Logan’s 48: The Foreseeable Unforeseeable

Basil Get

This fella named Joseph Bazalgette designed the London sewer system back in the 1860’s.

He said, “Well, we’re only going to do this once and there’s always the unforeseen” and doubled the diameter of the pipes suggested by the engineers.

Had he used the pipes that were originally recommended, the sewer woulda stopped working a hundred years later in the 1960s but instead, it’s 2021 and they’re still going strong.

While it was unforeseen that London – and the world – would see its population explode, it was also somewhat foreseeable as well.

In some way, that’s a lot like me.

I have contingency plans for my contingency plans. People are surprised that I not only have one advanced degree but two – in two wholly different fields of work. The idea was that if one career flopped, I would always have the second one to fall back on.

Alison and I always said that if everything – positively everything – failed, she could go back to waitressing and I could go back to building networks and teaching people how to stab each other.

We would survive. Or so we thought.

We planned for everything. Except her dying. That was the very last thing either of us thought of. It was our black swan.

We even thought of my dying, just not her; we took out a half-million dollar life insurance policy on me that expires this Friday at midnight.

In other words, if I die before 11:59 on Friday, the boy gets $500,000.

And the reason why it expires this Friday is that I’m turning 48 on Saturday.

I was supposed to get another ten-year term for the foreseeable unforeseeable but I just didn’t have the stomach to go through the whole nurse’s visit and alla that again.

I still remember when Alison and I did it together the first time around but this time, it’d be just me (she had a tiny fraction of my policy amount because we figured that the chance of her dying was so small).

We got it ten years ago this month, right after we found out she was pregnant. Later, we heard the heartbeat. Three months later, the heartbeat and the baby were gone.

I thought 2011 would be the most painful year of my life. I was wrong.

Man, I was so fucking wrong.

Two people independently, and separately, called Chad and me a narcissist recently. Here’s the definition of one.

No one had ever called either of us that before and it threw us for a loop because we know someone that assuredly is and we don’t feel we have any nexus at all with this person.

It’s definitely not true about Chad, and I don’t think it’s true about me either. I’m many fucked up things but that’s not one of them.

Because the only thing I ever wanted wasn’t accolades, fame, or fortune. All I ever wanted was to be known as a good writer and a family/fatty to call my own.

These days, my hopes are even more modest; I’d like nothing more than to be remembered as Alison McCarthy’s faithful companion and the boy’s faithful guard.

If I am remembered as nothing more or less than those two things, I consider my time on this shitty little planet well earned.

In any case, even though it’s a foreseeable unforeseeable thing, I let my policy lapse. Maybe I’ll pick up a new policy later on this year. Just not right now.

Because it’s just me and him. If I die after midnight this Friday, the kid’ll get the money Alison left for him, this apartment, a shit-ton of knives, several hundred worthless comic books, and tech up the wazoo.

I’m just tired of thinking of death and the weight of the world.

I’ll just try and be extra careful for a bit.

Before Alison got sick, I used to ask for the same ridiculous and crass thing every year because I thought it was funny.

Suppose this is as good a year as any to start that up again. So…

Wish me a happy birthday, alla you bastards that read me and never say anything.

Location: in front of 48
Mood: pensive
Music: blink your eyes and the years go by like that (Spotify)
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Sounding reminiscent of me

An early birthday

Went to see Pac in midtown the other day. It was kismet because I was meeting a friend near Koreatown and Pac was there to see his mom (at Noona Noodles) so it all worked out.

Well, that part worked out; the part afterward with my other buddy was a complete mess.

Because I’ve been an entrepreneur and lawyer for over two decades, I give a lotta free advice to people. Normally I bill at $325 an hour; $225 an hour for friends and family.

Lemme tell you, people are much more deferential with your time when you bill them $325 an hour at 15 minute intervals versus when you do work for them for free.

Anywho, this buddy of mine ate up close to 3.5 hours of my time and finally, I had to just bolt.

In the end, though, he reached out to me, apologized, said he felt awful, and then sent me $300 to cover some of the cost.

People have mocked me for my three-step apology but it works. If I didn’t take the apology then, I would be the jerk.

So alls well that ends well.

Part of the reason that I was so irritated was that it was my last few days before the boy came back from my in-laws and I was pressed to get as much done as possible.

Also, because I’ve been alive for exact 17,520 days. I only have 9,000 days left. Of those 9,000, you gotta figure that only 5,000 are gonna be any good.

I did know that I wanted to get to the gym as much as I could, so the next day I got one final class in with Chad.

Chad: You have to move the shoulder back first to expose the ankle, then use your chest and spine to do the actual ripping.
Me: So, pulling the hands up high…
Him: …only tightens the grip. It’s your body that rips through the muscle and ligaments.

That conversation probably sounds very odd to you but it’s all quite normal for me.

It’s related to that old weak bean soup and insect vomit story I told you about years ago: What’s normal to one group can sound/be abhorrent to another.

On that note, Chad took me out for my birthday on Saturday with a buncha guys from our old gym. I think he wanted to do something like what I did for him and Mouse last year.

Holy crap, I’m turning 48 in six days.

Then again, getting old is a luxury. This time last year, I spent completely alone, covered in my sweat and piss so this was an upgrade, regardless of how you look at it.

My buddy Stan stopped by as well.

Stan: It’s your birthday? Jesus Christ, you’re like Benjamin Button, you’re getting younger every time I see you.
Me: It’s all the booze and women.
Chad: I swear to god, Logan’s a fucking vampire.

We went to my fave authentic Szechuan Chinese joint in the hood to support local Asian-owned businesses.

I ordered some of my favourite dishes and they were all a hit with the fellas.

Thor: This food is great! Good choices.
Me: Chad, be careful. These dishes have a lot of Szechuan peppercorns in them which are different than regular hot food.
Him: I’m in it. It’s happening.

I was honestly there for the carbs – the glorious, glorious carbs. Well, that and the whiskey sours.

The fellas  asked me what I would be doing if I could do anything and I told them that I wanted to a law professor once. Alison hoped I would be.

Instead, I’m teaching people how to stab other people. Life’s weird.

Me: Our legal system is one of the richest in the world.
Him: How so?
Me: Because it’s the amalgam of three, very different but related legal histories. It all started in 1066 with William the Conqueror, who should be considered as French, not English. Anywho, he started this thing called the Domesday Book

Chad reached for the check but Thor grabbed it and covered everyone. I was touched.

Afterward, we headed to one of my old haunts around the way, Dive 75.

Me: I had to stop going for a while.
Robinson: Why?
Me: Well, I picked up so many women at this bar that I kept running into them for years afterward.
Him: You’re not gonna have that problem anymore.

The weather was nice so we sat outside and traded our stories until late.

48. Nothing in my life is as I expected it to be.

Although I try to find humor where I can.

Him: (building a train set and we were missing a piece) Dammit!
Me: You can’t say that!
Him: You say that.
Me: (sighing) Admittedly, that does sound reminiscent of me, but you still can’t say that. It’s an adult word.
Him: When I can say it?
Me: I need to get back to you on that.

Location: home with the boy
Mood: touched
Music: in the end it wasn’t what you wanted (Spotify)

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Hitting the gym while I can

Happy to see your face

Like I said, I’ve been hitting the gym as much as I can while the boy’s away.

After not going steadily to the gym in over a year, after just a week of going, I’m already down six pounds.

Everything hurts afterward because I’m so out of practice.

Mouse was there so we spoke briefly and it was really good to catch up with her. Chad, Spak, and I were getting drinks around the way so I invited her.

On the way there, we came across some distinctly NYC items.

It’s still odd to me to sit indoors with a group and have a conversation – although the conversations made me laugh, like always.

Chad: I got a (spa) facial the other day.
Her: I have so many things I wanna say.

Spak ended up ordering a whole buncha food but I fought my fatty, fat, fat urge to eat it all.

Instead, I had another Old Fashioned and then a rum and diet coke, the latter of which was a poor choice on my part.

Afterward, I asked her if she could give me a lift home in my old whip. It was late so it didn’t take long for her to pull up to my door.

I thanked her and left but then I turned around and stuck my head back in the car and gave her a kiss on her cheek.

Me: Thank you for everything.
Her: (nods)
Me: For what it’s worth, I hope you find your person.

Dunno why I always think that I can drink a rum and diet coke at night and not have a sleepless night.

Normally, the caffeine interrupts my already poor sleep but I’ve also not been drinking much lately as I’ve been managing the kid all by my lonesome so that also threw things off.

Ended up tossing and turning all night until, finally, at 6AM, I just got up and started to get some things done.

The boy’s back on Sunday so I feel pressure to get as much done as I can before that.

Unfortunately, my phone’s been ringing off the hook because people I’ve not seen in ages are calling me to hang out but I’m already completely booked up. Still, I’m flattered that people wanna hang with boring old me.

Then again, the person I wanna hang with the most is the one that also keeps me from hanging out with others.

He’s totally worth it though…

Him: Papa! You look tired.
Me: (laughing) Thanks.
Him: OK, so today…

Location: 5:59AM this morning, my bed, making a decision
Mood: exhausted
Music: Was it off the cuff, or was it planned? (Spotify)
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So I smoked a joint for the first time

And got my vaccine – all in the same weekend

Dropped the boy off with my in-laws last week so they could spend some time with him, both of them having gotten the vaccine. It also meant that I could catch up on a whole buncha things.

While there, I had some fish and seafood, neither of which were a good idea due to the gout but I did it anyway.

Arriving home, I literally hit the gym every opportunity I could.

I also had been trying to get the vaccine myself and ended up getting one last minute at 11AM for 2PM a few blocks from BrightBea’s place.

I contemplated dropping her a line but decided against it (again). It was a one hour 45 minute trip from my pad to there.

Because it was in the middle of nowhere, I took my scooter but the cop at the front of the hospital told me I couldn’t bring it in. Not knowing what else to do, I convinced the guy running the coffee cart outside to watch it for me for 10 bucks.

Him: I’m leaving in exactly 30 minutes, at 2:45. You need to be here by then.
Me: I’ll try my best, thanks!

You can see the cart behind me in this picture below.

I dashed upstairs and ended up being the first in line. Immediately after I checked in – about 5 minutes – I turned around to see that the line was easily 10-15 deep after me. So, I lucked out.

The nurse was sweet but chatty. I just wanted to get going. At 2:37:

Her: You’re all set.
Me: Great, I gotta run downstairs.
Her: No, honey, you gotta sit for 15 minutes.

I explained to her my situation and she sighed.

Her: Can you stay until 2:40? Three minutes.
Me: You got a deal, lady.

At exactly 2:40, I ran downstairs and made it just in time.

Him: Hello, my friend! Congratulations on your shot!

Felt pretty good afterward so I hit up my kali class after teaching a quick private. Pez, Panda, Shawn, and Iron Chef all came to my Friday kali class and I saw three out of the four of them the very next day for jits.

While there, I ended up chatting with my buddy Miller, who always gives me good parenting advice, as well as Jay, who got a promotion.

Later on, met up with Chad, MJ, Pez, and IronChef for drinks around the way and made some new acquaintances.

Her: Mary. And my brother’s name is Logan, too.
Me: He must be pretty cool. Not that I am but I’m hoping to grow into the name.

Also spoke to a tall blonde wearing a red leather jacket in the bar.

Me: Have you ever heard of aposematism?.
Her: I’m sorry, what?

On the way back, we remarked how interesting it was that marijuana was now legal in NYC.

I’d had cannabis  in my recent past – after Alison got sick – but I never actually smoked a joint before.

Her: I have one if you want.
Me: Sure, but I have to go first or after you. Because of cooties. (she laughs) I don’t know where the guys have been.
Him: You don’t know where she’s been!
Me: Fair, but, given the right circumstances, it’s within the realm of possibility that I end up making out with one woman or another. Not you, of course, just women in general…

Afterward, we headed back to mine where we attempted to play some Exploding Kittens but ended up talking for hours instead.

Him: I respect how the three of you seem to talk to people you don’t know.
Me: (shrugging) I just assume they want to talk to me.

After a bit, we all ended up on a topic that’s relatively private so I’ll end that story here.

Didn’t sleep very well that night. As I said, I never smoked a joint before in my life and the things I was thinking and feeling were unsettling.

I apologize to Alison a lot when I’m by my lonely. For failing her.

It was a rough night and I’ll leave it at that as well.

It was my first joint but I feel like I’ve been drunk for three years and fifteen days.

Location: saying hi on 77th and Amsterdam
Mood: busy
Music: Why does it hurt (Spotify)
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Aposematism

Red and Yellow

Me: I think you’re off starting next Monday
Him: I’m off starting this Monday, papa.
Me: Well…that’s suboptimal.

Thought the boy’s Spring break began April 5th. I was incorrect.

Annnnd…shitballs. Here’s Pez watching the kiddo because I was in a pinch.

Her: You have the cutest kid!
Me: Thank you – you’re the best!

Earlier this week, I did some legal work that beat 96% odds.

Him: You did good work, Logan.
Me: No, I didn’t do good work. I won with 4% odds, that’s not good; that’s fucking fantastic. I did fucking fantastic work. They weren’t ready for me.

Because the kid was off, we went up to Connecticut to see a buddy of mine so the boy could have a playdate with his daughter.

While I was there, I took a picture of myself looking very out of place in my usual red leather jacket and the woods.

I always had this bright yellow/orange jacket – that picture below was taken by the Green-Eyed Schoolteacher back in 2007 – but when Alison got first got pregnant in 2011, I had my tailor make me a bright red leather jacket as a celebration.

It took a few months to get to me and, by then, we already lost that child. That was the start of our hell, which only ended six years later when she died. It was complete bullshit.

I never wore it while she was here and only rarely wore the other jacket during that whole time. Instead, I wore my beat up dark red leather jacket – that’s me when I was in Prague twenty-five years ago – and my other rando stuff.

I told a buddy of mine that most of the world lives an unexamined life. If anything, I examine the world around me a little too closely.

Why do I think the way I do?
Why do I dress the way I do?
Why does this matter to me?
What does this mean?

When Alison died, I wore only black for the first six months. I wore only black because I saw only black.

And then I realized that I had to reenter the world, as much as I didn’t want to. But after that, I put on my red leather jacket and wore it out for the first time. It’s pretty much my daily driver now, although I do break out the yellow/orange jacket on occasion.

There’s this thing called “aposematism,” which comes from the Greek ἀπό apo “away” and σῆμα sēma “sign.”

Aposematism, then, is “a sign to stay away.”

Basically, dangerous things are often brightly coloured, with the most dangerous things either red or yellow/orange against black.

      • Black Widow (red against black)
      • Yellowjacket (yellow/orange against black)
      • Murder Hornets (yellow/orange against black)
      • Monarch butterflies (orange against black)
      • Pitohui (red against black)
      • Poison Dart Frogs (blue, red, and/or black)

Just to name a few.

I wear bright red and yellow against black because I’m a lawyer with two decades of experience that teaches knife fighting in his spare time.

There are other reasons but that’s all I wanna share right now.

Most people, subconsciously, get that a guy doesn’t wear a bright yellow/orange or red leather jacket unless he can.

Although not everyone uses the sense god gave them. On the way to one Scenic Fights shoot, I had this conversation:

Him: You want to start some shit?
Me: I think I do, homie.

Subtlety only gets you so far sometimes.

Although, to be fair, I also paid extra to have a paisley print put into the red jacket and artwork to line my yellow/orange one.

I thought it made them look prettier. 

Location: home
Mood: pretty
Music: Ooh-ooh-ooh, that’s my violet (Spotify)

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Fate shuffles the cards and we play

The Illusion of Choice

Him: Why does everyone go away?
Me: Sometimes they have to, sometimes they want to. If we miss them, it means that they mattered to us. That’s not a bad thing, kiddo.

The boy’s sad because a number of people in his life have exited his venn diagram. Some temporarily, some more permanent.

It hurts me to see him hurt but I try my best to acknowledge his feelings as much as a 47-year-old-man-who’s-seen-a-ton-of-shit can vis-a-vis a five year old.

Alison’s sickness and death rocked me. For years, I prided myself on being dispassionately aloof to the workings of the world – in it but unaffected by it.

But when she got sick, I was a raw, open wound. I felt everything. The years before she got sick, while she was sick, and after she died, I lost all sense of self.

My career, my friends, my hobbies, my life goals, even my own sense of self-worth and pride. It all disappeared.

Poof.

Love does that to people. It’s neither a bad thing, nor a good thing, it’s just the cost of love. You surrender to love, because that’s its price.

I want to say that I’ve gotten better these past few years, but that wouldn’t be true. It’s more accurate to say that I’ve gotten better bit-by-little-bit.

One thing that I used to believe with all my heart was that there’s luck and there’s fate. They are not the same but they both can’t be affected by us.

I always believed that there are things in our lives that we think we can control but we can’t. When Alison and my dad got sick, I wanted to believe that we had a chance.

In the end, we only have the illusion of choice, and some things were never meant to be as we hoped them to be – oftentimes, there’s just luck and fate.

In the Dark Knight, the Joker puts a gun in Two-Face’s hand. Two-Face then takes out his double-sided coin and tells him that if he flips it and the scarred side pops up, the Joker dies, if the unscarred side comes up, the Joker lives.

Two-Face thinks that chance will determine the Joker’s fate but he was tricked all along.

You see, the Joker had a his finger on the hammer. He was controlling the outcome no matter what.

Two-Face only had the illusion of choice. Just like us, oftentimes.

I drove myself starkers all these years thinking I could change things I had no control over. The joke was on us.

Him: (nods) I’m still sad.
Me: It’s ok to be sad. Papa’s sad all the time. Fate shuffles the cards and we play.
Him: What does that mean?
Me: I’ll explain it more when you get older. How about some ice cream?

If there’s one thing that I want to teach the boy, it’s to play the hell out of the cards he’s dealt.

It’s one of a million things I need to do with him before I have to go.

I watch a lotta comic book movies.

Location: home
Mood: thoughtful
Music: I wipe my feelings off (Spotify)

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Memories of a chocolate teapot

Seeing the world but once

Me: What’s wrong?
Him: Annie doesn’t want to play with me. Can we go?
Me: OK, let’s go to another playground.

I’ve noticed something interesting about the kids that my son is closest to – they’re all hapas like him.

Dunno if this is some subconscious thing or because there are so many hapas running around the Upper West Side.

This lady named Louise Glueck once said, “We look at the world once, in childhood. The rest is memory.”

I couldn’t agree with that statement more. I think that, by the time we’re 14 or so, we know the broad contours of what we like and we don’t like.

For example, there was this little girl named Christine that I used to hang out with all the time growing up. We were both maybe six or seven, way before any real rational emotion was possible, but all I knew was that I loved hanging out with her.

She was blond with coloured eyes. Just like Alison.

I tell my friends to always be careful that they aren’t controlled by their 14 year-old impulses. But sometimes, you can’t help it – I’m no different.

In any case, the way I look at it, I have nine years to shape this kid’s perception of the world and I feel I’m already running outta time.

As much as possible, I try to have him the see the world for what it is – both the good and the bad – rather than what someone else wants him to see, what’s for sale.

The things he values now, he’ll value the rest of his life so I try for him to value things that are innately valuable. Those things that cannot be taken from you, like skills and kindness.

Because, in some way, we’re all prisoners of our 14 year-old selves.

Him: Isn’t that cool?
Me: It’s about as useful as a chocolate teapot.
Him: (laughing) What does that mean?
Me: Think about it, kid. It’ll come to you.

Then again, he may just be fine.

After all, he’s not just my kid, he’s Alison’s too. And maybe he won’t be quite as lonely as I was, growing up.

Me: Are you ok that Annie didn’t want to play with you?
Him: (nodding) I’ll meet someone else. (later) This is Sandy, papa, she lives on West 74th.
Me: (laughing) Hello Sandy who lives on West 74th. Why don’t you two play and I’ll watch your scooters?

Location: earlier today, watching some scooters by some stone elephants
Mood: hopeful
Music: All you got to do is blink your eyes and the years go by like that (Spotify)
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Inchoate Manslaughter notwithstanding

That’s a no

My brother came to town for a visit. He’s helped so many people in the world that his schedule was jam-packed cause everyone wanted to see him.

But, he stayed by me for a little while and it was good spending time with him and the boy.

Me: Uncle wants Thai food.
Boy: (confused) It’s food that’s tied?
Me: (nodding) Yes.

One benefit of having people around is that they can hear the kid speak so they know I’m not making up his peculiar little mannerisms.

For example, he was sitting on my friend KT’s lap when this happened:

Me: Do you want corned beef and cabbage for dinner?
Him: That’s a no.
Me: (to KT) OMG, I’m so glad you heard that.

Because my brother was here, plus my foot was feeling much better, I decided to head to gym early Saturday morning. My buddy Sean picked me up and off we went.

While there, I tried to be as careful as possible. But, during one exchange, this younger, and pretty tough, guy ended up taking the top position.

On the bottom, I did something called head-scissors that’s one of those moves that are generally though of as low-percentage in terms of getting a win – although Mouse managed to get a legit tap on Chad with them once – but I was really just trying to use it to get this guy off of me.

On the plus side, it worked.

On the negative side, after I got him off me, he started convulsing and his lips were blue.

Me: Holy fuckballs!

Now, Sean’s an EMT, which is good because it turns out that I’m absolute rubbish in a crisis. For example, I sat this guy up, exactly what I shouldn’tve done.

Sean: I got this.
Me: Good, cause I definitely don’t.

I’ve never put anyone out before, although I’ve gone out maybe twice?

It was probably the scariest thing that’s happened to me since I thought I was going to die during COVID.

I honestly thought I killed, or at least horribly injured someone. But he came to and was actually in better spirits than me.

Chad: (to the guy) Are you ok?
Him: I think so.
Me: Jesus, I’m not.

Ended up trying to break people’s legs for the remainder of class, which – trust me – was a lot less scary.

As a bonus, saw two of my buddies – Iron Chef and Robinson – get promotions. All-in-all, it was great day at the gym, inchoate manslaughter, not withstanding.

When I got back, my brother and I headed out to see my mom. It was a bit convoluted because I didn’t have the boy’s booster seat nor his heavy jacket so I had to scramble to make due.

The three of us – me, the kid, and my brother – eventually took the train to see them.

It was the first time in over a year that I gave my mom a hug. That’s nuts.

Me: Come here, lemme give you another hug.
Her: We just hugged!
Me: I’ll take another.

I’ve been thinking a lot of where I was last year at this time. To say that it was lonely is a massive understatement: There was no one in my building besides me. My son was away. I had no one at all but myself.

I’ll admit, a year later, that I thought some seriously dark thoughts during this time.

In some way, getting COVID was a good thing for my mental state. When I honestly thought I was going to die, I realized that I didn’t want to.

I remember thinking, in my fevered dreams, of something I heard once from a fella named Charles Perrow: “It is normal for us to die, but we only do it once.“

And I decided that I didn’t wanna use my one chance right then and there. I wanted to see the boy again.

Which is good, cause life’s worth living just to hear this kid talk.

Me: What else can you do there?
Him: (thinking) I can see my girlfriend in Brightview.
Me: I didn’t realize you have a girlfriend in Brightview.
Him: (shrugging) I do.
Me: (laughing) Charmer like you? I believe it.

Location: midday, around Oceanic Boil
Mood: exhausted
Music: If you ask me how I’m doing, I say “I’m alright” (Spotify)
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Snyder’s Justice League is about family

You should watch it

I was never a true fan of Zack Snyder’s version of the Man of Steel but I did think he had his moments.

But, after the fanboy disappointment that was the theatrical release of The Justice League, I figured what Zack had in mind had to be better.

So, I’ve been quietly waiting all this time for the Snyder cut of the film and I saw it this past Friday.

It was amazing. The whole time I was watching it, I kept saying exactly that: This is amazing.

My brother was at my place while Chad and I watched it and this is essentially how we looked for four hours.

Him: This is amazing.
Me: (five minutes later) This is amazing.

It’s supposed to be 90% different than the theatrical release and I gotta say, that number is accurate: It’s a completely different film.

Snyder left the production after the suicide of his daughter Autumn, which is such a horrible thing to even contemplate that I wish I could just gloss that fact over and not think about it.

But that’s impossible. Her death, forced her parents – Snyder’s wife was heavily involved in the film as well – to just bail.

And I get it. When Alison died, nothing mattered. I had zero capacity to do anything beyond merely function, drink, and womanize.

Still, at some point, we either get on with living or we get on with dying.

I did the former and so did Snyder.

These pics are all from when I went to ComicCon back in 2017.

Interestingly, the film is as much about family as it is about superheroes.

      • The Flash is trying to save his father.
      • Cyborg is trying to forgive his father and deal with the loss of his mother.
      • Aquaman is trying to know his mother and see his father.
      • Wonder Woman is trying make up for leaving her mother.
      • Superman is trying to live up to the aspirations of both sets of parents, biological and adopted.
      • And Batman…well, he’s all about his parents.

For all the amazing special effects and the thrill of seeing my childhood heroes in a worthy live-action film, it had a far more heart than I was expecting.

Honestly, it’s worth four hours of your time if you haven’t seen it.

I saw it on the night that I normally go to kali but, because of the gout, I could only stay for half-an-hour.

It’s a shame, because my buddy Panda stopped by. He, and another buddy, Thor, both have gout and they told me the same thing: I needed to drink copious amounts of water.

So I did that, and the next day, felt markedly better.

So good, in fact, that I went to roll in Brooklyn, which ended up being both a good idea and a terrible idea, terrible because I thought I almost killed someone.

But that’s a story for tomorrow.

Location: earlier today, baking for the kid
Mood: thoughtful
Music: Sometimes I think this world’s too much, all the hurt, all the hate (Spotify)
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Adjusting to the world

Oh, and I have gout

Well, I’ve hit a new middle-aged milestone: I have gout.

Essentially, for almost every meal, I have cabbage, avocados, or spinach and beef, lamb, or sardines every single day.

In fact, I just made the ABFF and the kids some corned beef and cabbage for St. Patty’s this AM.

Never really thought much of this until I woke up in ridonk pain at 4PM the other day.

I needed to see a doc but I wasn’t comfortable bringing the kid to the medemerge – which I saw exactly a year earlier and got COVID.

Not knowing what else to do, I gave Chad a ring.

Him: I’m already on my way.

Now that’s a friend.

On that note, here he is breaking down Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

I hobbled to the doctor’s and, after a buncha questions, x-rays, and whatnot, gout was the conclusion.

Oddly, the reason for it may have more to do with my intermittent fasting per a video my buddy Aric sent me.

All in all, it was not a great day.

The few days before that weren’t any great shakes either.

Me: You did what?!
Son: Are you mad?
Me: I don’t think the word “mad” fully captures the range of emotions I’m feeling right now, boy.

Some people think I push the kid too hard; others, not hard enough. I figure that this means I’m probably doing ok. But we do have these types of convos:

Him: I don’t need to know how to do that, you’ll do it for me.
Me: For now. But you need to learn how to do it yourself.
Him: Why?
Me: People are valued for their skills; the more skills you have, the more valuable you are. The less skills you have, the less valuable the world considers you.

If being a parent has taught me anything, it’s a profound respect for my own parents.

I realize now, how difficult it must have been for them as two very young foreigners (20something and 30something) in a foreign land raising three children while being immigrant poor.

I have one kid and live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and I still feel like I’m struggling.

Yet it’s still some of the most interesting work I’ve ever done. It forces me to question whether or not I truly understand the world as it is.

Him: Why is fire hot?
Me: I never thought about it. Let’s look it up.

On a deeper level, what I see lacking the most in the world is critical thinking, which is analyzing a given set of facts and making sense of them.

The pitfalls are:

    • Poor data
    • Poor analysis
    • Poor conclusions
      • Poor actions based on the conclusion

I see people mess up at least one, sometimes all four, at least once a day.

And the biggest problem with people is that they think that the world adjusts to their level of skill, rather than the adjusting their level of skill to the world.

My parents wanted us to get accolades – A+s and Ivy Leagues – and I get that. But what I want for the boy is much more modest, I want him to have general life skills coupled with an ability to critically think.

The most unsuccessful, lonely people, are those that expect certain things of the world and are angry that the world doesn’t match their expectations.

I get that, more than most.

But, at the end of the day, the world doesn’t care what we want or hope, only how we respond to it.

Him: Why do I have to learn this?
Me: Because the world doesn’t adjust to your level of skill. So you have to do it the other way around. 

Location: earlier today, by the ABFF’s
Mood: discomforted
Music: I’m the same kid – so why’s the mirror say I’m not? (Spotify)
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