Memorial Day Weekend 3: PSA – Recognizing a drowning victim

Drowning doesn’t look like drowning

Mentioned before that the kid “graduated” his swimming class recently – which means he can do some basic floating and kicking.

Well, when we first got to my buddy’s pad and the boy saw the pool, he was so excited that he cannonballed right into the deep end of the pool.

Luckily for both of us, I had already emptied out my pockets and taken off my shirt so I immediately dived in after him and hauled him out.

He was SUPER upset and wanted to get outta the pool but after a few minutes, calmed down and was back in the pool for a bit.

I’d gotten dressed and was chilling with my friends but kept an eye on him for the remainder of the day.

After a while, we both relaxed and I proceeded to absolutely crush whatever food was offered.

While I was doing this, the kid had climbed on top of a clear banana float. Almost as soon as he got on, he slipped off in the middle of the pool, which was still over his head.

I saw him go under and he exhibited all the classic drowning signs – which, if you don’t know, look nuthin like in the movies.

Here they are, for your edification, alla which the kid displayed perfectly.

        1. Mouth at water level, bobbing in and out of the water
        2. Arms out to the side.
        3. Head tilted back.
        4. Vertical body
        5. Gasping for breath.
        6. NO SOUND!

When someone is drowning, they’re desperately trying to breathe so there’s no chance to yell out, “Help.”

But as soon as I saw that he exhibited all six signs, I dove in after him, fully dressed.

This is what we looked like a few minutes later.

The whole process – my assessment and then going in after him – took less than two seconds but it felt like an eternity.

I pulled him out, sputtering, for the second time that day but this time there were no tears or crying.

He simply looked at me and said, “I’m sorry you had to get your shirt wet to save me.”

I wanted to cry. Partly because I’m always terrified of something happening to him, and partly because – goddamn, what a sweet little kid.

He almost drowns for the second time with me and is worried about me messing up a $20 tee-shirt. This is kid is gold.

Me: It’s fine. This my job. I’m here to take care of you.
Him: OK, papa. Thank you.
Me: I love you, kid. Let’s not scare papa like that again, ok?

Think that one of the hallmarks of good friends is that they try their best to make life annoying for you.

Case in point, there was a twisty slide that you can see in the above photo that the kid loved going down.

But, because it was at the deep end of the pool, I had to literally catch him and carry him all Lion-King-like to the shallow end of the pool.

Rick: (to my son) Do you want to go down the slide? Your daddy will catch you.
Me: What? No!
Him: Yay! Slide!
Me: (to Rick) God, I hate you.
Rick: (to son) It’s fun right!?

I did that half a dozen times before Gar’s wife, Wynn, gave him a life vest and I could go back to day-drinking.

He literally spent the next three hours climbing up the ladder, counting down 5-4-3-2-1, and then going down the slide.

When I was a very little kid, I remember my mom in either a pink or white dress and her suddenly jumping into a pool while we were on vacation somewhere.

Turns out that it was my kid sister drowning and my mom sprang into action. There’s nothing quite like a parent’s love for their child, which makes the recent national events in Texas all the more gutting.

In any case, all these years and decades later, and I still remember well when my mom saved my sister.

I suspect this past weekend will join it as one of my fondest memories.

Him: Do we have to go?
Me: All good things come to an end at some point. But we’ll do this again.
Him: Promise?
Me: (nodding) Absolutely.
Him: I’m sorry about your shirt.
Me: Don’t be. As long as you’re ok, I’m ok. OK?
Him: (nodding) OK.

Location: tonight, a party in midtown with PT Steve
Mood: grateful
Music: why you gotta be so in between loving me and leaving (Spotify)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

All sheen and no substance

Bet

Me: Sit down to eat your orange.
Boy: Why?
Me: I don’t want you to run around and choke on it.
Him: (rolling eyes) That’s never happened!

Don’t think things in the past are dispositive of things in the future, but I do think that they show probability.

Case in point, a month ago, wrote about the Empress Dowager and how the political corruption seemed eerily reminiscent of what’s going on in Ukraine now.

Back then, China’s navy – called the Beiyang Fleet – was supposed to be the largest fleet in Asia and the 8th in the world at the time.

According to all reports, it looked awe-inspiring.

But the basic purpose of a navy is to fight battles on the sea and, in this regard, it was all show. Because all the stuff you don’t see – ammunition, navigation tools, even basic training – was all lacking.

In other words, the Beiyang Feet was all sheen and no substance.

So, it seems the same with the Russian military machine.

Visually, its military looked formidable with modern looking tanks and such, but the less showy but equally important stuff was/is lacking.

Simple stuff like basic training, communication equipment, even navigation tools were all missing, which could explain how alla these career politicians like Putin could afford $700 million yachts.

Russian pilots are using store-bought GPS taped to their dashboards to navigate and Russian leaders are shooting their own wounded troops because they don’t have the basic medical supplies needed to save them.

And therein lies the problem with corruption, it hollows-out things of value from the inside so that everything looks good but it’s all for show.

Like I said, I don’t think things in the past are dispositive of things in the future, but I do think that they show probability.

Me: Past performance is no indication of future results. Sit down, eat your orange, and then you can play.
Him: Fiiiiine.

Me: Totally random but I’m gonna be taking my kid to Central Park on the east side on my bike today at around 5:30 or so if you’re out and about and want to randomly run into us.
Her: OMG, that sounds like so much fun!

Been biking around the city with the boy and we ended up on the East Side at some random playground not too far from the Counselor.

While we were there, the kid made friends with a little girl and they were having a pretty good time when I asked him to come over to do something for me.

He did and, presently, the little girl came over, put her hands on her hips, and exclaimed, “What’s going on here?! What’s taking you so long?”

That part made me laugh.

Counselor: I like her style.
Me: I can see the type of woman he’ll attract [in the future].
Her: Might run in the family.

It turns out that, of course, Heidi ended up going to Paris.

What’s with everyone heading to Paris, randomly?

Then again, I was actually planning on heading to Paris myself a few years back for some reasons that you wouldn’t believe if I told you.

I’m not even sure I believe it myself.

I laughed as I wrote this line because, man, I’ve been pretty starkers the past few years, lemme tell ya…

Pac: “Spam” stands for “specially proceed army meat.”
Me: Nope. It stands for “spiced ham.”
Him: Bet.
Me: $20 bucks says I’m not.
Tom: (looking it up) It stands for “spiced ham.”

As I said, I’ve been really busy lately, especially with Scenic Fights.

But, completely unrelated to it, Pac came by late two nights ago for me to fix up his laptop.

It was try number two, since the first time, we didn’t have the right items due to alla Apple’s proprietary nonsense.

We ended up trying to fix it for hours, without success. The thing about Pac is that he’s a man of his word. Without even asking, he Venmoed me $20 because of the Spam bet.

So, I told him I’d keep trying to fix his computer until it was done. It’s a gift for his dad, you see.

I know all about wanting to do stuff for people you care about.

Especially, when it comes to your parents.

And people that are more substance than sheen – like people that follow through with their commitments – get from me the most valuable thing I got besides the kid: My time.

Location: earlier tonight, just off Union Square, trying to rip off a friend’s lower leg
Mood: slightly less crazy
Music: Un peu naïve mais pas trop Pour ne jamais perdre la tête (Spotify)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

The Mouse that Roared

Punching above our weight classes

My son’s eczema seems to be getting progressively worse and it’s alarming.

I’ve, unfortunately, had a lotta experience in watching someone I care about suffer from it. Watching my son trying to deal with it is just awful.

It was originally just a small patch on his back but now it covers large amounts of his body and he’s always asking me to scratch him.

Him: Stop, stop!
Me: Why?
Him: I have to scratch. (does so) I’m sorry I keep stopping.
Me: (shaking head) Don’t apologize for that. I’m sorry you’re uncomfortable.

I’ve now spent a small fortune on ointments, creams, and bath additions as well reading up on any number of things that are supposed to ameliorate things, with limited effectiveness.

Oddly, oatmeal seems to help matters, at least according to what I’ve been reading and what I know.

So, in addition to giving this kid regular oatmeal baths, which he tends to enjoy save for his annoyance with taking baths in general, I’ve been baking him oatmeal cookies and feeding him bowls of oatmeal like there’s no tomorrow.

The hope is that, once summer arrives, he’ll do much better.

In the meantime, I’m spending waaaay too much time reading up on the matter and feeling for everyone that has to deal with this nonsense.

On an unrelated point, and very separate from the horrors that we’re watching unfold in Ukraine, I’ve been thinking a lot about the novel, The Mouse That Roared.

I last read it when I was in grade school, maybe, so I’m sure I’ll get some of the details wrong, but it’s essentially the satirical story of a tiny nation that decides to start a war with the US in the hopes of losing and having the US rebuild them, stronger and better.

The kicker, however, is that they win and have no idea what to do after they’ve won.

It’s a bit like the Joker’s speech in The Dark Knight where Joker tells Two-Face that he’s just a dog chasing cars.

I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it.

Just like the British were unprepared for America winning the Revolutionary War, the Soviets were beaten by the Finns in WWII – fighting on skis of all things – the Koreans thrashed the Japanese Empire in 1592, and modern America was essentially beaten by Vietnam, I wonder if Ukraine has a chance to not just claw back its original territory from Russia but also regain Crimea and any other regions that Russia annexed.

If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that it’s difficult to adequately gauge the effects of (a) motivation, (b) home court advantage, and (c) luck on expected outcomes.

Let’s hope the Ukrainians continue to punch (way) above their weight.

And FWIW, I’m pretty sure the Ukrainians can figure out what to do if they do get back what’s rightfully theirs.

On a completely unrelated matter, we finally have a new Scenic Fights video up, this time regarding Atomic Blonde.

Give it a go?

I’m not sure what I’m doing in that still above…

Location: 7PM, the kitchen, making duck confit for a six-year old that wants McDonalds
Mood: irritated that I have to compete against McDonalds
Music: Remedy, running through the red lights (Spotify)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Everybody wants to rule the world

That must be nice

When my dad dropped me off at college, he gave me a hug and told me loved me before he left.

My suitemate – who was also Chinese – marveled at that.

Him: I don’t think my dad ever told me that he loved me.
Me: Really?
Him: Yeah. It’s not a really Chinese thing to do. Was he born here?
Me: (laughing) No, not at all.
Him: Oh. (quiet) That must be nice.

When I was a really young adult, I went to this rooftop party and chatted with this pretty girl. I suppose to impress her, I hopped onto the parapet while we were speaking.

Decades later, I still remember her eyes widening in horror. “Dude, we’re like 20 stories up! Get down from there!”

I remember laughing and hopping back down but then glancing over and realizing just how stupid that was. It was a straight drop down onto the Manhattan pavement.

The rest of the night was a disaster as I fully absorbed the what-if of that whole scenario.

The war in Ukraine eats at me for any number of reasons, least of which is the inequity of everything. These people were literally just living their lives when some douchebag decided to start murdering people, including pregnant women and unborn children.

And therein lies my own personal nexus with the matter.

Unlike Russia, which has been called the world’s gas station, Ukraine has a number of industries that the world relies upon. One major shadow industry they have is surrogacy:

It’s one of the only countries in the world where you can legally pay someone to have your own biological child.

For reasons we don’t need to get into now – although I’m sure you can guess – since 2021, I’ve been heavily researching surrogacy. To the point where I got one of my Russian speaking friends to speak to an agency about costs and procedures.

Fast forward to now. There are hundreds – if not thousands – of day/week/month-old infants whose biological parents are probably emotional wrecks knowing that their child – possibly their only chance to ever have a child ever – is being kept alive by nurses that are literally risking their lives just to keep them somewhat alive.

Man, Putin is really a special kinda motherfucker. Women really should rule the world.

It’s heartbreaking and maddening and yet another thing that pulls me away from the golden mean.

Just like the what-if of my parapet jump comes out of nowhere from time-to-time to haunt me, I’m haunted by the what-if I sent one of my only chances to have another biological child of mine and Alison’s to a warzone?

Would I try to get her, somehow? Or stay here to take care of the boy and not risk leaving him alone in the world?

Would she roam the world wondering who her parents were? Would she even be alive? Would people be nice to her? Would she be nice to people? Would she know she had a brother? Would she know I loved her?

Would she have Alison’s laugh?

 

 

Shit.

Him: Why are they doing that?
Me: I don’t know. I suppose everybody wants to rule the world.
Him: Do you?
Me: (thinking) If only to keep you safe. (later) I love you, you know?
Him: (laughing) I know.

Location: earlier tonight, just off West End Avenue and W. 79th Street, waiting
Mood: so conflicted
Music: It’s my own design, it’s my own remorse (Spotify)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Then let’s go

Who knows about tomorrow?

One thing that the kid takes after me is that he runs hot. He often doesn’t wear a jacket out and I see parents looking at me as if I’m crazy.

But, I figure, he knows when he’s uncomfortable so I’m gonna respect that.

On that note, I’ve been wrestling with bringing my son to jits these days because of his eczema.

But, from everything I’ve been researching, most kids grow out of it so I’m hoping that this is just because our apartment is obscenely dry.

Hoping that the summer will be much better for him.

My very first girlfriend came from this very wealthy family. In 1990, her weekly allowance was $100, which is about $215 in 2022 purchasing power.

Mine was $20, I think?

At that time, I thought McDonalds was eating out, but she took me to places like Tavern on the Green and the restaurant at Rockefeller Center.

For our one-month “anniversary,” I bought her a pair of cheap gold-plated earrings; she got me a limited edition automatic Fendi watch. It was strange and different.

I think that the people that we let into our lives leave pieces of themselves with you – again, that whole you’re the average of the five people thing I always talk about.

She was not the nicest person and, because she was my first girlfriend, she left a lot of her good and bad traits and outlooks with me. How I look at dating, women, relationships, etc.

I think that, even some three decades later, I’m still trying to rid myself of bad traits people leave with me, including hers.

On the flip side, after Alison died, I left most of my old friends – who probably represent some of the best parts of me – because they were a constant reminder of her to me but, enough time has passed that it’s not that sharp anymore, which is one of the reasons I’m seeing them more these days.

One person I see somewhat regularly is her best friend. We actually don’t talk about Alison all that much but she’s a constant presence in our conversations, regardless.

It’s nice because I still feel connected to Alison in these small ways as I disconnect with others.

It’s strange. I feel like the past six years, my life was lived by someone else, someone I feel sorry for. He suffered, Alison suffered. It was all just shit.

Over a decade ago, I wrote about St. Augustine and how he ran into a prostitute that he used to visit before he became St. Augustine. The story goes that she tried to get his attention and when he walked past her, she said, Augustine, it is I.

And he replied without stopping, Yes, but it is not I. Because he wasn’t that guy any more. He looked like him but was not him.

That’s kind of how I feel again. I remember the horror and sadness, but I almost feel detached from it. It was me but not me.

Suppose it’s a survival mechanism but I do need to survive after all, so it makes sense.

Anywho, it was actually the second time I wrote about St. Augustine because, five years prior to that, I felt the same way.

Honestly, I don’t remember either guy at all – neither the 2006 version of me, nor the 2011 version of me.

If there is anything I have of value, for better or worse, it is the ability to survive and forget. Blessed are the forgetful, for they get the better even of their blunders.

I remember seeking the Golden Mean in 2006, again in 2011, and again now. It’s not ideal but it’s better than the alternative, I suppose.

Her: Are you ok?
Me: (shrugging) I am today. Who knows about tomorrow?

On that note, I limit myself to only a few articles a day about what’s happening in Ukraine. I feel my blood boil and the emotions rise again when I read about pregnant women being attacked in a hospital for, really, nothing but money.

This article about a man losing his entire family set me off for a while before I put it away in head.

His wife was 43, his son Mykyta was 18 and daughter Alisa was nine, when they were murdered this past Sunday.

All I could think was that, if it was me, I would burn the entire world down and wouldn’t stop until someone killed me. Hardly a healthy mental state.

And this fucked up world is the world I’m bringing this kid up in.

I wonder if my buddy was right about the ethics of having a kid. But it’s too late, regardless, I’m in it. We’re in it.

I’ve gotta make sure he’s ready.

Him: Are we going to jiu-jitsu?
Me: Do you want to go?
Him: Yes!
Me: (laughing) Then let’s go.

Location: earlier today, watching him do an armbar for the first time
Mood: affectionate
Music: you ain’t coming home. I am your family tree (Spotify)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Opinion: Understanding the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian Conflict

It’s about the money

I interrupt my usual talk about nuthin to discuss yet another topic I know very little about. As you read this, please keep in mind that I’m basically a stay-at-home dad that owns a gym so everything I’m about to say is most likely nonsense.

Just like everyone else in the world, I think I’m right, though.


In 2015, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.”

This was echoed recently by Harvard economist Jason Furman who went further to say Russia’s economy is “incredibly unimportant in the global economy except for oil and gas….[i]t’s basically a big gas station.

What Putin is selling to the world right now, however, isn’t gas but the following story: The Ukrainians are essentially Russian and he’s just trying to unify them and protect them.

I call bullshit. But hold that thought.

(c) Wikipedia

Let’s turn to 1931 Japan for a hot second.

See, that’s when Japan sought to create the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (GEACPS) by saying that, “[w]e’re all Asian. We need to unite against white people. We’re gonna do that by taking over everyone so we can adequately protect you all.”

Sound familiar?

Under the banner of GEACPS, Japan did all manners of incredibly fucked-up shit.

But, according to Washington Post reporter Daniel Yergin, this was all bullshit – of course – it was for something a lot simpler: Oil.

Japan had – and has – zero oil and realized that it needed to invade other countries to acquire oil, hence all the GEACPS bullshit.

Things hit a massive bump when Japan invaded China in 1937, freaking out the US and causing the US to freeze all oil sales to Japan on August 1st, 1941. This action, plus the freezing of Japanese assets the month prior in July of 1941, directly caused the Asian Theatre portion of World War II.

 

Back to today, 2022.

Here, we have the same situation in reverse; Russia isn’t in need of energy – in this case, gas not oil – it has too much of it. And nuthin else. That’s all it has. Think of the last Russian car, jeans, movie, you purchased. I’m guessing you can’t.

All they have is a shitton of gas but, lucky for them, the world could use that.

But, just like most things in the world, it’s not the product itself that’s the issue, it’s the getting of the product to the consumer’s hands that’s the issue.

(c) Wikipedia

That’s why you’ve probably read about the Nord 2 pipeline; that’s this big-ass pipe Russia’s been building for the past ten years or so to get its gas to Germany and the rest of Europe.

But how’s Russia been able to get its gas to Europe for the past ten years while they’re building this damn thing?

BAM! Ukraine, baby.

Well, Ukraine and Belarus. But Belarus is essentially Russia. Check out the map below.

(c) Wikipedia

Here’s where things get nuts. Well, nuttier.

See, Ukraine and Russia worked out a deal where Russia would pay it for transport of gas from Russia via those red lines you see above. Irritating for a fella like Putin but business is business, right?

Except in 2009, Ukraine was accused of skimmin a little off the top for themselves. The facts, on both sides, were a little muddy but kinda irrelevant: Putin believed that they were stealing gas and that was when things really started heating up between the two countries, ending up where we are today.


I’m a New Yorker. There’s one thing you learn early on in NY; you don’t mess around with organized crime. And you sure as hell don’t interfere in the money-making ventures of organized crime.

But imagine a mob that ran a country and only had one single thing of value (albeit a shitton of that one thing) and (a) you were responsible for distribution of that thing to their biggest customer and (b) you were thought to have skimmed a little off the top?

Well, if you know anything about Bugsy Siegal and/or watched Casino, you know how well that worked out.

A poster of the film Casino. Distributed by Universal Pictures

I’m, not-at-all, blaming the Ukraine for this mess. They’re just trying to get paid for use of their land and the people of Ukraine are just trying to live.

They’ve been at war for years now, with Ukraine having battle-hardened soldiers ready to fight.

But Russia’s still bigger in every sense of the word and they’re betting that it’s easier, and cheaper, to take over the Ukraine a la Belarus than keep paying Ukraine.

What NATO has to do is convince them that the economic cost of trying to take over the Ukraine is gonna cost a lot more than just paying them rent.

Hence alla the sanctions.

It’s anyone’s guess if they can do that.

Russia is willing to start WWIII under the same pretenses of Japan in WWII. Probably with the same disastrous results.

None of this is good. And it’s gonna get a lot worse before it gets better.

Location: earlier today, wondering if we should move to Montana
Mood: concerned
Music: Man, I had a dreadful flight (Spotify)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Lil Rollers

Gaius Julius Caesar

Her: How did you meet your wife?
Me: (laughing) Same way I met you, darling.

My buddy is currently juggling about three or four women right now. Each one was a street pickup, which might sound crass to you, but it’s not meant to be; a street pickup simply means someone you have zero nexus with – a total stranger.

When I met Alison, she was just a beautiful girl walking into a club I was walking out of. I literally thought she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.

Even though she was on date – with a guy called Tall Scott, which gives you some indication of what he looked like relative to 5’8″ me – I knew I had to meet her. Even if that meant I’d get socked in the face.

Best decision I ever made.

The best decision she ever made was to go on a date with Tall Scott (who, I should note, was a nice fella, but she was mine, not his).

Most people have some nexus with the person they love the most in the world with: They’re classmates, gym buddies, co-workers, something.

But a street pickup is zero nexus – it’s a complete and utter stranger.

Now, as it turned out, we ended up having a friend in common, but when we first spoke to each other, we didn’t know that.

For some reason, I’m quite proud of that fact.

Me: In one of our first conversations, I told her that Julius was Caesar’s middle name. His first name was Gaius.
Her: (laughing) I never knew that.
Me: And now you do.
Her: (later) You’re very nice. But you’re obviously still in love with your wife.
Me: I am. It’s even more complicated than you might imagine. (shrugging) I don’t think true love ever dies. And I don’t think most people would call me, “nice.”
Her: What would they call you?

Me: Did you have fun?
Him: I loved it! Can we come again tomorrow?!
Me: (laughing) Sorry, kiddo. Only once a week for us for now.
Him: Awwwwwwww!

We just recently launched our kids program that we named the Paxibellum Lil Rollers. My son was a bit apprehensive but both Chad and I were floored at just how good our buddy Mike was at teaching kids.

For example, at one point, he fell and started to cry and Mike totally brought him back and made him just fall in love with program.

Today was his second class and, when he came in, I told him Mouse might be there so he hit the mat and started running around screaming at the top of his lungs, “I wanna see Mousie!!!”

It was pretty adorbs, I gotta say.

She ended up not coming but Pez was there – she’s going to be the assistant kids coach – and the kid was thrilled to have a friend on the mats.

Afterwards, I got them all Taco Bell, just because … oh, you know

Anywho, if you have a kid between the ages of 5 and 14 in Manhattan, bring them by our gym at 4 W 18th Street. They’ll be in great hands.

Me: Dude, he’s so good at this.
Chad: Yeah, man, he really is.

Tonight, my kali coach was late to class so I covered the first half.

It was weird teaching again. I think the last time I taught a class was maybe in 2014. And, I gotta admit, I missed it.

Chad: I’ve never seen you teach before.
Me: Really? (thinking) Oh, I guess that’s right.
Him: You’re good at it. You should do it more.
Me: Maybe someday. I got the kid. (laughing) Besides, we can’t afford me yet.

Location: home
Mood: remorseful
Music: that’s how you’ll stay. That’s why, darling (Spotify)
 Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

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)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Same as everyone else

My addictive personality

Me: I’ve lived here close to 30 years.
Him: How’s that possible?
Me: Did it the same way as everyone else: At a rate of 60 minutes an hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s how.

My friends around the way have the nicest apartment I’ve ever been to – on the Upper West Side or otherwise.

But, recently, I met up with a fella from my gym that has a pad along Central Park with some jaw-dropping views. My friends around the way still have the nicer pad but…man, it’s close.

Some other people stopped by and we all chatted for a bit.

It’s weird, I never have a problem meeting new people but who stays and who leaves my Venn Diagram is always a surprise to me.

While my friends make fun of me for my rules, I do think that it’s why so many people are willing to enter my Venn Diagram.

Because they know that I have standards I hold myself to. And those around me.

For example, there’s a reason why I’ve never done any hard drugs or have a strict three-date maximum rule: Because I have an addictive personality.

I, very easily, get addicted to things, ideas, people. Knew this since I was a kid and it was part of why I was a fat kid – I was addicted to food.

And, while it’s almost always a negative, it can be a positive: To wit, I got addicted to losing weight at 14, to the point that I went from 183 pounds to 123 pounds in six months. I lost 10 pounds a month, 2.5 pounds a week.

I got addicted to that number: 2.5. I had to lose 2.5 pounds a week. It wasn’t until a girl named Julia went up to me and said, “I’m worried about you. You don’t look well” that I realized that I was doing it again.

      • I made it a goal to read every book one side of a library once. I did that.
      • I wanted to teach myself German to high-intermediate. I did that.
      • I wanted to know how to fix a car so I built one.

Never had a drop of alcohol or drugs in college. Didn’t eat fast food for 13 years. Never cursed either. Because of my rules. Shockingly, I still managed to have friends. Dear ones.

In fact, I didn’t curse for 28 years. I started again the day she died.

Fuck.

Anywho, the friend I was chatting with about this dealt with his own demons in his life and they cost him a great deal. He was married to two models and both marriages disintegrated.

He’s very wealthy but that matters less to him than his own peace of mind, so he lives a pretty simple life.

As for me, after she died, my demons old gods all came calling and I was happy to see them. They, Gradgirl, and Daisy kept me company for a while.

Oh, my friend that I was just talking about has the third nicest apartment I’ve ever been in.

I need to up my game.

Him: Would you be willing to date someone that makes more money that you? I mean…a lot more money?
Me: Willing? That’s a weird question. Do you think my parents raised a moron? That’s the dream. (pointing at self) These looks aren’t gonna last forever, man.

Location: earlier tonight, being told I don’t look my age
Mood: so…cold…
Music: Love me when I’m gone (Spotify)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

PSA: Change your Sacrifice Rods

Protect what’s valuable

Her: How do you know all these things, Logan?
Me: I don’t get out much.

Alison bailed on our first date. Dunno if I ever fully pointed that out.

So, because I was a womanizer, I literally walked out my door and went on an instant date with a grey-eyed accountant and then with the PCD.

Alison: (irritated) Because I didn’t meet you for a date, you go pick up two other women?!
Me: Technically three. But the PCD was the only one willing to let me write about her. (shrugging) If I wasn’t your fella, I wasn’t going to sit around waiting for something that was never gonna happen.
Her: My hot water tank burst!
Me: Oh. Did you – or your landlord – ever change the sacrifice rod in it?
Her: What?

Water corrodes. That’s what water does. When you have a hot water tank – and, if you live in a house, you definitely have one – that tank is made of metal.

After a few years, no matter what, some part of that metal tank will corrode to the point that the tank bursts. Unless you’ve prepared for the corrosion.

That’s why tanks on top of roofs here in NYC are almost always made of wood.

So what to do?

Well, every hot water tank has something called a sacrificial anode – aka, a sacrifice rod – whose sole purpose is to be more attractive to the electrons in water compared to the tank itself.

In other words, the purpose of the rod – which is made of a highly corrosive metal like magnesium or aluminum – is to die/corrode so that the metal of the tank will not.

From https://sharpe-ers.com.au/2017/03/hot-water-sacrificial-anodes/

Learned this while fixing my parents hot water tank years ago. But it’s useless unless you change it every 1-3 years.

I bring this up for two reasons:

    1. Life is a tragedy fulla joy. So prepare for the coming tragedies. Water corrodes, it’s what it does. Life corrodes us, it’s what it does. So I’ve spent my life separating what is valuable that I have to protect and what is not that can be discarded/sacrificed.
      • I’ll admit that I’ve never expected life to be quite this difficult and I wasn’t prepared for the things I’ve lost.
    2. The first thing I noticed about the new gym was that the hot water tank’s sacrifice rod was corroded shut in the tank. This is never a good thing. After X number of weeks – and a lotta effort by the two of us and every single workman we could ask – Chad and I finally got it out today. That’s how corroded it was. Well, more to the point, one of the Cary, Carey, Kari’s got it out for us.

Me: Honest-to-God, I’ve never seen a sacrifice rod that…gone before.
Chad: Well, it’s done. Cary said that it should be fine.
Me: God, I love that guy. One of has to sleep with him now.
Him: OK, we’ll have to figure out which one of us later.

Change. Your. Sacrifice. Rod.

And figure out what you keep in your life and what you discard.

People around you, situations, will break you down from the inside out. You cannot allow it to change the core of who you are. Things can change and corrode, but never the core of who you are.

I say this as someone who survives, even when I don’t wanna.

Location: earlier today, at Union Square, doing more manual labour
Mood: worried
Music: I needed a friend when I was at the end of myself (Spotify)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.