If you’ve heard Episode 4 of “Missing Richard Simmons,” which was released Wednesday, than you know exactly why I’m biased. If you haven’t heard it yet, what are you waiting for? Learn how to subscribe on the official website – actually, you can listen there, too!
Guess what? You can also listen right here, because they started putting complete episodes of the podcast on YouTube, which means I can embed them here. I’ll embed Episodes 1-3 at the end of this post, in case you need to catch up, but here’s Episode 4:
So why I am biased towards Episode 4? Because there’s a big chunk in it about me. Like, three-and-a-half minutes worth! I talk about my reaction to Richard’s “Today” show phone call, and Dan Taberski, the podcast’s host/creator, talks about the weight loss success I had with Richard, plays a clip of my appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” and then goes into how I race up stairwells to keep the weight off.
The episode is called “Till the Day I Die,” and, yes, Dan really did run stairs with me, in a parking garage stairwell near my home. We discussed him joining me for an actual race, but the scheduling didn’t work out.
Me aside, what’s really wonderful about the episode is the way it dives deep into Richard’s past, paints a really detailed picture of who Richard is, and how he got that way. It revisits Richard’s childhood, the unhealthy ways Richard lost weight when he was younger, and his stint in the seminary – all stories told by Richard himself, in interviews over the years.
The story towards the end, of how Richard met his friend Joanie at a mall in Massachusetts, and the lengths he went through to keep in touch with her afterward, is touching, extraordinary, and truly indicative of Richard’s character, all at the same time. (I won’t tell you more, in case you haven’t heard it yet.) I had never heard it before, and it’s a good one.
That, in a nutshell, is why I think “Missing Richard Simmons” is resonating with so many people. (It’s still #1 on iTunes.) As Dan put it in an earlier episode, Richard is so much more than a punchline to a joke or a relatively easy Halloween costume. He’s a fascinating man who managed to influence millions of people in ways no one else could.
I’m hearing from all sorts of people in my life who are hooked on “Missing Richard Simmons,” and the underlying theme to their comments is “I had no idea.” The podcast is addressing Richard’s disappearance and examining this one-of-a-kind man’s unbelievable life by sharing the stories of dozens of people who know him, love him, and are concerned for him. I have no idea if Richard is listening, but I hope he is.
For more reading, check out this beautifully-written piece in the Washington Post. Plus, the “Nightline” segment I appeared in has been more or less transcribed and put online, in case anyone isn’t able to watch online. Read it here.
Since the podcast included mention of my stair racing, I wanted to share a couple pictures that I got earlier today. That was a pretty seamless transition, right? There were professional photographers at Hustle Up The Hancock, a Chicago race I did a couple weekends ago, and the photos were just put online. Here I am about two minutes before starting the race…
…and in the actual stairwell:
It’s not the best action shot on the planet, since my lower half is cut off, but I like it anyway, and it was free, so I really can’t complain at all.
It was also brought to my attention that I forgot, in my race recaps from that weekend, to include how I finished, compared to everyone else. WHOOPS!
At Hustle Up The Hancock, I got to the 94th floor in 19:22, and finished 688th out of 2,862 people. That’s roughly the 75th percentile! I finished 119th out of 354 in my division (men aged 30-39), and 484th out of all 1,494 men that climbed. Read my entire race recap here.
At the Minnesota Fight For Air Climb, my seven climbs up the 31-story stairwell put me squarely in the middle of the pack. 22 people finished seven climbs, and of those 22, I finished 21st. 27 people completed 8 or more climbs, and 44 people completed 6 or less. So, of the 93 people that competed in the Ultimate Climb, I finished 48th. See? Middle of the pack! Read my entire race recap here.
Statistics like this are fun, don’t get me wrong, but the real joy of these races doesn’t come from how I ranked compared to others. It comes from stepping up, embracing monumental challenges, and continuing to push myself and my body to do extraordinary things. In those regards, I’m number one, baby!
Keep it up, David!
I DIDN’T FORGET! Here’s Episodes 1-3 of “Missing Richard Simmons” in their entirety. Episode 1:
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