The thrill of victory, and the agony of… not victory.

It’s easy to make yourself look awesome on the internet. You can pick and choose who you interact with, ignore, friend, or unfriend; what information, interests, stories, and opinions you share (possibly overshare) or keep to yourself; what pictures and videos you use to show yourself to the world; even whether to be truthful or deceptive.

And it’s easy to make yourself look awesome at whatever you do. Say, for example, urban mushing. It’s easy to post pictures and videos of awesome runs and wax poetic about how fantastic your dogs are but neglect to mention the time that you fell on your head and cracked your helmet or when the dogs bolted after a squirrel and ran the scooter into a tree after you bailed out, screwing up the alignment of the handlebars, or when one dog tried to cut behind the other and ended up getting the lines and harnesses completely tangled up something like sixteen times in a row.

I was pondering this subject because I went canicrossing this weekend, and the run started very badly. As we were heading out on the trail, we passed two separate groups of dogs being walked and heading back into the parking lot, and both times my dogs made a fairly embarrassing spectacle of themselves. The command for “just keep moving and ignore that thing you don’t want to ignore” is “On By!” (kind of like a moving “leave it”), and my team made a pretty convincing case to passersby that these were really just some words I had randomly strung together because they were dogs who had not, in fact, ever heard that command before that very moment. Discouraging.

So fine. Let’s just move on and leave the past in the past and move forward… into a future where I ended up on a trail that was far, far longer than I realized in footwear that was not meant to circumnavigate the slush-covered globe and where one dog tried to cut behind the other and ended up getting the lines and harnesses tangled something like sixteen times in a row. About halfway through (although I didn’t know it was halfway, because I had no idea when or if I would ever see my home again) my feet were soaking wet and I was working on a blister that would eventually cover the entire inner side of my right big toe. (Oversharing, anyone?)

And then… I saw the deer. And then… my dogs saw the deer. And in a quavering voice I said things like “Easy!” and “Whoa!” but really meant “I’m tired and frustrated and my feet are cold and wet and I’m getting a huge blister and I’m sorta lost, and if you guys ignore me AGAIN and take off after these deer I am just absolutely going to have a meltdown inside my skull and just lay down in the snow and weep while you drag me through the woods so EASY WHOA FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHOA.”

And this is what happened:

And that Pretty Good Whoa – which in fact was quite a stupendous whoa – was the sweetest Whoa that ever was or shall be. With that Pretty Good Whoa, every bad thing about that day magically just melted away into a puddle of not-being-so-bad. And we found our way home and slept for hours.

And then I posted about it on the internet, warts and all.

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