Woolworths is still around, if you know where to look. In fact, you might have been in one recently.
See, the company is still around, they just changed their name to: Foot Locker.
Woolworth started in 1879, bought Kinny Shoes in 1963, and created Foot Locker outta that in 1974, and then – because it was its only division doing gangbusters – just decided to change their name from Woolworth to Foot Locker.
That’s kinda how I feel.
I assume you know me because of this blog I’ve had for close to 20 years, so maybe you think of me first as a writer.
And my former clients and coworkers know me as a pretty good lawyer.
But 423,000 people know me as the guy that teaches people how to fight with weapons on Scenic Fights.
But, I like to think that the core of who we are is consistent.
Boss: …anyway, that’s what I thinking. So, how’s your son? Me: (big smile) He’s…great. So great. We’re a family of two. It’s not what I planned but he makes it all worthwhile.
Location: being pulled out of a bar on Amsterdam by the Firecracker because someone was asking to see what I could do
Music: Had me at hello, 你好 (Spotify) Subscribe! Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
New Guy: (torques my arm) Me: (yelps) Dude! Relax, I’m 50. I’m all about tapping. Him: (laughs, answers in thick southern accent) Hey now, I’m not at fault here. You can’t come onto the mats looking younger than me and expect me to know you’re 50! Me: (laughing) Fair. My go-to joke is that Asians don’t have height, but we have eternal youth.
Had a few people reach out to me to wish me a Happy Birthday and two of them commented on my blog entry about it.
Him: You know what woulda been a better entry? Five tips on staying young. Me: Oh, I can give you two right now: (1) Stay outta the sun, and (2) Be born Asian. You’re kinda screwed on one of those… Him: Dude, I’m kinda screwed on botha those!
I’m only semi-kidding about the first two. I stay outta the sun for the most part, and always have. It’s one of the benefits of never being invited to anything as a kid; I literally just stayed in my basement for years at a time.
As for being Chinese, genetics only account for 25% of your age/health, at least according to the April 2023 issue of Men’s Health:
2. Intermittent fasting
I’ve been doing this since Alison got sick, mainly because it’s highly anti-cancer, since fasting can trigger a biological state called autophagy, where the body seeks out low-performing/weird cells when there isn’t enough food present.
While the body can’t tell a cell is cancerous, it can tell if it’s low-performing/weird and will kill it to save nutrients for the higher-performing/normal cells.
That’s why I do it. BUT, it’s also linked to youth.
And the reason why can best be summed up in a question: What if your body tells the passage of time by the amount of calories it consumes?
It’s an interesting hypothesis but really, the exact mechanism probably isn’t all that important. What is actually important is that limiting when and how much you eat will probably mean that (a) you’ll live longer and (b) you’ll look younger.
Instead of spending thousands of dollars on face lifts and creams, skip brekkie.
Her: You like feeling hungry? Me: I like feeling hungry. It reminds me that I’m alive and makes eating all that more fun. Her: I don’t like being uncomfortable. Me: The highest-performing people, I think, are the ones that are comfortable being uncomfortable.
3. Drink green matcha tea twice a day
I’ve been drinking a lot more than two cups of green tea a day since Alison got sick, again, because it’s highly anti-cancer.
Green tea, unlike other kinds of tea, has a compound called ECGC which has been linked in double-blind Japanese studies where they found that drinking five-cups of green tea a day, not only resulted in a statistically significant reduction in cancer across the board, it led to a statistically significant reduction in … death.
In other words, if you drink five cups of green tea a day, you’re less likely to die, period. That’s wild.
Why every person on the planet isn’t drinking green tea like it was going outta style is beyond me.
BUT, just last year, a study came out that found that people that had too much green tea had liver failure. Still, it seems that the people that had liver issues took supplements along with green tea, moreover, it doesn’t say if they had underlying health issues to begin with.
As for me, green tea (it doesn’t need to be matcha) makes up most of my liquid sustenance, with coffee and water making up the rest.
Early this year, I cut out about three people from my life, one person literally went outta her way to make me feel like shit about everything, including how I was raising my son.
And one of my closest friends was a fella named Johnny who I cut out just after Alison died along with my old coach for the same reasons – I outgrew them and their petty grievances, against me and the world.
I’ve got 8,250 days left on the planet and I plan to spend alla them with people that want to make themselves and people around them better, not worse.
Lemme add two of my own tips for looking and staying young:
5. Squat every day
Asians tend to live long and better when they’re in Asia and less so when they’re not. Why is that?
Well, there’s a large group of people that feel this is because many Asians in Asia still use squat toilets. This means, at least once a day, a huge amount of the population does these very deep squats which have massive health benefits, least of which are good knees and a strong core.
I squat daily – both with and without weights. You should try it.
6. Learn something. Anything. But learn it deeply
A good friend of mine, who is Caucasian, just decided one day to learn Chinese and I’ve been chatting with her about it. She said that she feels her brain working in ways that she hasn’t felt since she was a kid.
A sharp mind is a hallmark of youth. Older people are slower in every regard, including how they think.
Constantly learning new things – ideas, facts, languages, etc – is stretching out your mind as much as your body.
Me: I have a personal indicator that will tell me when I’m old. Her: What is it? Me: Ever since I was a little kid, I would bound – not walk, *bound* – up the stairs two at a time. I still do that and I can’t help myself. I think that the day I can’t easily do that is the day that I will truly be old.
A young girl: [Your son] says you’re a fighter. Me: Heavens! Now, do I look like a fighter, little miss? Her: (laughs) Noooo! Me: Well, there you go. I’m just a lawyer. And his dad. Son: (afterward, annoyed) Why didn’t you say you’re a fighter?! Me: Because I’m not, I’m someone that can fight but I’m not a fighter. There’s a difference. Him: Papa! Me: (shrugging) Besides, no one needs to know what we do in our private lives, kid. I want you to learn something here: People don’t look like they really are inside. Our insides don’t often match our outsides, for better for worse. The less people know about what you can do, the better. Him: Then why do you spend so much time [learning how to fight]? Me: Because…sometimes you have to show people what you can do.
This girl named Betty was running to catch a train about a 100 years ago when her science teacher saw her.
The science teacher was also the running coach of the school and never saw anyone run that fast – and he was the coach!
So, he convinced her to run for him and soon, she found herself in the 1928 Olympics at just 16 years old, breaking a whole buncha records.
Almost 100 years later, she remains the youngest athlete to win an Olympic 100-meter gold.
That’s not the most remarkable thing about her, though.
Just three years later, in 1931, she was in a plane crash where she was so messed up that they were sure she was dead. They didn’t send her to the hospital, they sent her to the morgue.
Luckily the undertaker realized she was alive and she, somehow, survived.
Unfortunately, the doctors said she’d never walk again, let alone race again. She spent six months in a wheelchair and didn’t walk normally for two whole years.
But she somehow did walk again and then run again – and she actually ran in the 1946 summer Olympics against the heavily-favoured Germans in the relay race.
The kicker is that she beat them.
The thing is, if you pull up a picture of Betty Robinson, she just looks like any other chick from that time.
You’d never know she was a beast in her lane.
I’ve met so many people in my half-century here. But the ones I always value the most, are the ones with their secret lives that no one would ever suspect.
I’ve met beasts that you wouldn’t believe.
Suppose I hope this for my son, for him to have secrets that keep him safe and happy until and unless he has to show the world what he can do.
Son: So, you do fight, right, papa? Me: Not if I can help it, kid. Remember that, too.
Speaking of meeting up with people, I met up with the Firecracker for drinks the other day at a place that a buddy from my gym told me he loves that’s all decked out as if it were still the Victorian age.
Super cool and ornate, plus it’s right around the gym.
I’d been walking past it for months without realizing what was inside.
Just like with people, the City has alla these hidden secrets that I like finding out about.
Then again, I usually tell you about them when I find about them, so we can share the secret, yeah?
When I was in college, I spoke four languages and was certain that I’d end up working for the Foreign Service.
Then I changed my mind and wanted to be a writer – ended up writing for several national publications including one of the first major articles on Windows NT versus Novell for Computer Shopper, and some travel articles for the New York Sun.
While doing this, I worked in the club industry and made a name for myself, which a few people still recognize me for.
Then I decided I wanted to build networks and ended up building a 100-seat computer network for a Fortune 600 company on Madison Avenue.
Then I went to law school to become a lawyer. Then I went to CNET and became their first International Sale Manager. Then I went back to being a lawyer.
Then I bought my building with some friends and became a building manager.
Then I got another degree and became one of only 350 people in the New York State with that degree while still working on my legal career. Somehow found myself lecturing on the law all over including Europe and New York. Even won an award.
I also started teaching kali on the sly just a block from my pad and started up a private jet company.
After Alison got sick, I gave up everything and became a cancer researcher, a caretaker, and then a father.
Somehow, in my late 40s, I also became a YouTuber and a gym owner.
Look, my point is that Fitzgerald was fulla shit.
You can be anything you want to be. You get to decide and no one else does.
I decided at 14 that I didn’t wanna be fat so I stopped being fat. It was as simple and as difficult as that.
Few things in life are actually difficult; the most difficult thing you’ll ever do is to decide to do something.
Everything else after that decision are just the particulars.
You don’t get to chose your family but you do get to choose your tribe. So, if the people that you hang out with are a buncha people that cheat on their partners alla time, you’re gonna become someone that chats on your partner.
If you’re the most successful person in your group, this is probably a bad thing, too. You need a better group.
This is one major reason why I didn’t want to continue some romantic relationships I was involved in; because, while they were usually fine, their friends weren’t the type of friends I wanted in my life.
Or my kid’s life.
Him: (a long time ago) I heard you two broke up, I’m sorry. Me: It’s fine. There’s no tragedy that doesn’t have some positive bonus and the bonus here is that I literally never have to pretend to enjoy hanging out with her lame friends again.
This is why I’ve cut so many people outta my life – because I want to be around people that point me in the direction I want to go.
Speaking of bonuses, here’s a bonus tip.
Bonus: Sometimes, Logan, you gotta say, “Fuck it, I’m out.”
If you are the average of the five people you hang out with the most, then I’m grateful that Bryson’s one of my oldest and dearest friends – for a whole host of reasons.
He’s dangerous; he boxed with Dolph Lundgren, is a brown belt in BJJ under Fabio Clemete, is a black belt in shorin ryu karate, and is also a skilled Japanese fencer.
But, he’s also a great father and cook, married to a beautiful doctor, and helped build a buncha businesses that you’ve probably visited.
Most importantly, though, he’s a great human being. He’s the kinda guy I wanna be, so I try to hang out with him whenever I can.
The number of times I’ve said, Fuck it, I’m out, since that day has gotta be at least in the hundreds, if not thousands.
It’s an incredibly powerful statement and one that you can whip out at any time, in any situation.
Bad job? Bad relationship? Bad habits?
Fuck it, I’m out, is a perfect answer that leads directly to Tip 4, which is reinventing yourself.
But be careful, because it is so powerful. Use it with caution.
Once told you about this snippet of a Batman cartoon I watched when I was younger.
In it, a villain was trying to convince Bruce Wayne that Bruce was mad but Bruce/Batman fought back and won.
When his friend asked Bruce why he was so sure that he (Bruce) wasn’t crazy, he answered simply that the voices called him “Bruce.”
But that’s not what he called himself.
I’ve been many things I’ve been proud of. I think that, by the time you read this, Scenic Fights will either be at exactly 400,000 subscribers or close to it.
And I’ve got some big things happening in my life that I may or may not tell you about in the future.
But none of that matters, really. In my head, I’m the kid’s father. Full-stop.
If that ends up being the only thing that I’m known for, I’m ok with that.
Substitute teacher: And you are? Me: (pointing at the kid) His father. Her: (brightly) Oh! He’s a wonderful child! When I said that I was a substitute, he came up to me afterward and said that if I forgot anyone’s name, to ask him because he would tell me. He was my helper all day. Me: (laughing) That’s awesome. Her: He’s awesome! Me: You’re not wrong, lady. You’re not wrong. (sighing) He takes after his mom. Her: You two are lucky. Me: (nodding) Yeah. Lucky us.
I’ve been alive for exactly 18,250 days.
I’ve only got 8,250 days left, if I’m…lucky.
Hopefully, I’ll keep writing and you’ll keep reading, yeah?
That’s a joke, of course. But I did just turn 50 this past week, so it’s not quite as funny as it’s been in the past.
The pic above is of me when I was a few days old.
Man, it’s a kick in the head to get my mind around that I was once that infant in the picture above some 50 years ago.
Realize that I probably don’t look 50 to you, which is fine because I don’t look 50 to me.
In fact, when I think of 50, I think of Molly Shannon’s Sally O’Malley (who’s actually 58 in the clip below):
It’s funny because a lotta my friends tell me that they use me as an example of what 50 might be like for them.
This is my friend Hawk, who – like a lotta my friends – only texts me on my bday, but that’s fine, I’m always thrilled to hear from them.
Spent a lotta time wondering what I would write about to commemorate this momentous occasion and the best thing I could come up with was the five concepts that changed my life the most.
1. Invest in the S&P 500
One of my summer jobs in college was helping two accountants do paperwork for a company called Ziff-Davis, where I ended up working at after college. They asked me to come in on the weekend and said they’d buy lunch. As a poor college kid, that was enough, so I did.
While I was there, we got to talking about investing and they told me to just dump every spare cent I ever made into the S&P 500.
Basically, “S&P” is “Standard and Poor,” think of them like the New York Times, except they only report about companies. And one thing they do is list the 500 biggest companies – in terms of how much they’re worth – at any given time.
When, say, Company 498 becomes Company 502, it’s kicked out, and some other company becomes 498.
A fella named John Bogle figured out that if you invested money evenly into each of the 500 companies, you’d end up making about 11.8% annually.
If you invested $1,000 a year for 50 years, you woulda “spent” $50,000 but you would end up with $2,505,311.97, or $2,455,311.97 profit.
There are hundreds of funds that track the S&P 500 for little or no money.
Started doing that 30 years ago, when I was 20. My life woulda been radically different if I never took that weekend gig.
Think they got me turkey club both days.
In any case, you should probably start investing ASAP, if you haven’t done it yet.
2. Do pushups – or something – every morning
I was a pretty fat kid from 10 to 14 – when I was 14, I was 5 foot 3 inches and 185 pounds with a 44-inch waist.
I went on a fast for four months – legit stopped eating, cold – and dropped down to 120 pounds and a 28-inch waist.
I’m now 50 years old with a 28-inch waist.
It all started when I stopped eating completely to reset my brain and started working out. When I first did it, I could barely do two pushups.
By the time I was 18, I was doing 100 pushups without issue. I just banged out 79 pushups in 60 seconds a few weeks ago.
Look, I don’t really do pushups anymore because I kept needing more. I’m in the gym like 10 hours a week these days.
You don’t gotta do pushups, you can do situps, you can run, you can walk for 30 minutes. Whatever.
But you gotta do something.
Otherwise, you’ll definitely look your age.
3. Learn to cook and stop eating stuff made by machines
OK, I admit that I eat quite a lotta things made by machines, like protein bars and stuff.
But I make sure that at least three out of every four meals I eat, I’ve made most of it myself.
This way, you know what you’re putting into your body.
The last few people I’ve dated, including the Firecracker, have been on the shorter side, which I find amusing.
Me: Man, you’re tiny. You’re like half a person. Her: No, I’m not! I’m a whole person – I have all the parts.
I have most of my parts, but I’ve been worried about how some of them have been functioning lately – mainly my eyes.
My eyesight has been getting progressively worse since I got kicked in the head the night I covered class.
Rang up the doc that I saw a few weeks back and he told me to stop by his office again this past weekend.
One thing that I really like about him is that he runs a tight ship. Within 30 minutes of my arriving he, was already wrapping up the visit.
Him: Everything looks good, your retina is solid, and you just have a touch of cataracts. Me: So why does everything look blurry? Him: Ah, well, you’re developing monovision. That’s when one eye sees distance and one eye sees up close. Your right eye is now essentially for reading while your left eye is for seeing things far away. Me: Whoa, that’s wild. Because I got kicked in the head? Him: (nodding) But it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Most people have to have surgery to get that, but you now have it naturally. I have it naturally myself and it’s why I don’t need glasses.
All-in-all, it was a relief.
It’s still weird to walk around and have things so blurry alla time. But he says that I have to practice looking at things far away with my right eye and reading with my left eye.
How hard can that be?
One thing that I found interesting was that, when I first met the doctor, I barely knew the Firecracker.
Now, I’d spent the last two months seeing/chatting with her on the regular.
Forgot to mention that, while I was at my in-laws last week, we got onto the topic of how many pushups I could do in one minute.
I’d never tried to figure it out before so I cranked out about 60 in 45 seconds, but those last 15 seconds were agonizing. Agonizing.
I could only get out 19 more; try as I might, I could NOT get to 80 before my muscles gave out.
Which they did and I collapsed onto the floor. My son – god love him – was disappointed:
Him: For god’s sake, get up! Me: (breathing heavily) Everyone’s a critic…
That’s my boy, folks.
During one of our late-night outings with copious amounts of legal pharmaceuticals, the Firecracker and I started playing a game of “Never have I ever.”
Gotta say, dating someone from the south is entertaining on so many levels.
Her: You’ve never been to a field party? Me: I don’t even know what that is. Her: It’s a party. In a field. With a bonfire. Me: I figured out the first part on my own. Her: My favorite one was on Moo Cow Lane. Me: That’s not a real place. Her: (laughing) Yes, it is!
So many levels.
On a different, but related, note. There are also lots of unexpected perks to dating another parent.
For example, she and her son came by the other day for a playdate. They’re close in age so they get along well.
Unfortunately, in the middle of it, my kid tapped me on the shoulder and said that he didn’t feel well. I figured he was just tired but then he said he had a sore throat so I gave him some Tylenol.
Her: Take his temperature. Me: Not a bad idea, ok, hold on. (later) Shoot. 103. Her: OK, we should go.
It was impressive, I gotta say, how her maternal instincts kicked in.
Tthought about that woman I briefly dated that said that she didn’t mind that I had a kid.
That woman and I got along great for the few times we saw each other but once she said that, I lost all interest.
Chatted with a buddy about it a few days after I ended it.
Him: Your kid’s so great, I’m sure she woulda come around. Me: (shaking head) I couldn’t take that chance. My kid’s made of awesome; anyone who wouldn’t want someone like him in her life, I wouldn’t want in mine. Him: (shrugging) Well, hopefully you’ll meet someone you like. Me: I will. We all find the things we look for, good or bad, one way or another.