i quit flossing yesterday
(or why I'm exactly like lou gherig)
Yesterday, after 149 consecutive days of flossing - a new personal record - I took a day off. I was jet-lagged and cranky and I simply forgot before I remembered that I was too tired to get out of bed. I'm not sure when I'll start again. Definitely not today. Maybe when I get home. Probably not never.
Lou Gherig played 2,130 consecutive baseball games before he took a day off. He never played baseball again. In at least one way, I'm exactly like Lou Gherig. In January 2005, I missed an episode of E.R. due to a technical difficulty with a VCR (remember those). Until that particular Thursday, I had never missed an episode. (I once had to watch an entire season premier on mute, but that's another story.) My point, is that after that night, I never went back to E.R. I quit, cold turkey, just like Lou Gherig.
I've got a bunch of these "all or nothing" stories. I usually chalk it up to having an "addictive personality" or maybe an acute case of OCD. Or it could be that I'm a quitter.
Sometimes, I suppose, there are good reasons to be a quitter. Maybe quitting the thing actually readies you for the next thing. Or maybe the thing you quit simply isn’t good for you. Maybe you have a really really good reason to quit.
A month after his 2,130th game, Lou Gherig was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In his farewell speech, he nevertheless declared, “today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.” That same speech ended with the words, “Thank you.”
Gratitude in the face of illness, despair, chaos, pain, angst, rain, bad refs, stale chips, slow drivers in the left lane, jet-lag… I haven’t found it yet. In this way I am decidedly not exactly like Lou Gherig.
I'll start flossing again. Someday. Probably soon. And it won't have anything to do with dental hygiene. I just won't want to be a quitter. At least not in this way.