You may have noticed it has been smokey. Actually, it’s been smokey for a bit longer than I think any of us would prefer. Perhaps you are like me and the smoke has cut into your running a bit. I know some of us have not really appreciated the lack of a good running outlet- and if you have kept up running I’m sure you have felt the effects. It’s not the most pleasant thing. It kind of makes it hard to think. In my case though, I don’t know how to turn the thinking thing off. So as I’ve been peering out into the apocalyptic haze every day longing to go out into the hills but often not sure if it is a great idea, I have been looking around a lot. One thing I’ve noticed with all this smoke filled nonsense is the fond memories of childhood that revolve around the Alley Viper.
When I was a child I had a G.I. Joe action figure called an Alley Viper. The Alley Viper was an urban assault trooper for Cobra (that’s the “bad guys” for those of you not familiar). G.I. Joe guys came with file cards on the back of the packaging that we (as children playing with the action figures) would cut out and save. The file card for the Alley Viper described part of their training involving running down a hundred meter gas-filled corridor without a gas mask. The implication was of (of course) that this was not training to learn something so much as it was a test to weed out the weak.
Now, it’s not every day that I look to the “bad guys” for inspiration or life lessons, but I did always like to try and put myself in other people’s shoes- and that even included fictional characters. The Alley Vipers were tough. The Alley Vipers could get a job done. The Alley Vipers were reliable. Sure, as an adult, you may wonder why their uniforms were sometimes bright orange and blue camoflauge- but G.I. Joe was not really made for adults and as kids me and my friends all thought they looked awesome. And when you’re a kid, the idea of someone who is tough, reliable, gets the job done, and looks awesome all sounds pretty great… come to think of it, that still sounds pretty cool even as an adult.
So as we wait out the effects of this awful fire season I think it might not be so bad to imagine what it’s like to be an Alley Viper. I’m going to reach down inside myself and imagine I can do things. I’m going to imagine I am tough. I am going to realize that I (and we) can get through this. Sometimes seeing a thing in your mind is the first step. Whether you run in the smoke (just like an Alley Viper) or stay home with the air conditioner on just remember you are going to get through this. Also know that I already own bright orang pants and am looking for a shield and helmet on eBay as we speak- contact me if you have any leads.