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  • Writer's pictureMichael Apollo Lira

Running The Gauntlet

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

I really like that phrase. I think of it as a clever or snarky way to describe a possibly haphazard journey to... somewhere.

I use the phrase whenever I’m at Costco and want one of their delicious $5 rotisserie chickens. It’s no coincidence that these killer $5 deals are in the furthest corner of whatever Mordor-like expanse of a Costco maze you happen to be in. Because if you want this amazing deal, you must venture and traverse treacherous aisles of eye-grabbing goods. For me personally, this becomes exponentially worse if I happen to have a wife in tow.

There’s an old proverb that goes: if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.

A 5-minute trip to the back of the store for chicken will take the better part of my day if I'm not alone. My journey to the chicken and back now will consist of zigs, zags, abrupt turns, and moments where my spouse will dart and weave through a crowd of people and then look back at me, annoyed that I am not keeping up. And when we eventually return to the front of the store with my $5 chicken, I will have also somehow acquired a shopping cart that's completely full of quality goods. And my back will be sweaty. If I was the kind of person who counted my steps, something like this would have caused me to exceed my daily goal or quota. Costco has the world's most expensive $5 chicken.

In a previous blog entry, I described encountering and witnessing a shooting on one of my runs between work and home. I have described that run as not entirely safe. On my runs, I have:

  • Seen drug deals

  • Seen someone hit by a car

  • Watched people injecting various substances

  • Observed people smoking various substances

  • Witnessed a shooting

  • Dodged people afflicted by various substances and ailments.

  • Been accosted and threatened by people afflicted by various illnesses and conditions.

  • Had to actively watch the ground I'm running on, so as not to step on the used and discarded needles strewn about.

There was also a stabbing that occurred at a bus stop that I pass by on this run as well. The individual in the linked article had also thrown a nurse from Harborview Medical Center down some stairs and further assaulted her just earlier that same day.

I'm not being dramatic when I say it's a bit of a mess out there.

This is the logical time where you interject and say “maybe you should consider changing your route”, to which I am forced to reply “the alternative routes are just as ugly and longer”. My path to work is unfortunately bottlenecked by a few key locations, where a lot of this ugliness seems to happen most. And until I can get my grubby little mitts on a jetpack (and I do want a jetpack), this is what I’m stuck with.

So in my own twisted nurse humor, I’ve resigned myself to also referring to my journey to work as Running the Gauntlet.

Some days have necessitated additional trips to and from the hospital.

Theft is a bit of a problem in Seattle. People steal things here ranging from packages at your front door to catalytic converters to things that are(were) presumably safely locked up. One time, Karina ordered some fancy cookies. Work had been especially stressful for her and she was putting in a lot of extra hours. She decided she deserved something nice. So she ordered some bougie cookies to treat herself with. And...somebody stole them shortly after they were delivered. Sigh.

Because of this, on days that a package arrives, I’ll generally haul it back home on my lunch break in such fashion to ensure safety of whatever goods have arrived:

Which, after securing the delivered goods, then necessitates a hasty return to work, once again through The Gauntlet

I’ve also had days where an audition sent off first thing in the morning landed me a VO job, only for the producer to request some revisions be made ASAP that day to the recording. To which I’ve subsequently hauled it through The Gauntlet, back home on my lunch break...

...recorded/edited/revised, only to once again haul across The Gauntlet and back to work at the hospital.

What are we, if not dedicated to our craft?

We all have beliefs and systems we abide by in ensuring quality behind our service. Be it a quick turnaround and delivery, timely revisions, or fostering relationships with the clients we help. Sometimes that can feel like juggling knives. Do our clients need to know that? Naaaah. But we can certainly laugh about it.

As the wise and proverbial Gary Mason has pointed out time and time again, we are only as good as our word. Our word is our bond. If we promise something great, we had better be ready to tap into whatever it is that makes your brand and style uniquely desirable as a voiceover talent when the time comes to deliver. After all, every client has the potential to become a repeat client if what you offer is quality and a degree of convenience. To me, that sounds like a pretty rewarding experience for everyone!

Delivery sometimes means running a gauntlet for your cause. Because what are we, if not dedicated to our craft? Something to settle for? Cast not doubt in the eyes of the people who put faith in you, friends! We all have our own proverbial gauntlets that we must run in our lives.

So safe travels out there, folks, on whatever gauntlets you may be running! May your journeys be safe and your destinations rewarding.

...and watch out for those distractions, if it's the $5 rotisserie chickens you're after.


If you enjoy reading my blogs, I bet you'd like some of the other voice over blogs that I really love! Take a minute and check out these truly wonderful voiceover blogs. Reading these is always a big highlight in my busy life!

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Gary Mason
Gary Mason
Sep 06, 2022

We all have gauntlets to run...some more "gauntlet-y" than others (like yours...I don't envy you!) But we just gotta KEEP RUNNING...

Thanks for the link & shoutout!


Josh Alexander
Josh Alexander
Sep 05, 2022

As much as I love gauntlets, I love memorable phrases even more. Like this gold nugget: "(and I do want a jetpack)." HAHA! Favorite part of the blog for sure. Do not change, Mr. Lira.

I apologize in advance, but for the next Seattle-area BBQ I was going to need you to run to Costco on your way down, and pick up some chicken. Is that out of the question from this point forward, or should I just ask Karina to do it? Either way, I will make sure that they have a man-related gauntlet set up for her to jump through, including many manly things that men do and need because they are men. We'll just SEE how …

Michael Apollo Lira
Michael Apollo Lira
Sep 05, 2022
Replying to

Haha if you ask Karina to do that, she'll happily show up fashionably late with a $5 chicken that cost $300. And don't get me wrong - the remaining $300 will make for one great BBQ and party! She loves a good social event! But ye be warned.

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