Cleaning the darkness around us

Magic Soap

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:

You were right. – Your loving father.

His parents were murdered by a country they loved that didn’t love them back.

What a terrible thing, to realize that a country – or anything – you love, not only doesn’t love you back, instead, wishes you and your family harm.

I’ve always been fascinated by bright things that emerge, directly or indirectly, from dark origins. The hope is always that some good can come from something awful and tragic.

It’s the hope, at least.

Random thought for a random day.

I hope you all stay safe. And I hope you’re all loved by someone or something that you love.

Me: Honestly, it’s fine. You gotta trust me on this.

Podcast Version
Location: my kitchen, popping painkillers
Mood: contemplative
Music: tell me if you love me or not (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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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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Isolation Day 11: Plans and recipes

Three (or more) ingredient cookies

Before we get to today’s nonsense, I suppose now’s as good a time as any to inform you that I make a cut from anything you buy on Amazon that’s linked here; you pay the same as everyone else and I get some extra rum money.

For example, here is a link to some powered wheatgrass.

To put your mind at ease, know that I will absolutely blow any money I receive on alcohol, you have my word on that.

Prior to my diagnosis of an ear infection – which is pretty much exactly the same because I’m literally getting the drops everywhere but into my ear – I did two things:

      1. Checked my temperature to make sure I didn’t have either the flu or COVID-19, and
      2. Checked my blood oxygen saturation levels with an oximeter that’s built into my heart rate monitor. These are super cheap and you should have one about if you do end up getting a fever because COVID-19 specifically targets the lungs.

Your normal oxygen levels should be between 95 and 100%; if you’re dropping below 90%, get to a doctor, ASAP because something’s definitely not right.

It’s a quick and dirty way to differentiate the flu from COVID-19. YMMV when it comes to accuracy.

Actually, if you end up buying a fingertip pulse oximeter, you should also pick up some of that aforementioned powered wheatgrass.

It’s particularly high in macro-and-micro-nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. It works out to be a few cents per serving and is shelf-stable versus a salad which is neither of those two things.

I mix with juice and it’s pretty good, if not a bit gritty. Who knows how long we’re gonna be stuck indoors? You gotta stay healthy and avoid making dozens of trips to the supermarket.

Speaking of staying healthy, I made some low-carb biscuits and chicken wings yesterday and today I made some some Thai penang goat curry. More on those in another entry, I suppose.

The reason I’m cooking so much is, since I can’t get to the gym anymore, I’m trying, as much as possible, to stick to my low-carb lifestyle, along with intermittent fasting, during this time.

I’ve lost three pounds since this whole thing started 11 days ago.

Anywho, I made a three ingredient cookie I found somewhere; the recipe’s way down below.

Above is what it looks like with just three ingredients, however, I modified and doubled it to make a carb-friendly version, which is also down below.

Baked it on two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Tried to do the traditional peanut butter crosshatch pattern – see the first three on the upper right-hand corner of the above pic – but it was too sticky.

Instead, I just wet my – incredibly clean and sanitized – thumb and just flattened them out, which are the rest of them.

Came out with a consistency like a grainy fudge. Really good with a cup of almond/oat/regular milk or coffee, alla which I had on hand for various reasons.

Here’s the thing about the carb-friendly version of the cookie – it’s got all three macronutrients: Protein, fat, and carbs.

In fact, peanut butter’s mostly fat: 72% of calories come from fat, 15% from protein and only 13% from carbohydrates. It’s perfect if you want to lose weight and not be hungry.

It also has fiber, both insoluble and soluble versions, which isn’t a macronutrient but is still super important.

While the protein of peanut butter isn’t perfect – it’s low in one called methionine – either version compensate for that with the addition of the eggs, which are rich in methionine.

What I’m saying is, should the world end tomorrow, you should:

      1. Have a shitton of peanut butter because of alla the above and because it’s shelf-stable, plus
      2. Make these cookies.

Cause it’s ridic easy and they delish, yo. Get that wheatgrass too.

Gradgirl: (when we first met and watching me eat tablespoons of peanut butter) I read your blog. Man, if people only knew how much peanut butter you actually ate.
Me: I’m pretty sure I’m mostly peanut butter now by weight, if not volume.

Original recipe
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg

Carb-friendly version
2 cups peanut butter
1 cup erythritol (you could also skip the next five italicized ingredients and just add a second cup of erythritol, which will give you a more cookie-like cookie)
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup coconut crystals
1/4 cup honey
9 drops stevia
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla (also optional)

For both versions, 350 degrees for 11 minutes.

If you put in molasses, it should look exactly the same colour as pumpkin pie, the filling at least.

You could also do straight erythritol instead of alla the other sugars but note that there’s a sizable chunk of humanity that have GI issues with it. I’m not one of them but you have been warned.

Location: you guessed it – a still almost empty UWS apartment building
Mood: inebriated and fulla goat curry
Music: something ’bout you that’s got me dazed and confused (Spotify)
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Isolation Days 5-6: A gaping yaw

Getting outta Dodge…again

Him: Where are we going?
Me: (as upbeat as possible) To see your aunt!
Him: Yay!

The redheaded babysitter and my regular babysitter have been the only company that the boy and I’ve had the last four days.

Because I manage my building, I realized that – with the possible exception of two people on one of the upper floors – there was no one else in my building.

Right around when I came to that realization, my sister-in-law called to check in on us and said that there was a chance that the mayor would be shutting down all non-essential travel. While I read that this wasn’t likely, I still felt this really cold dread.

You see, if anything happened to me, the boy would be all alone in the building. I could fall down the stairs (again), cut my my head open (again), get sick and pass out (again), or any number of things.

That’s when I hit the grief button (again). If Alison was here, at least it would be the three of us. But I didn’t feel safe being alone with just the two of us so we got outta Dodge (again).

Me: We’re out the door. What do you need from me, if anything?
Her: Just bring some extra clothes and I’ll bring them to my parents. Who knows how long he’ll be there?
Me: OK. We’re already on the subway.

I was about the same age as the boy when the Blackout of 1977 happened. I remember that my parents didn’t seem like themselves that day, even all these years later.

Didn’t want the boy to hear or feel any anxiety as I took him out of the city, so I played a version of “lava” with him to try to not have him touch anything. That was fine while it lasted.

Him: I’m tired of this game.
Me: (sighing)
Him: You’re doing (imitates a sigh) again.
Me: (nodding)

We were the only ones in our car.

I only saw my sister for a moment as I buckled the kid into the child seat and dashed off to catch the train back.

Me: Please try to be good, ok?
Him: OK. Bye, papa! (waves)

Told Pac that I’d support his mom’s business – Noona Noodles – while things were sketch.

Me: Should I head to your mom’s?
Him: Nah, she’s not picking up.
Me: Actually, fuck it, I’m here. Lemme see if she’s open.

She was – place was dead quiet. I was the only customer in the whole joint. Picked up some Vietnamese pho and a 40 on the way back, for no particular reason.

Woulda picked up more food but it’s just me. It was delicious.

Tried to be as productive as I could: Did my taxes, submitted my census form, and finally got around to cleaning up some digital files.

Found some pics of my family before everything went to shit. That’s an entry for another day.

On my last one pound jar of peanut butter to boot. Went through two jars in five days.

I already miss the boy. But he’s safer there than in an empty NYC apartment building with just me. Growing up with no friends, I’m used to being by my lonely. But this feels different. Finding those pictures didn’t help.

It’s a gaping yaw of existential loneliness that only comes with profound moments of grief that I can’t quite seem to explain.

Her: What are you going to do?
Me: Seeing as I’m here in this building by myself, I’m going to go to the back room and randomly scream for a bit.
Her: (laughs)

Location: an empty UWS apartment building
Mood: inebriated
Music: standin’ out there alone. A yearning, yeah, and it’s real
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Isolation Days 1-4: At least Sharon’s living it up

Heading to Chinaworld

Him: What did you get in Chinaworld?

Having been through 9/11, a couple of blackouts, a hurricane here and there, and just random emergencies, gotta say that this pandemic is something entirely new for me.

Spent most of the past weekend with the redheaded babysitter and the boy. She’s an actress so she literally lost all her gigs at once and I just found out today that the boy’s classes are cancelled until the end of April.

With her help, I was able to head back down to Chinatown in order to pick up some more supplies and support the Chinese community at the same time.

So, I hopped a nearly empty train – dressed as I’ve always wanted to dress in the city as a (not-so) closeted germaphobe – and picked up some stuff. One thing I made sure to get was some frozen dumplings from this hole-in-the-wall that I love.

Unfortunately, it was only after I returned home that I found out that the boy’s classes were cancelled. I immediately regretted my decision to only buy a single bag of frozen dumplings and only one bag of groceries.

Sitter: (laughing) I told him you went to Chinatown.
Him: Honestly, I think I prefer the name, Chinaworld.

Everything’s been a whirlwind of activity, mainly because everything’s taking longer and longer to do.

This is my local no frills grocery store, which had a line, the length of which I’ve never seen before.

TBH, there’s never a line of any sort here.

And I had to call both the NYC Dept of Finances and NYC Dept of Buildings for work; that took the entire morning – because you have to go through the 311 number for the city and the hold times were cray – and I eventually gave up.

With the kiddo being as young as he is, evenings are difficult because there’s nothing that we can both watch together.

Him: Why don’t we watch the news?
Me: The world’s a disaster and we’re surrounded by cretins; there, I just saved us 30 minutes.
Him: Cretins!
Me: No, don’t…nevermind…

On that note, I accidentally got an order confirmation for a woman named Sharon in Iowa who seems be living it up by prepping for isolation very differently from me and – gotta say – I’m slightly jelly.

Well, if nuthin else, Sharon’s living it up…

Location: surrounded by cretins and an awesome little boy
Mood: beat
Music: For a second, I thought you loved me
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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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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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Sorry, Wrong Meeting

What wins I can get

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.

Location: home, asking her how the boy did today
Mood: ambitious
Music: I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you

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Adding a pail to the buckets

3.5 buckets

Him: I think I had an anxiety attack today.
Me: Over what?
Him: My future.

Been chatting with two people almost daily now for the past few weeks – both are younger than me, wending their way through life.

Remember when I told you how friendships are made? Well, I find that happening to me more often than one might expect for a misanthrope like myself.

Was chatting with this one fella that I met years ago but we never really talked. We recently got thrown in together for a project – which is exploding in the most spectacular way, but that’s another story for another day – and have now been chatting on the reg.

Him: Even though this went to hell, I feel like we connected. Shoot the s__t?
Me: Cool. Lemme know when you wanna try some rum.
Him: Oh, there’re lots of questions I have to ask you.
Me: Clearly, I have no idea WTF I’m doing. You should ask someone else.
Him: LMAO – I meant about you, homie.
Me: What’s there to know? I like rum and gyros. I love my kid and my family. I never lie because I suck at it. I enjoy pickup and building s__t. I’ve never opened my vault. I’m into kind women that are hot. You can’t get more simple than a fella like me.

I said dozens of times that alla your problems can fall into three categories; well, I’ve edited that somewhat. Every action we perform can be categorized into furthering one of 3.5 pursuits – I call them buckets just because I like the imagery:

        • Health
        • Wealth
        • Relationships
          • Pleasure, or avoidance of pain (this is more a pail than a bucket)

The first three are additive. Focusing on them adds, at a minimum, to that bucket and your overall life.

If you focus on health, you’re that much stronger – health-wise – after whatever activity you did to focus on it.  You might also get a bump up in wealth and relationships if you chose the right one.

Ditto for the other two buckets.

Pleasure is simply that, pleasure. Note that the avoidance of pain is a type of pleasure – that’s why it’s so easy to procrastinate.

The last one is a pail versus a bucket because it’s not truly additive and, oftentimes, subtracts from the other two: It gives you momentary happiness at the cost of health, wealth, and relationships.

Which is not to say you shouldn’t do it. But it’s like dessert or a small reward after a hard day. They should be used sparingly.

It’s mental masturbation.

I’m not against masturbation or anything pleasurable done purely for pleasure’s sake. But every minute you spend on pleasure, is a minute you’re not spending pushing the ball forward on the other three.

Moreover, if you spend too much time on personal pleasure, it’s a turnoff for people around you. Because we gravitate to useful people and the more you push the ball forward in each of the three main buckets, the more useful you become to the world.

Anywho, I mentioned this to the first fella, recently.

Me: Anxiety is the fear of the hypothetical. So allay your fears: Run through the list. Are you where you wanna be with the three buckets? And are you overdoing it on the pleasure-pail?

We did it together as an exercise.

        • Health – yes. Dude’s in phenomenal shape and works out, easily, three hours a day.
        • Relationships – yes. Good friends and family support. Is there when you need him and others are there for him when he needs them. As it pertains to the opposite sex…well, he’s killing it.
        • Wealth – could be better, but he’s on the right track and getting better each day.

Him: Thanks, that’s useful.
Me: I’m nuthin if not useful.
Him: I want you know I really appreciate your…
Me: (interrupting) We’re friends. Friendship is symbiotic. Trust me, I’ll need your help one day. Probably soon. And it’s gonna involve a crapton of rum.
..

Location: 11:30AM, talking with a buncha lawyers, doing lawyer stuff
Mood: productive
Music: how do you always seem to know just when to call?

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