Tuesday, August 30, 2005

i've got this thing that looks like a white lego in my pocket, and it makes me stronger than anything you can imagine


(soaked through, spent, and slightly psychologically scrambled upon finishing my run this evening)

I watched scemes from Punch-Drunk Love earlier tonight. Near the end of the film, Adam Sandler has the line: "I have a love in my life, and it makes me stronger than anything you can imagine." If you listen to the commentary track, though, you learn that this wasn't the original line at all, but instead was changed later because focus groups thought the film needed to be more romantic. Instead of "I have a love in my life," Adam Sandler's character was really supposed to say: "I have tenure and an iPod shuffle."

Three weeks ago when I was jogging at night in Madison, I had to run around this construction being done on a sidewalk, and I stepped in this hole and fell. It hurt. I was had just started the second lap around the big loop I was doing, and so it would have been a much closer for me just to limp/trudge home than to try to continue running. However, Kirsty MacColl's "Terry" was playing on the iPod shuffle, with its strangely-genuinely-joggingly-inspiring story of a woman who had a loser boyfriend for years but now finally found a good guy who not only wants to date her but even wants a photograph of her to carry around with him.

I decided I would be jinxing Kirsty's new romance if I stopped and so I persevered jogging as my ankle worked through its minor issues. In addition to that inspiration, though, this was an event toward my odd theory that tenure has given me a much more unthwartable attitude, as I imagined an earlier me just kind of laying there on the sidewalk for awhile, drawing various connections between my having tripped and My More General Failings, and then shuffling home.

Tonight I went out running resolved to go for an hour. It was sprinkling when I began, but within fifteen minutes it was pouring. I was not going to stop, especially since I had songs like "You Get What You Give" (New Radicals) and "Good" (Pizzicato Five) propelling me along. About twenty minutes later, a song starts on my iPod shuffle that I didn't recognize at first. "Wait, isn't that... 'Chickenman' by the Indigo Girls? How the hell did that get on there?"

Then, a few seconds later, allofasudden I tripped on this uneven spot on the sidewalk and fell forward onto the sidewalk. I would imagine that to an onlooker I looked sort of like a baseball player sliding headfirst into home plate, especially if baseball a sport was played by dorky-looking guys on wet concrete. It stung, to be sure, and I scraped myself up a little. But I didn't even think about stopping; I got up immediately and was off again. Me, wimpy me. With "Chickenman" bleating through my headphones in a driving rain. I tell you, whatever it is: I've gotten tougher.

10 comments:

Rhymes With Scrabble said...

I definitely find that being able to supply my own soundtrack at the gym helps me work out harder and better. Actually, the size of my iAudio (20gb) was something of a problem until I created a special workout playlist to stop it throwing Iron & Wine and Laika at me just when I was getting into my groove.

jeremy said...

The nice thing about my iPs is that I only use it for jogging, so the songs it contains are optimized for that, except for whatever sinister thing put "Chickenman" on there.

Anonymous said...

Hey, what happened to the love me, love me not post???

Teddy said...

OK, that's it ... I gotta get tenure ... oh um, guess I better get a job first and well, there's that small problem of writing the dissertation and well, doing the research ... OK, so maybe I'll get an iPod ... hmmm, money ... OK, THAT'S IT ... anybody got a white lego?

Anonymous said...

too bad the Rocky steps are in Philly...

Anonymous said...

Just remember that tenure was not just bestowed upon you, you EARNED it. You were a badass before you got it. A disturbingly pasty badass, but a badass nonetheless.

chris said...

hey jeremy, I love the running posts and congrats on tenure! I've gotta call you out, however, for spreading false hopes to our youth with this "unthwartable since tenure" talk. The economic security is cool, but many come out the other side feeling exactly as they did before tenure. Senior colleagues had me expecting inner peace and contentment, so I was disappointed that I still awakenened at 4 am with the howling fantods, my face never really cleared up, and my work schedule got even sillier.In short, everything I hoped to shake after grad school didn't change with my first job or with tenure or other promotions -- still the same old dude. That's fine, though, I've always liked the job and I can live with the dude. Still, it was like buying new clothes or getting a haircut and coming home to realize that you're still the same schlub with new clothes and a haircut (and lifetime job security, I suppose). Everyone is different, of course, but I'd hypothesize strong within-person stability in unthwartableness (thwartability?) across transition markers. Enjoy the journey my friends...

dorotha said...

i think this is the picture on which you should have henry base his new drawing of you.

Katy said...

Three cheers for the little white lego, though frankly it's nowhere near as motivating as a tenured professor running at your side and singing Terry.

jeremy said...

Chris: I'm coming at this from the opposite direction. I didn't really think tenure would make much difference. Maybe it hasn't. But, I'm thinking maybe it has, at least for the time being. I am very surprised by this.

Kef: I never actually sang "Terry", I would just recite lyrics at times when inspiration was particularly needed.