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Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton

Rare Swimming Obsessed Video-less Vlog

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.
5:34 p.m., Columbus Day, Oct. 12, 2009, Sewickley Heights, PA

My son Ben turned 21 today, which prompted my twin brother John to say, "That's amazing, bruddie. The first adult Thornton male in a generation!" He paused to reflect, then added, "maybe two generations."

Ben and his friend Ben Armstrong just took off for the long drive along the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, where Ben is going to Temple and his friend Ben is living with a girl who is going to Temple.

It's not that I am feeling terribly old, exactly, but there is something about having your first born son turn 21, and your second born son getting his driver's license a couple weeks ago, that makes you realize that the Celestial Time Clock has not suddenly started running backwards. It is, if anything, running in its usual forward direction faster than it once did, i.e., those blissful childhood days of yore when the wait from Dec. 22 to Christmas seemed to last centuries.

Now, it seems that if I blink just slightly longer than usual, Christmas has arrived again. Blink. Christmas. Blink. Christmas.

The only thing that does seem to take forever is swimming distances that used to go by in a flash.

Which brings us to tonight's Bill White workout, which is basically 4,000 yards in a 60 minute time allotment: warm up, 6 x 500 with assorted challenges--first one DPS, second one alternate side breathing, third one faster; repeat; then some sort of cool down.

Maybe it is the nature of being in the middle of an age group where a certain slowing down appears to occur. Maybe it is the prospect of losing the cheating suits that have allowed me for so long to defy my age. Maybe it is a general weariness borne of my time in the wilderness, followed by a horrible swimming meet, followed by a bad cold, followed by a resumption of responsibilities, followed by the resumption of wintry conditions (I blink, and once again I find myself changing from my layers of clothing in a snow storm into my swimming costume! Blink! Christmas! Blink! Funeral!)

In any event, what was that William Carlos Williams poem:

An old man
in a dry year
dum dum de dum de dum
being read to by a boy
dum de dum
waiting for rain.

Or maybe it was Christopher Smart and his famous cat:

for he is of the Tribe of Tiger
for he can swim
for he creeps

So now it is 5:47 p.m., time to make my way down to the YMCA, perchance to do an old man's warm up, back and forth, paddling here, paddling there, dead man's floating hither, dead man's floating thither, Christmases passing by the edge of the pool like telephone poles on the speedway, and still I have not made it through the first 175 yards of the interminable 500...

Am I just talking myself into decrepitude? Or am I railing against the dying of the light through jest and hyperbole?

I shall force myself--force myself!--to try in practice tonight.

The only thing that could possibly make me stop is last minute Christmas shopping, for it seems that the money extraction season is upon us once more, and we old men creakily bend over, assuming the position whereby the extraction can proceed with the least trauma to all involved!

Wish me well, youngsters! I am your trailblazer and proxy for your fate!

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  1. SwimmerGirlKT's Avatar
    Either I'm getting my period, or this one is touching...I'm going to get a tissue.
  2. Bobinator's Avatar
    Jimby, you nailed it!
    I know exactly what you mean. I wander around thinking about these things all the time! Sometimes I think I'm going crazy.
    All I know is KEEP SWIMMING! Swimming is a great mood enhancer and I think it helps keep us young. (physically, mentally, and emotionally)
    The other day I decided this must be the torture I have to endure so I will appreciate my grandchildren (whenever I get some and I hope it's no time soon)
    Our job as parents is to guide our offspring to independance but the reality of it is so lonely.
  3. pwb's Avatar
    Jimby -- you gotta get to workout to get some of that chlorinated Prozac back into your system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobinator
    Our job as parents is to guide our offspring to independance but the reality of it is so lonely.
    Bobinator -- you and Jim are bumming me out. Here I am in the midst of kids aged 6 to 13 playfully imagining (at times) the footloose & fancy free life my wife & I will lead when the kids are off in 12 years and independent and you whack me with this quote.

    You two need some of this or this
  4. SwimRobin's Avatar
    Jimby and Bobinator, I can honestly say that I understand what you are experiencing. I have already put two stepdaughters through college, one of them has been married for a year. My son turned eighteen last week. Next year, we will be sending him off to college, and then we will have a big empty nest. The reality of that is indeed lonely.

    So, keep on swimming, the chlorine will keep you young!
  5. billwhite's Avatar
    All this introspection and complaining and you did fantastic tonight. You almost made Mark Cox your little bitch for the night. Probably your best workout performance all year.
  6. jim thornton's Avatar
    Thanks, one and all. I suppose there was just a smidgen of melancholy, but I am proud to report that I easily made all 6 x 500s, and the two "faster" ones, both of which were on the 6:30 interval, I managed to squeak by in a 5:59 and a 5:50, which for me in this state of the year, is not really too bad.

    Pat, there is a certain empty nest loneliness, true, but there is also a certain relaxation that comes from not having too much cacophony in the house all the time, too.

    My steaks are burning.

    More later.

    All's well now that the chlorinated Prozac has seeped into the pores.
  7. mermaid's Avatar
    I sure am glad I missed this workout - whew! Hopefully Billy will come to his senses for Wednesday & Friday.
  8. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by pwbrundage
    Jimby -- you gotta get to workout to get some of that chlorinated Prozac back into your system.

    Bobinator -- you and Jim are bumming me out. Here I am in the midst of kids aged 6 to 13 playfully imagining (at times) the footloose & fancy free life my wife & I will lead when the kids are off in 12 years and independent and you whack me with this quote.

    You two need some of this or this
    Only 12 years? Is that all? You have no idea what burnout awaits you. Thoughts of escapism will inevitably increase ... random thoughts of why you bothered to procreate ... Unless you are somehow mysteriously immune.
  9. jim thornton's Avatar
    Bill, I was determined to try to make my way back to the Jim of glory days past.

    Thanks for the good workout. I confess I probably didn't do it 100 percent right. I tried to semi-slow down my stroke count. And I tried to do every other 25 with alternate breathing.

    But I just wanted to make them all.

    Oh, and I took your advice about the fungus.
  10. jim thornton's Avatar
    Mermaid! You could have done this. It would have been good for you...to see me almost make Mark my little bitch, that is, if we were applying Finnish formulae to the sets.

    It would have been great for you to see my ego inflate like this.
  11. jim thornton's Avatar
    Pat, as a Brundage, this sort of thing we are talking about probably doesn't apply to you.

    I wish I had the exact quote, but I can't seem to find it. I am pretty sure it was John Cheever who said (in a much more elegantly lyrical way than my butchered paraphrase): Why is life for some such an effortless adventure, whereas others must pay for their seat at the ball with a ransom of fevers, cholics, and dread?

    Please safeguard your birthright and the future of humanity! Do this by continuing to Brundage full speed ahead in all things righteous and honorable!
  12. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by SwimmerGirlKT
    Either I'm getting my period, or this one is touching...I'm going to get a tissue.
    Thanks.

    Depending on what the tissue is for, that is.

    Let me know when you think you might be ovulating next, and I will try to do a vlog on my testosterone-fueled rugged maleness.

    The rest of the time, I will try to emphasize my caring nature.
  13. mermaid's Avatar
    Jimby, what was that article you posted over there on Facebook yesterday???
  14. SwimmerGirlKT's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    Thanks.

    Depending on what the tissue is for, that is.

    Let me know when you think you might be ovulating next, and I will try to do a vlog on my testosterone-fueled rugged maleness.

    The rest of the time, I will try to emphasize my caring nature.
    As someone else recently mentioned, there is a lot of talk about your virility and sperm-availability (not that there is really a dearth of sperm out there...one of Mother Nature's many cruel tricks for women). Now that your little chicks are leaving the nest, are you looking to pull a Tony Randall or just spread your seed indiscriminantly?

    -Kentucky
  15. SwimmerGirlKT's Avatar
    ...not that I haven't considered the impending desiccation of my eggs and not that you aren't a top sperm-donor-contender, with your obvious embarrassment of riches in a myriad of areas, such as looks, wit, intelligence and swimming prowess, to name only a few....but let me ask you this: surely you're already spoken-for?
  16. Water Rat's Avatar
    As the "little bitch" in last night's workout, I call bullhockey on this morose tail of woe. You are far from in your twilight. In fact, you can't even see it from where you are. I hope I'm as decrepit as you when I'm 57. Those 500's were a bear whether you did them 100% "correct" or not. At this point in the season, the goal is to survive. You can excel in a month or two.
  17. RustyScupperton's Avatar
    Either the Metamucil is working or this one is touching.
  18. jim thornton's Avatar
    Thanks, one and all, once again for all your kind words and implied compliments that those such as me can read "in between the lines" with our exceptional compliment-sensing night vision.

    Alas, I am spoken for.

    John Thornton, my beloved twin brother, and I plan to spend the twilight hours in our childhood twin beds, separated only by a bubbling aquarium in whose algal waters crawls a sluggery of snails, even as the demons our mother let us draw on the walls before the wall paper was applied threaten to burst through that flimsy tissue of flowers and drag us screaming to where we've always been destined to go.

    At least the bad twin.

    And I have no doubt that John will come too, if for no other reason than to assure his little brother that things will be all right.

    Bless you, Johnny boy, the best of all possible Scuppertons!
  19. bsherm81's Avatar
    There is actual mathematical proof that time speeds up as we progress through blinkings and holidays. Each year represents a smaller percentage of the whole to a human. Only a quartz crystal sees time on a linear basis (except a heisenberg crystal, but that's another story). Your next year will be about 1.7% of your life, but for your son it's 4.7% It will feel like less to you on a relative basis. It even works for non relatives. Nice 500 set too.
  20. jim thornton's Avatar
    Bill, I had heard about that theory somewhere, but thanks for clarifying.

    For a neonate, the second day represents 50 percent of his or her time on earth.

    For a centenarian, the next year represents slightly under 1 percent.

    I do find that abject misery somehow slows down the passage of time, not that I am currently abjectly miserable, nor do I want to become that way again.

    This calls to mind, as well, those studies with hamsters that show you can keep them young and robust much longer than their peers by essentially half starving them to death.

    I suppose I could A) live longer, and B) perceive time going by much slower by C) inducing appetite-suppressing misery of the kind, say, so nicely induced by romantic heartbreak.

    This is just one of the many lines of thought that has lead me to an inescapable conclusion: Longevity is ovverated. And the human lifespan, even under the best of circumstances, is overly generous.
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