the lost man chronicles
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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Stupid People Tricks

Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes.
It is foolish to fear what you cannot avoid. ~ Publilius Syrus

Restless, I woke up at 2:45 this morning and began my usual routine: four cups of espresso, an apple, and a little photo editing.

After a couple of hours I was so worked up that I decided to relieve the tension by going for a run. So, at 4:45 I set out to go up the block and into the dark park.

I was slightly hesitant to enter because I could barely see where I was running, even with the little head lamp I was wearing lighting, leading the way from atop my baseball cap. Moreover, the caffeine prompted me to worry a little more than I would otherwise, and thus I fret over what I might encounter.

Admittedly, even the mere sound of random pitter-pattering, residual rain drops falling from leaves, spooked me a little. And so, I steered clear of the pitch black trail uphill and proceeded downhill instead, toward the fluorescent similitude of safety given by the glowing green lamps.

As I ran, I was in awe of the visual splendor of green and orange light and sprawling shadows that I saw. At every corner and at every turn I yearned to take a photo. However, I was determined to get a little exercise, and wasn’t about to turn back just to get my camera. Hence, I pushed forward.

Alas, the yearning to capture these incredibly pleasing aesthetic moments only exponentially increased. Thus, I became quite anxious about getting back home; so that I could return on my bike on to take a few shots.

Around the last bend, the looming shadows and the invisible plopping of acorns crashing down upon to the black pavement raised the adrenaline a tad more, prompting me to pick up my heels a little higher in response.


Two nights earlier I had gone for a run in the park at around 9:30 in a similar absence of light and worried much the same about whether or not I was placing myself in peril.

I vividly recall the tall gangly figure I passed, who although I could barely see, offered such a haunting silhouette that I half-imagined that he wore grimy blue jeans, a scruffy beard and a slightly tattered green army fatigue jacket – the congealed stereotype of a serial killer, prompting me to raise my brow and scurry forward a little faster.


Nonetheless and allthemore, I bit the bullet and went running both times regardless of my fears, valid or paranoid as they might have been, because I believe it is vital “to do,” to take action, to be physically active despite the risks you might be taking as a result. One can’t just sit around in an office all day long and then come home to lounge on the couch and expect life to happen – it just won’t. You have to get out there and take charge despite the daunting elements.

Moreover, I think it is crucial when you are a parent to set a good, if not great example.

Hence, I not only try to teach my boys what I believe in, those values that I find make life fulfilling by reading to them or making up stories that exemplify the principles I attempt to convey – adventure, exploration, experimentation, independence, doing it alone if you have to - but more importantly, I also try to teach by actually tackling life and opportunity itself. Because if you really believe in something, you can’t just talk about it, you’ve got to be it, seize it, create and fashion it to make it truly your own.

And if you don’t believe in it, you should remember not to be an example of it either. This seems all too logical and easy to achieve, but I feel it is all too easy to fall into this trap—to give in, to be complacent, to succumb to apathy and the status quo and to be afraid of leaving your comfy, long-established comfort zone. Just don’t Do It.


So, when I got home I frantically ran into the house to fetch my camera, trying not wake everyone up in the process and hoping to retreat to the park before the sun woke up as well.

Since it had been a rather wet morning, I put on the safety helmet that I usually abscond, but knowing that I was about to traverse upon rather slippery and often steeply sloped pavement; knowing that I was venturing on the border of the inane and not simply innocuous; tempting fate while foolishly entertaining the probability of a dangerous spill – I put it on.

For despite all the obvious risks I was taking, there was this internal force that compelled me to ignore them, just so I could take a few stupid pictures. For the beauty I beheld while I was running, simply could not be ignored – indeed it implored me over and over again to “Take my picture!”

Admittedly, at first, I was somewhat perturbed by this compulsion and asked myself “Why me? Why can’t I just roll over and hit the snooze button like most others? What am I doing here? Why am I driven to perform such stupid people tricks?”

This moment of doubt readily disappeared though as I steered and swerved and pedaled and smiled at every turn that I came upon another marvelous match of green street light and tree shadows.

Half way through my trek however the fog turned to light rain and so I had to continually wipe the camera off with my sweatshirt. Needless to say the descending water put a little damper on my picture parade.

I persisted though by taking cover under the thickest foliage I could find and frantically continued to wipe the lens, the casing and the LCD with whatever dry spot of a t-shirt I had left.

However, about three-fourths of the way through the full circle I had planned to ride, it started to pour and I had no choice but to hide the camera, tucking it away for the rest of the ride home.

Click HERE to view a slideshow of the pictures.

Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.
~ Cadet maxim, U.S. Military Academy, West Point

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