No, I’m not talking about tattoos although putting everything down in tattoos so I didn’t forget would be pretty funny. This is a take on a saying one of my online triathlon friends uses a lot. When someone posts online about an achievement they’re proud of, sometimes he’ll write back (it’s understood: in a nice way) “Pics or it didn’t happen.” It’s a kind of Prove it! challenge but also an encouragement to the person to celebrate it some more. And the pics have been anything from flat-out awesome to spit-take hilarious.
Here’s one of my own favorites, taken when I first made the summit of Mt. Greylock in Massachusetts.
No, it’s not an incredibly difficult climb but it was for me at the time. This was on an MS Ride in 2009 and it was my second attempt. The first one the prior year was an unmitigated disaster. I was already pretty tired when we reached the start of the climb, and it was raining, and it was in the 50’s at the base of the mountain, and I wasn’t in good enough shape (even though I thought I was, heh.). You get the idea. I only made it up about a third of the way before I had to dismount. Since there was no sag support on the mountain the only choice was walking the 5 miles or so to the top. It was in the 30’s up there and thank God for the roaring fireplace in the lodge where the volunteers were set up. I didn’t even care (or probably even realize) that they took of all my clothes. ALL of them, gave me some dry ones and parked my butt about 8 inches from the fire. These folks knew what they were doing running events like this.
When I made it up to that sign the next year it was a big relief and I definitely wanted that picture. Well today at the gym I saw a friend and said hello. He was glad to see me and we got to catching up the past few months. All the while I’m trying my damnedest to recall if we had been in touch at all since my crash. It turns out we had; his partner lent me his cane in June, gave me a ride or two and even visited for no reason other than to visit. I eventually managed to piece it together from the conversation we were having. I even remembered I’d given him a book I finished reading last March, The Coldest War. He’s an avid war historian and not a fan of Douglas MacArthur. It was good to see my friend but it was real mental work to have a good conversation. And I don’t know if I said this exact phrase but this is what everyday life is like now.
If I haven’t written it down somewhere it probably didn’t happen.
In my phone, in my calendar book, on a scrap of paper, on my hand – anywhere. Well, not on one of my wife’s purses or my shirt (What? I’ll tuck it in. No one will see…) but you know what I mean. I keep doing (or not doing) stuff as a result of my faulty memory. Just this week I drove out to the rehab place only to find out my OT was on vacation and there never was an appointment for me at our regularly scheduled time each week. Dang it! Oh well. I know she told me though because I wrote it in my calendar book for the Friday appointment – just not in the Wednesday column. The Wednesday and Friday columns are ON THE SAME PAGE and I still missed it. I also don’t remember who I’ve already told what story, who visited, all kinds of things. At least I’m laughing more instead of lashing out at myself.
I once heard one of my managers say this about a software project: ” We can do it fast; we can make it good; we can do it for cheap. Pick two.” It’s kinda like that with events now. There’s who, what, where, when, why, how – and it seems I get 4 or 5 but rarely all 6. If I ever get back to real running races I hope to benefit from this somehow, like maybe not remembering those last awful miles of a marathon. That would be good. I could live with that.