Living Milestones

You know…

Mouse and I met up with Bryson in midtown the other night.

Me: We’ll go where ever your little heart desires, my friend. Of course, dinner is on me. Up to $4.23. I’m not super generous.
Him: Let’s let Mouse decide. If we do sushi it will be at a place that serves Nakaoche. Otherwise, how about The Meatball Shop?
Me: Fair. Hold on. (checking with Mouse, then back to Bryson) She said the better place to get snockered.
Him: The Meatball Shop it is.

We met up at around 8PM and ate a ton. But really, we drank most of our calories that night.

Him: Are you enjoying your girlie drink?
Her: He’d prefer to have an umbrella in it.
Me: Wait, is that an option?

And we talked about old times and old friends. It was nice having Mouse there to have someone hear our old stories.

Me: We used to be toe-to-toe once. You’re one of the few people that’s seen who I once was.
Him: (laughing) That was a long time ago, Logan. I’m way ahead of you now.
Me: I know, I resent it.

He and my buddy Steele came together to see my dad to learn sushi-making before he passed. It meant a lot to me that it was the two of them.

That’s the thing with friends; there’s the living milestones to your life.

Him: Did Logan tell you about the time he crashed at my – all black – fraternity because he was hiding from his then girlfriend?
Me: Oh no…

Then he paid for the tab when we weren’t looking. (!!)

Me: Don’t make me look like a jerkface mcgee in front of Mouse.
Him: Now, why would I do that?

So we paid for the tip and put him into an Uber home.

The next day…

Me: Man, my liver hates you. Haven’t done something like that in over a year.

We all end up on our knees at some point in our lives and it’s our friends and family that pick us up.

When Alison was sick, I was on the phone constantly with him and his wife.

Like I said, some people in your life are seasons and others seem like they’ve always been there.

Me: Are you ok?
Him: Good and bad. You know.
Me: (nodding) I know.

Location: another’s doctor’s office
Mood: beat
Music: It’s gonna be a good, good life (that’s what my therapist say)
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You don’t have a soul…

…You are a soul

Four people I know – two acquaintances and two dear friends – lost their moms in the same number of weeks.

Rang the friend I’ve known the longest just recently to check in.

Bryson: I didn’t make it in time to see her. I was three goddamn hours away when I got the call. Because I know – because of what I’ve seen – I told them to do what they had to do with the body. I didn’t want to remember her that way.
Me: You don’t have to explain to me. You know, we don’t have souls. We *are* souls, we *have* bodies. You wanted to remember her soul – who she was to you – not her body. You made the right choice. If I could do it all over again…
Him: You should write that down. That was beautiful, thank you.
Me: It’s true. And true things are often beautiful. I’m sorry, brother. When I say, “I understand,” you know I do.
Him: Yeah, I know.

The boy’s been noticing that I’ve been sighing a lot.

Boy: Why do you (exhales sharply) so much?
Me: Because I think of your mama a lot these days. All the time, but more than usual these days.
Him: I miss her.
Me: Me too. But she gave me you and that makes it all a little better.
Him: I love mommy. To the moon and back.
Me: (sighing) Me too.
Him: You did it again.
Me: (nodding slightly) So I did. (boy leans over and hugs me)

Made me realize how lucky I am to still be able to ring up my mom at will so I did and told her I was going to see her this weekend.

Her: How about Sunday?
Me: That’s perfect.

As for my friend Bryson, told him I’d be there with rum any time he wanted.

Me: The kid’s away this weekend so if you’ve got time, I’m there.
Him: Thanks. I gotta clear up a few things but yeah. You know, we’ve known each other 30 years?
Me: Now you’re just being mean. (laughing) On a related-ish note, I lost 20 pounds! I’m so damn gorgeous now, if I were gay, I’d date myself.
Him: (laughs)
Me: I’ll see you soon, brother.
Him: See you soon, brother.

Right after I wrote this, I found out that Kirk Akahoshi passed away from stage four pancreatic cancer. He leaves behind a young wife named Jacki.

I know exactly what Jacki’s going through right now and I don’t envy her one bit.

It never goes away, that feeling of loss, helplessness, and anger.

It’s a horror and it’s all shit.

May she weather it the best she can. I hope she’s surrounded by good souls.

Here’s more of their story.

Location: the basement of my brain, again
Mood: gutted
Music: I will love you till my dying day
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Scaffolding and seasons

Like the finger pointing to the moon

Me: We should have a chat at some point soon.
Him: That sounds serious
Me: (shrugging) It’s not to me, but it might be to you.

In Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee said, “It is like the finger pointing to the moon…”

He was paraphrasing the Shurangama Sutra, where the Buddha noted that, if someone points to the moon, don’t just look at the finger, because you’ll either:

      1. Miss the moon, or
      2. Think the finger is the moon

Got into an argument with someone recently and I said something in passing over the length of argument.

Found out from someone else that he mistook the passing remark as the crux of the argument. He mistook the finger for the moon.

Me: Wait, what…?! (rolling eyes) Oh for f___’s sake…THAT was his takeaway?

At some point, it’s meaningless trying to communicate to some people because you’re speaking English and they’re speaking Martian.

 

The boy’s birthday is coming up and I’ve been looking at all the people I’ve collected since he was born and everything went to hell.

Some people I’ve met have changed the path of my life, others have merely come and gone from my Venn Diagram, although I’m grateful for the experience, good or ill.

Boy: (in front of Grey’s Papaya on 72nd) The scaffolding. It’s gone. It looks different.
Me: Yes. Scaffolding is only supposed to be there a little while and then you take it down.
Him: Why?
Me: The building needed help for a while. And now it’s ok again.

Some people in your life are permanent while others are only seasons.

Figuring which ones are which, that’s the difficult part, I guess.

Location: earlier this morning, listening to the boy read to his class
Mood: nostalgic
Music: They say people in your life are seasons

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PSA: How to apologize

So, this is chivalry

It’s no great secret to say that a lotta people hated my old coach.

He knew it as well when he couldn’t figure out who, of his former students, tried to shut down his business.

Him: Was it you?
Me: I’m a lawyer. If I wanted you shut down, you’d be shut down. Plus, I’d want you to know it was me. (pause) You know both these things I’ve just said are true.

Wasn’t me because I was too busy trying not to kill myself and raise my son.

As I write these words, I’m amazed he thought he anything mattered enough to me to even bother. I think I was still sleeping with a bottle of rum next to me those days.

Plus, I never reached hate so much as pity and disappointment.

But I realized recently exactly what it was about him that bothered people on a visceral level while my son was watching Daniel Tiger: I don’t think that he ever learned how to properly apologize.

An apology consists of three steps:

      1. The words: “I’m sorry.”
      2. Some manifestation of contrition: “I feel awful about what I did; there’s no excuse.”
      3. And then some overt act to try make things right again.

Whenever he did anything untoward, he would either blame the other person, not mention it, or – and this was the best we could hope for – perhaps offer to buy us a lunch (step 3).

Don’t recall Steps 1 and 2 ever happening. Spoke to a few other former students and they agreed with me.

The last time we spoke, I asked him how he could be ok with so many people hating him – enough that someone was willing to ruin his life and business. He said he was fine with it.

That blew my mind.

Don’t mind being ignored – I wished for that as a kid. But to be hated so deeply by so many people who have known you for years shows a level of sociopathy that I don’t want anything to do with.

Who wants to be friends with someone that’s so ok with being hated?

Then again, I didn’t leave so much as I was asked to leave. In a very teenage sorta way:

Me: Wait, are you kicking me out?
Him: I’m not kicking you out, I just don’t think this is the gym for you.
Me: So, you’re kicking me out.
Him: No, I just don’t think this is the gym for you.
Me: So, I can come when one of the other instructors are here?
Him: No. It’s not a good fit.

You see, he told the Gymgirl/Mouse that if she dated anyone in the gym, he would kick the male out. If nothing else, he follows through.

This is despite the fact that she was a full-grown 28 year-old adult with brothers and a living father (which I only mention because it seems he thinks a male must be part of a female’s decision-making process). No matter, he knew best and he would make decisions on her personal life for her and she had no say.

It’s a special form of sexism that I, as a womanizer and a feminist, found repulsive. He called it chivalry.

I’ve always believed you don’t treat someone differently because they were or weren’t born with a particular organ.

You certainly don’t make decisions about their personal life if you’re being paid monthly to provide a service.

Mentioned this to my cousin, another former student, the other day.

Her: Wait, he said that? That’s so gross. I hate that.
Me: You and me both.

He never apologized to Mouse, or me, or anyone else for his poor behaviour. I wonder if it bothers him in the least.

Then again, we think he’s a sociopath so probably not.

I’m always surprised how many people have opinions on how two other consenting adults live their lives.

Oh well, not my circus, not my monkeys…

Here’s a picture of us just because I’m being petty. And she looks pretty in it.

Location: earlier today, another gym with three other former students
Mood: annoyed
Music: Burn all them bridges down, to the ground, cos I won’t be coming this way again.

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Watching the leaves change colours

A weekend getaway

Mouse and I went to a bed and breakfast in Westchester this past weekend and took a hike on Bear Mountain to watch the leaves change colour.

Her: (panting) I didn’t know you were part goat.
Me: (panting) Like I said, I like to keep things to myself until I need to show what I can do. Now I’m gonna throw up.

Besides the hiking, we spent half the time trying not to get killed on scooters, and the other half waiting for taxis.

Speaking of scooters, we stopped off at a diner and the owner was nice enough to let us park them indoors.

When we came back to get them, we found these notes on them, which we thought was a nice touch of kindness.

We ended up eating there…

…a dive Middle Eastern joint (I do like my gyros)…

…and an IHOP.

The IHOP was something special from Mouse to me, for reasons I’ll keep to myself.

Me: Thanks, this means a lot to me.
Her: Of course. (scanning menu) You’ll have to order for me because I want everything.

I used to live around there when I was a really young kid and we went past so many things that were somewhat familiar.

Her: You ok?
Me: (nodding, slowly) Just thinking about my dad. (pointing) I think he took us there once.

Afterwards, I went to Hoboken to pick up the kid from my sister-in-law’s.

Me: Hey! I missed you, did you miss me?
Him: (nodding) Can I eat this candy?
Me: (laughing) We’ll see…

Location: back in the UWS
Mood: hopeful
Music: Maybe I’ll run away

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What you’re willing to show them

The things we see and don’t see

Her: I don’t believe you. Prove it.

Been super busy with a few projects that I’ll tell you about in due time.

Actually found out that only one of my legal lectures is still up as they retire them after three years.

Still, on the one remaining one I’ve got, I have over 1,000 4.5 star ratings from other lawyers. So that was nice to see.

Do you remember when I told you that the sun isn’t yellow, it’s white – just like all other stars?

Likewise, the sky is actually purple and blue, we just see it as blue.

Mentioned to someone that I was a lawyer once a while ago and she didn’t believe me at all.

It was strange. Remember being oddly offended by that but now I realize that I’m partly to blame cause people see what they want to see, yes. But they also see what you’re willing to show them.

Lately, I’ve been running into issues with how people – friends, acquaintances, strangers – view me. Partly because of the legal and weapons videos, partly because it’s just come up.

In the past, been pretty good at hiding a lot of my life but I’m at an age where I just don’t give a damn anymore. So that’s been interesting.

Then again, we don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

I have been spending time with one young lady that seems to see me in a mostly positive light. Mostly.

Her: Okay, boo boo.
Me: Did you just call me “boo boo?”
Her: No, boo boo.

Location: an hour ago, on a motorcycle
Mood: ambivalent
Music: you got to leave and I have to be me

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You’re in luck

I’m someone

CPK: The world is full of lonely people, it seems.
Me: So true; even/especially here in the big city.

Do you know that there are almost no alleys left in NYC?

You wouldn’t get that from TV and movies but it turns out that NYC has so few that production companies keep filming the same one – Cortlandt Alley – over and over again.

Just happened to walk by it the other day while I was getting my clothes tailored – more on that later (thanks, Mike!).

My point is that that’s the thing; rare things don’t really seem that rare until you try to look for them.

The kicker is that I actually live right next door to an alley that was used in another famous movie. But that’s my little secret.

Speaking of secrets, people seem to tell me a lotta secrets. Think it’s because – even before becoming a lawyer – I was known as someone that could keep them.

RN: You can’t tell anyone about this.
Me: I’ll put it in the vault.

And like the alleys, you think that people that can keep secrets are all over the place but this doesn’t seem to be the case. Cause I seem to field rando calls alla time from all sorts of people because they don’t have anyone else to tell them to.

Him: I needed to talk to someone.
Me: You’re in luck. I’m someone.

That kinda bums me out, that I’m all they’ve got.

So people call me to unburden themselves and I usually offer them some unsolicited advice, even though I know I shouldn’t.

Cause what do I know?

But I get it. We all need someone, or something, to tell our secrets to. Cause secrets are lonely things.

Life’s lonely enough as it is.

Me: You’re kinda my best friend. So I tell you things…
Her: Ditto.

On a related matter, my brother spends his free time talking to suicidal people and volunteering in dangerous foreign places.

I worry that he might be drawn into the abyss himself but he wants to help them. I can’t fault him for that. He’s a good soul and I”m proud of him.

Thank goodness for the good souls, yeah?

Location: the vault in my head
Mood: curious
Music: No chemical could recreate our chemistry

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Comic Con NYC 2019: We could rule the world

I’m your huckleberry

Hawk: Got two NYCC Sunday badges. On the arm.
Me: I’m your huckleberry.

Wasn’t planning on going to this year’s ComicCon but Hawk offered so I went. Funny, my life was so different the first time I went. And so different yet again the second time.

This time, I went by my lonesome, although I met up with some friends like Hawk and Cable there.

Also met up with my friend Jerry there, who’s been a comic book fan and artist for years.

Me: I’m not gonna lie to you; you look beat.
Him: Dude, I am exhausted. This is day five for me.
Me: I’ve been here an hour and *I’m* exhausted.

I particularly like this tee-shirt of his and if you like it too, buy one or a dozen and support my buddy.

Afterward, I started to walk over to the Hudson Yards just to clear my head from the cacophony of ComicCom.

But I decided against it halfway there and hopped a train heading home. Got there right before the littlest roommate I’ve ever had showed up as well.

Him: Mr. Papa!
Me: (laughing) Oh…we could rule the world, you and I…

Location: chatting with Princess Leia an hour ago
Mood: busy
Music: nothing is lost and we’ll always know

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Straight up…up

A fella can dream

Boy: Are you ok, daddy?
Me: Yes. I got lost in my head again is all.
Him: (nodding) OK, papa.

After a lotta soul-searching and talking to the mother-in-law, I set the kid up to take an IQ test for a specialized school here.

We met the tester in his office just off Columbus Circle, not far at all from where I got my ACL diagnosis. The tester was an older fella and sat the kid at a little table with alla these 3d plastic/wooden shapes on it.

He asked I would leave the room and sit outside. Was worried because the kid doesn’t do well with strangers, especially men. But he was cool.

Me: Papa’s right outside, ok?
Him: (nodding) OK, daddy.

And I paced in the waiting room. Cause that’s what I do.

30 minutes later, the boy opened the door with a big smile and said, “Come in, papa!”

The tester said I wouldn’t be given the results for a while but I was happy because both he and the kid seemed to be in good spirits.

The boy and I walked outside to the hallway and something about the door sign seemed familiar. That’s when I realized that it was the same medical center that Alison went for health problems before the cancer.

We were standing in the same hallway as she did once a month for years.

That took my breath away. Like alla these unexpected blows. And I struggled to keep my composure as we traveled home.

It was my father’s birthday this week, you see. And this was yet another sad something to think about.

Problem is, I can never stop thinking things. As I made dinner, I dropped two dishes and spilled his milk.

Afterward, I sat at my computer while the kid watched TV. There was a long message there from Mouse.

She was just telling me about this crazy solo trip she decided to take this month and finished with some unexpected kindness.

Swear, she reads my mind, sometimes. I didn’t know what to write back so I just dashed off something short and innocuous.

But I felt better. After all, somewhere, on the other side of the world, there’s this pretty girlie I was thinking of, who thought of me.

Anywho, everything’s a seesaw of emotions these days. Then again, I suppose up and down is better than just down.

Maybe someday, we’ll just get straight up…up.

A fella can dream, yeah?

Location: 3PMish, on a bus heading to Columbus Circle
Mood: conflicted
Music: don’t know what, I’ve got myself into

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My greatest award

And we sang…


Her: Logan – your son just read an email on my phone!
Me: Oh. Yeah. He reads.
Her: You need to get him tested!
Me: (slowly nodding) So I’ve been told

When he was two, I used to brag to all the other parents that he could read a word or two.

Now, I rarely mention it because that’s not what I want him to be known as; as someone different and odd.

But he has another characteristic that I am glad that people notice:

Another mother: I’m sending you these pics because he’s SUCH a happy boy!
Me: These are great, thank you!
Her: It’s such a joy hearing his laugh.

Gotta say, I wasn’t prepared for him to be able to read or do math this early. But I think I was more prepared for that than…how happy this kid is.

Man, lemme tell you, if you’re on the Upper West Side and you hear a kid laughing loudly and singing, “Joy to the world” on the top of his lungs, that’s my kid.

That’s nuts because – man – you don’t know the house of horrors this kid grew up in.

Take all your fears for the one you love the most in the world and imagine those fears come true. That was our life for years.

Fucking. Years.

If I’m proud of anything, I’m proud at my ability – and that of my mother-in-law – to hide alla the horror in our lives from him.

We should get a goddamn Oscar.

Swear, I could be fly like DeNiro and kill like Pacino. At least in one acting gig. But, at some point, you do gotta break character.

Him: Are you ok, papa?
Me: (quickly wiping eyes) Of course I am. Don’t be silly. I just … got lost in my head for a bit.
Him: (laughing) You can’t get lost in your head!
Me: (sighing) You’d be surprised, kid. (brightening) You’d be surprised.

Still, the fact that he’s as happy as he is, is my absolute proudest achievement, above and beyond any award or prize I’ve ever earned or could earn.

If he’s a happy, healthy, and productive toddler/boy/teen/young adult/man, then I did my job.

The guard dies, contently, knowing that he did his job.

Me: What do you want to eat?
Him: Can I have ice cream?
Me: That’s a lotta carbs but you were good today. Ok, you’ll get it if you do two things for me. First is tell me what time it is.
Him: (looking at clock) It’s 5:55.
Me: How many minutes until 6PM?
Him: Five!
Me: Yes! OK, second – sing me the chorus to Coachella.
Him: (laughs, sings) “In your head it’s Coachella every weekend…” 

Location: in my head, dreaming of lost chances, Coachella, and my possible pasts again
Mood: hopeful
Music: I miss the way that you laughed with me

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