I've thought a lot about being elite at something over the course of my half-marathon training. As I push myself to go harder, faster, and strong each week, I keep thinking that I'm going to become an elite runner. I get pleased with my progress and weeks of training. And then I read about the Boston Marathoners and realize that those runners are going at a pace over 1.5 minutes/mile faster than me at my best, and they're going twice as far. It's just astounding. I'm now at the point where I want to be fast, but I've given up the idea of being an elite runner. But I do feel I want to be elite at something.
Since running has been crossed off my list, I've spent my time coming up with different things I could be elite doing. Here's what I've come up with so far:
- An elite music listener. I want to listen to music so well people will just associate me with listening to music like they associate Stop Signs with Octagons. They'll be like, "Did you just see David in his car? He was listening to the radio like a BOSS!"
- An elite blind opener. I want to be so good at opening blinds that whenever people need their blinds opened, they won't even think of doing it themselves anymore. There is so much that can go wrong with opening a blind; dust gets everywhere, the stick twist falls off, or the shade gets out of sync with the string, just to name a few. I want to master the craft so that I can open and close a blind perfectly on the first try. That way I can be elite at something that actually matters. Through my years of practice (literally, I've been opening and closing blinds for almost 20 years now) I've met countless people who don't even know that pulling the string to the side is a different function than pulling the string directly out. Ugghhh, the ignorance.
- An elite belt-hole-recommender. This one I'll admit is a bit out there, but I think it's got a strong potential. If you're anything like me, you've often purchased a fine belt only to become horrified at learning that your waist size is exactly between two belt holes. If you choose one the belt function is obsolete because your trousers fall to the floor like a banana peel in a monkey cage, but if you choose the other hole your pants are so tight people assume you've got a custom-ordered hip corset underneath your jeans. Someone asked me that once at a bus station. He was homeless. My goal is to be the best of the best at recommending which belt hole any person should use for a given event. It's sort of like a personal stylist, but only in the way that a dogwalker could be 'sort of' like an Olympic sprinter. I would be way more elite than a fashion stylist because I would focus on one aspect and one aspect only.
- An elite button pusher. Frankly I'm surprised button pushers aren't more famous as it is. Consider for a minute all the buttons you pressed today: Your alarm button, multiple buttons on your microwave, the radio buttons in your car, the on/off button on your computer, and the single button on your phone. Do you realize how many of these you press a day? And then do you realize how inconvenient it is? Sometimes your hands smell like BBQ and you don't want to touch anything, other times your fingers are slippery and slide off of any and everything, and sometimes (like in the case of the alarm clock) you just have no motivation to slap that sucker. Wouldn't you like some assistance for these acts performed hundreds of times a day? Would you trust just anybody to open your microwave, or would you want someone that you know you can trust to open it effectively with clean hands the first time? In walks the elite button pusher, aka Mr. Button Pusher, aka Mr. Holla Atchya!, aka At Your Service. I could be the elite button pusher for the region. It'd be so sweet.
If you have other ideas about what you want to be elite doing, or suggestions for me, please let me know in the comments.
But seriously now, there are a ton of things we can seek to be elite at. Do you know which one I'd like to achieve? An elite father. An elite husband. An elite friend. Those are the responsibilities that get no recognition but that are by far the most important. If I die having never run a 2:10:53 marathon or without being recognized as the best peanut shell opener in the world, I do want to die being thought of as the best husband, father, and friend there ever was. I have a lot of time to practice this craft, especially since I'm single with no kids, but through persistence I believe I can accomplish it.