Jennifer Anderson began April’s London Marathon intent on besting an existing record contained in Guinness’ World Records, for running a marathon wearing a nurse’s uniform. She did – bested the established record. So she thought – crossing the finish line at 3:08:22, faster than the record-breaking time on the books of 3:08:54. Guinness said she didn’t – didn’t break the record – because the outfit she wore wasn’t proper. Is that not the proper British way of saying what was said? Who cares?
Nurse Anderson wore blue scrubs. Her supposed failure was she didn’t don a traditional cap, a pinafore apron, and a blue or white dress. What period of time was Guinness dragging us? Did the definition of a nurse’s uniform derive from the trove of Eighteenth Century Romance novels found under the editor’s foot board?
Nurse Comwell slid the brass spittoon in place. The vessel was cool to touch. Madelyn wasn’t. The metals emitted a muted tinge, brass against the iron running board. Her dying patient was not aroused by the contact, not so in her head; Madelyn’s desires were awaken. She adjusted her pinafore apron, the blue uniform next, followed by the nurse’s hat sitting on the rear portion of her head – much like an invasive phallic symbol – standing at attention, claiming possession of tousled, auburn hair.
Jennifer doth protest – she knew, just knew, as did the public, Guinness read the wrong novel. She explained to Guinness its type of uniform was outdated. Days later Guinness agreed, ruling she did – win.
Guinness didn’t say what it based its reversal. I imagine they probably heard the howls of those nurses who have cared, pinched, cajole others over the years; running hospitals, clinics, nursing home – nursing family members when off-duty – whispering, when moving from place to place, to others higher in rank to stop, “before you kill him.”
I muse to say the competition didn’t have a chance. Nurse Anderson was in her element, running hither and yon with ease. She probably had time to tell other runners to correct their posture, alter their running style, or to stop running on the side of their feet. At the three mile post she passed a colleague. She whispered he should stop at the next rest station – “your color is off a little” – doubling down, increasing her pace, while sweat properly wicked within the scrubs, doing what they were designed to do. The advice Nurse Anderson bequeathed is not the point of this mythical musing. The competition didn’t have a chance because Nurse Anderson was running in well-worn scrubs, washed repeatedly, folding and bending with the contours of the body as she ran. Riding the back of Pegasus, dismounting half-way through the course and mounting Flicker, and two hundred meters from the finish line dismounting, looking around to see if she had any paperwork to do, and computer entries to make, prior to crossing the finish line in record time.
Postscript: Maybe she knew she could do it because her mother was of the switch persuasion – pulling, tugging, ripping a branch from the tree, causing her to fun faster than humanly possible to do what she told her mother she had done, supposed to have done, four hours before. The dishes remained mounted in place, the kitchen floor still contained specs of food she had been told to sweep and mop, the dogs still had not been fed. She didn’t know the dogs told, jumping and knocking on mother’s bedroom window. She ran. She ran fast – fast-fast. Washing, moving from station to station, keeping her head down, mouth shut, cleaning, sweeping, thinking what profession she would be able to join to use her considerable multi-tasking skills and knowledge – how best to run from a switch – Pegasus’ and Flicker’s absence – and the type of uniform worn – be damned.