Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Older You Get, The Better You Used To Be

Mark Twain called them "stretchers," but various titles have been given to those, um, somewhat exaggerated stories about peak moments we've all had "back in the day." Of course, Twain's references were to outright lies told in the moment. I prefer to think of them as "hyperbolizing," a word I possibly made up. Fact is, as we age, lots of things go downhill; we do not recover nearly as fast from, say, falling off a bicycle (as I did last week), or a night of carousing that extends far beyond 9:30 (must be New Year's Eve). We also tend to exaggerate our accomplishments in order to prove to the younger generation that it is not the only one that has done something extraordinary..."Back in OUR day, we (blah, blah, blah...)NOT like today!"
As a result, in this age of cynicism and finger-pointing at the slightest misstep or variance of the truth, it's getting more and more dangerous to "hyperbolize" as a public figure. Take the latest minor-league gaffe by a national politician.
This national figure claimed to have run a specific marathon "back in the day" in something under three hours., though the exact time was an elusive thing to him. Anyone who has ever run such a race in that time frame knows that it's a time most people could not reach. Of course, those who have never done so nor expressed any idea as to what that race is about would be impressed to do the math and figure somewhere around seven minutes a mile for 26 miles. That would be a feat worth extolling...and the speaker did just that. The only trouble is that his actual time was almost an hour and a half OVER what he claimed to have run. When called to question by a national running magazine, the speaker claimed that through"time passage and a back injury" he couldn't remember the exact time though his brother reminded him that night of his error.
I have no beef with "hyperbolizing;" I do it with regularity; however, anyone who has ever competed in a strenuous timed competition, be it a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, marathon, triathlon, and worked hard to get ready for the competition...would know within a minute, perhaps seconds, what the final time was. Nobody works that hard to set a goal and/or a personal record and fails to remember the result.
I might not remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but after seven knee operations, an aneurysm surgery and atrial fibrillation, I can tell you at least five specifics about my last marathon in 1984, and I can tell you the time to the second: 2:39:57.
Of course, older people remember days gone by more clearly than recent happenings...
Still, it's hard to believe with any certainty ANYTHING that such a person would say; but then, I'm cynical, too.


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