Mouse and I’ve been doing a lotta things these days.
She was nice enough to watch the boy while Chad and I filmed another one of our Fight Scene Breakdowns for Scenic Fights.
Here are the last two, because I don’t think I’ve posted them in a while. This one was mine regarding Under Seige.
While this one was Chad’s on Redeemer:
The guys that film us are pretty cool and talented but I really have to thank my own instructor, Agapito Gonzalaz, for letting me do this.
I wouldn’t do it if he wasn’t ok with it. Also, his instructor, Bill McGrath, has been supportive as well so I wanna thank them both.
The Scenic Fight guys put me down as a “knife expert,” which I definitely don’t think is the case. But I suppose it’s more compelling than, “slightly above average knife guy.”
I’m lucky in that I’ve had such amazing instructors in my life. Chad’s actually my BJJ instructor and, as you can tell by the videos, he’s ridic talented.
But I try to show him a thing or two when I can.
Me: Wanna come out and do some pickup with me and Mouse? Him: Sure
As a recovering womanizer, I’m pretty good at talking to anyone but it took me months to work up the courage to speak to a stranger. Chad, however, may be a natural.
Chad: Welp, I gotta do this. (stands up) Me: Wait. Do what?
Before I knew it, he walked up to the two prettiest women at the bar and chatted them up. This is after he spoke to a table of strangers.
Me: (after) Damn, I’m impressed. How did it go? Chad: Don’t be. It was pretty good but then her friend kept pulling her away. Mouse: Ah, you met the bouncer. Him: The what? Her: The bouncer. It’s the bouncer’s job to get rid of guys. You should always chat her up first. Next time, I can get rid of her for you.
Stephen King wrote in On Writing that writing is, “Telepathy, of course.” That’s the power of words, of language. It passes time and space. Mr. King made me think of a bird, just as I did to you right now.
You just turned four recently but you could be 14, 44, or 94 when you read this. I may not be here when you read this but long after I’m gone, these words – my words – will be here and, suddenly, I’m with you again.
That’s why I keep everything I find that has your momma’s words on them. Even all her labels. It’s how I can hear her even now.
Words live on long after we’re gone so words matter.
Recently, I worked with your Uncle Chad on something called a Schultz Choke. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever learned but it has to be almost perfect to work. So I practice it.
I’ll teach it to you one day.
I suppose that you’re tired of my teaching you things. Maybe you even hate me at times. Because I demanded perfection in certain things that you think aren’t a big deal.
I understand. I sometimes hated my dad because he was always teaching me things, things that I didn’t think were a big deal. Now I get it.
I wish he were here to teach me one more thing.
But I digress. Yes, not everything demands perfection – often, good enough is good enough. But some things do. The Schultz Choke demands perfection, for example.
Language demands perfection as well. Because it has to be almost perfect to work the way you want it to.
In speaking, the right cadence, the right volume, the right words, the right body position – all these things affect how the listeners hears what your soul wants to say.
In writing, all the more so. Because – since you’re not in front of them – you don’t have things like cadence, volume, or body position to help you communicate. You only have the naked words themselves and grammar to organize these words.
And that’s why things like vocabulary and grammar matter so much to me and why I’ve made such a big deal about it all these years. Because the loneliest people I know are people that don’t understand that if you cannot make yourself understood, you’re speaking Martian while everyone else is speaking English.
Just a few weeks ago, Aunt Roz came by to tighten up an important speech. Because I spent years writing and editing to understand how to string words together to give my thoughts life and she wanted my help in being understood.
Her: Speech was a hit! The jokes that got the loudest laughs were definitely yours.
Ending up with your mother was just a thought in my head but it was words that made it happen.
If you learn nothing else from me, I will teach you this, the power of words. And, ideally, the Schultz Choke, perhaps some kali, and how to make a decent bowl of chili.
As I just said: You don’t have a soul. You are a soul, you have a body.
Your soul is what writes and speaks. I hope it does so as perfectly as possible so that it can be heard the way you want to be heard.
Because, my hope is that you’re a soul that has something valuable and good to tell the world.
It’s all your mama and I ever wanted for you.
Him: When is mommy coming back? Me: She’s not. She can’t. Him: Because she got sick. (nods) I miss her. Me: I miss her every day. Every day. But she gave me you and that makes it all a little better. Him: I love mommy. To the moon and back. Me: Me too. (sighing) Me too.
Fast forward to now, I can’t bring myself to talk to the kid in any other way than the way I normally talk. But I’m realizing how odd I must sound to other people.
Me: How’s your sandwich? Son: It’s lovely, papa.
My buddy Spak has made fun of a few phrases I use, but – oddly – the ones that he points out the most are the ones from Alison.
Me: We’re late, let’s get crack-a-lacking, Lo! Son: Let’s get crack-a-lacking!
Mouse has noticed it too.
Her: How was your day? Him: It was amazeballs!
But it makes me happy to hear the words that Alison used coming out of his mouth. I can’t help but smile when I hear him say them. I want, so much, for him to have her influence in his life, somehow.
Of course, there are things he says that are exclusively mine.
Me: Do you wanna have a bubble bath? Him: Sure! Me: (later) How high are the bubbles? Him: (runs to the bathroom, runs back) It’s so high! It’s cray, daddy! It’s cray-cray!
Some of the things he says to the world are so hilarious that I can’t help but think he’s brilliant, even if it’s just a typical dad thinking typical things of his typical son.
Uncle: Are you watching TV? Son: It’s on but we’re not watching it. Uncle: Then what are you doing? Son: Just talking Uncle: Oh nice. What are you talking about? Son: Nothing. Uncle: You’re not talking about anything? Son: No. WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT SAVING THE WORLD!!
God, I hope he has friends growing up and I’m not screwing him up too much.
As an aside, he also runs cray hot – dammit, I have to stop using that word – like me. This is him when it was 40 degrees out. He flat out refused to wear his jacket, hat, or gloves.
My buddy Pac convinced me to compete in a grappling match the other day. And I convinced Mouse to do it with me.
Mouse: I haven’t been to the gym in three months – or trained in anything at all. Plus I have an exam the day before. Me: Gotcha. Her: Oh, I’ll still do it. I just can’t prep for it. Keep your expectations low.
She ended up passing her exam on Saturday and came by immediately afterward.
Her: I didn’t even bring any clothes to compete in. Me: You have your top and you can wear a pair of my leggings. Her: Well, I guess I’m doing this then.
Unfortunately, both she and I were overweight for the competition: Me by three pounds, she by five. Lots of people gave me lots of advice about losing weight but I’ve been on a diet since I was 14. So I ignored all of them and did my own thing.
Me: Do wanna have a porterhouse steak with butter? Her: Should we? Me: Probably not, but I’m doing it. Her: OK, I’ll have one too.
Fast forward to this past Sunday. I, unfortunately, had a completely sleepless night the night before and was going to bail but since Mouse was going, I decided to just do my best.
Plus, she and I both ended up losing seven pounds so that I was underweight by four pounds and she was under by two. (!)
My coach and my cousin, Ras, both came to support us.
Me: God, I can’t stop thinking about everything I’m gonna eat after this is over.
I think I went in with the wrong intent:Essentially, I got onto the mat thinking, “OK, don’t get hurt.” The other guy came to win.
He told me afterward that he had a lot of experience competing and it showed – while I struggled to understand what my coach was trying to tell me, he was a machine, instantly doing everything his coach was telling him to do on the side.
I was doing ok for most of it but ended up having to choose between getting my ankle broken or surrendering at three minutes and 58 seconds. Chose the latter.
Other guy: (afterward) I was wasn’t expecting you to jump guard like that! Me: (laughing) I wasn’t expecting you to be able to break out of it like that.
That’s my story.
Mouse ended up winning all FOUR of her matches and taking home the gold. And she won all four matches by submission no less – that’s like winning four times in a row by knockout. It was an amazing thing to watch.
Coach: Damn, she’s a beast! Logan missed the whole thing! Me: I’m standing right here! Him: (turns to see me, laughs) Oh, I didn’t… Me: Don’t worry about it, I was as engrossed as you were.
Mouse literally walked onto the mat with zeropreparation – and spent the last week with her nose buried in study material – yet still took the gold from three other women who probably trained for months.
It was super impressive. Most of it, anywho.
Her: I’m gonna throw up.
As for me, everything went exactly as I planned for most of it; I followed my plan. The other guy was just better and put me in something I couldn’t escape.
Pac: You did the right thing, you know. If you didn’t know the escape, that means a broken ankle. Me: I know. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t think to review that particular sequence. Him: Well, now you know for next time. Me: (laughing) Next time?
I forgot to tell you how Pac convinced me to do it. He told me to do it for the kid.
Him: You want him to know that his parents weren’t afraid of anything. And that they always tried – win, lose, or draw. You want him to know that you always tried. Me: Dammit. You’re right. Fine, I’ll do it.
Wish I brought home the win, but I came back uninjured and generally happy for my coach and Mouse.
I did what I want him to always do, I tried. Just like the people I chose to hang around do, like Mouse. Just like his mama always did.
Boy: Will you read to me? Me: Papa’s tired. I…you know what? Sure. (he hands me a book) Ah, Pigs Make Me Sneeze! Him: (laughing) Pigs can’t make you sneeze! Me: It’s a mystery – let’s find out.
Location: Last Sunday, uptown eating a ton of fried chicken and then icing my ankle
Music: Guard your grill, knuckle up Subscribe! Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
I’d meant to post this a while ago but life kept getting in the way.
Do you remember that story that I told you about Alison taking one last October walk before she gave birth in 2015?
I accidentally found myself there with the boy, right before Halloween.
After I accepted being there – part of me wanted to just take the long way around – I told him all about how much Alison loved walking down it.
Him: (surprised) Mommy was here? Me: Yup. She loved this street.
It was the first time I’d been there since just before he was born.
Handled it pretty well, I think, all things considered. Although the boy has a way with words that seem to cut me even though he doesn’t mean to.
Him: Will she come back in a 100 years? Me: No. She won’t. Him: Because she’s in heaven? Me: If there is a heaven, you can bet she’s there. Him: (thinking) Maybe she’s with your papa. Me: (nodding, laughing) I would think so.
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; they’re 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 ex-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.
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.
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:
Miss the moon, or
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.
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:
The words: “I’m sorry.”
Some manifestation of contrition: “I feel awful about what I did; there’s no excuse.”
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.