Thursday, April 18, 2013

Do no harm, eat more tacos

I have read a lot of compelling, moving essays this week by people who are writers or runners or both (or neither, for that matter) because of the Boston Marathon. I’m a “both” myself; I write and I run, and in fact I frequently write about running, yet so far I haven’t responded with a Boston essay of my own. I tend to struggle a great deal with covering the Huge, Profound, Meaningful Aspects of Life, and inevitably I end blathering about the small, the trivial, the goofy. Words elude me in the face of tragic loss; instead I go on and on about petty irritations before concluding that yeah, OK, maybe these things aren’t nearly as bad as I make them out to be. It saddens and frustrates me that I can’t make my writing do something truly useful, but I suppose no one knows better than a writer how false and manipulative language can be. Do pretty words really accomplish anything? Of course they do—sometimes. Other times writing is just a lot more blather in a blather-saturated world.

Well, I gotta be me. Maybe this is just me sticking my head in the sand, refusing to look at what’s hard and painful, and encouraging you to do the same, but I don’t know what else to do. What I have to say here is not likely to change a damn thing in this universe, and maybe it’s a cop-out to say that the first item in my writerly version of the Hippocratic Oath is “do no harm” instead of “do good” (much less “do jaw-dropping, life-altering, stunningly brilliant good”). Now that I’ve gotten the disclaimer out of the way, I’d like to tell you about the run I did on Tuesday.
The day after the Boston Marathon, I ran 12 miles. I wasn’t planning on doing quite so many miles—I’m supposed to be in taper mode, as my ninth marathon is coming up in a little over a week—but I felt freakishly strong that evening and just…kept…going. Afterward there were dollar tacos at the Tuesday after-run hangout, which were pretty good for dollar tacos; I had three. Runners’ math: sub-9 pace plus 12 miles equals 3 tacos. I talked and laughed with my running buddies for a while, and one of my runner friends who is also my reader friend loaned me some books that I’m eager to dive into this weekend. Eventually we all parted ways and went home.

Good times, certainly, though nothing particularly momentous. That’s how I got through. My sorrow is insignificant; I wasn’t there, didn’t lose anyone, was only affected as much as I let myself be affected. I had that luxury. I also had 12 miles, and tacos, and fun books and good friends. Of course, I have two black toenails and a big hole in my checking account from doing my taxes as well. But yeah, OK, I guess the good outweighs the bad this time. That’s something. I often wish I could do more good to outweigh the considerable bad that keeps happening in this world, but who am I kidding; sometimes I just wish for a couple of decent tacos after a good run. That’s what I got. I hope it helps.

No comments:

Post a Comment