Meet Tram McDooley: The optometrist behind These H1N1 Times

I remember the day I decided not to race the other boys when they broke into a sprint at recess. It had always been inevitable that, if you were walking along talking about Star Wars, electrical engineering, or Ken Griffey Jr. practicing his oboe, suddenly Zach and Ryan and the mysterious Elbow Jones would start running.


It was one of those important tests of childhood. It didn't matter whether you were actually discussing Ken Griffey Jr., the ruggedization of Death Star control systems, or even the mighty oboe: somehow the kids I went to school with could whip up a footrace from nothing but random acceleration, like God.


Whoever won was usually whoever started running first. Whoever won had carte blanche to pump his fists and laugh and deny our human worth. Whoever won could gorge himself on a view of losers standing in his wake. It was almost never me who won.  


But I did, once. I won the day I disobeyed the go-impulse, the day my feet said "No," instead of darting thoughtlessly toward a wooden fence or colored piece of rubber. That was the day I kept my pace like a treadmill and watched the other boys get smaller and farther away.


A kind of crazy power surged through me then. What was its name? The crazy power of not-running-a-race, way cooler than racing, had changed my life that day.


See, I hadn't known you could just refuse to participate. That the arbitrary trials of the universe were arbitrary for a reason: they didn't matter.

They still don't.


Pretty soon refusing to run became my best magic trick. I practiced it every day until not only did I not even flinch when a race got underway, I actually walked slower-than-usual so everyone would have to wait for me.