The inquisitive one was running on a treacherously winding path through the woods. Rocks and roots were—as is typical of the D.C. area—poking up and snaking everywhere. The inquisitive one, who had just passed the 5-mile mark of an 8-mile run, was thinking about lots of random things. Suddenly, a foot hit a root, and the inquisitive one flew helplessly forward, straight through the air!
Unlike the last time this happened, all four of the inquisitive one’s limbs slammed into the ground. The two knees, left palm, and right elbow skidded across the rocky and rooted ground, as the inquisitive one executed an ungraceful turn and landed hard on the back of the right shoulder. The cheekbone banged, last of all, onto the dirt.
The inquisitive one lay in stunned silence. And then, slowly, gingerly, the inquisitive one sat up.
“Wow,” thought the inquisitive one. “Am I okay?”
Testing and assessing the body parts, the inquisitive one determined that the injuries were mostly superficial, except for the right shoulder, which was mostly not.
“I’m okay,” thought the inquisitive one. “Yeah, I’m okay.”
While slowly running toward home, the inquisitive one thought, “I’m almost glad that I fell. I’ve been fearful of falling for a while now. Every time I trip on a root and almost fall, I feel afraid. Now that I’ve experienced falling, it doesn’t seem so terrible.”
While attempting to strip off the dirty, bloody clothes with an injured shoulder, and to shower with an injured shoulder, the inquisitive one thought, “I’m glad that I fell. It means that I’m tough. Everybody should be as tough as me. Look at how tough I am, trying to lift my arm to shampoo my hair!”
The next day, while experiencing severe soreness and pain in the shoulder with every movement, the inquisitive one thought, “I’m actually glad that I fell! I participate in this particular sport, which results in injury once in a while. Trail running is like mountain biking, snowboarding, and attempting to beat someone up in ring, as they attempt to beat you up! I chose a dangerous sport in which to participate, but I love this sport. My dedication to it is such that I will gladly suffer injuries in its name!”
The next day, while trying to turn the steering wheel and not really succeeding, the inquisitive one thought, “Do you know what? I’m like Superman! Kryptonite might get me down every once in a while, but that can’t stop me for long! Maybe I’m even like Nietzsche’s Superman, which, though I’m not one-hundred percent sure what that entails, sounds, if vaguely creepy, also vaguely sublime!”
Two or three weeks later, the inquisitive one’s shoulder was almost back to normal. Smiling at the thought of a personal über-toughness that could never be eradicated, the inquisitive one decided to go on a long run through a dense forest. And so the inquisitive one took off running, farther and deeper into the woods.
The trail upon which the inquisitive one was running was carefully selected by said superhero. County park staff had meticulously leveled and manicured this trail. It contained virtually no rocks or roots.