I would hate for you readers to fall behind the Joneses, so here's the latest morsel of gossip you can drop at cocktail parties:
Jogging is out.
Yes, folks, a sentence I had given up hope of typing now appears before your eyes as the gospel truth. And like most truths in this deficit-wracked town, the reason for jogging's decline is red ink.
I learn this from a discussion with the manager of one of those ubiquitous suburban sporting goods stores.
I promised the manager I wouldn't identify either him or his employer. But I'll come close to doing the latter by using the name that our family aims at all such sporting goods stores.
We call all of them Herving's.
Why? Because we can never remember if a particular store is an Irving's or a Herman's. So we split the difference.
Anyway, my Herving's guy says that price tags have chased joggers back to such arduous pursuits as taking naps and eating potato chips.
"I shouldn't be telling you this, Bob," said my man, who then proceeded to do exactly that. "But when I put a pair of jogging shoes on the shelves, and they cost $52, well, why would you spend $52 to run when you can run for nothing?"
I told the guy that I felt the same way when jogging shoes went for $16.95. I also warned him that he was talking to the all-time jog-hater.
I wouldn't run through the streets of Washington, regardless of footwear or its cost, I told Mr. Herving. I have suffered shin splints, stress fractures and sprained ankles while wearing "state-of-the-art" footwear and while competing on professionally tended courts and fields. Why get out there and pound my legs and joints to pieces on hard concrete? I'd rather pretend I can still play softball.
The gent from Herving's clucked sympathetically at all this. He made a less sympathetic noise when I suggested that Herving's might rejuvenate the jogging biz if it dropped the prices of its sneaks.
"I doubt that very much," he said. "First of all, joggers are going to jog, regardless of the cost of sneakers, and they always did. The reason we were doing so well for so long was because new joggers were taking up the sport. They didn't care what they paid. But now we have hard-core joggers, and very few people just starting out."
Hogwash, I said. People may have told Mr. Herving that they were buying sneakers to take up jogging. But the real reason was that they wanted to be as cool as their friends -- and wearing $52 Nikes was the way to do that.
"You may be right," admitted Mr. Herving. "But you're wrong about one thing. If you expect my store to reduce its prices -- ever, on anything -- you live in Neverneverland."
My knees and ligaments may be gnarled and mangled, Mr. H. But my brain isn't that naive.
Reunions, reunions, reunions . . . .
Wakefield '57 -- Sept. 26. Call Suzy Beamer, 847-4257.
Blair '62 -- Organizing. Call Audrey Hong, 490-1770.
Academy of the Holy Name '62 -- Organizing. Call Etta Sue Haggerty, 261-3708 or 721-7355.
Stonewall Jackson '67 -- Oct. 10. Call Sarah Sutton, 361-6949.
George Washington '57 -- Oct. 10. Call Jerry (842-5206 days) or Sue (768-8814 evenings).
Washington-Lee '57 -- Oct. 9-12. Call Jerry Haley, 703-250-2977.
Ballou '67 -- Sept. 26. Call Laveta D. Dockery, 630-0695 after 6 p.m., or Sandra Brock-Faggins, 528-2219 after 6 p.m.
Atholton '82 -- Organizing. Write to Robert Carson, 11930 Rte. 216, Fulton, Md., 20759.
Edison '72 -- Oct. 10. Call Leigh Davenport, 274-8862, or Lee Moody, 920-7810 days, 971-4129 evenings.
Central '37 -- Oct. 17. Call Frances Piver Wichin, 589-3677, or write to Bill Noonan, 521 Monticello Blvd., Alexandria, Va., 22305.
Arundel '67 -- Oct. 10. Call Howard Fergus, 301-867-4073.
George Washington '67 -- Oct. 24. Call Pat Renner, 922-8852, or Chris Carter, 378-9310.
Theodore Roosevelt '46, '47 and '48 -- Sept. 26. Call Ida Ruben, 439-2332.
Edison '67 -- Sept. 26. Call Jim Sarrano, 281-7864.
Gwynn Park '77 -- Sept. 26. Call Debbie Cooley, 301-782-4107.
Western '52 and '53 -- Sept. 26. Call Lillian Menne, 933-4521.
Woodbridge '77 -- Oct. 9. Call Mary Winiesdorffer Bickell, 703-491-7496.
Mount Vernon '67 -- Oct. 10. Call David Splitt or Martha Corson Splitt, 362-3355 office, 628-3223 home.
Rockville '71 -- Oct. 16. Call Donna Spong Rabbit, 294-0960.