We try

She’s a beast

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.

Mouse and my Coach drilling

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 chose between getting my ankle broken or surrendering at three minutes and 58 seconds. Chose the former.

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 zero preparation – 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
Mood: impressed
Music: Guard your grill, knuckle up
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Living Milestones

You know…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s the thing with friends; 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.

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

…You are a soul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a horror and it’s all shit.

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

Here’s more of their story.

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

Like the finger pointing to the moon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PSA: How to apologize

So, this is chivalry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An apology consists of three steps:

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

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

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

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

That blew my mind.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh well, not my circus, not my monkeys…

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

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

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Comic Con NYC 2019: We could rule the world

I’m your huckleberry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Straight up…up

A fella can dream

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A fella can dream, yeah?

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

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It’s terribly lonely

So different from everyone else

I’m doing only a little work these days and yet it still manages to overwhelm me at times. Whatever work I do has to be interesting and challenging enough to keep me engaged for something more than just a paycheck.

Of course, it’s nice to talk to adults from time-to-time. Well, nice for me at least….

Me: …so that was the Battle of Vienna. It’s the reason why Europe’s Christian and not Muslim and is also a great example of how, when you lose your primary weapon – in this case, cannons – it’s better to bail than pour good assets after bad. Which is my point.
Him: Honestly, how do you know all this ____?
Me: (shrugging) We’re all given 24 hours to spend. It’s how you spend it that makes us different. For me, the choice is between self-improvement and mental masturbation.
Him: (laughing) You roll around on the ground with sweaty dudes all day, I’m not sure you should be one to talk about mental masturbation.
Me: I don’t like to run or lift weights. Wrestling’s the most economical way, in terms of raw time, for me to be physically fit.
Him: You’re the strangest dude I’ve ever met.
Me: Mission accomplished, then.

Went out to NJ this past Saturday and met up with an ex again.

Afterward, I went to a birthday party for a gym friend but rang up Mouse ahead of time.

Me: Free for a drink beforehand?
Her: (pause) Sure.

We ended up showing up late and leaving late.

There’s more to alla that, but that’s all I wanna share right now.

Life surprises me, almost always in ways I don’t like. Still, the occasional nice surprise happens here and there.

The boy, meanwhile, is always surprising me. Suppose time will tell if they’re ultimately good or bad.

Teacher: (in Irish accent) Mr. Lo, I have to tell you: In 11 years of teaching, I’ve never had a three-year old student read before and certainly, nothing like your son does. Every book I pulled out – even up to third grade level – he could read. I honestly don’t know what to do because he’s so far ahead of any child I’ve ever seen.
Me: He must take after his mom.
Her: Your son should be in the gifted and talented program. We may have to send him to another grade for reading.
Me: (shaking head) I don’t want that. I don’t want that for him.
Her: Why?
Me: Because…because it’s lonely. (long pause) It’s terribly lonely to be so different. I know it too well. (agitated) I don’t want that for him. To be so different from everyone else.
Her: (gently) You might not have a choice, Mr. Lo.

Solitary trees grow strong. But only if they grow.

Location: the pit of my brain
Mood: worried
Music: 11 minutes away and I have missed you all day

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Goodnight, Fouad

That’s what friends are for

I’ve known this fella Fouad Youssef, for well over a dozen years. You’re literally looking at the best picture I have of him with me because someone else took it.

He had the distinction of meeting every women I was ever somewhat serious with – every single one.

This was happenstance; you see, he was the bouncer at Solas and saw both the people I brought there and the people I met there.

Was literally there every weekend for years and spent countless special nights there. He was the one that flipped me upside down in this entry here over a decade ago.

We talked a lot over those dozen years. About his life and mine.

Man, did he love his kids. Don’t think we ever talked without him bringing them up once he had them. His eyes lit up when I showed him my boy.

Him: Being a father, a parent. That’s everything.
Me: I get it now. It’s amazing.
Him: (reaching for his phone to show me pictures)

He died yesterday. He was the person I mentioned here. Fucking cancer.  He was just a bit older than me. His kids are so young.

Our mutual friend, KF – who also lost his love to cancer – and I both agree that at least he’s at peace now. It was awful what the cancer did to him. What it does to people. KF sent me a picture and I had to sit down to catch my breath.

I’m at an age where I say goodbye to people and it’s forever – in the infinite time/space sense of “forever.”

All goodbyes are sad, but the forever ones just gut you.

Fouad wasn’t a close friend but he was someone like Leigh – someone that I saw often and happily. He was part of the fabric of my regular life.

And that piece of fabric is now gone. You notice when there’s a chunk of fabric missing from anything. I’m missing all these major chunks and feel as if my life is in tatters.

I feel emptier knowing that he’s not in this world. No man is an island and all that.

It hit me a lot harder than I thought it would, mainly because I knew what his family was going through. I relived it.

I felt so terribly sad and lonely at that moment that I called a few people to chat but got no answer.

Suppose that’s how grief works. You call out but never get an answer.

Him: You’ll be ok, Logan.
Me: How do you know?
Him: (shrugging) Because you’re always ok. You’re tough.
Me: I don’t know if that’s true. But thanks for always listening.
Him: Of course. That’s what friends are for.

Location: Last night, with friends ignoring monsters with foolishness, like trying to spot it
Mood: gutted again
Music: Please say honestly, you won’t give up on me

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That’s because I am

Extremely positive thoughts

It’s funny; every time I go through a bad breakup, I feel the need to be social but not serious.

After my last breakup, I always only hung out with women where I knew nothing could happen. Suppose it’s something related to what Caligirl said.

I’m not quite ready to actively date right now, because I know what dating’s like and what I’m like.

Him: Why don’t you turn it on?
Me: When most people turn it on, it’s like trying to drink out of a garden hose. When I turn it on, it’s like trying to drink out of a fire hose. It’s just my nature .
Him: What’s wrong with that?
Me: My rule was always to try and leave people better off having met me than not. That was a lotta people. But not everyone. I don’t like having to tell someone that I’m not their fella. I didn’t like hurting people. Plus, it’s shit out there.

What I’m more interested in is being part of society again: Dinner parties, art exhibits, ridic crazy parties with RE Mike, etc.

To this end, I rang up two women that I just barely knew.

Me: I want you know that I always have two rules for my female social friends: (a) I will never hit on you and (b) I will try to help you out with any dude you’re interested in when we’re out and about. I’ve never broken those two rules, ever.
Faye: Those rules sound great! I am newly single as of a week ago so I just want friends

There was another girl that we’ll call Anne just turned 21 that’s a gym buddy of mine so I took her out for drinks.

We all ended up at Solas with some of my buddies until late at night and then moved to a hooka bar where I refused to have any hooka.

Me: My dad just died from lung cancer so, no. (thinking) Man, I’m a downer out and about. Let’s drink.

While I didn’t hit on either of them, my friends – one in particular – had no such problem.

Him: (hands her his phone) Faye, why don’t you go and punch your number and name into it and I’ll give you a ring one of these days.
Faye: (laughs, does so)

Faye and Anne came back to mine. I offered for Anne to stay over.

Me: Your safe as houses here if you wanna crash. You’d get brekkie and a toothbrush.
Her: You’re great! But I think I can get back ok.
Me: Then I’ll walk you to the subway.

After she left, Faye and I sat on the stoop and chatted as she waited for a car.

Her: Thanks for inviting me out. I had a great time. You and your friends are fun.
Me: Thanks. We try.

I gave her a hug and walked the five steps into my apartment. I remember sitting on that stoop with another girl 20 years ago but that’s a story for another time.

I haven’t really been alone for … well over a decade? Maybe longer than that.

I’m kinda looking forward to being single and social. And being a dad to this awesome kid.

My life’s on repeat, although, there are some nuanced changes.

Somehow, I always survive… even when I don’t wanna.

Which is not to say that there aren’t some unexpected pleasantries here and there.

Her: What are your thoughts on nerdy but hot brunettes?
Me: I have extremely positive thoughts on nerdy but hot brunettes.
Her: Oh, I always thought you were into blondes. My friend thinks you’re cute.
Me: Well, that’s because I am.


On a completely different note, this was in both the Men’s and Women’s bathrooms of where we went.

No one could figure out how this would work.

Location: the DMV…all day
Mood: okay
Music: nobody ever did it like me

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