Books I Want to Write About: Wild

wildI didn’t expect to like Wild, mostly because when I read the description I thought it sounded a bit ridiculous. But one day I had a moment of boredom and decided to check it out. Turns out, it’s really good!

I thought it was going to be a girl version of AWOL on the Appalachian Trail, west coast style. It was, but it wasn’t. On the one hand, it was every way of NOT preparing to hike the Pacific Coast Trail alone, but on the other, it was all about digging in deep and not giving up. That idea really rang true for me, both as a female and as a fledgling ultrarunner.

Read moreBooks I Want to Write About: Wild

I’m Tired of People Shooting Other People

I missed the last ten minutes of a TV show because a local news station cut in to report on a mall shooting in New Jersey.

It seems everyday some jackass picks up a gun and shoots up a place. I don’t have a lot of insight into why this might be happening or how we can put a stop to it. I’m not against the 2nd amendment, but I also don’t believe the right to bear arms necessarily gives blanket permission to own any gun you want. I like the idea that background checks might weed out some would-be gun owners that shouldn’t be gun owners, but I have no confidence that background checks would weed out all the right people. And I know gun enthusiasts/advocates shake in their boots when there are calls for weapons bans, but really…how in the world would all of the guns in this country be gathered up, even if they were made illegal? It’s just not practical when there are more guns than people and I can’t imagine that would ever happen.

I think we (I) are just going to have to accept this as a part of American life. Our nation was born of violence and we’ll die by it, I suspect. Live by the sword, die by the sword, right?

No, Not Everyone Wins

Came across a blog post last month called “We Aren’t All Winners.”  Read it here: The author, Bob “Wish” Wischnia, says:

Maybe—just maybe—I’m an old fogey who clings to the belief that you actually have to accomplish something in a race other than merely participating to deserve an award. To me, a medal is emblematic of some sort of racing success, rather than simply being able to remain upright for five kilometers.

I’m not an old fogey (I hope), and I also don’t believe in rewarding every single thing a person does.  I happen to have earned a medal at a 5k a couple of years ago.  I say “earned” because I finished first in my age group; I was a winner among the other women aged 35-39.  Still, I was surprised to get a medal for a 5k.  When I was about 11, my soccer team won the city championship and I received a trophy; I got nothing all the other seasons we didn’t win.  Now I see kids on the losing team walking away with trophies or other “awards” all the time. But I actually don’t want to talk about sports today.  The aforementioned blog post made me think about the overall sense of entitlement that I sense is now the norm rather than the exception, and it’s very discouraging.

Copyright 1939, Library of Congress

I’m not a parent, and some people will say that automatically disqualifies me from having an opinion about child rearing, but I can’t imagine a scenario in which I would teach my own child that they are always a winner and always deserve a reward.  If you’re always a winner, where is the incentive for improving?  If you are rewarded for things that you should be doing by virtue of just being part of a household, where is the incentive for going above and beyond?  Constant rewards/awards breed nothing more than arrogance and mediocrity.

Adults are just as bad.

Now, I don’t know a single person over 18 who would admit to always wanting to be a “winner,” but there are plenty who believe they should be rewarded for doing things that a generation or two ago would have been considered polite–and not even overly polite, just the minimum of politeness.  For example, going to a wedding now means getting a gift yourself.  Going to a party means walking away with a “favor” as though you never matured past age 10.  What misshapen idea of adulthood says that simply showing up at an event, any event, is worthy of a gift or or reward or prize?  It’s shameful.

I suppose it explains a lot about the kids…