On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

You come back, one year from today...

When I was in college, I was really impressed by all of the Partnership for a Drug Free America commercials. Did they keep kids off drugs? I don't know; I was never the sort who was into that sort of thing. But, they were interesting commercials. (Except for the ones that tried to be funny. Those were just awkward.)

One of my prized possessions, before the digital age came to be, was a videotape of their spots that they sent me when I wrote them to tell them how much I enjoyed their commercials. One of my favorites was a short video of a junkie who alternated between talking about shooting up and talking about how close he was to being clean. The spot ended with him saying that he could quit any time he wanted, that he was just about to quit, and that if "you come back here, one year from today, I'll be... successful."

That became a catchphrase that's haunted me since. I have to laugh any time I hear anyone say, "Oh, I could do it any time I wanted," or, "One year from now, I'll be [whatever]." Uh-huh. Seeing the image of the poor addict saying those words brought home, quite effectively, how few of us pay more than lip service to our goals. Yet here I am, making that same declaration: You come back, one year from today... I'll be fit. I'll have lost weight. I'll be running to my full potential again.

Only I'm making this declaration out loud to the public in true 21st century fashion: I'm blogging it.

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