BrightBea’s 15 years younger than me. She’s at a cross-roads in her life.
Me: That makes sense. You reassess everything when you turn 30. You’ll do it again when you turn 40. Her: So, it’s every 10 years? Me: Well, you’re biologically a different person every 10 years. Have you ever heard about the Ship of Thesus?
I wrote once about it. Essentially, almost every single cell in your body is replaced every 10 years. Such that you’re literally and figuratively, not the same person you were 10 years ago.
Now, what if you changed your mindset too? Got rid of every negative habit and embraced only positive habits? Who would you be then?
For an added layer of complexity, it turns out that people are actually only 43% human. The other 57%? Not human.
All that, coupled with the potentiality of an influx of life-changing ideas and interactions means that we have the ability to reinvent ourselves better than ever, each and every day.
The reasons why people don’t improve?
I think the main things that hold us back are Self-Limiting Beliefs. Beliefs we think and believe to be true that shackle us, regardless of whether or not they are – actually – true.
I realized recently that the past five years have been a series of SLBs born of the awful experiences I had. I was letting them control me for far too long, and forgetting who I am and what I’m capable of.
Her: Whatever happened to your ex? Me: Why do you care? Her: (shrugging) Making conversation. Me: (sighing) In a nutshell, we were always either taking our weapons out or our clothes off. We were always too busy looking for higher ground to find middle ground. Her: (smiles) I like how you talk. And? Me: There’s no “and.” You’re here for a reason. Besides, that’s her story, not yours. Her: (laughing) What’s my story? Me: I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.
Basically, scientists record her calling out into the world for friends and her answer’s always the same: Silence. No one can hear or understand her.
I’ve met people like that, who can’t seem to communicate with the rest of the world. The woman in my building’s one of them. There are others.
In my recent clarity – and drinking for several weeks straight will really gum up your brain, lemme tell ya – I realized, with more than a little shame, that I shoulda been more patient with some of these people. One in particular.
I allowed them to get me angry and that’s always a bad deal for everyone. Especially since, in many ways, I struggled to communicate with other people myself, for years.
Anywho, some whales live for 200 years. I hope she isn’t one of them.
Me: There’s another thing about being different. Him: What’s that? Me: The loneliness. There are people I keep in my life that I shouldn’t. But I do because they’re the only ones that understand me in some narrow regard. Not being understood is…painful.
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.
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.
Her: Did…did you just wash the fruit with hand soap? Me: Yeah. It’s fine. Her: It’s not! You can’t do that!
People are often horrified when they see me wash fruits and vegetables – all fruits and vegetables – with my foaming hand soap. What they don’t know is that I use castile soap, which is made from vegetables and safe to use on pretty much everything.
If you’ve ever been out at a store, you’ve probably seen the most famous one, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. I tend to buy the peppermint one.
Bronner had an interesting and tragic life.
He was a jew born in Germany and, when the Nazis took power, he implored his family to leave with him to America. But his parents felt they were German – Jewish Germans but still Germans. They refused to believe that they were in danger in their own home country so he left alone.
The last he heard from them was a single postcard from his father that simply read:
While writing this, they just announced a curfew for NYC. This is yet another first for me in a year of firsts.
The subject of George Floyd is one that I write about carefully and respectfully. A man was killed for absolutely no rational reason. That’s all I’ll say on the matter.
That, and I couldn’t watch more than a few seconds of the video as it made me too sick. It literally sickened me.
Instead, I pause my usual talk of nuthin and nonsense to provide you with some legal definitions; none of which should be considered legal advice. OK…
There are four types of murder. The classifications of “degrees” varies across jurisdictions, but generally speaking:
1. First Degree Murder
This is intentional killing with premeditation and usually involves things like poisoning, stalking and trapping, lying in wait, etc. Example: Someone sits down and decides that he’s gonna kill his old boss on Thursday and he does just that.
2. Second Degree Murder
This can be called, “Intent to inflict serious bodily harm” murder Example: I just wanted to break your legs with this here baseball bat but you up and died.
3. Third degree murder
When I took the bar, I thought of this as the “I don’t give a shit,” murder. It’s hallmarks are “a wanton indifference to human life,” coupled with, “an unreasonable risk to human life.” The old legal term of this is “depraved-heart” murder, which I always secretly liked as a name because it really captures the essence of what it is – it requires a depraved heart. Note that some jurisdictions call this second degree murder – so it goes back-and-forth. Example: Idiot teenagers throwing frozen turkeys off an overpass, killing a woman. This is an insane, but true, example.
4. Felony murder
This is first-degree murder under federal law and varies under local law. I actually explained this a while ago in another entry.
If you’re looking for something to do during lockdown, watch Heat because it’s frequently brought up in law schools as one of the best examples of felony murder.
This is the negligent and unintentional killing of another person.
The *classic* bar examination question – it literally shows up every single year – is a fact pattern where the test-taker has to make a judgement call if something is Third Degree/Depraved-Heart Murder or Involuntary Manslaughter.
(Seriously, every year – if you’re a law student reading this, you gotta know this and be able to distinguish between the two, cold.)
In both third-degree/depraved-heart murder and involuntary manslaughter, there is an unintentional killing.
The distinction is that the former requires recklessness; the latter requires negligence. It’s a question of degrees and needs an arbiter of facts. The difference between recklessness and negligence is a whole other topic.
Feel free to send this people posting nonsense about murder, versus manslaughter, versus whatnot.
Me: What’s your name, darling? Random woman: I’m not your darling. Me: Not with that attitude, you’re not. Her: (laughs)
Speaking of attitudes, I just need to keep this up until the kid’s ready to be in the world alone. Figure trees have been able to do this for eons, I just have make about 5,000 days.
Piece of cake.
Him: I wish I met her. Me: Sorry, man. I’m not the best company these days. Him: Actually, I enjoy your company. Me: I always wonder if there was anything else I coulda done. Him: I don’t think so. (thinking) You loved her. In that sense, she was lucky. You both were. Me: (nodding) Yeah.
Some manifestation of contrition: “I feel awful about what I did; there’s no excuse.”
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 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.
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.
I’ve had time – nuthin but, actually – to reflect on getting sick.
Suppose the first thing to tell you is what I did to try to save myself.
I had gotten some base cholorquine for Alison when she was sick so I started taking that on the 28th. The dosage used by doctors for off-label empiric therapy is 500mg – twice the normal dose for those taking it as an adjunct to cancer therapy – but I was alone with no one to help if things went south quickly.
So, I stuck with a single 250mg dose in the morning along with a multivitamin.
As much as possible, I tried to take a Tylenol at 10AM so that by 5PM, I could take my temp again. The temps I wrote in my last two entries were either taken just before 10AM, just after 5PM, or before bed. So, my temps coulda been higher or lower than what I wrote because of when I took the readings.
More on Tylenol below.
I also took zinc gluconate five times a day for the first week. This should really be part of SOC considering that there’re years worth of well-founded research on this although some feel the aid is only slight. For me, every percentage improvement helped so I took it.
I also drank a lotta Propel water; my brother was worried about dehydration and I definitely felt worse when I didn’t drink enough.
In terms of preexisting conditions, I would guess it was a combination of smoking in my 20s and the resulting (slight) adult asthma I had afterward, which made my particular run of this damn thing that bad.
Still, with the exception of the loss of taste and smell, I didn’t really have any of the classic symptoms of COVID-19: I didn’t really have a cough, only one day of chest pain, and no real difficulty breathing. But the fatigue and loss of smell and taste made my brother and the professor feel that it was most likely COVID.
Me: What makes you say that? Brother: Occam’s razor. Me: Right.
The thing that they both found odd was my insane hunger. Again, this was the opposite experience of most people with COVID – Chris Cuomo ended up losing 13 pounds after only three days with COVID.
I ate so much that I ended up gaining a one-and-a-half pounds after this whole ordeal, going from 151.2 to 152.8.
Interestingly, glucose has been linked to better survival prospects for viral-based illnesses, like COVID-19, but worse survival prospects for bacterial-based infections.
Conversely, bacterial based infections require high fat/ketones for survival with worse survival outcomes with increased glucose.
Early on in my sickness, I felt this incredible urge to eat donuts, pancakes, noodles, pizza, and bagels. Alla which I ate and don’t normally eat.
I probably wouldn’t have done that, nor been as sparing with Tyleol, if not for Alison. You see, years ago, we had this conversation.
Her: You have a fever. Me: Great. Can you get me a Tylenol? Her: No! Your body is trying to get rid of something by heating it out. Try to endure the fever for as long as you can. Me: Blargh. Well, can I at least have a popsicle. Her: Yes, I’ll go get one for you. Your body probably wants it for a reason.
So, I like to think that Alison had a hand in keeping me safe. Which, I suppose she did, seeing as there was no one else here and I wouldn’t have had the choloquine if not for her.
Who knows, maybe I woulda been just fine without doing any of this. But, I didn’t wanna take that chance.
Harold’s next to worthless at times like this. The boy did keep me some company, though.
I probably made as much sense to him as he made to me.
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:
that girls would be getting their periods soon and that I wanted to live near Central Park (The Judy Blume books) and
that Nike was the spirit of victory and followed just wars, led by Athena; as Strife followed her brother Ares, the god of unjust wars (D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths).
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?
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.
Been working for and with startups since I was in my late teens. Some of them became huge entities, others pretty big deals. Most, however, fizzled out with little-to-nothing to show for themselves.
Many of them paid me in stock options or some form of equities. You see, I remember reading about Robert X. Cringley as a kid and was determined not to make the same mistake he did – passing up the opportunity to be on the ground floor of a major world player.
Although, I kinda did that when I turned down being an early employee of Cnet to go to law school. But that’s neither here nor there.
In any case, a legal client of mine just got acquired by a public entity which means that I actually have stock in a company that’s worth something. It’s nothing huge, at all.
Still, it’s something new and a win. I’ll take any weekday wins I can get.
Her: What does this mean? Me: It means that I can get that monthly Metrocard I’ve been saving up for.
Speaking of lawyers, been talking to a whole slew of them lately, for a variety of reasons.
Him: Nope, he’s still a republican, despite everything. He’s been one for 30 years, he’s not changing now. Me: Do you know what the definition of “stubborn” is? Him: I think so? Me: It’s, “Not changing course despite good arguments or reasons to do so.” That’s the difference between [your client] and us [lawyers]. We don’t waste our time on a losing issue. Him: (joking) Unless they pay full-freight, which he kinda does. And all lawyers are grey. That’s why people hate us. Me: (nodding) I’m nuthin if not the grey man. Speaking of hate, did you ever watch The Jeffersons when you were a kid? Him: I know of it, never really watched it, though. Me: There was an episode called Sorry, Wrong Meeting. George is at a meeting fulla white racists and one of them gets a heart attack. George hates them but decides he can’t let the guy die so he gives the guy CPR and saves his life. When the guy comes to and realizes that it was a black person that saved his life, he tells his son: “You should have let me die.” Whenever I hear the word ‘stubborn,’ I think of that. They’ll die before they just let their petty nonsense go and have a peaceful life. Your client’s no different from the farmers going bankrupt but continuing to vote for Trump. Him: Thank god for that! We’d starve if not for people like them. (laughing) You know, the animal most closely associated with stubbornness is an ass? Me: (nodding) Maybe that’s why they sit where they sit and we sit where we sit.
Was planning to surprise Gradgirl this past weekend in Paris when I realized neither of us are the people we once were, which is probably a good thing, all things considered.
Need to listen to that voice in my head more often.