Growing up I loved those Looney Toons cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. They were a fairly violent crew if you think about it, with scads of angry actions including a fair amount of gunplay. Daffy Duck got his face blown off a number of times, with his bill spinning around his head and sometimes winding up in the wrong spot on his head.
One of the tricks was to bend the gun barrel back so that it would should the person aiming it. I think that happened to Elmer Fudd more than once. “I’m hunting Wabbits,” he’d start out saying, but Bugs would turn the tables on him.
It only took a tweak to mess things up against the Other Guy. But sometimes the main character such as Wile E. Coyote was his own worst enemy. In his pursuit of the Road Runner, the Coyote created all sorts of imaginative inventions to help him catch up to his speedy prey.
The worst moments in all of cartoondom were that poor Coyote stranded in mid-air after some stunt that left him hanging onto a graft of stone above the desert. I recall an episode in which the balloon carrying him above the earth was punctured by the very darts he’d assembled to shoot from his position up high. Then you’d see the Coyote from above, and a puff of air, and then the long, long fall toward the bottom of the canyon. Only a poof of dust was proof that he’d hit the ground. Those were only cartoon examples of the dangers of innovation, yet the allegories were great.
The Coyote was effectively in a race with a superior form of critter in the Road Runner. Those of us who run and ride and swim all have a Road Runner or two in our lives. No matter how fast we get in the overall category, or rise in our age group, some Road Runner seems to show up and ruin the fun. Meep meep! There they are on the starting line, waiting to steal our spot on the podium.
As a result, many of us are always trying to tweak our efforts. We might go out and get a new pair of shoes that look great in the store but cause us some sort of unanticipated injury when we try them out on the street. Just yesterday I ran in a spanking new pair of low-sole Nikes and felt a twinge in my lower calf as a result. Stupid Tweak.
I’m running a half marathon this weekend and can’t afford even the slightest gap in preparation. Hauling this Wile E. Coyote old body around a course for thirteen miles takes cautious preparation.
Of course, I should know better. I’ve been chasing this Road Runner in my head for 40 years. I know that there are walls painted with tunnels on them. I know there are cliffs to fall off if I take my bike into a turn at too great a speed. That’s all happened. We always think, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
And then, I’m a cartoon character of my own making. I literally ran smack into a fallen tree two summers ago. It had fallen across the trail after a storm and I did not look up and see it in time. Smack! That led to scar tissue in my back that lasted for another two years.
See, it’s the tweaks in attention that we ignore that cost us the most. Perhaps that’s a product of my artistic ADD. My dreamy side takes over, or infatuation with a pretty-colored pair of shoes. Then WHAM! I’m laid up or sore or tweaked in all the wrong ways.
Perhaps I just absorbed too much of those cartoon characters when I was a kid. But I keep on going because it’s On With the Show This is It!