Who am I?

SLBs

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.

Podcast Version
Location: my empty apartment, after Chad and She came by for dinner
Mood: hopeful, still
Music: love ain’t simple (Spotify)
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Batman, rabbits, deer…

…and bright red leather jackets

Chuck: Nice (bright red leather) jacket.
Me: Oh, thanks. I had it made years ago. Finally started wearing it again.
Him: Do they make it for men?
Me: Evidently not!

Batman was once asked why he wore a bright yellow bat on his chest.

The lawyer in me knows it was done for trademark reasons but the writers came up with a rather ingenious reason; because criminals would aim for his protected chest rather than his unprotected head.

That’s something straight outta nature.

If you look at some rabbits and deer, they have bright, white tails. So, when they’re chased by predators, they’re easily seen and chased.

That is, until they turn. Then the pursuer loses sight of the bright white tracker and, by extension, the prey.

Told a buddy of mine recently that a large part of life is separating signal from noise. What’s important and what’s merely misdirection?

I think I’ve been paying attention to distractions more than anything for the past while.

But, since I’ve recovered from COVID, it’s like someone turned up the volume and brightness on my life again because I see things so much more clearly than before.

On the flip side, as I see things more clearly, I miss the boy all that much more.

Oh, he graduated this week from Pre4K! It was far more emotional for me than I’d expected.

Which, I suppose, I should’ve expected.

Son: Will you come see me? I miss you.
Me: Then I’ll see you soon. I just can’t rent a car right now.
Him: You could take a train. Or get a ride with Auntie. I know! You could take a bus.
Me: (laughing) Don’t worry, I’ll get to you. Papa’ll find a way.

Oh, Chad and I have a new Scenic Fights Video up – this time, Chad’s breaking down the Jiu Jitsu in Donnie Yen’s Special ID.

Podcast Version
Location: home, looking up train schedules
Mood: homesick
Music: doesn’t matter how you get to me, just get to me (Spotify)
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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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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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It’s something

Rolling around my apartment

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

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

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

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

It’s always good to be first.

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

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

Him: Hey, look!

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

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

Him: Man, that was awesome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Admin edit:

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

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

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

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

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

/edit

 

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