The Triumph of Tragedy

In the evening the reporter said to me, “You know what’s sad? We’ll always be deprived of the real dramas?”
“Who?” I asked
“Us. We reporters and readers and viewers.  We report on the hubbub beforehand. We stick around for the successful ascent afterwards. But what really takes place is something we can only guess at.” He looked up at the mountain.

In the 23rd hour of the ascent, the leader of the climb asked Dr. Bettmann to look at his blackened face and hand and take his pulse. They looked at one another and Dr. Bettmann said, “Have you asked the team to get their gear ready?  It should take 8 hours to get back down. It would be too dangerous to go on …….”

The next morning the reporter was packing his things to return to New York City.
“They’re coming down,” he said.  Weather. Avalanches. Snow blind. They can’t make it.”
“Shouldn’t you stick around to report it?” I asked.
“I don’t want to patronize you, my friend, but you need either a glorious triumph or a horrible tragedy. An unspectacular retreat is nothing more than a few lines on page three.”
“But the retreat is part of the experience.”
“That’s what I said is sad. We can never know the experience.” He looked up at the mountain.

Even before the last body was brought down, the railway within the tunnel built into the mountain had reduced its trips. The reporter found me in one of the cars. It was stopped two miles up at one of the three stations that opens out onto the mountain through windows built into the mountainside.

He sat down next to me. “It’s a terrible tragedy.”
“I thought you went back.”
“I just want you to know I’m sorry about what I said yesterday. I apologize. America will never forget these men.”
We looked at each other.
“You stayed because you got your horrible tragedy.” I said.
“I’m terribly sorry.” He said. “Let’s go back to New York together.”
“I’m not going back to New York.”
We looked at each other.
“I’m not going back. There are too many people like you there.”


About judyjablow123

In my youth I was a world class tournament golfer. I earned an MA in history at NYU, after which I knew I had had enough of academia. I have remained a student of history. I have a strongly personal - almost entirely negative- take on the contemporary pharmaceutical and mental health industries. That was the impetus for my Bluepolar blog, which will also include stuff on sports, history and anything else that strikes my interest.
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