Sine qua non

Villan it is

Me: Goddammit. The RTX 3090 needs three pcie power connectors and you only have two.
Him: Goddammit.

My buddy Panda just left. Was trying to upgrade his computer but no luck. Still, we did manage to sit down and have some rum together.

Him: You’ve accomplished a lotta stuff with your life.
Me: (taking a sip) What have I accomplished besides being a high-functioning alcoholic?
Him: (shrugging) Well, you’re high-functioning at least.

Spoke to someone I dated after everything went down with Alison and my dad. I literally had to dig up my old phone – and old phone number – to figure out how to get in touch with her. My brain’s like swiss cheese lately.

That’s an interesting story that I’m still trying to sort out. Maybe I’ll tell you about it someday.

Me: FWIW, I think I loved you. Everything was just…crazy then.
Her: (laughs) You think?! You did. You still do.
Me: Sure. And I think you still love me. But in the end, it doesn’t make a difference does it?
Her: No, it doesn’t. (shaking head) I’ve never met anyone so out of touch with what they’re thinking and feeling.
Me: It was too much. It’s still too much to take. In the end, we were both right: We’re incompatible.

On that note, I thought of my ex before Alison recently.

This woman named Alana Davis sang a cover of Ani DiFranco 32 Flavors that I prefer to Ani’s verison. Alison always thought that was blashphomy.

In any case, both versions start off with a line that goes, “Squint your eyes and look closer; I’m not between you and your ambition.”

When my ex and I broke up, she essentially said I was holding her back: From making new friends, from getting promoted at work, from blogging, from public speaking, from everything.

In law, there’s a latin phrase, sine qua non, which translates to “but for…”

eg: She would be happy and successful – but for Logan holding her back.

I thought of that phrase and the Ani song as she was telling me how awful I was.

Don’t think I was angry so much as I was sad that she blamed me for so much. I like to think that she was just lashing out because everything was such a mess.

Have zero idea what’s going on with her now but I always wondered if her life became everything she dreamed it would be if only I wasn’t in it.

Sine qua non Logan…

Honestly, as I write this, I hope she was right. That it was me, all along, keeping her from being the best version of her self.

I wrote once that I was always secretly on her side and I still am.

In fact, I’m secretly on the side of a lotta people who probably don’t know that I am. Because, for some moments in time, they meant the world to me.

In the end, that’s fine.

Everyone needs a good enemy and if that’s my role in someone’s life, so be it – sometimes, we don’t get to choose if we’re the hero or the villian, life chooses for us.

Villan it is…

In other news, I finished making the duck confit for the kid recently.

Him: I don’t want to try it.
Me: Try it, you might like it.
Him: (reluctantly) Oh, it’s good!
Me: See?!
Him: I’m just going to eat the (plain) rice, OK? Yummy. This rice is so good.
Me: (sighing)

Location: stepping out of the car on W 76th and Amsterdam
Mood: villanous
Music: God help you if you are a phoenix and you dare to rise (Spotify)
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About par for course

It’s 2022

Me: How’s your 2022 going?
Him: Well, it just started so, good, I guess? You?
Me: Early on the 1st, I walked out my door and immediately stepped in dog poop. So, about par for course.

Had alla these plans for the week while kid was away but then COVID hit my gym and we had to close.

That put a damper on everything.

Luckily, I had a backup plan with my buddy Morgan. But we only got through 25% of what we had planned there too.

You see, my dishwasher stopped working. I read the manual and it turns out that you’re supposed to clean it every month. I got it like 15 years ago for Alison and never cleaned it.

So, I took out my tools and took the whole thing apart and finally got to the filter. Imagine opening a jar a vasoline and sticking your hand into it. That’s what I essentially did.

Zero smell, thankfully. Just…15 years of grease stuck in the drain.

After cleaning out the waste drain and the waste grinder blade, I then spent an hour trying to clean out the trap with toothpicks and a toothbrush.

Then I googled the part and found out I could get a replacement for $40 so I just did that and let my dishes pile up for a few days.

The holidays are a barrel o’laughs for me, lemme tell ya.

My freezer has been just jam packed with vacuum sealed items so I decided to just clear it out by cooking and eating everything.

I made us a leg of lamb and some slow roasted chicken…

…some gyros with the Good Eats gyro recipe…

…which was pretty good but I woulda used less rosemary and marjoram next time. A lot less.

Then I made some Chinese eggs with tomatoes just to mix it up…

And then another leg of lamb…

…which turned out to be corned beef. But Spak came by and tried it.

Him: Man, that’s really good!
Me: I made it with Herbs de Provance and recooked it in the pressure cooker. I’m glad you like it because it was a mistake.

The fact he liked it meant a lot to me because he’s a pretty good cook himself.

We saw a flick about my personal hero that he brought over.

Had some other company too but that’s the only one I’m allowed to talk about.

Finally, I defrosted a duck, quartered it, and seasoned it for some duck confit via the sous vide.

Also managed to render some duck fat to make eggs in the morning for myself.

Anywho, after letting it marinade for three days, I put it in my sous vide at 155 degrees for 35 hours right before sitting down to write this.

I’ll let you know how that goes in a few days.

It’s 2022. I survived another holiday season.

What a kick in the head.

Her: What do you mean, you’re waiting?
Me: I figure I have about 7,000 days left here. I’m just waiting.
Her: That’s dark.
Me: (shaking head) No. This fella named Spalding Gray once said, “Everybody knows they are going to die, but no one really believes it.” I believe it.

Location: in Metal Park for four hours, telling a celebrity’s son not to cry
Mood: productive
Music: let’s just make this a little easier (Spotify)
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My reason for being here

Ready

My son and I went to NJ to my in-laws for Christmas where I had an endless stream of delicious food.

Mostly carbs, though.

My son’s gift to my MIL was that he played a song for her on the ukulele. I’m ridiculously proud of him, for the below and so much more.

Her: That kid is a genius!
Me: He takes after his mom.

Essentially spent my time playing with the kid, eating, and sleeping the whole time I was there. It was glorious.

The boy was sad when I left but I told him I’d see him soon. I took the train home; on the platform on the ride back was a fella easily six foot four or more.

Her: Is a giant next to you?
Me: Yes.

The rest of the weekend/week was spent meeting up with people that stopped by, with gifts like the Pastor

Him: I have a gift for you!
Me: Dude! I didn’t get you anything.
Him: (later) There’s a huge rat behind you.
Me: You’ll tell me if it comes near me, right?
Him: If you see my eyes widen in horror, run.

…and Pac…

Him: Man, I never thought of it that way. (thinking) You see things that other people don’t see.
Me: It was my gift, seeing all the angles. Except with Alison. I didn’t see what I needed to see and she paid for it.
Him: You can’t blame yourself for that.
Me: (shrugging and taking a sip of rum) But, I do.

…and my buddy Miller that, unexpectedly bought me a handcrafted knife from Raven Knives.

Him: Merry Christmas, brother! I got something for you.
Me: Ooooooh, is it a busty 32-36 year old? Because I’ve always wanted one of those. And, you shouldn’t have!

I carry so much guilt, you wouldn’t believe it. But, somehow, I feel better than I have in a long while, I have to say.

Think it’s because I survied another holiday season. Well, almost.

Just a few days more.

All these years, I keep wondering if Hope is a good or bad thing.

I suppose there’s no way to ever tell until our race is run.

Me: I only have 5,000 days left here.
Him: That’s it?
Me: (nodding) It means I can’t waste time. I gotta make sure the boy’s ready.
Him: If anyone will get him ready, it’ll be you.
Me: (shaking head) So many people put their faith in me and I feel like I’ve let them all down. Alison, Mouse, Gradgirl, Daisy. So many people. But I can’t let him down. He’s my reason for being here.

Location: having coffee on W 18th Street, telling him that I finally understand
Mood: hopeful(ish)
Music: Problems I created, yeah, I wasn’t perfect (Spotify)
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Omens

A family discussion

I met with a fella named Mikio Shinagawa in February of 2012 for a project that never happened.

We met after hours at his restaurant Omen and he offered me some tea that I took. This was back when I was still someone and not the broken, but high-functioning, charming alcoholic nobody you all know and love.

He passed away recently. Told him that I’d come back some day to try out his restaurant with my wife. He laughed and said he was looking forward to meeting her and that he’d treat us like royalty.

Never saw him again.

Another part of my possible pasts. He seemed like a nice fella. Fucking cancer.

We’ve had a lotta new students in the gym and I’m reminded just how different people that regularly train are from everyone else.

Him: What about you? How long have you been doing this?
Me: (thinking) 17 years?
Him: 17 years!? Wait, how old are you?

I’ve actually been studying kali for 17 years, 8 months, and 6 days.

Me: This is the longest I’ve gone without holding a weapon in my right hand.
Him: That’s a sentence that I don’t think I’ve ever said.


Speaking of the gym, one of our guys got COVID and may have given it to Chad, or the other way around.

Or maybe it was me?

See, about a week-and-a-half ago, I dropped the kid off at school, came home, and was so tired that I decided to take a nap at 8:45AM.

The next thing you know, it was 12:30 in the afternoon. I can’t remember the last time I slept in/overslept. I attributed it to my being out and about all week.

At the same time, I had a sore throat that I attributed to my (exceedingly) dry room.

Once I turned on my humidifier, everything seemed to go away and it was – at most – a 24-hour thing, so I didn’t think anything of it.

That is, until Chad called me to tell me he was gonna shut down the school.

Looking into the Omicron variant, because its symptoms seem to be milder, and because it doesn’t have the lack of smell/taste indicator, I wonder if that’s why it’s so contagious: Because it doesn’t act like the COVID virus we’ve all grown accustomed to, people don’t think they have it.

In any case, I took a PCR test, but even after three days, I don’t have the results yet. It seems that the company that gave me my test is so bad at getting results back in time that the NYS Attorney General just issued them a warning two days ago.

Which means that my luck remains true to form.

2021.12.24_08:34 Edit: Got my results – negative

Speaking of luck – and not being able to hold a weapon in my right hand – I’m running into Mouse randomly all the time; by no machinations from either of us.

We both happen to see the same physical therapist and we both happen to have appointments at the same time. Me for my hand, her for her leg.

But it’s been nice talking with her without all the weirdness that happens after a breakup. She’s (very) active in the gym and one of the rules I have is: Let true things be true.

The truth of the matter is that she’s now part of the fabric of my life, and that of my friends, so we both have to be adults about the whole thing.

Which, let’s be honest, isn’t really saying much as it pertains to me.

Location: hopping out of her car at 34th Street to get the kid
Mood: nostalgic
Music: Look at you through kinder eyes, kinder eyes (Spotify)
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Being Bougie with Ras

What everyone says

As I said, my cousin Ras hit me up months ago because she wanted to take me out to eat. Again.

Me: Was I right about everything?
Her: Yes!!!! You were so right about being reasonable; he used that term dozens of times in our call. Let me take you out to eat, someplace bougie.

I’m really not a bougie kinda eater, as evidenced by my love of $1 pizza slices. Still, she insisted and I’m never one to say no to food, as you’ll soon see.

Our reservations for the restaurant she wanted finally came this past week so she stopped by the gym and got her first roll in almost two years.

Then we showered and went with Chad to get drinks over at Barcade, NYC.

The last time I was there was with Chad and some friends after Alison passed.

Him: Women are just used to being pursued.
Me: It’s prob more accurate that they’re better at playing the game.
Her: You mean dating?
Me: The way I see it, all women are at least blue belts when it comes to dating. Figure that, the average girl has to fight off unwanted male advances 2-3 times a week starting at 14 for like 30 years. Contrast this with the average frustrated dude that probably *speaks* to 2-3 women they don’t know a year.
Her: You two aren’t like that.
Me: Nope. And you’re like a black belt when it comes to relationships too.
Her: Yeah – when they’re not mine. And some people clearly shouldn’t be dating anyone until they get their own lives in order.

Chad went off to go on a date and Ras and I caught a ride to Kochi, cause I’m a sucker for Korean food.

As soon as we arrived, we were treated to some champagne.

Her: My friend told them we were coming and hooked us up.
Me: Great, cause I’m starving.

She got us the tasting menu, which was fulla absolutely delicious – and absolutely tiny – dishes. Each one was a winner.

The alcohol kept coming too. Lots of it was on the house, but Ras made sure our cups were never empty.

Her: I’m stuffed. You?
Me: I could go for a $1 slice of pizza.
Her: You’re kidding me. OK.

So off we went to a pizza joint just down the block. I got a slice and a Jamaican beef patty.

Her: Are you full now?
Me: Do you really want to know the answer?

So off we went to Los Tacos No. 1.

Her: I just want the horchata but I’m buying you the Especial.
Me: Don’t you dare, you…
Her: Too late. You’re the only one that believed in me.

Her: Are you full NOW?!
Me: …yes?
Her: I don’t know how you eat that much.
Me: That’s what everyone says.

There’s more but I’m le tired. Still, my social obligations are almost over.

Almost.

Location: earlier today, being told I could lift more on 36th Street
Mood: fuzzy
Music: Just know that you’re good enough (Spotify)
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Becoming a fatty-fat-fat

I’m a goddamn blast

My son cried this week because I’ve been out almost every night for the past two weeks or so.

Him: I never see you.
Me: I see you every day! We have brekkie together every morning, I get you from school, and we have hours together.
Him: It’s not enough!

Parental guilt is awful. Anywho, this is because, for the first time in years that I went back to my Never turn down an invitation, rule and I’m exhausted.

It’s off again, so don’t invite me anywhere. I’m done until January 2nd, 2022.

Also, I’m ten pounds heavier; I went from 141 to 151 pounds in two weeks. For reasons that will be readily apparent.

For the first time, I met someone with the kid…because she had a kid too. A pretty adorbs daughter.

The woman was exactly my type: Attractive, buxom, wealthy, coloured eyed, wealthy…I mentioned wealthy already.

But…

Her: I hope you don’t mind, I brought pasta for her. She only eats pasta.
Me: Wait, what? But we’re in a Chinese restaurant. In Chinatown. There’re noodles galore.
Her: She’ll only eat plain pasta with some cheese and oil. That’s it. Nothing else.
Me: No fruit? No veggies? What about fiber and protein?
Her: She just won’t do it. (later) He has his own room? That’s great! She does too but sleeps with me every night.
Me: (nodding as the girl begins to bang on the table)

Non. Starter.

I’m at an age when it’s just as important that someone be a match for the kid as she is one for me.

I also met up with my buddy Ollie, who’s actually a black belt in jits despite us starting at the same time. My old coach was just the pits.

That’s him, above, listening to Chad tell a story at the bar.

The plus of hanging out with Ollie – I’ve known him close to 30 years – was that he could corroborate a lotta the crazy stories that I tell people.

Me: Tell him about our buddy that has so much scratch that he covers an entire restaurant’s bill.
Ollie: Even better, I’ve got pics of his wedding. Did Logan ever tell you…
Me: (later) It’s been a long time, man.
Him: (nodding) I read about your wife. Well, I tried to. I couldn’t finish it, I kept crying.
Me: Yeah. You and me both.

On that note, both Chad and Mouse were out with us. Mouse and I got along a lot better, I think, than we had in the past year. It was really nice, TBH.

She showed me pics of her and the kid that I’d never seen before and I gave her a kiss on her cheek.

Me: Thank you for that.
Her: (shrugging) Sure. Google shows me these pics all the time.
Me: Send it to me, will you, please?

She was nice enough to give Chad and me a lift to the subway in my old whip. Once she dropped us off, he and I promptly each got two slices of $1 pizza.

Him: God. Dollar pizza is so good.
Me: I’m getting us another slice.

On the ride home, I got up so an older couple could sit together.

They were so grateful. I teared up a bit because they looked so in love. She was so happy to sit next to him and lay her head on his shoulder.

I wonder if I’ll ever have something like that when I’m their age.

The next day, my cousin Ras came by to roll for a bit. She wanted to take me out because she got a crazy promotion that I (kinda) helped out with.

But that’s a funny story so I’ll tell you that part tomorrow or sometime this week.

Today, I was out during the day doing…stuff. BUT, it was the first night I was going to be home for dinner in weeks.

The kid and I were going to have dinner together when both Chad and I got hit up by a buddy of ours at the gym. It was his birthday and he wanted us to go meet up with him in Koreatown.

While he did mention it previously, I don’t think people realize how much planning a parent – especially a single parent – needs to be social.

Him: I am having a small get together at Let’s Meat at 7:30 for my bday. Not really sure if I need to get a reservation for a Sunday night but lemme know so I can get a headcount.
Chad: Crap, you mentioned this yesterday. I’m hesitant to say yes because it’ll be clutch for me.
Him: One of you have to make it otherwise I will be unhappy.
Chad: Logan, this is your moment to become a hero.
Me: Wait, today? I don’t have a sitter. Dammit, I love KBBQ!
Him: I’ll let this one slide since you guys have been running the gym so well.
Me: Please, this was a non-vite – I woulda come had I gotten an earlier heads up, you rat bastard.

It’s just as well. I’m becoming a fatty-fat-fat.

Her: We’re right by you.
Me: Jesus Christ. I need lead time, lady. LEAD TIME!
Her: You’re no fun, Logan.
Me: With enough lead time, lady, I’m a goddamn blast.

Location: earlier today, asking her if she liked KBBQ
Mood: plump
Music: You’re something that I can’t forget (Spotify)
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The cool kids (2X)

Sprinting away

My mom misses my dad a lot these days. It’s the holidays, I think.

Her: It’s been four years since they left. Time moves so fast.
Me: The hours drag but the years sprint away. Yes.

While the gym was closed, Chad swung by to go over some plans for 2022.

The weather’s been freakishly warm and nice in the city lately; we’re obviously going to hell in a hand basket what with climate change and all but I suppose one takes any win one can.

We got a salad and then went to get a cup of coffee.

One of our students lived around the way so I hit him up; he’s the one with the second nicest apartment I’ve ever been to.

Me: Are you around for a cup of joe with me and Chad in the hood?
Him: Now? Yes! I am a cool kid…
Me: Thank god, we need at least one in the group.

We ended up going to his place and chatting for a spell, which was interesting because he had a different perspective on a few things as compared to Chad and me.

The views from his pad didn’t hurt.

The next day, I went to get my COVID booster (finally) and chatted to the girl ahead of me.

Me: Not everyone can pull off a red leather jacket.
Her: Only cool kids can!
Me: Oh, then we have a problem.

I got both the flu and COVID shots in the same arm; zero effects on me as a whole but my arm hurt like the dickens.

Today, I took my first class in the gym after the construction was done. Looked like a million bucks.

Me: Well, that wasn’t cheap but the guy did a killer job.
Him: And the mats feel great too.
Me: Considering how much we spent, they’d better.

Back before my world turned to shit, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years were a whirl of parties to meet women and clients.

In a sense, I’m back there again, but mainly to numb the pain of holidays more than anything else.

Got invited to seven parties just this week alone. Went to two of them so far.

One was my law firm, and their annual office holiday party. Even though I’ve not been steadily active with them since Alison got sick, I was touched to still be invited to all the reindeer games.

They ordered porterhouses from Benjamin Steakhouse and I ate most of it, I think.

It was a more interesting party than we had pre-COVID for a number of reasons, including that one of our buddies made partner and we had a slew of new, young attorneys in the office.

Her: Anyone want to go outside for a smoke? This one is covered with gold leaf.
Boss: Well, it is legal…
Me: I, personally, am offended by this suggestion. I will go and supervise.

I’d forgotten was it was like to be a young and optimistic attorney.

Seems like a million years ago.

I’d not met most of them but they’d heard stories of me so it was kinda like they knew me but I just met them. I felt a bit like a celebrity.

But I had to leave early with my boss because I had another party to attend, this time with an old client.

On the way there, a busker was playing With Arms Wide Open by Creed and I thought of my son.

He was on my mind when I got there and looked for my friend when I met this pretty blonde.

Me: Where’s Jen?
Her: Oh, she got wrecked and left early.
Me: Well, you’ll have to keep me company, then. She’s the only person I know here. My name’s Logan.
Her: (laughs) Hi, Logan…

She was 23 (of course) and a huge fan of illicit pharmaceuticals. But loads of fun. That’s all I’ll share for now.

It was late when I got home. Fun Logan and alla that.

I’m still trying to figure out where I belong, if I belong anywhere.

Suppose as long as with the kid, I belong somewhere.

Location: earlier today, talking about the UCC and Kokomo just off Grand Central
Mood: curious
Music: I hope he’s not like me, I hope he understands (Spotify)
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Rosalita

My definition of success

For someone that doesn’t like to be social, lately, I’ve been more social than I intended.

Her: I can stop by with some wine.
Me: I’m not a wine drinker.
Her: But I am. Keep me company.

The gym’s been closed for the past few days to do some construction but on the last day we were open, my buddy Miller and I grabbed a cup of joe afterward.

Me: I think I have PTSD from everything that went down.
Him: (laughing) Dude, you’re the poster child for PTSD.

He told me I should try meditating to try to deal with the insomnia and intrusive thoughts.

It’s hard to quiet my racing mind but I did it because I promised I would, and I always keep my promises.

Besides, it was nice that he cared. Can’t say it was life-changing but I’ll try to keep it up.

Afterward, had dinner with a new friend.

That weekend, met up with a buddy of mine in Chinatown with our kids. We were playing phone tag for a while so it was good we finally got together.

He’s about six-foot-three so his kid, despite being a year younger than mine, was exactly the same height.

Him: What did you expect? You’re not gonna raise a basketball player.
Me: How dare you!

Brought everyone to the same Cantonese BBQ place that Chad and I go to before our Scenic Fights shoots. As always, I thought I ordered too much, but we ended up killing everything.

Him: I’m in contract for a condo on the UES. $3.2 million, plus I gotta cover all the transfer taxes and both attorneys.
Me: Jesus Christ, that’s a lotta scratch. And that was fast too.
Him: (laughing) Been looking for over a decade, figured it was time to just do it. It’s pushing our budget but it had to be done. There are only 80 units in the whole building and they were selling out fast. Oh, they have a pool so you two should come by.
Me: You’ll regret saying that.

Afterward, we brought the kids to get some dessert. It was nice that they got along so well.

We then headed out to see my mom. This is my son running down a hill to see her.

It was sweet.

While he hung out with his cousins, I met up with another buddy of mine who just got a new whip.

Him: I totally overpaid. For what I paid for this, I coulda gotten a BMW last year. Damn supply-chain issues.
Me: Had I known it’d be like this, I woulda kept my ride instead of giving it away.

He was in a mood because his girl’s dad didn’t approve of him because he wasn’t born into wealth, even though he had a great job and loved the dude’s daughter.

I told him about Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) by Bruce Springsteen. The song tells a story about a fella that loves a girl but the family hates him because he’s a musician.

In it, Springsteen sings these, somewhat arrogant but, great lines that go:

I want to be your man
Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny
But now you’re sad, your mama’s mad
And your papa says he knows that I don’t (have any money)
Whoa, your papa says he knows (that I don’t have any money)
Well, tell him this is his last chance to get his daughter in a fine romance
Because the record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance.

Me: What can you do but live your best life? Years ago, I uploaded this to YouTube because Alison and I talked about what being a success meant. (played the above video for him) That’s pretty much the only thing I’ve ever uploaded to YouTube prior to Scenic Fights. But that’s my definition right there.
Him: I’m not there yet.
Me: You will be. The best revenge is to have a successful, happy life. With his daughter.

Afterward, he drove me back to the kid and my family, but not before I grabbed Burger King for the kids.

I ordered so much food that they needed four people to put it together.

There’s a lot more to that story but nothing you’d be interested in hearing.

The kid was pooped by the time we went home.

Him: Can we do all that again?
Me: Sure. Be the type of person that people want to hang out with, and you’ll always have people asking you to do just that.
Him: (sleepily) OK, papa.

Location: having coffee and tea overlooking Central Park with Vazquez and Crowley at 3PM on a Tuesday afternoon
Mood: busy
Music: Now, I know your mama, she don’t like me (Spotify)
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Success models

We can’t stay here

The dinner itself was fun and the food was killer. It was also good to see the fellas outside of the gym and in our regular selves.

Him: I’m starting up a new venture with some big Hollywood stars.
Me: Do you need a lazy, high-functioning alcoholic lawyer?
Him: Oh, we have one of those already.
Me: Dammit.

It was so much, in fact, that we ended up staying out until they turned on the lights in the restaurant.

Him: I think they’re trying to tell us something.
Me: Yeah, we don’t have to go home, but we can’t stay here.

Most of what we discussed is unprintable, either because it was about the business or because it was about our personal lives.

Him: …and then the kid and his friends came out with guns and started firing.
Me: Well, I’m not visiting you there, then.

Told you once that you’re the average of the five people that you spend the most time with. These people should be your success models: The people we wanna be.

But there are probably just as many failure models in your life as there as success models. These are the people that are people like the consistently poor decision-makers, the immature, the selfish, the willfully ignorant, etc. Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to end up with failure models than success models.

Him: I remember some of the advice he gave me.
Me: Man, taking business advice from him is like taking relationship advice from someone that’s never been in a good one.

Chad and I know a fella that’s super-focused on building, essentially, a martial arts cult for some mythical yesteryear versus a commercially successful business for 2022 NYC.

It’s mental masturbation full of nonsense versus concerted, dispassionate grind. And a life focused on mental masturbation produces precisely the same result as a life focused on actual masturbation. After all, if you keep doing what you do, you keep getting what you get.

He’s our walking, talking, cautionary tale.

In the end, we picked the investors because they’re all very successful in their respective fields and all had a skill or attribute that would be a tangible benefit to the gym and each other.

A plus is that they’re all extremely good fighters in their respective arts, which helps if you’re running a martial arts gym.

It stopped raining when we finally left.

Me: We should do this again, soon.
Investor 1: I’m away for the next three months at [a resort I own]. You guys should visit.
Investor 2: I’m away for the next two months in [the Caribbean with my family].
Investor 3: I’m in Europe for a day for work this week but back for the holidays and then traveling again.
Me: Clearly, I’ve made some poor life choices. If I didn’t have the kid in school…

Speaking of the kid, he and I put up a Christmas tree together. I bought a slightly larger tree than the one that was damaged, and I had to toss.

It was the first time we decorated a tree together. Man, he was so happy. I told him the story – as best I could – of each ornament, alla which had a story with them.

Him: The bell really works!
Me: (laughing) Yes, yes it does.
Him: It’s so cool! (thinking) I miss mommy.
Me: (sighing)

When he went to bed, I sat there and just stared at the tree for a while before I poured myself a glass of fine aged rum and thought about all of my possible pasts.

God, I fucking hate the holidays.

Location: earlier yesterday evening, looking at diamond rings
Mood: hopeful
Music: He’s been living in a pure illusion (Spotify)
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And I pay it

The keys to the kingdom

My son’s memory is pretty insane. My SIL and I once went to a parking deck and I thought we parked the car on the fourth floor, my SIL on the 3rd, and my son thought we parked on the second.

Me: There’s no way [it’s on the second floor].
Him: It was the second.
Her: That’s impossible.
Him: (10 minutes later) I tooooooold you!
Her: How is that possible?
Me: I have no idea. He’s ridic.

This past Friday, I completely forgot that he was due for his second shot but got an email reminder. I quickly had to cancel a bunch of plans and reschedule things to make this appointment.

Her: How could you forget your son’s appointment?
Me: Lady, you wouldn’t believe the stuff I’m forgetting these days. I’ll make it up to you.

Picked the boy up from school and, after his music lesson, sat him down and put my hands gently on his shoulders:

Me: OK, kid. I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we’re having dinner together and you can have anything you wan…
Him: McDonalds!!
Me: (laughing) OK, a deal’s a deal. We’ll get McDonalds. (deep breath) OK, the bad news is…
Him: More bad news? I’m already getting a shot!
Me: Wait, how did you know that?
Him: It’s the 3rd. I’m getting it at 6PM tonight.
Me: Whoa…that’s…whoa…

Legit, he remembered something that was mentioned in passing by the nurse, after he’d gotten both the flu and COVID shots. Crazy.

He didn’t even wince when he got stuck, let alone cry.

Me: Are you ok? Did it hurt?
Him: (shrugging) Not really. Can I have candy?
Me: Heck, yeah!

This is not to say that alla my conversations this weekend were easy. A buddy of mine asked to meet up.

Him: We need to talk.
Me: Do I need to be armed for this conversation?
Him: I hope not.
Me: Fair. (taking a seat) What’s going on?

It was unpleasant but not altogether bad. It was half about me and half about another buddy of ours.

Me: People like him never understood the power of these tools. [Our buddy] who mocked [the three-step apology] thinks it’s a joke, but you see its power now.
Him: It’s gold. It’s amazing.
Me: (nodding) And that’s why he’ll never be as good as you, in health, wealth, or relationships. None of them will. Because they think all these things I do are an inconsequential joke. But you know – you’ve seen – that these are the keys to the kingdom.
Him: I know I owe you a debt for these things.
Me: (shaking head) That’s where you’re wrong. You don’t owe me a debt; I’m repaying a debt I owe you. You gave me something I wasn’t entitled to, that put me in your debt. And I pay it.
Him: I appreciate that. (later) I see your rage and I’m sorry because I know where it comes from. But…
Me: (interrupting) I know. I’m well-aware…

The next day, I had a young new sitter come by to take care of the kid while I ran a seminar at Paxibellum given by the big man in my system, Tuhon Bill McGrath of Pekiti Tirsia International.

It was the first of what I had hoped would be regular guest seminars at the gym. We were packed to the seams with attendees, which was impressive…

Attendee 1: I remember reading, “Logan Lo,” and I thought, where do I know that name from? And then I remembered: You’re the Scenic Fights guy! I’ve seen every video!
Me: (laughing) That’s great. Thanks for the support.
Him: How long have you been doing this for?
Me: 17 years?
Him: What? How old are you!?
Me: Ah, we’re playing the game…

…but, Chad and I are making more moves with the gym that we didn’t anticipate – some annoying but some really quite cool and unexpected.

I’ll tell you all about them when and if they happen.

Attendee 2: I just want to say that I’m a big fan of Scenic Fights.
Attendee 3: (overhearing) Me too!
Me: And here I thought it was all just my mom leaving comments. Thanks, fellas.

Afterward, Bill and I took a walk back to his car.

Me: I never got a chance to say, “Thank you,” for all the kindness and support you’ve all shown me after everything went down.
Him: We’re old school, Logan. We try to take care of each other.
Me: I appreciate that, sir. I really do. Thank you.

Location: earlier tonight, looking for ice for my wrist
Mood: grateful
Music: yeah, that’s my kid / did I leave a better life for the rest? (Spotify)
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