Run for your life: A duty to your health

“No, you can’t always get what you want/But if you try some times you find/ You get what you need.” (Credit: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards)

And what we need is people who can wish the future into being. A good example of this is Brendan Dagan announcing this week that the 41st Shelter Island Race will start at 5:30 p.m. on June 20, 2020. What joy it will be to see you there as a runner, walker or supporter. We will never return to normal without people who plan beyond the current troubles.

We have two options to bring Shelter Island’s karma back. Our consciences broadcast on two channels (remember Jiminy Cricket?). You will have to pick. The first channel is “All About Me.FM (AAM.FM).” My columns consistently broadcast on this channel because I thought it was the easier sell to get people off the couch.

Everything was about you — how the mental, spiritual and physical benefits come from walking, jogging, running or, at the very least, to get you off your butt. It was all true and heartfelt. The message is appealing, but not very persuasive. Everyone should recognize that exercise is not an option and should not require sugar coating. Our bodies need continuing maintenance at home, on the roads and/or using the FIT Center (soon, I hope). In a month of binge-watching Netflix, even a trained marathoner will be back where most of us are today

There is a second channel: “All About Us.FM (AAU.FM).” This station recognizes that the health we need to worry about is about all of us. American’s strength is measured by our collective health. In this COVID-19 world, we need all hands on deck, especially for those jobs that we routinely ignore. It was easy to ignore them because they are performed by faceless and invisible people who provide the logistics for food, drugs, and other essentials. You may know the heroes at our IGA, but consider that behind them are the thousands of truck drivers, warehouse workers, vendors and suppliers.

We can ignore this broader responsibility, but we cannot change reality. It’s silly for our economy to bankrupt people to pay for basic healthcare. The frontline people whom we now honor are the same ones most in need of adequate primary health care. They give us hope in this very uncertain time; hope that we will come out of this pandemic a stronger, more compassionate and understanding community than today.

So, which channel do you choose? Consider the choice as a coin flip of ‘Me’ or ‘Us.’ You might think the result is 50:50. That’s not true. There is a third result if the coin lands on its edge — teetering which way to fall, allows us to choose the best. Your health, and health care, like war, is too important for the politicians.