My 29-year-old daughter, the PhD., is training for her first marathon. Last weekend, in the crushing heat and humidity, she woke up at five in the morning and did a 15-mile training run.
She called me afterward. She likes to talk. And you get only one old man.
"Dad," she said, "It was rough."
"Like the Bataan Death March, I assume." Using a reference her generation--probably anyone born after me, would find abstruse, at best.
I explained the death march. Where in blazing heat and humidity the Japanese marched 60,000-80,000 Philippine and American prisoners 70 miles through the jungle, watching thousands of them die along the way.
Sometimes, work feels like a death march. There's too much to do. Too many people. Too many assignments. Too many opinions. And certainly too many deadlines.
Of course, this is melodramatic. I sit at my desk most often, in a lovely air-conditioned space. I can spin in my chair and see the beautiful Hudson and an occasional wistful sail-boat sliding by.
Nobody hits me.
All things considered, I'm competitively paid.
Still, in weeks like the past one, you can often feel like you're at the wrong end of a shooting gallery. That no matter how many hours you burn, or how expeditious you are, well, the bullets just keep coming.
But now, now, it is Friday.
It's still just before 9 and virtually no one else is in. At least up here on the creative department's floor. And we've made it to Friday.
Of course, we'll have work this weekend. email to read, things to review. Eyes to dot and tees to cross.
But we've made it through another week-long death march. And we have a small bowl of rice to savor.