Reclaiming Overton Park
I am generally not superstitious. However, I am now convinced that the number “13” is definitely unlucky. That’s because on October 13, 2013, during the course of my daily run, I was assaulted in Overton Park by two gentlemen (sic). They stole my iPhone, but they had to break my jaw in two places to do it. Well, actually, they only had to break my jaw in one place, Overton Park.
If the truth be told, they actually didn’t have to break my jaw at all. Had they just stopped me and asked for my iPhone, I probably would have given it to them, particularly since one of them had a gun.
But the important point here is that even though I am sixty-one years old and, like the classic Notre Dame walk-on, Rudy, I am “5 foot nothing,” these two gentlemen (sic) thought they had to break my jaw in order to get my iPhone. What this means is, at least to thugs, I appear to be a pretty tough guy, so in the words of Bill Murray as Carl Spackler inCaddyshack, “I kinda got that going for me.”
Over the past few weeks I have undergone two oral surgeries, which by the way, should not be confused with the late televangelist (Oral Roberts), or the former pitcher for the Dodgers (Orel Hershiser).
The first procedure was to put a wire in my jaw, temporarily rendering me speechless and suspending my career as a trial lawyer.
The second procedure was to fit me for a retainer much like the type I wore in junior high school when my parents were trying to give me straight teeth. The one benefit I might receive from thugs fracturing my jaw is that by Christmas I may finally have straight teeth.
And thanks to a steady diet of nothing but soup and smoothies, I am now as skinny as I was when I wore a retainer in junior high school. (Warning: I do not recommend this as a good way to lose weight.)
During my recovery, I have received many get-well cards, emails and text messages. I have appreciated every one of them. They have lifted my spirits and given me some very good advice. Specifically, here’s some of the recommendations I’ve received on how I can avoid future fractures to my jaw or any other parts of my anatomy:
1. Run with a dog.
2. Run with a Navy Seal.
3. Run with a gun.
4. Stop running and take up smoking and drinking.
I’ve already tried the first recommendation, running with my dogs Atticus and Scout. The problem is that Atticus and Scout are Beagles, not Rottweilers. If confronted by an outlaw, they will not attack him. They will simply roll over on their backs so that he can rub their tummies while he robs me.
I do have one buddy who’s a Navy Seal – Jim Terry – but he’s one of the people who have encouraged me to pursue recommendations 3 and 4.
Last Sunday I did something that while it will not make me safer, did make me feel a lot better.
I was propped up on my couch watching the Titans play the Rams, when I looked out the window and noticed that it was a spectacularly beautiful November Sunday. And then I realized what I had to do.
I had to reclaim Overton Park.
I laced up my Nikes and headed out the door, this time without an iPhone (I may be dumb, but I do eventually figure these things out.)
Within a few minutes, I was back on the trails of my beloved Overton Park. I will admit that I was more than a little nervous when I crossed the spot where I was attacked three weeks ago. But there were no thugs in sight, just a beautiful path of yellow and orange and red leaves.
I was home again.
I will be running again in Overton Park on Saturday, December 7, and on that occasion, I will feel very safe.
I will feel safe because I will be running with over 12,000 friends, as we run miles 8 to 10 of the St. Jude Marathon.
I might even take my new iPhone so that I can take a few photos along the way.
In the meantime, I am looking for a third dog. Atticus and Scout and I need a running buddy, preferably a very fast Rottweiler.