January 9, 2019
Adrianne Haslet, a ballroom dancer who lost her leg in the 2013 terrorist attack, and rose to fame for her never-say-die attitude, asked “haven’t I been through enough?” after suffering injuries requiring multiple new surgeries.
“Struck by a car on Commonwealth Avenue [in Boston], while on a crosswalk,” Haslet, 38, wrote on her Instagram, next to a picture of herself on a hospital bed, in a neck brace, with multiple drips attached.
“Thrown into the air and landed, crushing the left side of my body… I’m completely broken. More surgery to come.”
But as bad a shape she’s in now, she would have been in far worse shape had she actually run that marathon.
Just thinking about 20-something miles of hard concrete and asphalt on your poor feet and joints makes me shudder.
There’s also something weird and sad about people going to do marathons whenever something bad happens in their lives.
We need to talk about this phenomenon sooner rather than later.
Because I’m sure you’ve heard this story before. It goes like this: “I got x (where x is a disease or a bad situation of sorts) and so I decided to run a marathon to prove that even though I’ve got x, I can still…”
I don’t remember what they usually conclude it with.
This is because the whole argument rarely makes any sense, but I’m too polite to do much but nod along and coo at how brave these people are.
I think what these people are trying to say is that they rightfully view the marathon as a grueling ‘trip to hell’ experience, and if they feel like they’re close to death, they want to go through some ritual purification before it’s curtains time and the veil begins to descend.
Going through a marathon is what I would imagine the Purgatory experience will be like. Getting all your sins and imperfections out through a sweaty lather.
As I write this, it occurs to me that a marathon is also a yard-stick by which many people measure their self-worth. They have lead mediocre lives up to a certain point – as many people do – and they want to punish themselves/prove to themselves that they had some strength buried deep down within them. A kind of Hail Mary pass. Plus it’s in a bunch of movies.
If this were true and they came out and said this, it would make more sense and would be far more based than the usual bland Hallmark card stuff and the stuff they’re ripped off from those commercials for x medicine treating x disease replete with happy clapping/whistling/banjo music.
You’ve heard what I’m talking about right? It goes like this: “Having x doesn’t stop me from living life to my fullest.”
This shit is wack, yo.
This sort of talk is reflective of the fear we as a society have of death.
You’ll notice that phrases like, “life to the fullest,” are all the sort of talk that specifically avoids any mention of death or debilitating injury. It switches the focus to “not being held back” or some other euphemism.
I’m not even going to comment on the fact that it is monumentally stupid for women to be running these marathons in the first place. Because you just know that this chick is going to get right back into her running routine as soon as the hospital releases her, and now it’s going to become some sort of holy mission for her to drag her stupid crippled body across that finish line and land into the pages of some NY Times human interest story to promote yet more insipid you go grrrl!-ist ideology.
No, never mind that.
What bothers me is that we can’t handle Death anymore.
Because we have banished Death in the West.
And this is because we stopped believing in an afterlife.
Coming down with a terrible disease or getting injured is now a burden on your friends and associates.
Suddenly, you remind them how precarious life is, and how they’re going to die someday. Most people nowadays shy and run away from that. Worse, they expect you to act like you’re healthy and in denial of your thing, whatever it is. In other words, they place the burden on the people who are suffering to act like they’re not, lest they ruin the good times for everyone else who can’t handle death. This is in stark contrast to all of our ancient traditions and customs.
Our ancestors used to have a close relationship with death.
They were keenly aware of its lurking presence in their lives.
And they could handle it.
They had their own coping rituals.
So yeah, basically, you have all these sick modern people who are all signing up to do these “last gasp marathons” nowadays. Many of them pressured into it by the fear of people thinking that they’re dying. Others – more nobly – to purify themselves. And quite a few in a bid for last-minute glory.
It’s a strange modern ritual, to be sure.
Significantly stranger than anything those ol’ timey and backwards European BIGOTS ever got up to, if you ask me.