Let’s face it. We’ve become a nation of whiners. Washington seems like the capital of whining. Critical reports, noisy marches, loud-mouthed protests, endless criticism of the other side, demanding position papers. I get 50 emails a day from publicists offering guests I’ve never heard of who want to come on my show and whine about this or that.
No wonder everyone walks around now with their ears plugged. I whine about that repulsive phenomenon.
That’s why I’m always inspired by people who really have the right to whine, but don’t. Check out my interview with Government Publishing Office employee Beth Ann Telford. Battling brain cancer for 10 years and not having an operative bladder as one result — you and I would probably whine about it. But not Beth.
The interview describes what was then an upcoming challenge for her, namely running a marathon a day for seven days in a row, each on a different continent. I mean a marathon — 26.2 miles, or 42 kilometers. Cancer schmancer. You know what? She did it. Completed all seven. Having run 13 marathons in my life with no physical ailments — well how can you not admire what Ms. Telford did, while also raising money for brain cancer research?
When GPO public affairs guy Gary Somerset contacted me to do a followup interview, I said I’d rather meet Beth Ann in person, maybe do a little run with her and make a photo op.
If you’re expecting a person looking wan, worn down, or bitter over an ordeal for which there are no future pleasant assurances, forget it. Beth Ann is vivacious, engaging and energetic. I got a big hug. We ran by, and posed for, the camera at several points along the Mall downtown.
She told me of the 33 crazies who started this year’s World Marathon Challenge, 31 finished. One poor guy blew out both Achilles tendons. Beth Ann completed with some formidable runners and racked up some decent times, all considered.
Beth Ann explained she must take medications on a 13.5 hour interval schedule. Think of how difficult that would be even if you stay in one place, how much you’d long for it to be a nice, even 12-hour schedule. Now imagine a week of it when every day you’re in a different time zone.
Perhaps Beth Ann, like all of us, has moments of doubt, even despair. But I got the distinct sense she succeeds in keeping them from escaping their boundaries.
Washington is a-whining now that the weekend will be really cold. I’m using the story of Beth Ann Telford as a reminder. We can all be like the cherry blossom buds. That bitter cold might delay us a bit, but we can bloom.