Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Kenyans are Drinking your Beer

I saw a link on the internet to the top forty signs that were held up during the marathon to urge on the runners. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I could not get close enough to the runners on Patriots Day to see any such signs actually held up.  I saw plenty of signs lugged around by despondent spectators who had not gotten close to the line.  The most startling one I saw was in the form of a tee shirt worn by a woman apparently intending her message for a crony of hers who was running.  The shirt read simply, "Run, Bitch, Run."  I sure hope it was for a buddy of hers.

The signs I saw when I clicked on the net link were very clever.  My favorite was one intended, it seems, to any and all runners who were passing this particular spot on the course.  It read:

"Hurry, the Kenyans are Drinking Your Beer."

If you have run in any sort of road race or attended in support of a family member or chum, you know that at the end of the race, there are goodies for the participants.  Beer is a staple.   The last road race I ran, the beer was such a popular part of the goodies table, that they ran out in a hurry. I think the problem there was that the vendors did not discriminate between runners and those who just figured this was high time to get a couple of free cold ones.  Usually only the runners get the goodies.

Of course, you don't get to drink the beer until you cross the finish line.   The Boston marathon has been dominated by Kenyan winners for so long, that the sign struck me as pretty funny.

On my way to work today, a delightful ride owing to the great American tradition of Spring break for public schools, (resulting in relatively congestion free, freeways) I was thinking of the sign and, as is my tendency, started to wonder about the message metaphorically.

If we poke along on the highway, not focused, or believe that there is no such thing as mortality, will there be beer left for us when we reach our finish line? The analogy is not perfect. In life, as opposed to road races, there is an infinite amount of "beer"/rewards.  In this country at least, the opportunities to pursue happiness are there for the taking and happiness is not an entity that can be devoured and depleted by others.

I do think, though, that if we don't "hurry" or seize our days we can miss the opportunity to indulge in what can be enjoyed.  We have just so much time to write a book, nourish a family, achieve professionally, develop loving friendships, love our parents, exercise our talents, frolic with our avocational interests, and romance our wildest dreams.  There is beer out there to quaff, and if we don't hurry we will not feel the sweet high of realizing our dreams.

When I was in college, the motto of my university was "let each become all he is capable of being."  My age is reflected in the school's then use of the generic male pronoun for all students. They changed the motto after I graduated, but the old one with a slight edit is a good one. "let us become all we are capable of being."  Hurry, the Kenyans are drinking our beer.

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