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The Penguin Archives

Category Archives: The Penguin Archives

Happy Trails

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Venturing off-road leads to simple yet profound discoveries. I’ve never been much of a trail runner. Okay, I’ve never been much of a road runner either, but that’s not the point. As one whose feet never get more than an inch off the ground, I worry about bumps in the sidewalk. So it’s hard to imagine encountering branches, roots and rocks. But I finally gave in. With all the hoopla about the pleasures of trail running, I thought I should at least see what the fuss was about. And to my surprise, I discovered a fun, new running environment. It…

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When one door closes…

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The surest route to running satisfaction may be the path of least resistance. My grandfather had many favorite expressions – nearly all of which are unfit for publication. But the one he used often as a means of defusing disappointment over some failure was: “When one door closes, another door opens.” In the years since his death, I’ve often changed this expression to reflect my own uniquely pessimistic outlook: “When one door closes, another door closes.” There were times, I assure you, when that seemed to be the case. More often than not, though, my grandfather was right. In most…

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What I know now… that I wished I’d known then…

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In no particular order: Size matters, at least when in comes to shoes. I’d worn size 8 1/2 shoes since I was 17 years old. So at age 42, when I went to buy my first pair of running shoes,  I bought–you guessed it–size 8 1/2. I didn’t even bother to try them on, I was so sure they would fit. And they did fit. Sorta. I thought that running shoes should hug my feet, make my toes feel “snug,” and be laced up so tight that they nearly cut off my circulation. I didn’t lose all of my toenails…

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Never Say Never, again

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It’s not too late to be what you might have been By John “The Penguin” Bingham One of the insidious maladies that plagues middle age-and, at 54, I’m solidly into middle age-is a fading memory. I’m not talking about a serious medical condition here. I’m talking about the blurring of what was, with what might have been, with what really is.  For some people, the older they get, the better they think they used to be. For me, the older I get, the more I think I could have been.  And I doubt I’m the only person who ever dreamed…

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Are We There Yet??

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January 2000:  Are We There Yet? I’ve always liked traveling by car. And, I’ve always subjected my family to my terminal wanderlust. On many occasions my then young son would moan from the back seat, “Are we there yet?” My response was always. “Yep, we’re here.” He would sit up eagerly and look out the window. Then, in a disappointed voice, he would say, “Aw, Pop, this isn’t where we’re going,” to which I would reply, “But this is where we are!” He was not a happy traveler. Every time I started a journey of fitness and better health, including…

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Up In Smoke

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Penguin Chronicles: January 2012 I’m a smoker. Well, I used to be a smoker. So I’m an ex-smoker. Or a former smoker. I’m not sure. What I do know for sure is that for 25 years I never went anywhere without a pack of cigarettes. I told myself that I was an intentional smoker, not a habitual smoker. I intentionally had a cigarette as soon as I woke up. I intentionally had a cigarette with my morning coffee, and mid-morning, and before lunch, and after lunch, and mid-afternoon, and – well – you get the idea. And I always intentionally…

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Better Than Ever

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When all you are is all you can be. One of my favorite books is a little tome by Jess Laire entitled “I Ain’t Much, Baby, But I’m All I’ve Got” (Doubleday: New York: 1972) I happened to read it at an earlier time in my life – where being what I was, wasn’t all I wanted to be. The shortest synopsis of the book is that you are what you are and you can choose to spend your life frustrated by what you aren’t or learn to be grateful for what you are. In those days, my goal was…

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Never Say Never, Again

By | Personal, The Penguin Archives | One Comment

It’s not too late to be what you might have been One of the insidious diseases that strikes at middle age, and trust me at 54 I am solidly into middle age, is one’s memory fading. I’m not talking about a serious medical condition, I’m talking about the blurring of what was with what might have been with what really is. It’s not so much that the older I get, the better I used to be, but that the older I get, the MORE I think I COULD have been. What I used to think of as merely broken dreams…

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Correct and Redirect

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Starting out without starting over. You never know when some tidbit of wisdom is going to drop into your life. Often the most salient advice comes when you least expect it. Like when getting a haircut. I’ve always had issues with my hair. As a kid, when I went to the barber it was a matter of sitting in a chair while this giant man with clippers ground away at my head. It ranked second only to going to the dentist as a frightening, helpless experience. Of course, there are no barbers anymore. At least none that I can find….

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The Popeye Syndrome

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What I learned while searching for my own can of spinach. People are always calling me names. I’ve been labeled a baby boomer, a hippie, a yuppie, cool, uncool and clueless. In addition to these, I’m part of the Television Generation. It’s true. Growing up, I spent time with Roy and Dale, the Lone Ranger, Pancho and Cisco, and Sky King. I learned about truth, justice and the American Way from Superman, a guy who flew around in a red-and-blue leotard with a cape. I thought families looked like Ozzie and Harriet and behaved like the Cleavers. Well, I thought…

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