Unnoticed

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It is amazing how many things go unnoticed. But it is hard to think of them all because they are… unnoticed.

My aunt Sadie used to say that dust in her house went unnoticed until it was thick enough to write “pig” in it with your finger. Then she’d get to work.

So, going from unnoticed to noticed can be important. That’s what TV shows like X-Factor and America’s Got Talent or Britain’s Got Talent are all about. Just ask British singer Susan Boyle or Bianca Ryan, the first winner of NBC’s America’s Got Talent at the age of eleven. Or even you – in the back row with your hand up in third grade when you just had to go…you know where!

Getting noticed can even signal important steps forward for a civilized nation like the United States. Elihu Root, cabinet secretary under President Theodore Roosevelt, once said, “Cruelty to men and to the lower animals as well, which would have passed unnoticed a century ago, now shocks the sensibilities and is regarded as wicked and degrading.”

Then there are those things that, though they were once remarkable, startling and even historic, become unnoticed when they become commonplace.

Who notices jet plane contrails criss-crossing the clear blue sky on a summer day, anymore. There was a time when it was only one step short of science fiction to zoom across an entire continent, from New York City to LA, in the time between lunch and dinner.

And how about heart transplants? The first one shocked the whole world just before Christmas in 1967. Now 2,000 go just about unnoticed in the U.S. every year and 5,000 worldwide.

One of the most remarkable changes from noticed to unnoticed that I recall learning about in school was the 2,500-year-old story about the soldier Pheidippides who ran from a battlefield near the town of Marathon in Greece, to Athens to announce the defeat of the Persians. He died finishing his 26-mile run. That was remarkable. It certainly got noticed.

But today, in one year alone, 2015, in only one of many cities across the nation, New York City, more than 50,000 Americans, both men and women, ran that first Marathon runner’s distance of 26 miles just for fun and a little friendly competition. And except for running fans and a single day’s news feeds, it went almost unnoticed by most of our 325,000,000 fellow citizens.

So, how about accepting the Jamestown Gazette’s invitation this week to cheer on about 500 athletic, and pretty ordinary, folks who will be in town to run a half-Marathon, 13.1 miles in an average of just a blip more than 2 hours on Sunday morning. Just a fun run between breakfast and lunch.

It could be fun to stake out a few feet of sidewalk, cheer, wave and take notice of something truly remarkable that has become so ordinary as to also be nearly unnoticed in our day.

The Lucy Town Half Marathon and 5K Run for 2016 will be a wonderful way to rollout a real Jamestown welcome for guests who come here to do something really noticeable for our fair city… and have a lot of fun doing it, too.

Enjoy the day, and while you have your very own Jamestown Gazette in your hands, enjoy the read too. And share a copy with a runner or spectator from Utah or Alaska or Canada if they notice you.

Walt Pickut
Editor
The Jamestown Gazette

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.