Thursday, October 1, 2009

Holden Caufield Diagnosed

Miles Run Today: 3.5 in 36 minutes

Reading: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Listening to: That's the problem . . .

I am continuing to run! That in itself is a victory of persistence over desire.

I finished reading Catcher in the Rye, and am so happy that I read it again. I read it mainly because it had been a long time since I last read it, back in high school, and a new book that I want to read, Lowboy by John Wray, was compared to Catcher and I wanted to be able to see why. J.D. Salinger's voice for Holden is amazing in that even though Holden speaks like a high school student, using lots of slang and what I would think were then current phrases, the language has stood the test of time, without sounding stupid. Good thing that he wrote it based in the 40s instead of the 60s.

Recently, I read The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy by Jane Birdsall with my daughter. The big problem in The Penderwicks was that the "very interesting boy" was about to be sent to a military academy called Pencey. I didn't get the reference at the time, but after re-reading Catcher, I love that Birdsall was sending the VIB to the school that Holden was forced to leave.

It is tempting in re-reading Catcher to try to diagnose Holden. I am telling you that my son has a friend who IS Holden Caulfield. His name is Max. Oh, the future his parents have in store! It seems fairly obvious that Holden must have had ADD or ADHD, and probably some form of oppositional defiant disorder. Anxiety must also play a role. In today's world we would slap an IEP on him, and give him some meds. Would that result in a better Holden Caulfield? When I read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume to my daughter, she asked if the little brother, Fudge, has autism. Excellent question. With his behaviors, I think he would be labeled as autistic today. I am sure that someone has already done it, but it would be interesting to study the child characters of 20th century literature and apply today's labels to their behavior. We could then re-write the story, starting with "When Holden was asked to leave Pencey, his parents immediately took him to see his psychologist, Dr. Brown. Dr. Brown recommended that they consult with his pediatrician with regard to the various ADHD medications that are available on the market today. After 3 weeks on Daytrana, Holden was able to focus on his school work and attend classes." Fortunately for us, Catcher was written before that was possible. Otherwise, no one would read it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Mantra

Miles run today: 1.89 in 20 minutes, 45 seconds

Current Book: Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

Listening to: The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga

I have heard that all runners eventually develop a mantra that they say over and over in their heads as they run. I have heard a lot about running. Five years ago, when my husband completed his first Chicago Marathon, I agreed that I would do one. I set the date as 2011, because I thought that by then my kids would be old enough to leave at home, without a babysitter, for a half hour, or even an hour while I trained. They will be in eighth grade and sixth grade in the fall of 2011. We even signed a contract, which was witnessed by my son, who was 6 at the time, agreeing that I would do the marathon. Obviously, I can get out of the contract by claiming a lack of consideration. I might also throw in that a minor cannot act as a witness. Of course, contracts like this do not truly require witnesses, a fact that my husband may not know, so I may be able to snow him on that one. Anyhow, after several years of my husband complaining that 2011 was too far away, and with some of my friends agreeing that they would do the marathon with me, I moved my target date up to 2010. In 2010 I will turn 40, and running a marathon seems like an appropriate thing to do in a milestone birthday year.

So, I started my "training" in April of 2009. I think that is probably giving myself too much training time, but as a person who does not normally run at all, I may need it. My target was to be able to run a 5K by the second week in June, or roughly 8 weeks after I started training. I finally got to a 5K distance (3.1 miles) in the end of August. All through April, May, June, July and August I was running. I just couldn't get my act together to go 3.1 miles. There are a gazillion excuses (can't leave the kids home alone, racing a Port Huron to Mackinac sailboat race, being over committed in general, being on vacation, the list goes on and on), but the long and short is that it took me 5 months to get up to running 3.1 miles. At this rate, I am actually training for the 2015 Chicago Marathon. And so, the mantra that creeps through my head step after very slow step is this: I am so not a runner.
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