“A big book is like a serious relationship; it requires a commitment. Not only that, but there’s no guarantee that you will enjoy it, or that it will have a happy ending.”—Mick Foley (via doubledaybooks)
I had an idea, a while ago, to start collecting phrases from eulogies that inspired me to live better in hopes that I could one day be called something like “an expert in all the departments of living well.” I think I got the idea from this NYT eulogy of publisher Barney Rosset:
Colleagues said he had “a whim of steel.”
“He does everything by impulse and then figures out afterward whether he’s made a smart move or was just kidding,” Life said.
“For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are that you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.”—
Ryan Lochte, again, did not swim. That makes four races he’s not swimming at trials (200 Fly, 100 Back, 100 Breast, 400 Free). He has already qualified for one race, the 400 IM. And is scheduled to race in the 200 Free final tonight, and later this week the 100 Free, 200 fly, 200 back, 200 IM, and the 100 Fly. That means that Ryan only has the potential to swim in 7 races in London (plus relays).
Every time Lochte scratches an event I get a little worried, even though I know it’s a totally voluntary decision and part of his whole strategy. If he does qualify for the five remaining events, and he’ll almost certainly swim in the medley relay and freestyle relay, then there’s still potential for 9 medals. 9 gold medals. I’m really not trying to get my hopes up, and I think Lochte’s team has been very careful not to float that possibility too high, but oh god. Can you imagine? I would take to my bed for three weeks, just overcome with joy, if that were to happen.
But I have to mention that Phelps edged out Lochte in the 200 free final tonight. Just barely, but still. So it won’t be a case where Lochte is just in such better shape than Phelps, and has been training so much harder, that Phelps can’t catch up despite his considerable natural advantages (taller, longer arms). It’s certainly not a question of who wants it more—I can smell the desire to win from both of them through my TV screen. It just might be a question of who is able, by some miracle, to tap into their inner fish on race day. This is already so stressful in the most exciting way.
Ok, first it was the athletes with inspirational stories making me tear up, then it was their adorable babies, then it was their proud moms, and now it’s their generous fans:
Hometown paper The Register-Guard carried this tale of a special classified ad that ran shortly before the Track and Field Olympic trials began:
My wife died recently, in her stead, I am willing to take one local handicapped man or woman to the Olympic Trials starting June 22. I have wheelchair and ticket.
The ad listed a telephone number to call. The ad was placed by 81-year-old Donn Kirk of Pleasant Hill, Ore., a retired N.A.S.A. scientist and track junkie whose wife, Doris, died in May. The death came as a surprise, Kirk said. For decades, the couple attended track meets together and for the first time, he had an empty seat in Hayward toward the front in the handicap section.
At first, the response to the advertisement was slow, Kirk said. But the ad did bring a couple of inquiries. On Friday, Kirk took an elderly woman living in an assisted living facility. On Saturday, his guest was a gentleman with cerebral palsy; they had beers afterward. After article appeared in The Register-Guard, some 40 to 50 calls came in, Kirk said. Sunday, another elderly guest accompanied Kirk and occasionally had to be nudged awake, he said. Every day through the often soggy weather here, Kirk could be found watching intently, in his bright orange hat.
A few calls came in from people who weren’t handicapped but just wanted the seat. “I turned everyone of them down,” Kirk said Monday. “I think I chose wisely.”
Kirk is a track fiend, having attended the trials in Eugene in 1972, ’76, ’80 and ’08. He has attended nearly every world championships. He said he still runs every day and regularly competes in Masters events.
“I’m not very fast anymore,” he said. “But I still enjoy getting out and competing.”
Kirk said while he enjoys meeting new fans — some of them had never set foot on Hayward before his classified ad came around — his goal was to expose people to the sport he has loved for decades.
“It’s made every one of them happy,” Kirk said of his guests. “And that’s all I wanted to do.”
Get Visa and Morgan Freeman to make a sepia-toned commercial out of this, stat!
Yeah, I’m into this (and h/t to Anna for first alerting me of its existence via her twitter). I 95% am moving my hips like yeah, and 5% annoyed that “Cher Lloyd” is a real person’s name and not an abbreviation like “J.Lo.” It just isn’t a full name! Get yourself a few more syllables, please!