I once heard it said that “Stupid should hurt.” I usually use that mantra when referring to the amateur lumberjack who fells a tree onto his car, or the genius who breaks bones in an attempt to set the land speed record on roller skates. We have those neighbors here in the South who pop open a can, take a swig, and say, “Hold my beer and watch this…” That never seems to end well.
There are times in a man’s life when he just has to admit his mistake, pay the damages, and try to rectify the situation… or run really fast.
While on my Sunday morning run, I saw an orange sign on the Greenway ahead. When I saw the sign, I didn’t think it meant the road was really closed. I thought maybe one of the sidewalks that lead to a neighborhood was closed. Surely they wouldn’t close the greenway! My plan was four miles out and four back. But just after reaching 1.4 miles, do you know what I found? The road was closed.
They are widening the interstate that goes over the greenway and have closed it for safety purposes. But who cares about safety when I have a run to finish? One can’t be expected to just go 1.4 miles out and 1.4 back however many times it takes! That would be too boring and I can’t even do the distance calculation for eight miles. Can’t they consider the math-impared and close it exactly at a mile marker?
These construction guys aren’t dumb, though. They know that runners and hikers will cross anything to get their mileage in, so they built an elaborate fencing system around their work – like a little greenway jail. There was no way around it besides fording the stream or crossing the busy highway.
Cars were already zooming down the highway, so I took to the water. There were enough rocks to get halfway across without getting wet. Now I was in the middle of the greenway jail and pretty much stuck. Above me, I heard the unmistakeable beeping of construction trucks in reverse.
“Surely they won’t be working on Sunday,” I thought.
And that’s really the issue, isn’t it? I didn’t think. I didn’t think the rules applied to me. I didn’t think breaking them would be a big deal. I didn’t think it was unsafe to walk past a big orange sign, yellow tape, and an intricate barrier right into a construction zone. Thinking isn’t my strong suit. Stupid should hurt.
“Hey, Get outta there!” I heard a voice above me yell. I immediately pictured an angry New Yorker with massive forearms poking out of a flannel shirt.
I began to retrace my steps out of the greenway jail, only I slipped on a rock, busted my shin, and fell into the stream in my haste. I somehow managed to squeeze around the fencing but my shirt didn’t quite make it with me, ripping a gaping hole across the left side. I couldn’t tell if anyone was following me to prosecute, so I scooted as fast as I could for a short distance before pain in my shin made me stop.
I limped the rest of the 1.4 miles – bruised, bloodied, torn, and wet. I was quite a spectacle to my fellow greenway patrons. It probably looked like I had lost a battle with a rabid squirrel. Stupid hurts.
Let this be a lesson to you kids: If you see a sign saying road closed, it might actually be closed for a good reason.
Oh, and also, stupid hurts sometimes.
Photo By Adam Dubrowa from the FEMA Photo Library. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons