With Your Chrome Heart Shining

As a writer of no repute I still find the need to address the tragedy in Boston. I don’t have anything to say that other’s haven’t said much better with more sensitivity and intelligence, and yet it feels weird to not address the current events in some way. Like how can I just jump back into talking about watching “Diff’rent Strokes” and discovering that it was awful? It feels like a sort of whiplash.

I still have outrage fatigue. Does this explosion/blast/bombing whatever they are calling it at the Boston Marathon surprise me? Yes and no. We’re a nation, a society where twenty first graders are killed and we do nothing. Why is this senseless act of violence more surprising than all the others? That doesn’t mean I’m no less moved by the bravery and courage of the people of Boston. I weep for the dead, the injured, and the scared. I weep for us all. I expect the weepiness to continue for awhile.

Of course, like so many, I’ve spent the past twenty-four hours thinking about the runners I love and have loved. Is it irony that this fat girl has so many loved ones who are runners? Maybe. Opposites attract? Who knows. But since college my life has been filled with long, lean, beautiful-hearted runners. I’m lucky like that.

So I thought about all those runners last night while watching the truly awful “Diff’rent Strokes” and remembered how the UWEC Cross Country team would inevitably run past Hibbard Hall as I sat out there with a friend and smoked cigarettes all purple-haired twenty-two-year-old bitterness and angst. They’d run by and shout “Chromes, seven minutes, gone!” Because allegedly each cigarette you smoked took seven minutes off your life.

I thought of my beloved niece Jaycie who finds strength, self-esteem, and friends in running on her cross country and track teams. I thought of all the beautiful women I know who run, of which there are too many to list. I thought of all the people I love and know and even the ones I don’t like and I was grateful they were all okay. I thought about how much hate and fear and anger you must have in your heart and soul to want to hurt so many people you don’t even know. I tried to think of a group of people I could hate so much that I would want their blood to splatter across the asphalt and even when I could think of groups of people I despise (Westboro Baptist Church, Tea Partiers, Anti-Marriage Equality Homophones), I didn’t want any of them dead.

But mostly I’ve just been avoiding the news and the pictures, and singing Uncle Neil over and over in my head because whenever I think of runners I think of this song.

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