People are lazy. That's a simple fact. The earth rotates around the sun, water turns to ice when it freezes, Tara Reid is a waste of space and people are lazy. After all, the only reason we work at all is so that we can rest later. For thousands of years, people worked hard, suffering and sweating, until one day they invented air conditioning and the Internet. Now we sit indoors and send each other electronic chain letters and links to funny websites. And that's okay. That's how life is supposed to be. That's progress.
When our forefathers founded this nation, I don't think they dreamed that we'd always wear funny wigs, uncomfortable clothing and work on farms. They were aware of what technology could accomplishthey'd seen the Spinning Jenny, yesterday's equivalent of the iPodand they knew mankind had the potential to accomplish great things. They didn't know exactly what those things were, but neither did the folks in the 1950s who prophesized that we'd all be riding hovercrafts by now. You win some, you lose some.
But every once in awhile, someone comes along and rejects technology, denies the progress that our ancestors worked so hard to give us. The Amish come to mind, as do the Mennonites and novelists who insist on writing their works of great literature on a typewriter. Did you know that you can buy typewriters on Amazon.com? But if you only have a typewriter, how do you visit Amazon.com? That, my friend, is a question for the ages. Or at least the next five minutes.
But now someone else has arisen, someone who rejects modern technology as thoroughly as Tara Reid rejects sobriety. There is a single man who does by himself, with sheer muscle and willpower, what a car could do much more efficiently. Last summer, Dean Karnazes, just an average American man with a hard-to-pronounce last name, ran 262 miles without stopping.
The obvious question, of course, is why. Was Karnazes chased from his quiet suburban home by a ravenous tiger? Did Dennis Hopper tell him that if he stopped or slowed down, they'd blow up the bus on which Sandra Bullock was riding? Of course not. According to Karnazes, the answer was much simpler. "I wanted to see if I could make it 10 marathons without stopping," he said.
I, too, wanted to see if I could make it 10 marathons without stopping. So I put on my trusty sneakers, grabbed my Spinning Jenny, and set off down the street to see what would happen. Did I make it? Of course not. For me, the answer to the 10 marathon question is no. Did I make it 10 miles? No. Did I make it 5 miles? No. No, no, no, no. I ran three miles before the panting and sweating became too much and I returned to my apartment and took a nap. And the only reason I made it that far is because I actually like running and have been doing it fairly regularly since high school. If Karnazes had tried something else, like swimming, I wouldn't have made it to the end of the pool. I never had swimming lessons as a kid, and while I can successfully wade around without drowning, the dogpaddle will only take me so far. That's why God invented jet skis.
It took Karnazes over 75 hours to run his 10 marathons, which makes me wonder when he stopped to eat and urinate. I've seen marathons on TV, I know about the rest stations with the Dixie cups full of water. After 75 hours, those Dixie cups add up. Where did he go? He didn't stop, so he must have gone while in motion. I will leave the rest of this mental image for you to picture on your own, but I will say this: it is my firm belief, as I believe in a jet-skiing God and the notion that John Lennon was right, the Beatles probably were bigger than Jesus (who lived a long time ago, before the invention of vitamins and high calorie diets, and was probably short and skinny), that no one, ever, should empty themselves while moving. There are toilets, trees, shrubbery, litter boxes, even brick walls for you to use. The human race has come a long way, and while we still have much father to go, I think we've covered the topic of stationary waste disposal units pretty thoroughly. Jesus may not have had Flintstone vitamins in his day, but he did have holes in the ground. If peeing while running is in your best interest, you're doing something wrong.
After reading about Karnazes's unnecessary rejection of all that Henry Ford and Thomas Crapper stood for, I started to reevaluate my own life. When I was little, I didn't take swimming lessons because I was interested in horses. I started riding at age six, and only stopped when I went away to college and the horses wouldn't fit in my dorm room. But I wasn't a cowboy, I didn't explore the Wild West, so why did I bother to master an archaic mode of transportation? I'm just as technologically guilty as Karnazes, although a bit more sanitary.
So who is the Karnazes guy, and what else does he do besides run a lot? Does he live in the woods, communing with nature and eating only small rodents and elderberries? No, he lives in San Francisco with a wife and kids. He swam across the San Francisco Bay, ran a marathon to the South Pole, mountain-biked for 24 hours straight and regularly goes running in the middle of the night, up to 100 miles, sometimes ordering pizza along the way.
Yes, that's right. Karnazes eats pizza while he runs. "I'll give them my coordinates, where I'll be at a certain time, and they'll deliver a hot pizza," he says, and suddenly I'm inspired to work out. I would totally start running more if I had a slice of pepperoni pizza with me. This, my friends, is what makes Dean Karnazes the best athlete of all time. Anyone who can run and eat pizza at the same time is my personal hero. So long, Gandhi, so long Mother Theresa, you two have nothing on Karnazes and his pizza. With a single phone call to Pizza Hut, Karnazes has achieved the perfect balance of technology and human independence that we have been looking for. Dean Karnazes might not need a car or a toilet or even air conditioning, but he does need stuffed-crust pizza.
So man has not toiled in vain. We are still lazy, water still turns to ice, and Tara Reid still lives a pointless existence. Karnazes proves that a life of balance is possible, and the Beatles will always be bigger than Jesus. Well, unless he stands on stilts.