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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The world’s loneliest creature

Lonely enough

I find whales fascinating.

When Gradgirl and I went to the Museum of Natural History, I said to her:

Me: You know, they just cleaned it a few years back.
Her: (laughing) I’m always surprised at all these random facts you have.

It being the giant blue whale on the ceiling of the Hall of Ocean Life.

These giants are locked in daily battles of life and death every single day: Three million mind-blowing battles between animals as big as a house on the daily.

Most whales speak to each other at frequencies ranging from 10–39 Hz. But, there a single, solitary whale that speaks at 52Hz. (I’ll call it her just to make it easier to write).

She’s called the loneliest whale in the world.

One. One of her kind.

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.

Podcast Version
Life’s lonely enough without your tribe.

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.

Location: outside, looking for frozen peas and carrots
Mood: infatuated
Music: I never thought you’d let me go (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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Owing a debt

Mother is the name of God

Podcast Version

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

My head’s quiet again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Except for mine, that is. Fuckballs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We owe them a debt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

You owe them a debt.

But rage against inequity works both ways.

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

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

Don’t give up your back

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

(Earlier in May)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The last was the old friend from above.

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

Podcast Version
Location: home, icing my knee
Mood: hungry
Music: here we are and we’re still counting stars (Spotify)
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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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What’s the difference between 3rd Degree Murder and Involuntary Manslaughter?

Murder vs. Manslaughter

While writing this, they just announced a curfew for NYC. This is yet another first for me in a year of firsts.

Madness.

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…

Murder
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.

Involuntary Manslaughter
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.

/PSA

Back to the usual nuthin and nonsense tomorrow.

Podcast Version
Location: in the sun again
Mood: sober and not-too-bad
Music: You’re such a fool, but so am I (Spotify)
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Damaged people are dangerous

They know they can survive

Well, my neighbors are back. So much for the afternoon screaming.

Years ago, I was casually talking to someone at my gym and I mentioned that I grew up poor.

A fella there overheard and scoffed.

Him: Nonea y’all know what it’s like to be poor.
Me: What do you mean by that?
Him: (shaking head) You’re not poor unless you’re black and’ve gone hungry.
Me: Well, one of those two applies to me. I’ve had sleep for dinner plenty of times.

I grew up before the microwave. Or, at least, before the microwave was affordable.

Both my parents worked, so I’d come home, alone, and unlock the door to our tiny apartment and go to the sink.

I’d go to the sink for two reasons: (1) To wash my hands, and (2) because my mom would always put two unopened cans of Chef Boyardee in a pot with hot water trickling out of the faucet to warm them up.

Ideally beef ravioli but, really, whatever was on sale; cheese ravioli was always such a disappointment.

Then again, I grew up wearing homemade clothes. My grandma knit those hats my brother and I are wearing in the pic above.

Anywho, my mom always left a note that said something like:

Please try to save some for your sister – I love you!

It was then that I realized that “serving size” was a joke. That was dinner. She wanted me to put it in a bowl but that just meant something else for me to do so I’d just eat it outta the can and tell her I washed the dish.

In hindsight, the canned spaghetti and meatballs were the worst.

I mean, I still ate it, but, yeah…

Watching the news these days, I’m reminded of things like that. People waiting in lines for food at the food banks.

I remember all the goddamn lines we stood on, growing up.

One fall day, my mom bundled my sister and me (my brother was away) in our warmest clothes and we stood in line for hours for something. I complained the entire time. Finally, she grabbed me by the shoulders and said:

They’re giving away free vaccine shots and we can’t afford to get you two shots any other way. If you want to eat tonight, you’ll wait.

And then she turned away and tried to hide the fact that she was crying.

Man, I felt awful at that moment.

I was 12? I’m 47 now and, while I don’t remember how the shot felt, I remember how making my mom feel inadequate felt.

As a parent now, I feel it all the more. I do what I can. They did what they could.

Realize it’s a luxury that I don’t have to worry about my next meal any more. If I want a party pack of tacos, I buy myself a goddamn party pack of tacos.

I have sleep for dinner these days outta choice, not necessity.

This lady named Josephine Hart once said something like: Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.

This pandemic is filling my head with such sad thoughts, I cannot even begin to tell you. But, perhaps that’s for the best.

Cause, I know I’m damaged.

If nuthin else, I survive shit, even when I don’t really wanna.

Podcast Version: Damaged People are Dangerous
Location: my empty apartment, now with lots of cheesecake
Mood: can’t look at another piece of cheesecake
Music: Man, I was dealt these cards and I played dem out (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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