It’s the day after the latest round of layoffs at work. You dodged a bullet again, a bittersweet mixture of relief and guilt as you walk over the corpses of your fallen comrades.
You go to the track because that’s what you always do. You wear your “bite me” shirt in the off chance the corporate overlords happen by.
And then, you run. Because running cures everything.
You think about the ghosts of layoffs past. The lives destroyed, the futures crushed, the dreams shattered, all because stockholders required an arbitrary profit margin. You remember the days when journalism was a noble cause and not just a commodity. The Christmas you and the other True Believers got a simple Christmas bonus of cheap wine and sausage links. Such a great party. Such a perfect memory. Now, you try to forget. Mostly, you think about trying not to think.
Running is such a perfect form of meditation in stressful times. The suffering blocks the outside noise. The mantra of the track. Inhale three strides exhale three strides inhale three strides repeat as necessary. the miles drift by like so many deadlines, so many editions, so many journalists who will never work in the business again. Lives dedicated to a cause that cast them aside like a crumpled newspaper.
You hit the stop button on the Garmin. It’s your best 5k time so far in the Year of Fleshman, but it’s not a day to celebrate. It doesn’t matter. Journalism matters. Journalists don’t. But they should.
You walk back to the car and send a futile telepathic message to the evil ones who spread the self-serving gospel of Fake News, those who say we’re just getting what we deserve, and those who profit from others’ suffering. Two simple words.