At the Finish Line

At the Finish Line

An unofficial transcript from Wireless News Service™

FALMOUTH – August 17, 2014. Hi, I’m Nina Murrow, Pulitzer Prize-winning vacation journalist. I’m speaking with Michael and Max Gollin, a handsome father-son team that just finished a grueling 7 mile Massachusetts beachfront road race. Gentlemen, how do you feel?

Michael: Fantastic! I hardly broke a sweat.

Max: I think I’m gonna die.

Nina: That’s terrific! Is this your first time running the Falmouth Road Race?

Max: This makes five for me.

Michael: This is my sixth year participating, and now I’m on a roll.

Nina: Wait, what? How was your time this year?

Michael: It’s the first time I finished ahead of Max since our first 5k five years ago.

Max: I felt like I was pushing as hard as I could but he was always a few feet ahead of me.

Nina: What would you say was the hardest part of the race this year?

Max: I’m gonna have to say the hills and the humidity. And the hand grips.

Michael: For me it was waking up at 5:45, but after that I took it pretty easy.

Nina: And how would you say this compares to last year?

Max: Well my pace last year was in the 7 minute mile range but this year I fell back to around 10 even though I felt like I put in more effort.

Michael: For me, finishing around a 10 minute mile was outstanding, especially considering that I was the last guy across the finish line last year, over 18 minutes per mile.

Nina: What a huge accomplishment! To what do you attribute your great success?

Michael: It was all teamwork and technique. And equipment.

Max: The thousands of screaming fans didn’t hurt either.

Michael: I agree. I feel like I had my best rapport with the crowd this year. I had a lot of freedom to interact with the spectators with thumbs up and fist pumps, and they gave me a lot of cheering, much more than Max got. That’s probably because he was always right behind me, not because they thought I was cooler or anything.

Nina: And were there any surprises for you on the course today?

Max: Well I earned my PhD on the way here.

Nina: Pardon?

Max: That’s right. I’m now a certified Pothole Dodger.

Michael: For me, it was kind of intimidating how fast the elite runners came by, men and then women. But the breeze they made was surprisingly refreshing.

Nina: How on earth did you get ahead of the elite runners?

Max: I ate my Wheaties this morning.

Michael: But in all seriousness, like many things in life it’s about who you know. The race organizers told us it was fine if we started at the front of the pack and even let us drive straight to the starting line. Olympic marathon gold medalist Frank Shorter didn’t object, maybe because my time was faster than his a few years ago and I didn’t give him a hard time about it.

Nina: Wow. Did anyone else get special treatment like that?

Michael: Yeah. A very out-spoke-n group that has been participating in the Falmouth Road Race for 40 years. The other wheelchair racers.

Nina: Ohhhhh. That makes a lot more sense. How did you divide the labor?

Max: I pushed, he rolled.

Michael: No, I pulled and he struggled to keep up. It’s all relative. Plus, I had to carry all the gear.

Nina: How did you train to be a wheelchair team?

Max: We practiced with both a standard and a lightweight wheelchair on the trail by our home in Maryland. We had help tuning them up to get rid of caster chatter. We went on a full-length practice run around Santuit Pond last week with my mom driving a pace car behind warning off crazy drivers. Running with the chair actually isn’t as physically demanding as you’d think

Michael: For me, no surprise, it was not physically difficult, other than keeping things out of the spokes. It was mentally challenging to figure out how to do it and required as much communication as a relay race. Good thing there was no baton to drop.

Nina: Did you like being on a wheelchair team?

Max: It’s good to have my dad as a running buddy again. Like when I first started running with him.

Michael: It was glorious to be out on the road with Max again. I am deeply grateful to him for coming up with the idea and sticking with it. More fun than pouring ice water on my head the other day, for sure.

Nina: Anyone you’d like to recognize for this incredible achievement?

Michael: I’d like to give a shout-out to our neighbor Gary, to Jeff Cupps who runs the Baltimore MDA wheelchair loan program, and Falmouth’s own Ron Hoffman at Compassionate Care ALS for helping us make this happen.

Max: And I’d like to thank the Santuit Striders, our family team of runners and supporters up here on the Cape, as well as all the other wheelchair runners for showing me this was possible. And my little sister Julia for running out to help push in the last mile when I needed it the most, even though I would never admit it.

Nina: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Max and Michael, for sharing your heartwarming experience with our viewers.

Michael: Thanks for having us, Nina.

Max: Thank you. Now we’re off to see more of the race. Bye until next year!

Nina: That’s all for now. This is Nina Murrow, signing off.

a fictional interview based on actual events, by Max and Michael Gollin

Pursuit of Happiness, No.2

Pursuit of Happiness

Experiment #2

Draw 4 columns on a sheet of paper or create a table using your computer.

In the first column, list all activities that make you happy. (Hopefully that’s a long list.)

In the second, list activities that make you unhappy. (Hopefully, short.)

In the third, list the opposites of the 2nd column. Rank the activities in the 1st and 3rd column in significance.

In the 4th, list the top ranked activities. Do some of them every day, and work towards doing others.

Make note of the results.

Pursuit of Happiness, No. 1

Pursuit of Happiness
Michael Gollin
August 2014

Our inalienable rights include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, according to the Declaration of Independence. Apparently Jefferson improvised that delightful last clause instead of using a more conventional list (life, liberty, property). From then until now, many have observed that the famous trio includes no right to be happy, but rather the right to pursue happiness.

The pursuit of happiness is a good organizing principle and can be used in personal decision-making to choose what to do or not do. Spiritual leaders, philosophers, and psychologists point out that finding a higher purpose, such as helping others, is one proven way to pursue happiness. There’s even a group of educators who use the phrase as their name:

Much of the trouble in the world does seem to involve people who are unable to pursue their own happiness, or people who can but don’t. For some reason, even though I am terminally ill, and losing physical abilities, I am often quite happy. I don’t fully understand why, but I do know that I pursue happiness wholeheartedly. I decided to begin exploring and sharing some things I do and some activities I made up — simple things anyone can do in pursuit of happiness.

How to be happy has been a recurring theme in my writings. Now, Pursuit of Happiness will become an occasional series on my blog. I hope that it helps you realize your rightful pursuits.


Pursuit of Happiness: Experiment #1

When you awake in the morning, wonder to yourself:
How can I help my family?
How can I help other people?

When you are going to bed, ask yourself:
How did I help my family today?
How did I help other people?

Do this for a week. Note how you feel when you awake, and when you fall asleep.


Jon Imber

I just added this to the Terminal Disease Cultural Collection and thought it worth sharing:

Jon Imber’s Left Hand (Richard Kane 2014).
-Thanks CCALS for reporting on Jon Imber.
-This is an amazing preview of a documentary about renowned painter Jon Imber, who kept painting right through the end of his struggle with ALS, switching to his left hand, and then to a brush fastened to his head. His last painting was the week he died in April 2014.
He had an unquenchable zeal for life and beauty, and was part of a loving family and circle of friends that supported him, literally, in his work, holding him up while he painted.
See for examples of his exuberant, colorful work.