Recalling Dr. Tim

I woke up in the guest room this morning as I often do the morning after a long hard run.   I change rooms during the night in consideration of my spouse, usually because I am sore, restless or because my metabolism burns me up.  I woke up dehydrated this morning, a side effect of my 20 mile run yesterday.

A better way to describe yesterdays run would be to say that I had a 7 mile run after my “13 miles run with hills”.  I wasn’t planning on that long of a workout, but I was at the top of a hill at the end of mile 13 and it was going to be at least another 3 miles to get home.   It is so much easier to decide to run 20 miles when there are 13 in the rear-view mirror and a manditory 3 miles to go.  I have my first full marathon in San Francisco at the end of July (in case you hadn’t heard) and I have been fretting about getting at least one more 20 in before the race.

This run was also a test of my new music for that Marathon.   I added some songs from The Mamas and the Papas, Janice Joplin, and the Grateful Dead to enrich Mile 19 of the Marathon which runs through Haight Ashbury.  Dylan, Hendrix and Richie Havens were also added to that mix for good measure. All this 60’s music and lots of time got me thinking.  I realized it’s been 15 years since I read Kerouac’s “On the Road”.  I remember the Atlanta book store where I bought my first copy and how I devoured it on the flight home that day.  I became a father 3 months earlier and I was struck by this tale of youth and youthful exploration.   That’s the job of youth, to explore.

As I finished the last mile of my run, the Who’s “The Seeker” started playing.  This song is now at the back-end of my run music and rarely heard. I laughed to myself as I heard the lyrics

I asked Bobby Dylan I asked the Beetles
I asked Timothy Leary
but he couldn’t help me either
They call me the Seeker.
I’ve been searching low and high.
I won’t get to get what I’m after, ’til the day I die.

Dr. Tim had been in among my run-thoughts prior to this song mentioning his name.  I still have his  obituary cut carefully from  the pages of the New York Times in June of 1996. 

I had the good fortune of seeing Dr. Tim speak twice during the early 80’s.   I remember him describing of the term he coined, “Thunks”, or cancer-causing thoughts.  These are accepted practices in our society that one steps back and examines them critically, really don’t make sense.  A trivial example might be the fact that flight attendants always demonstrate how you how to fasten a seatbelt, yet they usually start the demonstration after you’ve pulled away from the gate; AND YOU CAN’T PULL AWAY FROM THE GATE UNTIL EVERYONE’S SEATBELT IS CHECKED BY THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT! 

From The New Yorker

Dr. Tim cited the Vatican’s call against the use of condoms in Africa where AIDS and overpopulation were crippling social issues.  OK, his example was much more relevant than mine.

My takeaway from those Dr. Tim talks was that if we are not careful, we can become  hopelessly ensnared in the paradigms that work, society and our parents have gifted us.  Fish don’t see that water they live in, but they certainly recognize when it’s missing. So too, are we surrounded by thoughts and ideas that we accept without question; however, as that criminal Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living”.

Not everything we have learned is wrong, but everything should be considered and validated so we know what is true for us.  The gifts from previous generations must be taken out examined every once in a while to ensure that they haven’t spoiled.  That’s the other job of youth, to critically examine that which they have been handed-down and to decide what goes into their hope chest and what goes on to the bonfire of change.

If you have gotten this far in the post, I thank you for indulging this old deadhead.    Peace.

Think For Yourself. Question Authority


Recalling Dr. Tim

2 thoughts on “Recalling Dr. Tim

  1. I’m going to focus on the running bit, probably and say (1) The burning up after long runs is just AWFUL. Oh my word. I can barely stand it sometime. (2) Congrats on wrapping up a 20 miler just like that!

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