There’re only two types of people in the world

Hoi polloi

Podcast Version

Assuming, arguendo, that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, who are you spending your 27,000 days with?

If that’s too complex a question, then who are you spending quarantine with?

Are they wildly successful, dangerous, hyper-intelligent people? Or the regular hoi polloi? There’s nuthin wrong with average people, per se, except that average people tend to just make you average.

Who you spend time with is why you sit where you sit and someone else sits where they sit.

Ideally, you want to be able to sit at any table you want.

Years ago, I realized that I was hanging out with people that weren’t going anywhere with their lives. Most were fine, they were looking to get into some middle-level white collar job, make six-figures in some name-brand firm, and provide a good life for themselves and their kids.

Nuthin wrong with that.

But, at the time, I wanted to be amazing. And I took a hard look at the people that I spent the most amount of time with. I wanted:

      • friends that were wildly successful, physically (Health)
      • friends that were wildly successful, financially (Wealth)
      • friends that were wildly successful, socially (Relationships)

So, I got rid of the dead weight and added on people that could help me be who I knew I could be.

The thing is, I genuinely like and appreciate alla these friends. But, you gotta care about someone, why not have it be someone that’s at the top of their game?

Pac joked once that I have a need to be a mentor and that’s not wholly accurate. What I have is an internal desire for equity; to wit, I feel a need to pay it forward.

Chad’s been coming by lately and teaching me BJJ; in return for a much lower hourly rate, I help him understand finances.

Me: …and that’s compound investing.
Him: (quiet) Wow. I never knew that. I’m blown away.
Me: (nodding) To paraphrase Denzel: There’re only two types of people in the world. The trained and the untrained. Be trained.

I met someone else, who lives in the middle of nowhere Brooklyn, recently whom I teach more general things about relationships and health.

Me: Try to eat mainly protein, fat, and fiber and stay outta the sun.
Her: Why?
Me: Do you know Shaquille O’Neal?
Her: Of course, why?
Me: He’s one year older than I am. I’m 47.
Her: (surprised)
Me: (nodding) Try to eat mainly protein, fat, and fiber and stay outta the sun. Here’s a vocabulary book I read as a kid. It’ll help you with your career when the world starts again.

Podcast Version
Location: Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn
Mood: ambitious
Music: Don’t want to sing mad songs anymore (Spotify)
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Owing a debt

Mother is the name of God

Podcast Version

Him: Why do you stay in contact with her and people like him?
Me: I owe them a debt. Anyone that shows a kindness to my family, I owe a debt.

My head’s quiet again.

That’s more than I can say about the state of the nation, what with a pandemic, murder hornets, cannibal rats, state-sponsored murder, and now race riots.

The thing is: I get it. As my buddy from my gym said, you never get over the anger. And what’s the anger all about? Inequity.

It’s bullshit that Alison died so young, so close to her dream of finally – finally – getting a family. Bullshit.

I said earlier that I couldn’t watch the whole video. I stopped when Floyd cried out for his mother.

That broke my heart. As a regular, run-of-the-mill-normal human being, it broke my heart. That someone could die for no fucking reason whatsoever.

And what crushed it to powder was the thought that in the darkest moments of his life, my son will cry out for me. Because he didn’t know Alison.

And I’m half the person she was. You see, Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of children.

Except for mine, that is. Fuckballs.

I counted the days. Alison lived exactly 13,893 days. HALF of what she was promised. What we were promised. The inequity makes my blood boil.

Alison and George are gone now, for no good reason whatsoever. So, I understand the rage.

But there’s another facet to the rage. And that’s the debt.

In 1847 – after the Trail of Tears – the Choctaw heard about the starving Irish during their potato famine and somehow, managed to scrape together and send $170 (about $5,000 today) to help these people strangers.

For every bit of inequity – where one isn’t given what one’s owed – there’s a flip side. There’s grace; that’s when you’re given something you didn’t earn.

When Alison was sick, the grace I saw, humbled me. To those people that helped us, my family owes them a debt. That’s it.

We owe them a debt.

The Choctaw owed the Irish no debt but they paid a value to someone in need. And 173 years later, the descendants of those with the debt paid back some of it.

I think I hold a special place of contempt in my heart for those in mixed-race relationships – particularly white male and Asian female relationships – where the white male doesn’t realize the debt he owes the African-American community.

Like the the officer that murdered Mr. Floyd, who is married to a Laotian woman.

That officer doesn’t realize the debt his family owes to the black community, that was regularly lynched for just looking at a white woman, and had to go to court to gain us all the right to marry any one of any race we wanted.

I was able to legally marry Alison because a white man named Loving – of all things – wanted to marry a black woman, named Mildred. My family would not exist but for Mildred and Loving. The debt every interracial couple owes to them cannot be overstated.

If you’re white and in a mixed-race relationship and you don’t feel any rage over what happened to Mr. Floyd and don’t recognize the debt you owe to that community then I gotta point it out to you now.

You owe them a debt.

But rage against inequity works both ways.

Chauvin’s wife just announced that she was divorcing him.

Podcast Version
Location: 95th and Broadway
Mood: angry
Music: so sick of being so lonely; miss all my family (Spotify)
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Mixed Signals

Don’t give up your back

Just a little distraction from the state of affairs in the world right now.

(Earlier in May)

Him: Where are you right now?
Me: In my head again.
Him: Past, present, or future?
Me: Past. Like always.
Him: You’ve gotta shake that off, Logan. Life is forward.
Me: Fear is forward.

I didn’t drink at all for the past few days. Mainly because I’ve been taking painkillers like popcorn causea my foot and now knee (long story).

But, it’s allowed me to think a lot more clearly. Plus, I’ve had some help from some old, and unexpected, friends.

One was the Sexologist/Jill McDevitt who posted this picture recently.

Life’s been giving me a lotta mixed-signals lately and her pic helped me decide which one to listen to. It helped that I saw it after the 24th.

Oh, if you were ever wondering, she got hitched to a really nice fella and they moved on over to sunny California.

At a time when she was struggling, Jill still managed to send Alison and me a little something to help us back when Alison was sick.

Anyone that was kind to my family, I owe a debt to.

Jill’s always been one of the kindest people I’ve had the good fortune to meet. You can keep up with her here.

The other is an old, but younger, friend of mine, who found out a few things about me recently.

Me: I could teach you stuff but it’ll make you different. People don’t like different. So, you have to learn to hide a lotta things.
Him: I already see how different everything is now. Things make more sense. I want to understand.
Me: (nodding) Then I’ll help you understand. But be careful. Understanding things doesn’t always make things better, it can make some things worse. Ignorance does have it’s benefits. But I’ll show you, if you really want. And if, one day, you find out something terrible about me, I hope you remember that I told you that I’d done terrible things before and forgive me. (sighing) Everyone wants to be forgiven for the shitty things they’ve done.

The last was the old friend from above.

Him: What is it you always say, Logan? “Don’t give up your back?” If you’re in the past, what are you doing but giving up your back?
Me: It’s the same old story. Trying to figure out what’s signal and what’s noise.

Podcast Version
Location: home, icing my knee
Mood: hungry
Music: here we are and we’re still counting stars (Spotify)
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A litmus test

Under Pressure

Him: I didn’t realize how broken it all made you. You know, you don’t have to be a high-functioning alcoholic.
Me: That’s like saying you don’t have to eat cake. I *want* to eat cake. If nuthin else, I’m a good cautionary tale.
Him: Well, you’ve become something else to me now.
Me: And what’s that?
Him: (thinking) The standard by which I measure another person’s decency. How people treat a guy that lost the person he loved most in the world, his father, and his career all in one shot tells me everything I need to know about him/her. I think you’ve earned some kindness from people.
Me: Great. That’s what I’ve become: (sighing) A cautionary tale and a litmus test. I just need to know that I’ve earned some rum.
Him: At least that. You’ve earned at least that. Fuck everyone else.

Eight years ago, Alison gave me a bottle of Ron Zacapa XO Rum just because.

There was just a little bit left when she got sick and I refused to have any more. When I found the bottle late last year, the cork had deteriorated and I had to transfer it to another bottle. It was one of my most special things.

Before she exited my venn diagram, I asked Mouse to share the last glass with me because I felt she earned it, unlike some weird rando, but she declined. Which is fine.

So, yesterday, a friend stopped by and we had it together in honor of Alison’s birthday, along with a lot more rum.

Speaking of randos, I met someone that also had COVID antibodies at Pier 64 today as I tried to clear my head and sober up for some meetings.

Me: It’s like we have superpowers!
Her: (laughing) Kinda!
Me: Well, since we just met, I suppose we should keep to safe topics like politics and religion, yeah?

I hide my real face well, I think. I work well under pressure.

Fake it till you make it, right?

Podcast Version: A litmus test
Location: my empty apartment, with no rum
Mood: disgustingly sober
Music: Keep coming up with love but it’s so slashed and torn. Why? (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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What to do about the boy?

I wish it worked that way

Me: Do you wanna watch it now?
Her: Sure.

A little while ago, Mouse mentioned that she never saw Forrest Gump so I convinced her to watch it. It’s kinda hard to explain why it’s so endearing; you just gotta watch it to understand it.

I’ve always liked it on a personal level because I could relate to one important theme: The things that you think are holding you back as a child are actually the things that push you forward as an adult.

In the movie, young Forrest can’t walk properly so he has to wear these heavy braces. Because of them, his already outsider status is made all the worse. One day, while out with his best girl, he’s attacked by some local bullies. This is where the famous line, “Run, Forrest, Run!” happens.

So he runs. And while he runs, his braces tear off and he finds that he can run faster than anything because the years of carrying all that extra weight on his legs made them strong. It’s his ability to run that set off every good thing in his life. He never stops.

People don’t seem to believe me when I tell them I was a super fat kid. I don’t look like it at all. In  my head, I still carry that weight with me.

Yet, I think that almost every good thing about me came from my being fat. I started on a diet at 14 and, like Forrest, never stopped; I’ve been watching everything I eat for over three decades. I know exactly how much fat, fiber, protein, and carbohydrates I eat and have for 32+ years.

I’ve also been exercising and stretching for that long. I’m more flexible than most people half my age and regularly pass for someone in my early 30s despite almost pushing 50. I also regularly physically fight people – literally – half my age.

It also turns out that it’s not just your body that ages as the years pass but your mind as well. There, the diet has helped me as well, but so has other childhood misfortune.

You see, I had no friends as a kid. And we were poor so that meant every summer, I was home alone with my siblings with no air conditioner and no cable. So I went to the library every single day from the moment it opened – often until the moment it closed.

Remember sitting outside, alone, waiting for the librarian to come to open it. This wasn’t just for one summer, this was for years.

I remember that I decided to read every single book on the east side of this library (the children’s section). Took me three or four summers but I did it.

Every. Single. Goddamn. Book.

And when I did, I had no one to tell. In fact, I think this is the first time I’ve ever told anyone that.

The thing is, that enabled me to know things that other kids didn’t know. Like:

Again, already outsider status is made all the worse.

Yet, once again, the things that made me weird, makes me interesting now.

Alison: (the first time we were on the phone together) I’m doing a crossword puzzle. It’s asking me for Caesar’s first name but Julius doesn’t fit.
Me: That’s because it’s his middle name. His first name was “Gaius.”

She told me that she set me apart that moment.

Which brings me to my current existential crisis: What to do about the boy?

Do you remember when I told you that zebras cannot be tamed and that I’m grateful for my adversaries? Well, I don’t want him to be near lions and I don’t want him to have any adversaries.

And yet, I know he needs them.

I don’t want him to be fat, nor do I want him to be friendless, nor do I want to strap weights onto his ankles. But adversity makes us better – if we survive it.

Just like art only happens with restraint, all I know from personal experience is that excelling comes from limitations. But the boy will grow up in the heart of Manhattan, by Central Park, surrounded by the wealthy and the lucky. And with friends.

How do I make him anti-fragile? Or is that out of the hands of a parent and only left to life and chance?

Then again, perhaps he’s been dealt enough blows already with the loss of Alison. I feel guilty alla time that he only has me, a sleepless and strange old man, to keep him company and raise him.

Perhaps that’s enough adversity for a lifetime and I should give him as comfortable a life as I can.

But I find myself unable to do that.

Him: I wish mommy was here.
Me: Me too, all the time.
Him: (thinking) Can I have ice cream?
Me: No.
Him: Why?
Me: Because. You can’t have anything you want, just because you ask for it. That’s not how life works. I wish it worked that way, but it doesn’t.

Location: alone with the boy and my thoughts
Mood: conflicted again
Music: Tell me, won’t you miss Manhattan?
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Finding a good therapist is like dating

Ironic

Me: I met someone who knew us when, in a manner of speaking…
Him: (laughing) I read your blog, you know. You really make a big deal out of everything.
Me: I’m dull, what can I say?

Been having Had another stretch of insomnia; the past weekend’s late night outing, plus subsequent cold, really threw me for a loop.

But I recently had some really, really, amazeballs sleep, for no real rhyme or reason.

Her: I’ve never seen you this awake – who are you!?
Me: (laughing) I got sleep! This is what I’m like when I actually get some rest.

Prior to this, as always, whenever I’m super rough, I start looking into everything: Meds, gadgets, holistic remedies, etc.

And therapists.

The last major girlfriend before Alison asked me to go to a couple’s therapist with her. I flatly said, no. Dunno know why I did. I suppose, in my heart, I knew that I was wrong about a lotta things and didn’t want confirmation of that.

Also, guess I knew she wasn’t my person and vice versa.

The ironic thing was that, after we broke up, I started seeing several therapists, alla which were helpful, to varying degrees.

Had a good therapist years ago – the one that used to give me those PHQ-9 tests – but she no longer works in the area nor takes my insurance any longer.

Man, I had no idea what real heartache was back then. Wish I didn’t know now, actually.

Anywho, finding a good therapist is a lot like dating: You’ve gotta go through a bunch to find one you like, isn’t hella far away, is smart and nice, listens to you, and doesn’t think everything you do is terrible.

Suppose the main difference is that, unlike dating, you’re not looking for your biggest fan, just someone that takes your insurance.

I actually remember only dating women in my area due to sheer laziness, then constantly running into them and then never dating anyone again north of W 42nd Street and west of 5th Avenue. I think GES was the last one of that bunch.

In any case, my insomnia’s back under control and I have clarity in my life again, as it were, so the urge to find a good therapist is gone again.

Ironic, yeah?

Felt good enough to get back to the gym with regularity.

Curt: You got nuthin, you can’t hurt me.
Me: (trapping him in a guard) Yeah? Well, now I’m gonna talk to you about my relationship problems.
Him: (thrashing) God, no! Get off of me.
Me: Nope! (holding him down) So, this is what’s going on with me right now…

Maybe I should talk to a professional after all.

Location: yesterday, the gym, getting passed
Mood: sleepless once again
Music: I can’t get enough. You’re the medicine and the pain

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Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Hacking it

Seeking efficiencies

Been sick for the past week or so. Damn, that party really took it all out of me – prob more the setup than the actual party, TBH.

Coughed so hard that I blew out a blood vessel in my eye the other day.

But it’s also given me time to think.

When I was a kid – 11, maybe? – there was a store we all called Angie’s that sold these flying saucer type toy guns for, say, $2.00. But they were always sold out of them.

One day, found a store that sold them for $1. Figured I’d sell them for $1.50, a 50% markup but still 25% less than Angie.

So I took all of my savings, bought every gun I get my hands on, and brought them back to Queens.

Took me a while, but I ultimately sold alla them. My dad asked me where I got all the scratch I had and I sheepishly told him.

Afterward, he smiled, reached into his pocket and gave me double the amount I made.

Him: You made an honest dollar and you helped people. You get rewarded for doing things like that.

That was my very first business deal and I remember it to this day.

I bring it up for two reasons. The first is that I was chatting with my buddy Cable. He asked me about my past.

Him: Is it true?
Me: You really wanna know?
Him: Yeah, tell me.
Me: OK, make yourself comfortable. (15 minutes later) …and I did what any good Chinese boy would do; I sunk it all into real estate.
Him: I’ve always wondered about that. That explains so much.

I call it hacking: I hack my life.

Another example: The program that I use the most is something called Dropbox – my buddy Rick told me about it…10 years ago?

It’s free for 2GB of space; the next step up is $120 a year.

I did the math and figured out that if I used the free referral link they had, I could buy ad space on Google to advertise my referral code. Some rando would get an extra 500mb, I would get an extra 500mb, and Dropbox would get a new customer. Win-win-win.

Even cooler, I had a $100 credit for Google cost-per-click buys, so I used that, and netted…well, check out below:

So, for $0 across a decade, I’ve had 28.2GB of Dropbox space. The max is actually 16GB, but I hacked that too. That’s another story.

I’m not so much bragging – ok, I am, but it takes me 10-35 years for me to brag/talk about stuff – so much as I’m trying to explain what fascinates and drives me.

In The Godfather, Vito saw the world as two groups: pezzonovante or puppets.

Don Corleone: … I refused to be a fool dancing on the strings held by all of those big shots. That’s my life, I don’t apologize for that. But I always thought that when it was your time, that you would be the one to hold the strings. Senator Corleone, Governor Corleone, something.
Michael: Another pezzonovante.

But I’ve always felt there was a third option: Someone in the margins of society, exploiting inefficiencies while maybe making life a little better.

Those are my people: The Devil. Rain. Sheridan. We’re the hustlers that eat-what-we-kill. There’re few of us left. The grey men.

This is all prelude to the second reason I’m walking down nostalgia lane with you: A business associate recently presented me with a problem for which I think I have an elegant solution. It’s a gamble. But I believe in my power to hack things. So does she.

In some ways, it was that belief that crushed my soul the past few years; I think I felt the weight of Alison and my father’s death even more heavily because I felt I should have figured it out.

“It” being cancer. How fucking arrogant is that?

That’s what I’ve prided myself on my entire life; seeing things that other people didn’t see. I consumed every medical article I could get my hands on to try to hack that fucking thing.

In the end, I bought Alison and my dad a few more months/years, but at such a cost. Yet another bit of guilt for my soul to enjoy.

Him: You can’t hold yourself responsible for them dying of cancer.
Me: (drunk) Yeah? (laughing) Watch me…

And I hated myself so much for being able to figure out alla these meaningless bullshit things like Dropbox and toy guns, but not figure out the things that might have saved the people I loved.

I’m only now able to take solace in the fact that it was a fool’s errand, but at least it was borne of love. And I’m nuthin if not an arrogant fool for love…

In any case, I have a new puzzle to fill my otherwise dull and vicious life.

The stakes are more than toy guns but less than cancer. If I figure it out, I’ll tell you all about it.

In about 10-30 years.

Me: There’s actually a lot more. But that’s enough for today. Every day, we choose the life we’re gonna live. I choose to set myself apart. In my head, I’m in the world, but separate from it.

Location: bed
Mood: coffee/cough-y
Music: Staying in my play pretend, where the fun ain’t got no end

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You didn’t know this?

Still done

Been bringing the kid to tests for a little while and speaking with other parents. Literally, every time I speak to another parent, I find out something I feel I shoulda known.

Gonna condense about five or six different conversations into just three for clarity.

Her: (breathless) Were you stuck on the train getting here too? I was worried we’d miss our test slot.
Me: Oh, I live right down the block. We kinda rolled outta bed and ended up here.
Her: You live right down the block?! We came here from Staten Island!
Me: Staten Island?! Why?!
Her: (confused) Anderson’s the gifted and talented school for the entire city. People from as far away as the Long Island border commute into the city for hours to get in. It’s like Stuyvesant or Bronx Science for middle schoolers. You didn’t know this?
Me: (slowly) Yes?

For a different test:

Him: If we make it in, we’d sell our home in Douglaston and try to squeeze the four of us into a one-bedroom in the area.
Me: You’d move here just for a music school?
Him: (puzzled) Special Music School is the only free music school in the city, maybe even the state. The lessons are valued at $10,000, per year, per student. AND it has the highest academic rankings in the city because they only accept 24 students a year so – even though it’s a music school – they were ranked number one out of every school in the city for common core, three years in a row.
Me: Wait, it’s ranked even better than Anderson, PS 87, and PS 199?
Her: For grades K-to-3, yes. Each child is essentially privately tutored for 12 years. You didn’t know this?
Me: Yes? (laughing) Now I feel I shoulda prepared him for these tests. I bought my place decades ago and kids weren’t on my mind at all. (later) My wife would have known this but she passed away a little while back.
Her: Oh! I’m so sorry to hear that.
Me: I’m sorry to say that.

Then it got weird:

Her: Sorry, I couldn’t help but overhear your other conversation. Are you single?
Me: (amused) According to Facebook, yes. But it’s complicated. Why?
Her: My cousin’s single and she’s an educator working with special needs kids. She’s always dreamed of living in the Upper West Side.
Me: (laughing) I’m both flattered and slightly insulted.
Her: (quickly) Don’t be! Your son’s adorable and I love your jacket!
Me: Good to know…

On the topic of interpersonal relationships, with my last entry, my female friend admits that she might be catching feelings for one of the two guys that she’s seeing.

Her: I dunno if I’m ready to jump into anything serious just yet but…
Me: Is he on your side?
Her: What does that mean?
Me: (thinking) When we first started dating, Alison’s best male friend once said something rude about me. I think he loved her. She told him to knock it off. He did it again one day on the phone, so she hung up on him, blocked his number, and stopped hanging out with him.
Her: Whoa!
Me: (laughing) Yeah. The kicker’s that I didn’t know for months. She just handled it totally on her own, I wasn’t involved at all. When I asked her about whatever happened to him, she just said, “He said something rude about you.” That was it. When I found out about it later, I figured she was my person and we married just a year later.
Her: That’s really cool.
Me: (nodding) If you find hidden kindnesses and love – meaning he’s secretly on your side – then, bam, you’re done. Take it and go. Unfortunately, if you find out he’s secretly not on your side…you’re still done. Just not in a good way. Either way, you’re done, though.

Location: 9AM yesterday, W 67th listening to him sing
Mood: freezing
Music: I’m secretly on your side

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