Lost In Thought

Chapter 24, Blog 3

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang

chuckwells2008@gmail.com

 

“Yeah, so I have a few issues to deal with. Who doesn’t? But you’re not helping by interrogating me,” I said as my growing agitation began to show. “If you mean, did I feel old and stupid and out of step – no pun intended – the answer is ‘yes, I did.’ ”

Harry pushed the foot rest down and sat up.

“My question is do you feel the need to continue?”

A cold draft wafted over me as if someone had opened a window. I shivered.

“Continue?”

“Yes,” said Harry. “Do you want to continue? It is not a difficult question, even for you.”

“Are we still in the tearing-down stage? Are you always this nasty to your athletes?”

Harry stood.

“I do what I think is best for each one. You, sir, need a good boot in the posterior. Now that you participated in that meaningless event and incurred further mental damage, you will need … ”

“A kick in the head? Right? Where do you get this malarkey?”

“Malarkey? I swear. You and your peers are some of the most narcissistic in the history of the world,” said Harry, waving his right index finger like a band leader. “Why do I need to explain anything? In my day, sir, we did what we were told. No questions asked.”

“So?”

“So we did not feel a neurotic need to ask a basketful of simplistic questions every five minutes,” he said.

“Is it my fault we’re not sheep?”

I made a face.

“BBBBAAAAHHH!” I bleated.

Harry made a face.

“Enough of your childish sarcasm. Woe is the day that a baby boomer takes responsibility for anything.”

… here we go again …

“Your generation truly confounds me. I suppose you could blame your malaise on the acceleration of change during the past 40 years,” he said, rubbing his eyes again. “You boomers are probably the most technologically stressed of all time. And it shows.”

“Say what?” I was lost.

“See? said Harry, pacing a circle around me. “Space travel, computers, cellphones, iPods. No wonder you ask questions. It’s a flawed stalling tactic designed to keep you from falling further behind.”

“What’s the point, Harry?”

“And you have no patience either. Instant this, instant that, instant gratification always.”

“What’s your damned point?”

“And always skipping to the bottom line with no interest in how one gets there.”

“The point, if you please.”

“I saw your races.”

“You what?”

“I know the coach at Georgia Tech. He recorded your races and emailed them to me. They’re on your computer. You were beat before you ran the first step.”

“You were spying on me?”

“You boomers know what your problem is, Charlie?”

… who is this Charlie …

“You think too much.”

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

Beggar Boy Blues

Chapter 21, Blog 1

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang

chuckwells2008@gmail.com

Too much information? Really? You think so?

Sterling packed up and took off. I felt lower than a slug. All I had was one masochistic race and my quest – or delusion. Whichever you prefer. Peabody sure thought it was the latter.

What did he say?

“At his age, he has no real chance of running in any Olympics.”

… try saying it in a condescending tone…

“Even you must realize, at your age, you have no real chance of running in any Olympics.”

… perhaps give it the pompous asshole touch …

“It is well known that at such an advanced age, one has no chance of running in the Olympics.”

… now go make ’em stick it up their ass …

Cursing myself all the way home, I vowed I would hold on no matter what. It was all I had. And if I knew one thing, it was I needed a coach.

A REAL DAMNED COACH. NOW.

I sucked up my pride and trotted over to see Rockard. This time I dropped by his latté-colored bungalow, hoping he hadn’t run off to Minnesota or Canada or wherever that summer cabin of his was. Rockard was home, but he was packing.

“I need you, man,” I said as a waif might.

“The fish need me more,” said Rockard, intent on finding his wading boots. “I should be wearing them out in a thigh-deep creek, casting for rainbow trout by now.”

“But you know what I’m trying to do here. I’m right there, Coach, knocking on the door. Can’t you stay and help me?”

“Fred,” said Rockard. “I jist can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Cuz I don’t wanna.”

“That sounds selfish.”

“OK, maybe it is, but all I git off is the summer. And it’s gittin’ shorter all the time. And after that is football, and then I got wrestlin’, and then I got track … ”

The coach who looked like Santa wasn’t going to give me anything, so I tried empathy.

“I know, I know,” I said. “You need a rest.”

“And the damned summer is almost over,” Rockard said.

“Can’t you help me for a week?”

“Look here, I can’t help you even if I wanted,” he said. “I’ve never trained anyone for that.”

“Coach, look. I’m begging you.”

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

You Only Live Once

Chapter 15, Blog 2

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang

chuckwells2008@gmail.com

 

Geri started her workout. Billy and I rehashed the race. He said I needed to sprint the last 200 meters and not wait until the last curve to make a move.

“You’ve got maybe two chances to accelerate during an 800,” Billy said. “You can’t wait or you’ll waste them.”

Gobbling everything the young track star fed me, I craved more. I was starved for feedback. Who knew the fount of knowledge just happened to be this tousled-hair, 150-pound kid who scampered like a scared rabbit. What I wouldn’t give to be 17 again, have his wheels and know what I knew as a 48-year-old.

“Tell me. How do I shave off five more seconds?” I asked while Billy gave Geri her split times.

“Five seconds?” he repeated, taken aback.

… yeah, we know, world record territory, big effing deal …

“All right,” I said. “How about three seconds. No need to be greedy.”

Billy frowned.

“For starters, let’s get you some decent shoes,” he said, making a face at mine. “Are those from the Seventies, too?”

Brand new out of the box, my Pumas were a gorgeous red with white trim. Now they were a disgusting, rusty brown. Not wanting to make myself sound any older, I didn’t answer as Geri flew by again. While she did propel herself with an exaggerated arm and leg movement, she ran easily, sailing down the track.

“Tell me how I could run like that, and I’d hand over my firstborn,” I said.

“I’m still waiting for that twenty,” Billy said. “So you got kids?”

“Yeah, don’t tell anybody, OK?”

“Nobody would believe me anyway,” he said.

“Geri keeps telling me I need to find somebody to run with. I think she’s tired of my holding her back.”

“I don’t know about that,” said Billy. “But starting next week, there’ll be a mess of freshmen out here every morning. You can always run with them.”

“Thanks, Billy. But won’t an old guy like me just get in their way?”

“I wouldn’t worry,” he said. “They’re just freshmen.”

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang