I’m getting old.
I know that. My boys remind me when I forget. After playing soccer or basketball with my sons, my body is quick to remind me as well.
But the biggest reminder for me that I am getting old quickly is how many columns I have written that I end up having to write again because history has a way of repeating itself.
But of the thousands of columns that I have written in more than 20 years in newspapers, the last one I thought I would see resurface was the one about an Iranian ex-patriot who climbed in an inflatable bubble and tried to “run” all the way to Bermuda before being rescued by the Coast Guard.
Somehow, I assumed that event would be more unique.
In October 2014 when Reza Baluchi first made his initial ill-advised attempt, I called him a “modern day Bubble Boy meets Forrest Gump.” But even in the face of complete and utter failure, Baluchi refused to take no for an answer and loaded his part hamster wheel, part paddleboat for another attempt.
He decided to make this second effort despite the Coast Guard telling him in no uncertain terms that he was not to do it.
But Baluchi didn’t stop when he was running across Death Valley or when he ran around the entire perimeter of the United States. He wasn’t about to stop running now.
So he loaded up his satellite phone, a GPS unit, some food and a seawater filter and took off in his inflatable vessel. He had some protein bars, tuna and a hammock for sleeping when he could.
I am sure he made provisions for other bodily functions that are unavoidable and I am thankful that his website didn’t not detail what those provisions were.
Baluchi also brought chewing gum to help with seasickness. I have to think that if seasickness is an issue, maybe this voyage isn’t for you.
But quicker than you can say “don’t get in that bubble,” the hand-made HydroPod was floating into the Atlantic Ocean. Despite temperatures rising above 120 degrees inside, Baluchi was going to run all the way to the Bermuda Triangle, hop over to Puerto Rico, Haiti and Cuba and run back to Key West.
He planned on being gone for five months. He missed on that estimate by about five months.
On Sunday night, the man who said he was making the voyage to “raise money for children” was pulled from his HydroPod again.
The Coast Guard was not happy to see their old friend.
After pulling Baluchi off of his mission, the USCG said on Twitter, “HydroPod voyage from Miami to Bermuda had recently been determined to be manifestly unsafe.”
Then, they reminded people who might be sympathetic to Baluchi’s cause that he was found disoriented and in danger in 2014. It wasn’t cheap, either. And it certainly didn’t help any children.
“Adventure runner’s voyage ends after he violated a USCG order not to embark on his seagoing journey,” the Coast Guard said in a later comment on the social network.
I’m glad the Coast Guard didn’t leave Baluchi in the bubble to become barracuda bait, but you have to wonder if this guy is worth the trouble.
His main goal is “to inspire and unite people” by running through their country. He also likes to plant trees with kids to show “we all come from the same roots.”
Something tells me Baluchi’s roots aren’t as deep as they need to be.
I think the guys means well but just doesn’t know better. What he sees as an adventure for charity, the Coast Guard sees as an expensive and dangerous rescue mission.
I hope Baluchi can find somewhere dry to run next time. Hopefully his next mission doesn’t include a rescue, and I hope I’m still around to write about it.
— Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kent Bush: Bubble runner back in hot water
I’m getting old.