I was going to type about not writing, but when I added the parenthetical comment “as Truman Capote once said, that’s not writing, it’s typing,” it reminded me of a story.
In fifth grade, my class was running out to the playground with the teacher, for a kickball game, I think. The teacher said, “You students aren’t sprinting, you’re jogging!” in an aghast tone of voice, as if we knew what we were supposed to be doing and were purposely doing it wrong because we were such rotten kids. I remember feeling bad, because I wasn’t doing it right (I was that sort of kid). Afterwards, I felt a bit resentful, because he never said we were supposed to be sprinting. How were we supposed to know?
It was not until years later that I realized, the guy was probably humiliated that this group of fifth graders — even the completely un-athletic ones like me — were totally outpacing his fat ass (he wasn’t really fat, just mildly overweight, but since he’s the bad guy of the story, I’ll go with fat). He was pretty much a big jerk, as a teacher and as a human being, so I won’t say “the poor guy.”
In retrospect, I’m glad if he was feeling humiliated. He humiliated me often enough, but I won’t get into that, because this is a blog, not psychotherapy. But for heavens’ sake, why would you shame a bunch of fifth-graders for how they move out to a playground? He didn’t say, “Let’s sprint!” He just started running and so did we. It didn’t matter anyways, because by the time he said it, we were where we were supposed to be. I don’t even remember if it was a kick-ball game or what, but I’m betting if we picked teams I got picked last. My life was a kind of a burden to me in elementary school.
Incidentally, I remember reading in James Fixx’s famous book about running that he did not differentiate between running and jogging. I could be remembering that wrong (it was not as memorable as being insulted by an elementary school teacher, I guess). Regular readers know I call it all running, even my middle-aged shuffle or when I’m thunking along (I really feel “thunking” should be a word).
Why do I remember this stuff when I can’t where I put whatever I happen to be looking for at the time (as happens to me at least once a day)? More importantly, does it make a good blog post? Perhaps it does not matter on Wuss-out Wednesday. Here’s hoping!