When someone is out of control and self-destructing, oftentimes we see three different types of witnesses to the tragedy unfolding. The first kind instigates the out-of-control behavior by serving as an antagonist. The more craziness they see, the more craziness they provoke, and so they in effect aid and abet in the self-destruction. Then there's the person who just stands by and watches, kind of a voyeur if you will. This person is really quite useless no matter how dismayed they may appear. The last kind is the person who tries to step in and rescue the individual who is self-destructing, or at least call for help.
We're seeing this with Charlie Sheen. The (morally bankrupt) media is provoking Charlie Sheen, who is clearly unraveling, is authoring his own self-destruction and desperately needs help. But guess what? The media doesn't care and it's not going to help. It just wants ratings. Then there's Mr. and Mrs. TV Watcher, who are just standing by observing mostly because there's little any of us can do except turn off the tube. Only no one's turning off their TV; we want to see this train-wreck. That leaves the individuals who want to help Charlie Sheen...his family, his friends. But, really, where are they?
We've seen this movie over and over and over again. It plays out not only on TV with celebrities from Charlie Sheen to Brittany Spears to Lindsey Lohan, but also in our personal lives, in our families, in the workplace and elsewhere. Lots of times it's not just the individual who harms themselves; many around them are also hurt. I hurt for Charlie Sheen, but mostly for his family.
Why do I care about what we're seeing with Charlie Sheen? Because I'm raising my son in this world.
Which brings me to the point of this post. This is a cruel world in which we live. Look at what's happening in Wisconsin with all the hate-mongering, or what happened in Tucson a few months ago. Look at what's happening daily in Washington, DC with all the finger-pointing. The murders reported daily. The nasty comments people spew at each other. Aggressive drivers. Racism. Hate speech and crimes. Labels. Etc.
In a world like this, it's easy to see why ultrarunning has such a huge appeal. It's an escape from a sick, sick world that, frankly, could use a trail run as a mental health break.
Ultrarunning removes you from the world, if only temporarily, placing you in an environment so incredibly different than the place we live in day in and day out. When you're in an ultra event, you forget about bills that need to be paid. You don't care about what's on the TV tonight. All of a sudden the ills of the world don't matter. It's just you and nature, you and the finish line, you and the next aid station, you and your crew, you and that happy volunteer. You are in the moment. And what a moment it is. Nothing else matters.
When you've gone 100 or more miles, you begin to see the world differently. Nothing is the same again. And those who haven't gone the distance could never understand this.
So it's not surprising that ultrarunning, and really long-distance running in general, is quite cleansing and reinvigorating.
If only more people got that. Maybe more people are getting it. There is, after all, a reason behind all these race sell-outs. People are escaping from the world.
Maybe Charlie Sheen should join us.