Internet and cable news pundits have been breathless all day long with the news that 62-year-old long distance swimmer Diana Nyad had to end her fourth –– fourth! –– attempt at swimming from Cuba to Florida. It’s not enough that Nyad is in knockout shape and has more energy than most people half her age. She has an exhibitionistic urge to put herself through ghastly tortures for international cameras, including (dear God!) getting stung on the lips by jellyfish, to prove a vague point about how she’s chasing her dreams, and we can, too. Call it “inspiration porn.”
Yes, what Nyad did is impressive. Someone who dips themselves in bacon grease and attempts hand-to-hand combat with a grizzly bear is also impressive, in a trying-too-hard kind of way. One attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida is brave. A second try is nostalgic. A third try is spotlight-hogging. A fourth attempt feels like a cry for help. The next time she’s feeling restless, maybe she should try a pint of Blue Bell Red Velvet Cake. Calms me down every time.