Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"Remember man that thou art dust...

... and unto dust thou shalt return." That's one of the standard warnings of Ash Wednesday and it was pretty close to the words spoken by the Franciscan who dirtied my forehead this morning at St. Peter's in the Loop.

It's just what I need: Another reminder of my onrushing mortality.

Sunday night I was watching the news with Younger Daughter and Middle Son. There was a story during the show about the Hustle up the Hancock, a charity race up the stairs inside Chicago's John Hancock Building -- 100 floors, give or take.

Younger Daughter speculated that she might be able to get most of the way up the stairs, not running perhaps, at least not after the first 10 floors or so. Middle Son, the baseball player, said he could do it with no problem.

I challenged him. I have a hard time believing that anyone could undertake such a climb, much less that anyone I know. He gave me that pitying look that teenagers give: "Dad, I run stairs all the time in practice."

I said I could barely make it from the couch each night up the stairs to my bedroom. And Middle Son and Younger Daughter both laughed. (That Dad, he exaggerates so!)

But I had to climb two flights of stairs to get out the Wells Street exit at the CTA Clark & Lake Station recently. By the middle of the second flight, my legs were lead and my vision blurred. (OK, blurrier than usual.)

Some days I'm dustier than others.

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