Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Sunday musings 4/17/16: Thoughts on CrossFit.com Rest Day

Sunday musings…

1) Falernum. An exotic ingredient in mixed drinks. Often appended with “velvet”.

Your coolness factor jumps by 10 with each sip.

2) Aviary. 60 and sunny in CLE. The aviary at Casa Blanco is open once again. All manner of birds have returned as our annual migration rhythms heat up with the sun.

Welcome back.

3)Art. While discussing art and whether food and cooking could be considered an art form, QuestLove expressed his skepticism: “[Food] leaves no evidence.”

I simply leave that here for you to digest.

4) Digital. While I am surrounded by things digital, both at home and at work, it is clear to me that I am not in any way truly conversant with any of them. Not, that is, in a way that bespeaks any kind of understanding about how they work on a “cellular” or “nuclear” way. It’s as if I learned a very basic skill once upon a time, and then just evolved along with all of the instruments I use as they “grew”. My wiring has really never changed it seems, whether or not the basic underlying wiring of the my digital world has changed despite what appears to be a smoothly evolved user experience built on a smoothly changed architecture.

It makes me wonder if I’m missing something in my knowledge base, even though my skill set has continued to grow. Is it necessary to understand the inside of the digital black box in order to excel at its use? If so, how does one go about doing that?

5) Offensitive. It’s Rest Day here on CrossFit.com. In our online 3 on/1 off workout regimen, our day of rest is no different than it has been since Coach evaluated his athletes at the mythical original CrossFit Santa Cruz and determined that the greatest fitness gains were occurring in those who followed this schedule. Mind you, these were regular folks, just like you and me, even those who would one day go on to mythical status themselves. As such today is just another day of recovery for the 99%ers among us, doing CrossFit for the sole purpose of increasing our fitness, our health, our general ability to surmount the unknowns coming at us tomorrow.

Rest Day on CrossFit.com is not the same, though. Not even a little bit. T’was a time when Rest Day was an opportunity to exercise your brain muscle around a bit of mental mischief in the form of a quote, link, or other prompt. The comments section was a veritable sea of ideas and ideology then, roiled by Coach’s choices of topic, and stoked by his taste for intellectual conflict. “Coach likes it a bit rough” was how it was explained to me by my friend “Mitymous”, one of the moderators.

Almost everything about Rest Day back then was fun. Even the “Groundhog [Rest]Day” exercise of explaining to newcomers that yes, this was done on purpose, and no, it’s not going to change because it makes you (pick one): uncomfortable, anxious, marginalized or angry and offended. We all either engaged in the rough and tumble debate of the day, or just skipped the Main Page every fourth day and waited for the next WOD. Those who stayed for the intellectual intercourse had the opportunity to sharpen their debate skills against foes left, right, and center, while, at least in my case, fine-tuning how they really did feel about any number of complex and timely issues (global climate change, wealth redistribution, the politics of nutrition, etc.).

What makes me think about this today? We have a perfectly lovely story about a 90+ year old fellow living well because he has looked decrepitude in the eye and said “not me”. Not very controversial. Not too very likely to generate much give and take. As is my wont I was reading this morning before sitting down to muse and I came across this gem from Leon Wieseltier, a critic: “A democratic society is designed for the giving and taking of offense, and if you have the privilege of living in one, you should thicken your skin.” How wonderful is that? Make just a couple of tiny little changes–substitute “Rest Day” for “democratic society” for example–and I would have been thrilled to have written that in response to any one of the many who were offended by the mere posting of Coach’s articles.

Make no mistake, I understand where Rest Day has gone and why. We were once insiders here, the early adopters, enjoying a bit of the privilege of being among the first on a newly discovered planet if you will. We shared that rebel’s spirit, a bit of the “us against the [fitness] world crusade. Pushing back against other orthodoxies on Rest Day was just another way to join Coach in thumbing our noses against any number of issues that were seemingly “solved” by a consensus built upon opinions rather than data. We honed our games on Rest Day topics so that we were on our games discussing CVFMPRHI and WCABTMD.

Think about it. Our American form of governance was once like that, like CrossFit the program in the early days. America itself was like CrossFit the company. A tiny little rebellion forging its own way in the face of a worldwide consensus just waiting for them to fail. Neither is so small any longer. Neither is new or tiny. Both have proven that each is at least some sort of correct or right, perhaps even better. “Living” in both is a bit of a privilege, whether we pay taxes (pay membership dues) or not (use CrossFit.com programming in a garage). Both are still boiling pots filled with controversy, ripe with offense for the taking if you are so inclined. Me? I’m an old Rest Day guy; I’m inclined to agree with Wieseltier. It’s a privilege to be able to be offended by issues that in all probability have no relevance to your day-to-day, minute-to-minute life. Debate issues not personalities or people. Strive for better. In so doing we should collectively thicken our skin.

Perhaps Coach will resurrect the Rest Day of yore to help us train.

I’ll see you next week…