It’s something

Rolling around my apartment

You’ll be seeing my coach Chad in this blog a lot while we’re on lockdown for two simple reasons: (1) We’re both totally alone, and (2) we both miss doing what we do.

Him: I’m 180 right now.
Me: I’m 155, but I’ve definitely traded muscle for fat. Do you wanna come over and roll? I’m dying to roll. Plus, I’m 99.9% sure that I can’t give you COVID. No promises though.
Him: (thinking) Let’s do it.

Honestly, having the COVID antibodies is maxing out my social card in really unexpected ways. I digress.

He’s easing into actual and virtual privates and cut me an amazeball deal for the first couple of lessons since I’m his first private student post pandemic.

It’s always good to be first.

I went down via the Hudson River Greenway to get him a helmet and sunglasses so he could rent a Citibike.

He’d never done it before. While we were getting his bike, Chad turned around.

Him: Hey, look!

It was an old gym buddy of ours that was just jogging to get a workout in. We chatted for a bit before we headed up to my pad.

It was a beautiful day and he’d never ridden a bike in the city before so I led the way and showed him a few sights too. Honestly, we couldn’t have asked for a nicer day.

Him: Man, that was awesome.

Once we got in, we got cleaned up and I laid out the mats. They’re the kid’s mats but he’s not here and we’re pretty desperate.

As soon as they were down, Chad immediately got down on them and started rolling around.

I had to laugh. Like I told him, in a world where bullshit is the norm, the truth is refreshing; he was like a kid in a candy store. He’d not been on a mat in almost two months.

Me: You’re like Aquaman back in the water for the first time in months.
Him: (rolling upside-down) Oh man, this feels so good.

We rolled for only a little bit; maybe just over an hour? My knee was bothering, as usual, and I easily ran out of breath.

Me: While I’m cooking, can you clean the mats? You know what a germaphobe I am.
Him: No problem.

We then devoured two large bowls (each) of pasta. Afterward, I lent him a bike to head back down so he didn’t have to rent another Citibike.

Me: We’ll do this again when the weather’s good?
Him: For sure.

It’s not our normal routine but, it’s something.

I suppose right now, “it’s something,” is a far better than a whole lotta nuthin.

Me: Man, I’m glad we did this; I was gonna be a chubster for sure. Not that anyone would see it.
Him: Yeah, but still, this is great.


Admin edit:

Chad Andrew Vaźquez and I have gotten some feedback about our training – from people concerned about our safety and those around us, which we appreciate – and I wanted to address it.

Yes, we understand that my having the antibodies is not dispositive that I’m immune, but it’s a calculated risk and one that the country is currently relying on since a vaccine isn’t ready for at least a year. Yet all states – including NY and CA – are slowly opening again.

In for a penny, in for a pound, I say: Either having the antibodies confers *some* safety, so we open things up carefully, or they don’t, and we stay in lockdown.

Chad and I are picking what the (reasonable) leaders are picking.

Note that he’s *only* actually rolling with me, as I’ve documented antibodies, and offering virtual privates (via video) to others. Neither he nor I are around any high-risk groups and we continue with the standard social distancing protocols out there.

/edit

 

Podcast Version: It’s Something
Location: my empty apartment, which had company for just a bit
Mood: exhausted
Music: Busy doing damage, instead of repairing you and I (Spotify)
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Trading our sad stories

One man’s search continues

I saw my son the other day. I wore a long-sleeve shirt over my shirt, pants over my pants, a hat, and gloves. The only thing exposed were my eyes. I didn’t want to chance getting my in-laws sick.

My sister-in-law picked me up from the train.

Her: You’re being ridiculous, you know.
Me: Nope! If your parents are getting sick, it’ll be causea you, not causea me.

I didn’t tell my son that I was going to see him so it would be a surprise. When I finally saw him, I wouldn’t let him hug me until I got cleaned up. Then I practically tackled him.

It was the first time I touched him in well over a month. After a minute or so, he finally demanded I let him go.

Him: (laughing) Stop! Stop!
Me: Never!

It’s been raining a lot lately so when the sun broke out the other day, I continued my quest for deep-fried chicken. Kinda.

This is what I tool around with, BTW:

I went up Central Park West to West 96th Street and then across the park to 5th Avenue. Normally, there would be crowds in front of the Museum of Natural History but it was completely empty.

Made my way to 103rd Street and  Lexington. The thing is, I was actually heading to the White Castle on West 103rd Street and 1st Avenue.

I know, I know. I need help.

Now, I was going east-bound on a west-bound street when I found myself in front of this store: Texas Chicken & Burgers.

Well, I thought, this is kismet. I should try and stick to my low-carb, high-fat/protein diet anywho.

So, in I went and I bought an assortment of a dozen pieces of fried chix.

Treasure in hand, I went home.

Definitely the worst of the lot compared to KFC and Popeyes.

Good god, I’m now gonna be known as a connoisseur of deep-fried fowl fast food.

Seriously though: Kentucky>Texas.

Not because the Kentucky governor’s a democrat but I’m sure that doesn’t hurt.

Found out that I’ve got the COVID-19 antibodies for sure.

Because of this, I met a grey-eyed writer from Bensonhurst. In some ways, she’s my normal type, in others not so much; I always felt purely artsy people were a bit weird.

But she has potential. I suppose that’s all you can ask for in the world right now.

Her: Do you mind if I ask what happened?
Me: We only just met. (pause) Let’s not trade our sad stories just yet. There’ll be time enough for that. 

Podcast Version: Trading our Sad Stories
Location: my empty apartment, which feels a bit emptier
Mood: can’t look at another piece of fried chicken
Music: Just wanna go home (Spotify)
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Damaged people are dangerous

They know they can survive

Well, my neighbors are back. So much for the afternoon screaming.

Years ago, I was casually talking to someone at my gym and I mentioned that I grew up poor.

A fella there overheard and scoffed.

Him: Nonea y’all know what it’s like to be poor.
Me: What do you mean by that?
Him: (shaking head) You’re not poor unless you’re black and’ve gone hungry.
Me: Well, one of those two applies to me. I’ve had sleep for dinner plenty of times.

I grew up before the microwave. Or, at least, before the microwave was affordable.

Both my parents worked, so I’d come home, alone, and unlock the door to our tiny apartment and go to the sink.

I’d go to the sink for two reasons: (1) To wash my hands, and (2) because my mom would always put two unopened cans of Chef Boyardee in a pot with hot water trickling out of the faucet to warm them up.

Ideally beef ravioli but, really, whatever was on sale; cheese ravioli was always such a disappointment.

Then again, I grew up wearing homemade clothes. My grandma knit those hats my brother and I are wearing in the pic above.

Anywho, my mom always left a note that said something like:

Please try to save some for your sister – I love you!

It was then that I realized that “serving size” was a joke. That was dinner. She wanted me to put it in a bowl but that just meant something else for me to do so I’d just eat it outta the can and tell her I washed the dish.

In hindsight, the canned spaghetti and meatballs were the worst.

I mean, I still ate it, but, yeah…

Watching the news these days, I’m reminded of things like that. People waiting in lines for food at the food banks.

I remember all the goddamn lines we stood on, growing up.

One fall day, my mom bundled my sister and me (my brother was away) in our warmest clothes and we stood in line for hours for something. I complained the entire time. Finally, she grabbed me by the shoulders and said:

They’re giving away free vaccine shots and we can’t afford to get you two shots any other way. If you want to eat tonight, you’ll wait.

And then she turned away and tried to hide the fact that she was crying.

Man, I felt awful at that moment.

I was 12? I’m 47 now and, while I don’t remember how the shot felt, I remember how making my mom feel inadequate felt.

As a parent now, I feel it all the more. I do what I can. They did what they could.

Realize it’s a luxury that I don’t have to worry about my next meal any more. If I want a party pack of tacos, I buy myself a goddamn party pack of tacos.

I have sleep for dinner these days outta choice, not necessity.

This lady named Josephine Hart once said something like: Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.

This pandemic is filling my head with such sad thoughts, I cannot even begin to tell you. But, perhaps that’s for the best.

Cause, I know I’m damaged.

If nuthin else, I survive shit, even when I don’t really wanna.

Podcast Version: Damaged People are Dangerous
Location: my empty apartment, now with lots of cheesecake
Mood: can’t look at another piece of cheesecake
Music: Man, I was dealt these cards and I played dem out (Spotify)
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Yes, really

How is anyone ok with this?

Doctor: So what do you do?
Me: I’m a high-functioning alcoholic.
Him: (laughing) No, really.
Me: (nodding) Yes, really.

I finally got my COVID-19 anti-body test. It took about 90 minutes of waiting but I got it at the local CityMD – the same one I went to when I got my earache.

Nurse: Do you have any idea where you contracted it?
Me: Yup. Here.

Just a few days ago, the amount of people in the US that died from COVID-19, 58,355, surpassed the number of people that died from the Vietnam war, 58,220.

The Vietnam War lasted from November 1, 1955 to January 15, 1973, or 6,285 days. That means 9.26 people died each day in some faraway land.

The first case of COVID-19 here was on January 21, 2020; that’s 99 days to April 29, 2020. That means that 589.44 Americans died each day here, not on some foreign soil.

This is a picture of President Johnson listening to a tape of his son-in-law, a soldier in Vietnam.

Some reports say he was just tired. Others say that he couldn’t bear knowing that all these Americans were dying. I like to think that it was the latter.

589.44 each day. Each one of those numbers was a person with a mother and father. Maybe a sister and brother. Maybe some kids.

Alison and my father are numbers too. In 2017, 600,920 Americans died of cancer.

One of those numbers was named Louis Lo. He loved his three kids and his wife more than anything. He worked chopping fish in a tiny fish store and went to school at night so his kids could have a better life. He bought himself a harmonica when he felt extravagant.

He was my dad. I loved him.

Another number was named Alison McCarthy. She gave up a high paying job in a financial institution to travel to Africa to try and help people. It was lonely, hard, and dangerous but she wanted her life to mean something. She was beautiful, in every sense of the word. She was my best friend.

She loved her husband and son, like a fat kid loves cake. The first thing she ever said to her son was, “We’re best friends for life, you and me. Best. Friends. For. Life.” She died trying to comfort her mom and me telling us we’d be ok.

I don’t know if she’s right.

589.44 families, just like mine. Every. Day.

I try not to drink. It’s hard.

My mom wanted to come see me because I was alone. I told her she couldn’t. That’s what this thing does. It kills people extremely efficiently and cruelly. You die alone. Away from every one and everything you know and love.

But, there’s always some small positive, because now, you can drink all day, every day, if you want.

I don’t know how anyone is ok with this.

I don’t know how anyone is ok with any of this.

Podcast Version: Yes, Really
Location: my empty apartment
Mood: sub-optimal
Music: She’s gone (Spotify)
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Lunch by the river

Noticing things

Me: Yo, what are you up to? I can’t do any more work and I’m going stir crazy here.
Him: Screw it, come on by. Do you have any extra gloves and masks?

I’ve been trying to catch up on work, but it’s hard being here with the sheer emptiness of it all. I miss the boy terribly.

So, like I said in my previous entries, I hopped onto my scooter and zipped down from the UWS to the LES to take Chad out to eat.

Here’s a quickie vid on what it’s like out there.

It was honestly the perfect day to be out and about. It took me twice as long to get there as it should’ve because I kept stopping to take pictures or video. Once I finally got there, we tried to figure out what was for lunch.

As you know, I’m a sucker for a gyro, so that’s what I got.

He got a gyro burger, which makes no sense to me but he’s an adult so…

Me: OK, where we going, man?
Him: It’s a nice day, we can eat by the river.

My lungs are mostly ok but, honestly, walking those few blocks was difficult. Not necessarily bad, but noticeably not normal.

This thing is truly a bear. Being audited while you’re trying not to die is a new experience, lemme tell ya.

And I’ve had a lotta shitty experiences.

We finally got to the river and it was just perfect. More people were out than probably should’ve been but definitely less than the normal crowd. It was nice to be in society again.

And the food was so good that we both agreed not to speak for five minutes as we enjoyed it shoveled it into our pieholes.

Afterward, we chatted for a bit when I locked eyes with one of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen in my life. She was stupid attractive.

Me: Hi there.
Her: (laughs) Hi!

Chad commented that I should have spoken to her more.

Him: Whoa, she was hot and that was a huge smile she gave you, why don’t you talk to her?
Me: (laughing) How do you know she had a huge smile?
Him: (puzzled) What? I saw.
Me: (nodding) OK. Yes, she was beautiful, and, yes, that was a big smile she gave me. But here’s what I noticed….
Him: (afterwards) Oh, that’s really interesting. I never thought about that.
Me: I have my rules. I always have my rules.
Him: (shaking head) I don’t get it but, ok. Man…

It’s a little party trick of mine; noticing little things and trying to make sense of what they mean. Hopefully correctly.

All my senses have been dulled for so long but I feel a little bit of the old me from so long ago.

After a bit, we headed back to his place but stopped off at a local bodega.

Me: Hard seltzer. I’m secure in my manhood. Do it?
Him: (laughing) Sure.
Me: Oooooh, mango…

We kept some good social distancing in his tiny pad.

Honestly, it was good to see and speak to another human being again. I didn’t realize just how cruel and harsh solitary confinement is. And this is nuthin compared to that.

Me: Well, I guess I should go.
Him: Are you ok to get home?
Me:  (getting up) Well, we’re about to find out.

Podcast Version: Lunch by the River
Location: a few days ago, the John V. Lindsay East River Park
Mood: hungry
Music: I notice every single thing, that’s ever happening (Spotify)
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Low-carb recipe: Pan-fried chicken

I need a moment

Me: Man, look at that hair.
NateC: (laughing) Yeah, I’m just growing it out. What are you up to?
Me: Frying chicken, look!

Onto more mundane life news.

Still playing around with podcasting – working on a few things. Not alla my entries lend itself to the format, like if I’m cooking.

On that note, because I didn’t get my fried chicken fix the other day, I decided to make my own. Went and picked up two chickens at the local market.

Jet: Did you brine the chicken first?
Me: I’m not an animal, Jet, of course I brined it.

Did it overnight with:

1 gallon warm water
3/4 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup erythritol
3/4 cup soy sauce
12 whole peppercorn

Butchered them quickly (it was just for me) in the next morning and vacuum-sealed three of the breasts for a sous-vide later on.

After that, I made a quick and simple dusting of:

1/4 cup low-carb flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Dusted the chicken…

…and got to frying:

Actually, I have a video:

Honestly, I like it better than most regular fried chicken, with the exception of KFC – that’s a classic.

In the past, I didn’t do it that often because it’s just time-consuming. Before alla this, it was easier to just run out and pick up some. Now, I’m back to basics.

That’s like most things around here, actually.

Me: Wait, you’ve never eaten meat?
NateC: Nope.
Me: I think I need a moment to wrap my head around that.
Him: Well, I…
Me: (holding up finger) I need a moment…

Just as I was publishing this, I received some upsetting news about my son.

He’s ok but all the plans I had for him just evaporated and I’m back to step 0. Nothing ever seems to go smoothly.

Between this, COVID, the audit, and some other personal things, this has been a truly awful month.

I suppose celebrating your birthday alone with a single glazed donut should be a good forshadowing for what’s to come.

Location: my empty apartment, which needs a hard clean
Mood: forever hungry
Music: I go home and I got no self-esteem (Spotify)
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Doubling-Down, Pt 2 – Baseline

Histrionic Personality Disorder

This is a long entry because I just wanna get this off my chest and be done with it.

I saw Chad the other day, which is another entry.  We were talking about this whole crazy situation when somehow our old coach came up, and this is actually why I returned to this topic.

Him: I want you to know for sure; he told me that he was kicking you out because Mouse was dating you.
Me: Oh my god, thank you for telling me. There was always a part of me wondering if I was crazy or not.

Continuing with my last post, on the three steps of an apology, our old coach always did Step 3, like offering free classes or taking people out to eat, but he never did Steps 1 or 2.

One day, a huge newbie came to the gym and we were doing take-downs. My coach asked me to work with the noob and the first thing he did was tackle me at full-speed, completely tearing my ACL.

My coach told me that he wouldn’t charge me for classes and also did fundraisers for Alison when she got sick, both of which I appreciated. But note that both are only Step 3.

He not only never did Step 1 – apologize for setting me up with a newbie without properly instructing him on what to do – like the acquaintance from my last entry, he doubled-down on 2.

You really should’ve just gone with it, Logan.

Meaning, I caused myself to tear my ACL and not the 200-pound newbie, who tackled me, and my coach’s poor supervision.

My coach wasn’t even looking at us when it happened. Trust me when I tell you, I went with it.

That was it. Eight years later, nuthin. He just left it with Step 3 and the double-down.

Actually, I finally hit the red line with him when he triple-downed with me with his weird attraction to Mouse and started me thinking deeply about what his damage was. It’s just creepy and weird all around.

Did you know that you need a physical injury for cancer? You can’t mentally will someone to get cancer, you have to have something actually injure you – a virus (HPV), a particle (asbestos, coal), a physical action (tick bite), something.

Well, when you hurt someone, without early intervention, that injury metastasizes like cancer.

You wanna stop cancer? You gotta get it early, Stage 1. If you do nothing? The worst outcome happens.

That’s why they’re so lonely. Because they not only don’t try to stop it at Stage 1, they double and triple-down, to ensure that there’s no relationship.

I remember bringing the three steps up with the acquaintance and he just scoffed and essentially said, That’s just you, most people don’t need that. That’s demonstrably false, especially since he’s destroyed every relationship that mattered to him, ever.

That’s like saying, you don’t need medical intervention to cure cancer, just drink lemon juice.

Dude, your naked belief doesn’t change something factually true. The truth is that the best bet for curing cancer – and it’s a shitshow, lemme tell ya – is to throw every scientifically valid thing against it.

You screwed up and you wanna save a relationship? The starting point for everyone on the planet is the three steps. Everyone. That’s baseline.

If I’m honest with myself, I never got over that my coach destroyed my physical body and just moved on with his life. I can’t, I don’t have that luxury.

For the rest of my life, when I wake up, my knee reminds me of his failure as a coach and – frankly – as a basic, decent human being.

Our mutual friend asked me to forgive him and I told him honestly: No. He’s never done the baseline of what forgiveness requires. Not for any of us: Me, Chad, Pac, Robinson, just off the top of my head.

He injured us all in some way and went about his life and those injuries metastasized. What could’ve been an easy fix – I’m sorry, I had a bad day, I’ll make it up to you – is now insurmountable because of the doubling/tripling-down.

It’s your fault.

And that’s why these people are the loneliest people I know: Their 14-year-old selves were somehow taught that you never apologize for things (properly – all three steps). Their adult-selves, and others, pay the price.

They share more with Trump than they can admit. And Trump is a lonely soul.

Interestingly, all the people I mentioned – Trump, Michael Scott from the office, my acquaintance, and my old coach – all seem to suffer from Histrionic Personality Disorder.

They have weird relationships with the opposite sex (they can only have opposite-sex relationships that have some sexual component to it), are attention-seeking, and have poor impulse-control, among other things.

The two people I know personally definitely had traumatic childhoods, and I do pity them. But I also accept that they will never change because they don’t want to. They make the conscious choice to not change and to double- and triple-down, every single time.

That’s not healthy for anyone. I don’t wish them any ill; I just don’t want to risk getting injured again.

None of these people are bad people. Like everyone, they’re capable of good and bad actions. But if they can’t accept responsibility when they factually hurt other people, it overwhelms whatever good they possess.

At least for me.

Look, I get what happened to me was eight years ago. But what’s changed besides time? Time not only doesn’t replace the three steps, time makes the three steps even harder – for everyone.

Halsey wrote a song called, You Should Be Sad for her ex. She was basically saying that she wanted the relationship to work but it didn’t. She was sad over what was lost but, at least according to the song, he didn’t even give her that: Grief over losing the relationship, Step 2.

I get it. Cause that’s baseline, man. I’m sorry. I feel bad. What can I do to fix this? That’s baseline.

Podcast Version: Doubling-Down, Pt 2 – Baseline
Location: my empty apartment, which is fulla carbs
Mood: thoughtful
Music: I tried to help you, it just made you mad (Spotify)
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Doubling-Down, Pt 1

Everyone’s got a red line

Do you remember when I gave you that three-step PSA on how to apologize?

      1. The words: “I’m sorry.”
      2. Some manifestation of contrition: “I feel awful about what I did; there’s no excuse.”
      3. Some overt act to try make things right again: “I’ll make it up to you. Let’s go to counseling.”

Think about Michel Scott from The Office: He’s lonely because he regularly hurts people but he can’t seem to do Steps 2 or 3. He can barely do 1.

The actress that played Pam said that she broke down twice while filming the episode where you saw why Michael was Michael.

[Michael is] asked what he wants to be when he grows up and he says, ‘I want to be married and have 100 kids, so I can have 100 friends and no one can say no to being my friend.’…This is when I had to turn off the episode.

I get it. I always make excuses for other people’s shitty behaviour.

But I submit that a lotta lonely people are the ones that don’t understand that apologies are a three-step process.

And the loneliest ones are the ones that not only don’t understand this, they’re the ones that double-down; they make the situation worse, so that there’s no coming back.

As much as possible, I make this blog about me. But screw it, I’m in a writing mood for reasons I’ll tell you about tomorrow. Lemme tell you about something on my mind lately.

I have an acquaintance that does Step 1: He apologizes for things, but that’s it. He never feels bad about what he did (Step 2), and, not only doesn’t do Step 3 either – try to make it better – he always doubles-down.

For example, he was always talking about his female “best friend.” While I know the girlfriend, I finally met the “best friend” at a party one night and she told me, “We’re not best friends, we barely talk. He’s just always been infatuated with me.”

The thing is, she might’ve once legitimately’ve been a close friend. But that stopped when he got jealous one day and bailed on her in a foreign country.

Two years later, he ran into her and did Step 3 – by pretending everything was fine – but never he did steps 1 and 2. The thing is, he caused an injury to that relationship that never healed. And now, never will. Too much time has passed.

Full disclosure – the best friend was honestly quite nice. And oblivious that the acquaintance was going around town calling her his best friend.

But it was only after we finally met that I realized that her being his best friend was all just a ruse; he told everyone that because he just wanted an excuse to be around her, even when he was dating other people, just in case an opportunity arose for him.

The opportunity actually happened – after a decade – when he got drunk and made a sloppy pass at his best friend at this party.

With his girlfriend there.

And the best friend’s boyfriend there as well.

The girlfriend demanded that he finally admit that they weren’t best friends and to defriend all the rando women that he kept picking up. That’s a whole different story.

Not only did he not apologize and not defriend anyone, he doubled-down and broke up with her.

How’s that for a kick in the head?

I guess everyone – him, his girlfriend, the mythical best friend, and everyone that saw him make this drunken pass at the party – finally knew what only he knew: He didn’t love his girlfriend and had been holding a torch for his supposed best friend the entire time. Ten years.

Why do I care? Well, I hate injustice.

But I also hate this whole situation because it goes against everything I know to be true; men and women can – and should – be friends. But people like this screw it up for the rest of us.

I’ve got so many female friends that I’ve not only never made a pass at, we’ve never come close. Even when massive amounts of alcohol are involved.

I feel bad for his ex, she wasted three years of her life with him. She loved him completely, and her life story would break your heart.

Me riding past the Hudson Yards and The Shed.

See, she actually supported the dude while he was a struggling student and one day, he won this prize. Instead of giving it to her, he ended up giving it to this random girl he met just a few weeks earlier.

Even when the girlfriend found out about the prize, she still stayed with him because he had an admittedly rough life, just like Michael Scott.

And she was madly in love with him. He literally bragged to people that he went on this date with this girl. It was hilarious to him. He showed me a text where he wrote his best friend, “At least I squeezed in two dates before I got caught.”

Like I said, he never apologizes and can’t help but double-down.

It’s a goddamn shame.

I mean, she’s an idiot, but it’s still a goddamn shame. That kind of loyalty and love is rare; if you’re lucky enough to find someone that’s always on your side, you should protect it with all you got.

Education’s expensive though. At least she finally learned and moved on. To quote one of my exes, Everyone’s got a red line.

This is getting super long, so I’ll finish it up tomorrow. I got a lotta time on my hands to think. And write.

Speaking of female friends, I just finished writing this when KG Betty wrote me.

We’ve known each other a decade as well. I crashed at her place a buncha times and she at mine. Never kissed her or anything ever. I just don’t get how other people live. For serious.

Cause, my relationship with KG Betty is valuable to me, I won’t jeopardize that for something stupid.

Her: Finally! I heard you got sick, I was worried about you.
Me: It’s good to hear from you. How’s life in Korea?
Her: (laughing) Much better than where you are, Logan. You guys are in trouble.

Podcast Version: Doubling-Down, Pt 1
Location: yesterday, riding past my possible pasts
Mood: free
Music: What a shame, we coulda had a good thing (Spotify)
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Stupid attractive

My best friend

One of the last conversations I had before COVID-19 hit was with a lawyer.

I’d gone to his office and one of his co-workers was stupid attractive. We walked out together.

Me: Hard to believe someone could be that attractive and that successful.
Him: She kind of annoys me, actually. She’s always dressing way too inappropriately for work.
Me: (stopping) Wait, you just a had a kid, yeah?
Him: Yeah, why?
Me: Well, there’s a weird quirk in relationships where couples in secure, happy relationships get turned off by third parties like attractive people, because they view it as a threat to what they consider the most valuable thing they have, the relationship.
Him: Whoa, that’s it exactly.

Think that’s why I never came close to cheating on anyone I’ve ever dated. I just never had an interest.

My buddy swears he saw me kissing someone at Mouse’s birthday party. But that’s just not in my nature. Other people are fine with it but then again, they reap what they sow, I suppose.

I may be a womanizer but, when it comes to an actual relationship, I’m all in.

Alison’s best friend was this guy named Shawn. She cut him off completely when he said something rude about me. I remember being so flattered and she just thought it was weird that I made such a big deal about it.

Me: He was your best friend.
Her: (rolls eyes) You’re my best friend, Logan.

Full disclosure, when Alison got sick, Shawn somehow found out about it and still sent her a large check to try and help. It’s hard to dislike someone that is nice to someone you love.

To know her was to love her.

On a related matter, I got a really sweet email the other day from one of Alison’s grad school buddies.

ABFF: Oh, her? I’m surprised because I recall that she was in love with a guy that was in love with Alison.
Me: (laughing) Alison never told me that and this girl certainly didn’t mention it.
Her: Yeah, she was jealous and maybe even had a fight with Alison over this guy? Because everyone always had some sort of real or hidden crush on Alison and so she was jelly
Me: I believe it.

My son was once going to be named Jack.

But this guy Jack kept asking her out, even when she said she and I were dating so that ruined the name for both of us. She told him to knock it off at this Halloween party with the ABFF; Alison actually shoved him against the wall.

I remember thinking I wanted to yell, “Yeah that’s right, she’s with me!” But I figured that would be too douchey.

I always liked the name Jack. I named one of the main characters in my book Jack because I liked it so much.

Spoke to Rain recently as well.

Him: You need to find someone that thinks you’re great. Like, I look at my wife and worry that I’m in a dream and I’ll wake up and find out it’s all imaginary.
Me: You know how you know this is real? I’m in it. And you hate me.
Him: (laughs)
Me: I don’t think people are lucky enough to find someone that thinks you’re made of awesome twice in life. I know I’m not the greatest thing on the planet; it’s just nice when someone thinks you are. We both married up.
Him: (nodding) Definitely. We definitely did.

It’s selfish, I know, but I miss having someone (not so) secretly on my side.

Really, though, I should just try and meet someone that thinks my son is the greatest thing on the planet.

Now, how hard could that be?

Podcast Version: Stupid Attractive
Location: my empty apartment, with the last jar of peanut butter
Mood: accepting that I’m not the one
Music: Why do you have to go and make things so complicated (Spotify)
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IDGAF

Why is that so much to ask?

Me: You wanna hear something true? I care about both of you deeply. But – honest to fuck – if someone told me that I could get Alison back by killing you two, or anyone, for that matter, I would do it without hesitation. I would feel bad about it, yeah. But I would be at your doorstep within the hour to cut you clean and cut you deep. Alison would hate me forever, but I would do it. There is no sin I would not commit to get her back. (sighing) But I don’t have that option. So, (raising glass) cheers…

The last time I got audited was twelve years ago for about $25K.

Got audited again this past week. Happy birthday to me.

Essentially, NYS wants to know how come I went from reporting $XXX,XXX in income in years past to $X,XXX (AGI) for the last couple of years.

Honest to god, my first instinct was to write them a letter that just said:

My wife and father died exactly 90 days apart in 2017 from some medical bullshit while other assholes get to live their shitty meaningless lives.

I spent the last three years trying not to kill myself cause of the injustice of it all. Frankly, I don’t give a fuck. Fuck you. Fuck everyone. Tell me what you think I owe you and send me a goddamn bill. I don’t give a shit.

Sincerely,

Logan Go Fuck Yourself Lo

I actually wrote something along those lines. Just with less restraint. I subsequently toned it down.

Logically, I know that some innocent bureaucrat that has no interest in hurting me will be on the receiving end of my vitriol but, I’m the eggshell plaintiff. And I don’t care.

Plus, now, I had to find her goddamn death certificate.

There is nothing more hateful or rage-inducing than having to look for – and, ultimately, find –  something that you despise with every fiber in your body. I keep it in a case, on the bottom drawer, in a folder, in a folder, in yet another folder.

It’s as if it’s radioactive and will kill me if there aren’t enough layers between us.

That’s probably not too far from the truth.

In the past, I used to go to the gym to get out my anger and frustration. I don’t have that option any longer. So, I sit here and quietly seethe, holding a piece of paper that tells me to go fuck myself because my family’s gone and we’re shit outta luck for a happy ending.

Well, that’s not entirely true. The silence part, that is. Cause, right now, I can scream to my heart’s content.

Always a silver lining, yeah?

Speaking of my gym, I think the last time I got hit with some pure truth was when I spoke to someone out there about Alison dying. He lost someone that he loved with all his soul as well.

I asked him if it ever got better.

Him: You never stop being angry. I’m angry right now thinking about it – and that was years ago.

We’re surrounded by bullshit 24/7 – our president is 24/7 bullshit – so that’s more true than ever. My Facebook feed is fulla people clearly ok with consuming and vomiting up Trump’s daily bullshit.

I don’t know how they live.

The thing with the truth is, when you hear you hear something that you know is true, your soul hears it. You feel it. In three years, what my friend said about the person he loved and lost was and remains one of the purest true things I’ve heard felt yet in my life.

Well, that and when my son said I had a big head.

When a toddler tells you that you have a big head – and your wife said the same – it’s probably true.

I’m sorry. I’m tired. I’m tired of so many things. I’m mostly tired of being surrounded by bullshit. I am craving some truth and peace.

I just want some goddamn truth and peace. And kindness.

Why is that so much to ask?

(c) Alyson McClaran

Sir(s);

The reason for my lowered income is that I find myself unable to work full-time any longer.

This is because my wife and father both died in 2017 and I find it difficult to care about anything. Including this audit, frankly.

Attached, please find her death certificate and a copy of my bank statements…

Podcast Version: IDGAF
Location: the basement of my brain again
Mood: blindingly white hot rage
Music: my best friend caught you creeping. You blamed it all on the alcohol (Spotify)
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