The other day I was walking down 7th Avenue in Park Slope. I wasn't going anywhere special and I had the time to take a look at the poster attached to a lamppost.
I never knew this guys name, or more than a little slice of his story. He always sat on a milk crate in front of key Food. Well, not always he went somewhere else to sleep. But I can keep track. But, I know he was there for a long time. I think before my kids were born I remember him. Definitely since my kids were little. Yeah, he was definitely there when my kids were very little. Because I know he told my kids "Don't forget to read a book" before they were old enough to read a book. Sometimes I gave him a dollar, or sometimes I gave them fresh fruit. But not that many times. I never knew his name was Derrick McGlashen till I saw that he had died.
Derek noticed that I had been missing from the neighborhood for a while when I returned from the hospital. He showed his shock at seeing me in a wheelchair and asked if I had been an accident. I told him no, I had some weird illness that literally knocked me off my feet but I was gonna get better slowly. He never held back his joy in seeing the leave the wheelchair and start getting around the neighborhood on crutches and then a cane. He was really happy to see me walking around the neighborhood. I even showed off a little running for him. He made me feel good about my recovery and didn't ask for or expect anything in return.
So this past Saturday I participated in ultramarathon. It was a six hour race that started in the evening and ended at 11 PM. Trophies were given to anyone who finished greater than the marathon distance. The first time I did it I got to 27 1/2 miles. That was a couple years before my immune system malfunctioned. I did this race last year and got to 13 miles. When I started the race the director gave me a trophy for last year's effort. I humbly accepted it because I knew that it took me as much work to cover 13 miles as it did the people who did more than 40 in the same amount of time. Before this race started there was a little award ceremony because people were being inducted into the Broadway Ultra Society's Hall of Fame. Some of the former inductees were there. There were people who ran marathons in every state for five times. There were people who ran across the country. I assume Phil was already in the Hall of Fame because he holds the world record in the 48 hour race. But Saturday he got inducted.
I was just thinking how excited I was that some of these amazing athletes know what I've gone through in the past few years. They told me they were inspired by my recovery. I don't know what I'm trying to get at. I really don't. But I just think it's really cool and I feel good that I've inspired the homeless the Vietnam veteran as well as the world-class athletes.
So I'm trying to figure out why I'm writing this at all. I'm just thinking this is gonna be one of those rambling blog posts that I hope no one really reads. But I'm trying to bring it together. Is it that is no difference between homeless people and world-class athletes? In some ways, yes. Is it also that I'm kind of addicted to positive feedback. That's for sure! I guess it makes people happy to see me improve, I'll keep improving to make people happy.