I was afflicted with the fitness craze during my first year studying abroad in Michigan. I tried to exercise and had to be rescued by the Sheriff’s department. I blame college and the peer pressure for making me pursue activity in the first place. I would much rather spend my time indoors pretending to be a dragon tamer, but my classmates convinced me that humans need sunshine and socialization. I left my sloth ways and started exercising.
I discovered that jogging was quite fun, once you get past how awful it is. I mostly liked competing with other joggers and pretending that the slower people I passed were zombies. It wasn’t out of the ordinary when I decided to jog on a nice Friday afternoon after a massive storm. There was a great trail near my university, and I was positively itching to break in my new Injinji toesocks. I was mesmerized by their advertisements of lithe fitness models sprinting across trails with their fancy toesocks.
A few minutes in, I noticed that someone painted bright orange arrows on trees. I shook my head at the nerve of those thugs, vandalizing Mother Nature with neon graffiti just for kicks. The trail split into two, so I tumbled down the path of most resistance.
Six hours later, it was pitch black, raining, and I was miserably lost. I couldn’t retrace my steps and ran around in random directions, crying pathetically like a dim puppy confused by its own shadow.
It turns out that the path split into more paths, and more paths, and even more paths. Those orange arrows they painted on the trees weren’t graffiti, they were helpful signs meant to direct joggers towards the path that wasn’t thwarted by a giant tree.
It was dark and wet; every frantic movement led me deeper into the woods. I saw a dark object swaying in the distance so I ran towards it. It was an old backpack hanging on a branch. I panicked; I just knew it was a sign left by a serial killer hunting international students.
I heard a rustling in the bushes. My heart swelled up with fear. “It’s a werewolf, oh no, it’s a flipping werewolf,” I panicked, “It’s going to eat my face and I’m going to die!”
It turned out to be a deer, but it blinked at me so it was obviously rabid. I took off in the opposite direction, arms flailing. I saw traffic lights in the distance so I frantically waded through the water towards them.
I climbed over a short wall and was suddenly on pavement. Sweet, sweet pavement! I skipped towards the shed and cars I saw ahead. Just as you would expect from a horror movie about a student being slaughtered in the woods, they were abandoned.
Here I was, covered in mud, twigs, torn clothes, and tears, wailing the words to “I’ll make a man out of you!” A frightened old woman in a passing vehicle caught sight of me, and asked if I was okay. I nodded and promptly started throwing up. She gave 911 a ring, and I awkwardly sat by her side while she called her husband and explained why she was going to be late for dinner.
Soon enough, a shiny Kent County vehicle rolled up. A tall, white Sheriff in a crisp brown uniform exited the vehicle. He had an intimidating stern face, but his blue eyes twinkled jovially at me. He smiled, to which I started sobbing until he consoled me from a distance. He calmed me down and packed me up in the back of his cruiser to help me find my car.
While we were driving, he asked what on earth happened. I confessed, “I tried to jog but then your woods happened! And there was a broken tree, a broken bridge, and a werewolf! I almost died!”
He simply laughed and said, “Aw, well you seem fine.” He’s clearly never faced the perils of the wild like I just did.
The worst part of that entire ordeal, besides the forced physical activity, was explaining to the locals that I was a Kuwaiti student on a scholarship. I could tell they were wondering if I was the brightest student that Kuwait had to offer. Luckily, there was a glimmer of goodness in my near-death experience. Despite the hours of frantic running and stomping in muddy water, my feet were perfectly fine and blister-free. Perhaps my jog didn’t go exactly as planned, but at least my Injinji toesocks lived up to their expectations.