Fictional Histories
January 15, 2013

I wrote a story once where the main character was talking about childhood heroes. Max had grown up reading those storybook American Biographies and latched onto the fictional histories.

...(well, I wanted to be like [Kit Carson] 'til I found out he was responsible for the Navajo's Long Walk, then I'se just mad), or or how I'd like to be ole Walt Disney (well, okay, bad example, but I didn't know then that he was some kind of C.I.A. or F.B.I. spy and a McCarthy-ite to boot), or Kermit the Frog (there, see, I found one that is still good and if you know somethin' 'bout him I don't, I don't even wanna hear it).

If there was something about Jim Henson, Max - and I - didn't want to know anything about it. Leave me one hero.

People are complex. We don't live in a vacuum and we aren't as clearcut as most fiction leads us to believe. We get backed into corners or sleep-deprived or we believe the webs other people weave for us and we make poor choices. We get lost in a moment and make choices we don't think we can ever back out of, ever undo. Choices, which, when brought out into bright sunlight, we can't even fathom how we would EVER make that choice.

However naive or stupid or blind or plain dumb this makes me - I don't want to know about Lance. And I still wear my Livestrong bracelet.

I grew up primarily in Arlington, Texas, but Austin was where I started school and was my heart-home for years. Arlington and Plano had a lot in common. Lots of Texas yuppies. I didn't fit in any more than Lance fit in. Mom started telling me about this kid, just about my age, who was doing all this stuff on his bike. And why wasn't I like that? 

Of course, that was because I wasn't allowed to ride my bike more than a mile or so from home, but that's another discussion completely.

By college, I'd forgotten about him. And then he got cancer. And after that, he started winning. And then I got cancer. And I wound up in the same hospital he'd been in. A colleague lent me It's Not About the Bike.

Lance and I? We still kicked cancer's arse. Grew up a town over w/damn yuppies where we didn't fit in. Went to same hospital for cancer.

Anything else? I don't wanna know. I just don't. He's still the guy who worked harder than any other cyclist, practicing longer hours, faster, up higher mountains weeks before anyone else.

He worked hard. Smashed cancer. Started Livestrong.

His work ethic is something I admire.

And beyond that ... I don't wanna know what corners he felt he'd been backed into. What temptation he could no longer turn down.

So don't tell me what he's said now. I'm weaving a fiction of my own, a plot that helps me believe what I need to believe: that an underdog from Yuppieville, Texas, can, with great determination and a lot of work, ride to the top of the world and live strong, live free.

We have millions of stories about how the mighty fall, how they're "only" human.

I choose a story to inspire me instead of remind me how fallible we all are.

I will not cast stones because we all live in glass houses.

Posted by Red Monkey at January 15, 2013 6:27 AM | Storytelling: She was, of course, supposed to be sleeping. | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


Tara R. said:

I'm so over all this drama. Lance, whether he doped or not, was a tremendous athlete. Through his foundation his has provided immeasurable support and encouragement for thousands of cancer patients and their families. That should all count for something. I don't want to know either.

January 15, 2013 11:07 AM
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