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Jim Harbaugh will run, not walk, at Michigan

I had lunch today at my favorite neighborhood hangout, and while I was waiting for my burger, the television was tuned in to a telecast of Jim Harbaugh being named the head football coach at Michigan. At least, I think those are the correct proper nouns. I don’t know for sure because I don’t follow college football at all and pay attention only sporadically to the pro game.

A graphic on the screen during Harbaugh’s press conference noted his salary would be $5 million a year for seven years, plus incentives. This is the main reason I don’t follow college football. Because of the money involved, college sports—especially at major universities—are decadent and depraved.

I had nothing better to do than listen, though, and Harbaugh made a remark I’ve heard countless time but never really thought about: He said he was going to “hit the ground running.”

This could be taken at least two ways. Does he mean he’s already running and is going to reach down and punch the ground while he runs? I suppose this could be done. Then again, before my knees went bad, I was a distance runner, but I only hit the ground running once, in high school, when I fell in a tangle of legs in the second turn.

But I think the real connotation behind the cliché is that a person is suspended in mid-air, so to speak, above the situation she or he is heading into, and this person will hit the ground running, which is impossible, because no one can run in the air, even with arms and legs churning. But what would happen when those churning arms and legs made contact with the ground? The person would fall flat, either onto the face or the ass. I mean, watch old newsreel footage of World War II paratroopers. Their legs aren’t even moving, and they fall down when they hit the ground.

At least Harbaugh didn’t say he was going to give a 110 percent effort. Or maybe he did. By that time, though, I was eating my burger.

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Wish I'd Said It

Nota bene: “Fear has governed my life, if I think about it. ... I always feel like I’m not good enough for some reason. I wish that wasn’t the case, but left to my own devices, that voice starts speaking up.” – Trent Reznor

“I hate to say this, but not many people care what you do. They care about what you do as much as you care about what they do. Think about it. Just exactly that much. You are not the center of the universe.” — Laurie Anderson

"The path's not yours till you've gone it alone a time." – William Carlos Williams

“Filling this empty space constitutes my identity.” – Twyla Tharp

"My definition of peace is having no noise in my head." – Eric Clapton

"The wreckage of the sky serves to confirm us in delicious error." – John Ashbery

"We are all here by the grace of the big bang. We are all literally the stuff of the stars." – Dwight Owsley

"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." – Vincent van Gogh

"It is only with the heart that one can see right; what is essential is invisible to the eye." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Forget about being a perfectionist, because entropy always wins out in the end." – Darren Kaufman.

"Impermanence. Impermanence. Impermanence." – Garry Shandling

"Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion." – Mark Twain

"There is no realm wherein we have the truth." – Gordon Lish

"Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere." – E.M. Forster

“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe." – Frank Zappa

“I try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.” – Elmore Leonard

“The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.” – Voltaire

• Journal title and subtitle: Ian Hunter, “Man Overboard”

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