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split pea

January 2, 2013 Leave a comment

I began craving split pea soup on New Year’s Eve, so yesterday morning I went to the market and bought some ham and dried green peas. The soup cooked up quite nicely. Along with the ham and peas, I also used carrots, a potato, some milk and butter, Canadian maple syrup, tabasco, salt, pepper, and paprika. The tabasco, pepper and paprika gave the soup a nice little zip to the flavor against the slight sweetness from the ham and syrup that I had used. It made for a good lunch and dinner on a chilly first day of 2013, and the remainder has been packed into containers for lunches at work for the rest of the week.

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When I woke up yesterday, there only remained a faint tickle which could make me cough lightly and a tiny sliver of nasal drip. Strength wise, I felt a bit off, but mostly recovered. So I decided to do the deadlifts and farmer’s walks yesterday. The decision I made was to start the 2-week plan I had begun last week over again. Somehow it made sense. Just start from there again.

The first thing is that I don’t think I was entirely full strength yesterday. One weird effect of that was the first rep of each of the 3 working sets of deadlifts felt strangely heavy. I could almost feel the aches of the flu back on Saturday in those initial reps. But the rest of the reps would tend to feel almost progressively better. And the final result was that in the last set where I would do as many reps as possible, I did one rep more than when I had used that weight the prior week. That was the clearest sign to me that I was nearly fully recovered, and that felt good, felt good to know that I was fairly healthy again and that I could get back to work on getting stronger.

It was after the deadlifts that I got the soup cooking for lunch and dinner.

In the afternoon, I took a short walk to help me get back to the goal of taking 10,000 steps every day. The effects of the flu had kept me from that for 4 days, a stretch where the pedometer only counted 17558 steps. Then late in the afternoon I did a series of farmer’s walks and in the evening I foam-rolled and stretched.

And I woke up feeling pretty nearly flu-effect free this morning. I still have a slight sensation that I can’t take a full deep breath into my lungs without the risk of coughing, but the nasal drip is completely gone. Strength wise I feel pretty good. So I guess the flu is very much behind me now and I am glad about that.

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On Saturday, when I was at my most ill, I watched Forrest Gump again. I saw it once before back in the 1990s and liked it then okay enough, although I got annoyed a great deal by the cultural tide it created where people would often say some of the Forrest Gumpisms. Saturday when I watched it I was even less impressed with it. Some of that disenchantment was due to what I’ve learned about physical effort and well-being. One of the famous sorts of scenes from the movie are the ones where Forrest is being picked upon by bullies and his childhood friend Jenny yells at him, “Run, Forrest, run!” Yeah, I’m sure all those kids back when they used to put so many of them into leg braces will tell you about the time they were able to begin running like the wind after being stuck in braces, that they were able to run themselves right out of their braces.

Yes, I realize that Forrest Gump is fictional, but even fiction has its limits. That sort of disparity with the laws of reality in Gump’s fictional universe is unbelievable to me. It very much damages the narrative.

But later I began thinking about it more. What if? I think that many times people watch Forrest Gump and get suckered into thinking to take Forrest at his word. He is just a simple man, talking plainly about things he’s seen and done. What if that’s not so? What if Forrest is an unreliable narrator? What if the movie is a tale of things that he’s imagined, that he’s fantasized, that he’s made up and lied about?

Suddenly, if you start thinking about it that way, it’s not just a somewhat melancholy tale of a simple man who achieved a lot and loved a woman, a woman who eventually came to appreciate his devotion and married him before she passed away. Maybe instead Forrest and Jenny were childhood friends, but eventually with her growing up and growing older, she left him behind, a combination of wanting to escape the location of her abusive childhood and once gone, she never wrote back to Forrest, because she found his devotion/obsession a bit too threatening and weird. So Forrest Gump is no longer a hero. He is instead just a sort of strange tragedy, someone who not because of any really conscious fault of his own, is just not well-suited to the world. One who has not achieved any measure of greatness, but has only imagined himself doing great things — playing football for Alabama, winning a Congressional Medal of Honor, running back and forth across America 3 or 4 times, has imagined himself flawlessly loving, protecting and honoring Jenny as best he can, having had a son who is just like him but finally smart. What if the last scene of the movie was completely imagined? There was no Forrest junior. It was just Forrest returning to where his bus stop was when he was a kid, and imagining that he now is sending a son of his own off to school, a son that he and Jenny had?

Now, if Forrest Gump exists as a great movie, it is not one that sees Forrest Gump as telling a straight and truthful tale, it is one where he is seen as somewhat deluded and lying, and trying to see how many of us he can con into believing he was some simple paragon of virtue out of America’s turbulent past.

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