Of Canucks, The Jewish Nation, Pills, Donuts And Endurance Sports: Separating Myth From Reality To Improve Our Lives

A myth, in my opinion. Am I correct? What is your take on the statistical relationship between law enforcement officers and the consumption and their purported frequent consumption of sugary commestibles (to quote John Cleese).

Passing bumper sticker: a myth, in my opinion. Am I correct? What is your take on the statistical relationship between law enforcement officers and their purportedly frequent consumption of sugary toroidal comestibles (to quote John Cleese).

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.” M. Scott Peck

Hi folks, welcome to my blather, which I enjoy blathering!

I had to tell this story, even though it might be a little risky to do so, it was just so unexpected. Basically, FitOldDog wonders what it’s all about.

For a good life, identify information in your head that is reasonably valid, as distinguished from that which has been planted there as misinformation during your early childhood and beyond, and repair the latter, OR be a bigoted robot (we all do that sometimes, even FitOldDog, probably every day!).

Pills and myths go together, as I discussed previously in a blog post about Shane Ellison's interesting book.

Pills and myths go together, as I discussed previously in a blog post about Shane Ellison’s interesting book. Here are the pills I take each day, plus I carry the band to let emergency medical staff know I have an AAA stent graft (could be an important part of their treatment road map).

An American [yes, this term comes with it’s issues, I know] ‘temporary in-law’ (a man of about 40 years of age, and devoutly religious), told me one day that he hated all Canadians – he sneeringly called them Canucks. I clearly remember my mental confusion, thinking, “How can a person hate a nation of people, the vastly vast majority of which he has never met, and will never meet? It doesn’t make logical sense.” I dismissed it as bizarre, until a more recent encounter with a similar, but more sinister, weirdly distorted prejudice that stepped out of a book I had just completed, and directly into my path.

This brief, but shocking (for me), meeting occurred in Cleveland OH, during a beautiful snow storm. Here is my story:



There I was, walking up the road on a fluffy carpet of bright white snow. Eight inches of it on the ground, the trees, even the road, and still snowing big dancing flakes. As I walked along the crunchy, crystalline sidewalk I decided to try to take a selfie with my iPhone, but my arms were too short to embrace the view. Then a young man approached, running in light clothing. As he passed, I hailed him, saying, “Sorry to interrupt your run, but would you consider taking a picture of me with this beautiful view in the background?”

The young man, about 18 years of age, had reddish blond hair, was about 5’10”, slim, fit-looking, and seemed open faced and young. Same age as my eldest grandchild, in fact. He reached for the proffered iPhone, then his expression abruptly changed to one of distrust, and he asked the the most bizarre of questions:

“Are you Jewish?”

I don't know if this book is appropriately balanced, but on a brief skim I seemed to be so. If anyone has a better recommendation I would appreciate the information.

I don’t know if this book is appropriately balanced, but on a brief skim it seemed to be so. If anyone has a better recommendation, I would appreciate the information.

I was briefly taken aback, but then I enquired as to what exactly that had to do with taking my picture. His expression turned from one of distrust to clear venom, as he lived the lie in his head. It was clear that if I had stated that I was in fact Jewish, he would probably have thrown my phone on the ground and run on. Instead, as I replied in the negative, my best approximation to the correct answer, whilst avoiding excessive analysis [I bet I have Jewish blood somewhere in my DNA – funny turn of phrase that makes me smile – like we all do. Hell, if I’ve got neanderthal, then I’ve probably got a bit of everything, making for good old hybrid vigor – I digress, sorry], he started lecturing me on the crimes of his hated Jews, who had destroyed his homeland apparently (yes, he was a German student). I then (foolishly?) attempted to enter into a debate, based on my somewhat fragmentary knowledge of World War II, concerning the veracity of his arguments, which were specious at best. Here is the most interesting example of my honest attempt to communicate:

Remarkable writing, chilling content that came alive for FitOldDog whilst he was walking in the snow in Cleveland, OH, USA.

Remarkable writing, chilling content that came alive for FitOldDog whilst he was walking in the snow in Cleveland, OH, USA.

Angry Young Man: “They (the Jews) threw the Palestinians out of their homes and took their land.

FitOldDog: “That is incorrect. The Jewish Nation did not exist as a geographic location at that time, and it was largely the English, along with the concordance of The Allies, who created the State of Israel in the current location. In one respect you are correct, as the decision resulted in a tragic displacement of the Palestinians, and the ongoing troubles (A word I learned from the Northern Ireland conflict as a young man, at which time I was loath to go too close to mail boxes).” [Another aside: I flew London to New York on Pan Am 103, one week before the Lockerbie tragedy. Life is dangerous for all – if one person is in trouble, we are all in trouble]

Angry Young Man: They should all be sent to Madagascar.

FitOldDog: [FitOldDog, suspecting that this was the point in the discussion at which he would have been shot under more conducive political conditions, replied] “Madagascar? You just said that you hated the Jews because they threw the Palestinians [not very Aryan?] out of their homes. Now you want to displace the Malagasy [22,000,000 right now – I had to look that up later] with the Jewish Nation [8,000,000 right now – I had to look that up too – hell, I’m pathologist athlete, not an historian].”

Angry Young Man:There aren’t very many of them (people living in Madagascar).” – he thereby lost the debate, he knew it, and he ran on angrily, after fortunately thrusting the phone into my outstretched hand!

Our debate came to a premature and disappointing conclusion.

Lockery Flight StoneThen the penny dropped. This guy had stepped out of a book I had just completed, and enjoyed reading, ‘The Book Thief.” He was a living myth, to me at least – a true Nazi. I agree with The Book Thief, Liesel Meminger, words are the answer in the end, but how to get there and survive in the meantime?

I also have to deal with being targeted by prejudice, though rarely, and in a generally mild way. My philosophy of life is incomprehensible to most Americans, as far as I can tell. When asked my religion, I’m forced to say Atheist [the most distrusted, and maybe hated, group in the USA, it would appear], even though that doesn’t describe me one little bit. Ironman HatWhen asked my politics, I say democratist – the survival of a democracy depends on healthy and continuing debate, not on one or other side of an argument! You can’t usefully define a person solely by what they don’t ‘believe,’ a term that I don’t find to be very useful, anyway. I reject the classification of Agnostic, as I am in no doubt about my philosophy, that being, “We don’t understand the Universe, but it is the most interesting place, much more interesting than some imaginary [to me – and we each have to work this out for ourselves] belief system, and instead of getting our panties all wadded up, we should be tolerant of others as best we can, and have fun learning about our World for the betterment of this entire Biosphere – one is enough for now. Oh! Yes! And try to make things better, whilst attempting to avoid taking oneself too seriously.” In fact, my philosophy of life is summed up in the words of The Galaxy Song lyrics,

Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That’s orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it’s reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the ‘Milky Way’.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It’s a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it’s just three thousand light years wide.
We’re thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go ’round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that’s the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space,
‘Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth.

and the closing song of The Life of Brian, by Monty Python:

And what has this to do with the Ironman?

The same stuff; inspiration, misinformation, prejudice, admiration, myth. People’s responses to my Ironman hat follow several specific courses, those being (a) mockery, why would anyone in their right mind want to do that? (b) admiration, you must be superman [sure!!], (c) assumed arrogance on my part, you must think you’re great, Ironman, (d) no comment, never heard of it, (e) I would like to do that, but I don’t think I ever will be able to – that’s when I work to encourage them to give it a try.

Better than sending them to Madagascar, don’t you think?

It’s true, the world is completely crazy, but I plan to enjoy the ride and keep my head down when the bullets are flying, if I can justify doing so to my conscience at the time.

-k @FitOldDog



  1. “Making sense of the Troubles” I cannot suggest any better book. I do know that the vets from that conflict are troubled souls. For me there is no sense to the Troubles. I met some provos when at Ruskin college in Oxford. There was no debate. You had to agree with them or you were an enemy. I simple questioned them on their historic inaccuracy. The reply was death threats over the phone to my wife. Strange how cowardly they were when they were confronted head on! (IRA – I Run Away)
    Also, it is clear that the Troubles are not over yet. We could yet see murder return to the streets of Ireland and England and if they do the British State will be in turmoil over it and we can expect no aid from outside, just a lot of myths being quoted at us from ill informed Americans and others.
    Yet after 9/11 we came to assist America without lecturing the States on their “imperialism”.
    The power of myth is greater than the power of history and there is little scope for reasoned debate.

    OH, and there is and extra point in your list “(f) Concern for your welfare!” Strange you missed that one out!

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.