A hopeless case

One of my favorite TV shows from the 70s and 80s was M*A*S*H, the sit-com about Army surgeons during the Korean War.

Besides enjoying the edgy story lines and black humor, I actually learned a few things about trauma care, including something called triage. That’s the system the surgeons used to divide the wounded patients into three groups:

1) Those who were likely to live, regardless of what care they received.

2) Those who were likely to die, regardless of the care they received.

3) Those for whom immediate care would make a big difference.  This is the group the doctors would really try to help.

I thought of this yesterday when I ran into a co-worker and fellow runner  in the coffee room.

This guy is a dyed-in-the-wool road runner. I call him Pavement Boy. Aside from 10-mile trail race he ran at my insistence last year, he refuses to leave his precious pavement. 

I wonder if it was because he had a rough outing at that trail race. Early in the race, he banged his head on a low-hanging branch. Then near the end, he tripped over a root and fell to the ground like a sack of cement, hitting his head on a stump. We


laughed about it on the ride home, but I thought he would get over it in a day or two and remember just the good parts of trail running.

I was foolishly optimistic. As far as I know, Pavement Boy has never again stepped foot on a trail, aside from the tame, flat towpath. 

In the coffee room yesterday, he asked me: “Did you have a good run this weekend?”

“Of course!” I said.

“I know, I know. You ran trails,” he said, looking at me with a mocking grin. “Don’t tell me how wonderful it was, because I’m not doing it.”

I bit my tongue. True, I consider myself something of an evangelist on the subject, going on and on about the joys and wonders of trails. But I’ve learned that some people just won’t be converted. There’s no use. I’ve been trying to drag Pavement Boy onto the trails for years, with a success rate of .00001 percent. 

“Relax. I’m not going to waste my breath,” I told him. “You’re what trauma surgeons would consider a hopeless case. I’ll move on to the next patient.”

He laughed and walked away.

I guess trails are an acquired taste, like artichokes or mushrooms. Some people try them once, decide they’re yucky and never take another nibble.

Trail Boy wishes he could convert the world, but it’s not going to happen.


I got my miles in this morning, but not the fun way. It rained and rained overnight, and I knew that most nearby trails — already saturated from one of the wettest Aprils on record — would be closed or flooded. So I ran 6 1/2 miles on roads in my neighborhood before work, in a light rain. My time was 56:22.

Pavement Boy would have been proud of me.


2 Responses to “A hopeless case”

  1. run2boston Says:

    I like this guy, PB. Sounds like my kind of people.

    — R2B

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