts again. An eager world waits. Please don't let us down. You're all we have.

2. LenDale White's supposed free fall out of the first round of the NFL draft provides a lot of insight into how the NFL works. He's being cast as a head case and a malcontent because he has put on weight and hasn't been timed in the 40. Of course, a major reason for his weight gain and the only reason he hasn't run a 40 is because he has a hamstring injury. But apparently, that doesn't matter. His reputation is ruined. And, well ... deservedly so. White simply doesn't have the commitment NFL teams are looking for. Now, had he taken steroids to overcome his injury like then Northwestern defensive lineman Luis Castillo did last year with the andro, I'd feel differently. As would NFL teams. Castillo's stock rose even after he tested positive at the 2005 NFL combine, with him eventually going 28th to the Chargers. But that's only because Castillo showed he wanted it enough to take illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Not White, though. And for that, he and his family should be ashamed.

3. By the way, back to Schilling for a moment. I should mention that I'm a bit of a hypocrite. I look at someone like Michael Jordan and wish he'd speak up more about socially relevant issues, but then I'm annoyed that Schilling never shuts his trap. So, I should apologize. I can't have it both ways. So from now on, I'm going to support any athletes who speak out. Even more so if they tell Schilling to shut up.

4. I get e-mails fairly often from people asking for advice on how to start a writing career. Since there's no set way, I typically just suggest that they start a Web site or blog to build an audience for their writing and that they develop a unique writer's "voice." After that, if enough people enjoy what they have to say and how they say it, additional opportunities will come. (I know -- very helpful stuff. I think I missed my true calling as a high school guidance counselor.) What I almost always forget to add, however, are the fantastic tax savings that come from following my sage advice. And being that today is tax deadline day, there's no better time to describe my foolproof idea. Here's what you do:

First, start a blog. Next, write something about sports on it. Third, slap up some sort of ad on your Web site. Now sit back and wait for enough traffic to come to your site that you earn at least 1 cent of advertising revenue. Boom ... you're now a professional sportswriter. (Quick side note -- if you want to be regarded as a good writer, don't use the word "boom.")

Okay, so you're now a professional sportswriter with your $0.01 check. Here's where the fun comes in. That 60-inch plasma screen you bought last year? Write it off as a tax deduction. It is imperative to your writing "career" because you watch sports on it. Same goes for your cable bill and the NFL Sunday Ticket package. They're deductions, too. And keep the ticket stub for every game you go to. Those are receipts for work-related "research" trips. Deductible. Same with receipts for any restaurants you've eaten at that might have a TV in the bar with ESPN on it. That's called a business entertainment expense. Deductible.

The list is endless, really. Video games, magazine subscriptions, Internet costs, the Jacuzzi you installed in your den to sit in while you watch sports. All deductible. You'll save hundreds -- maybe even thousands -- of dollars. And all because you earned 1 cent off a single blog post.

So I hope those money-saving tax tips are helpful to any of you who want to be writers. And I hope you're grateful for what I've shared. Accountants charge big money for advice like this. But from me, your tax-savvy writer friend, you got it for free.

Just know that, unlike an accountant, I won't show up to defend you at your IRS appointment when you inevitably get audited.

DJ Gallo is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine as well as the founder and sole writer of the award-winning sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also contributes headlines to The Onion.




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