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Olga of Kyiv

Forgetting history

Me: …like Olga of Kyiv.
Her: (laughing) You know about her? Why?
Me: (shrugging) I’m always drawn to stories about people that go to extreme lengths for the people they love.

Don’t think I ever told you, but Lviv had yellow green eyes – they were green in the edges but yellow in the middle.

Was always fascinated by that. Recently met another woman from her hometown with the same coloured eyes.

Must be something in the water.

If you’ve never heard of Olga of Kyiv, you should know that she’s one of the baddest-assed women people that ever lived.

She was married to Prince Igor I of Kyiv who was the leader of a tribe called the Kievan Rus’, which ultimately became modern day Ukraine.

In any case, Igor teamed up with another, neighboring, tribe called the Drevlians against the Byzantine Empire. Or, at least, Igor’s dad did.

But once Igor’s dad died, the Drevlians figured it’d be cheaper to kill Igor and take over the Kievan Rus’ than pay them a tribute. So, they did (there’s a lot more to this but you get the point). They figured that Igor’s son was only three so he wouldn’t be much trouble.

It’s doubtful they gave even a moment’s thought about Olga, Igor’s now widowed wife.

Big mistake.

The Drevlians wanted to make their treachery legit and proposed that Olga marry her husband’s murderer, Prince Mal.

Holy disrespect, amIrite?

Olga thought so too.

So, she told them that, not only was she down, she was flattered. Flattered to the point that she told them that she’d honor them by having her men carry the ambassadors’ boat with the ambassadors in them.

Well, they thought this was grand and agreed. Sure enough, when they arrived, alla these men were there to greet them and carried them all – the entire ship – into the kingdom.

There, Olga had them dropped – the boat with alla the men on it – into a ditch and had them buried alive.

Reportedly, she watched alla this and said, “I hope you find this honor to your tastes.”

Because the Drevlians back home didn’t know about this, she sent word to them that they should send “their distinguished men to her in Kiev, so that she might go to their Prince with due honor.”

So, the Drevlians gathered up their very best and sent them to Kiev.

When they arrived, she asked that they all bathe before them met up with her, which they agreed to do.

While they did so, she locked all the doors and set the entire bathhouse on fire, essentially turning them into soup.

But she saved the best for last; since this was before Twitter, she sent a third message to the unsuspecting Drevlians, asking them to “prepare great quantities of mead in the city where you killed my husband, that I may weep over his grave and hold a funeral feast for him.”

And they did that, and she went and cried at where her lover died. After she was done crying, and the Drevlians were sufficiently drunk, she had her men slaughter all five thousand of them.

Then she went back to Kyiv and raised her army to attack what was left of the Drevlians. By then, the Drevlians were so terrified that they sealed themselves up in their cities. So, Olga told them she would spare them if they sent her “three pigeons…and three sparrows from each house.”

The Drevlians were like, Shit, done and did exactly that, sending her the birds they kept as pets.

But Olga told her men to attach a small piece of burning sulfur cloth to every bird, each of which flew back to their respective homes in terror, setting every single house in the city on fire.

As the people fled, Olga and her men waited for them and killed some and enslaved others, wiping out the Drevlians from history, save for this blog entry that no one but my mom reads.

Why this story?

Well, when Putin announced that he would essentially raise a new army to try and complete a takeover or Ukraine now, I thought of it and wonder if he fully realizes who and what he’s fucking with.

That’s the problem with history, no one learns.

Putin didn’t win the first time around with his professional army; don’t see how a hastily thrown-together military of conscripts is gonna do any better.

And now there’s an entire nation of pissed off Olgas that lost the people that they love most.

Like I said, I don’t think they’re prepared for what these people can, and will, do.

A Ukrainian official tweeted on Wednesday, “Putin have [sic] not yet understood who he is dealing with.

Agreed.

Her: And you? Have you ever been in love?
Me: Just once.
Her: What happened?
Me: Nothing I want to talk about right this moment. (changing subject) So, do people mention your eyes a lot? I’m a sucker for pretty eyes.

Location: Japanese restaurant, telling him we’re not friends, but this is a good thing
Mood: good
Music: being alone is the, is the best way to be (Spotify)
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Old lions

Parenting’s hard

Before I went out with RE Mike, I picked up the kid from school and he wasn’t his usual indefatigably happy self because of his black eye.

Him: Some of the kids were making fun of me. (sadly) They called me hamburger face. I didn’t like that. I asked them to stop but they didn’t. (sighs)
Me: You can’t control what other kids do or say, but you can control how you react to these things. Do you know their names?
Him: No.
Me: People that you don’t know that are mean shouldn’t matter to you. Don’t care so much about people and things that don’t matter. Now, go play.
Her: (woman overhearing my conversation after he ran off) That was really good advice.
Me: Thanks. Parenting’s hard, isn’t it?
Her (nodding) So hard.

If you don’t have a kid, it’s difficult to explain how much it wears on a parent to have a sad kid; and this kid is rarely sad.

But when he is, I’m bummed all day.

While I was out with RE Mike, I mentioned the fact that I studied weapons fighting for just about as long as we’ve known each other.

He was totally shocked because I never once mentioned it.

It’s funny, people think that because I have a blog, my life’s an open book. In many ways, it is. But I also keep a lotta secrets.

There’s so much of my life I’ve not told you and I don’t think you’d believe if I told you anywho.

After all, some secrets are (quite) good and some are (quite) bad, but all are special things.

The next morning, he texted me the following – the link is to Scenic Fights:

Anywho, after I picked the boy up late from RE Mike’s pad, we took the long walk to the west side to grab the train home.

Him: I’m scared.
Me: Why?
Him: It’s so dark and people are so loud.
Me: It’s fine, you’re with me and I won’t let anything or anyone hurt you.
Him: You’re not scared?
Me: Everyone’s scared sometimes. But I’m not right now. Because these people are all like sheep, or – at most – like wolves, and papa’s neither.
Him: What are you then?
Me: (laughing) Uncle Pac thinks papa’s an old lion. That sounds about right. And lions – even old ones – aren’t afraid of sheep or wolves.

Although, to be fair, I’m like a weird old lion…

Location: West 77th and Columbus on a conference call trying to sound cavalier
Mood: parental
Music: devil’s on my shoulder stirring up trouble (Spotify)
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Precisely the opposite

Weapons are force multipliers

For those of you that have been reading this blog for a while, you may have noticed a recurring theme, which is, What does it mean to be human?

It seems like a silly question but we’re all essentially imperfect; physically, mentally, and emotionally, we’re all lacking in something that makes us fully realized human beings.

On that note, I had an interesting exchange with a young visitor at the gym the other day.

Him: I never knew that there was such a thing like knife and stick fighting, I just thought people picked these things up and used them.
Me: All fighting is skill-based. Some require more skill than others. The argument against weapons fighting is that it’s unnatural, because we’re not always armed, and I think that’s precisely the opposite of reality.
Him: What do you mean?
Me: It’s empty-hand fighting that’s unnatural; the nature of being human is that we use tools.

Imagine you’re alone in your home and you hear a noise in your living room. Do you just saunter out to check things out or do you grab a bat, stick, or lamp first?

Or, google any uprising and lemme know how many unarmed people you see? Or any mob action, including the January 6th riot – how many people are completely unarmed?

The nature of human violence is that we want something – anything – in our hands, in times of stress. Because we all instinctively know that weapons are force multipliers.

Fighting someone without any type of weapon is unnatural, precisely the opposite of what most people think.

And that’s why I think everyone should have some weapons training.

Here’s the kicker: If you’re unarmed, you don’t get to decide if you’re in a weapons fight or not. Only the armed person gets to decide that.

On a somewhat related point, we had to cancel the children’s classes at our gym because the kid’s coach we were using got an offer we couldn’t match.

So, I signed up the boy to the local gym around me.

I’m probably a bit biased but…man, he’s so damn cute, I can’t stand it.

This is in addition to alla his other afterschool activities like swimming. He’s the lime green blur in the photo below.

Trying to get into the new rhythm of the school year. One unexpectedly sad thing I realized was that every year for the past three years is that I’m the only emergency contact for him.

I had someone as a second contact when he was pre-4K but that was a long time ago.

It’s annoying, these little heartaches that randomly crop up.

On a much happier note, while I was there at the gym signing the kid up for his new class, this young man – very excitedly – waved to me:

Him: I’m so sorry, but are you Logan Lo?
Me: (laughing) Yes! Do you watch Scenic Fights?
Him: YES! I’m a subscriber! This is so cool!
Me: For me too!

I’m a solid D-list celebrity at this point, now.

Eh, I’ll take it.

Location: out in the village with RE Mike
Mood: concerned
Music: I can’t do this again, do this again (Spotify)
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Cascading consequences

Schadenfreude

Me: You’re not thinking of the cascading consequences.
Her: What are they?
Me: Let’s say you meet someone today. You chat, etc. You meet up in, say, September. Figure like six months of casual dating and you two lock it down, it’s now March 2023. You’re 35 then. You guys date for two years before you decide you’re right for each other, it’s now 2025, and you’re 37. You get engaged for a year, you’re now 38. You want to be a young married couple for a year without kids, making you 39. Then you decide you wants kids and try. Figure the first year isn’t great, and then you get pregnant, you’re now 41 with a kid. That’s even assuming the guy wants a kid in the first place.
Her: Well, now I’m stressed out even more!
Me: Sorry. All I’m saying is that you obviously still love him and he loves you. Just have him join my gym and that COVID weight will come right off. 15 pounds isn’t the end of the world.
Her: You just like him because he’s rich.
Me: See – I think of the cascading consequences. Have him join the gym. Shame he doesn’t have a sister.

Trump’s in alla this legal trouble right now, least of which is because of the FBI raid on his house.

I think most people would say that he’s in a quandary of his own making, and that’s true, but not in the way most people think.

See, he and the other GOPers have always needed a boogeyman to rail against and they picked Hillary and Biden to play that role.

For her part, Hillary was supposed to have mishandled classified information/documents. So, when Trump was president in 2018, he signed into law a bill that made mishandling and keeping classified information a felony.

I suspect he did this to have the chance to actually “lock her up,” without fully thinking of the cascading consequences of his actions, knowing that he was a sloppy and relatively stupid man.

Check that, knowing himself, he didn’t even fully think of the direct consequences of his actions.

Add this action to McCarthy refusing to have GOP members on the Jan6th committee and we see a group of people that barely consider the direct consequences of their actions, let alone the cascading ones.

It’s with more than a little schadenfreude that I sit back and watch alla this unfold.

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving fella.

Location: in front of a portfolio of work. What have I done?
Mood: busy
Music: Relax, relax, relapse, it’s a new day (Spotify)
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Memorto Mori

Remember that you have to die

One of the three books I feel everyone should read is The Godfather. The movies are great, but the book is worlds better because both the Godfather and Michael are good men in the books but monsters in the films.

Michael essentially agrees to run a mafia family in The Godfather to keep his own (real) family safe. But in The Godfather II film, he seems to forget why he agreed to run the mafia family – something he hated, originally – in the first place and ended up losing his wife and killing both his brother-in-law and his own brother for “the Family.”

He killed his real family for his fake family.

The tragedy of the Godfather films is that Michael forgot why he was there in the first place.

I’m telling you all this because I told someone from my past that I forgot that I loved her, which is why I was so awful to her.

Granted, there was a lotta craziness in my life when I met her, but it’s not very comforting to her or me.

The question she had, though, was obvious: “How is that possible? How do you forget you love someone?”

I ask myself that all the time.

And my answer is just like Michael did with Kay and Fredo. Just like men and women do when they cheat – emotionally or physically – on their spouse.

On normal days, people forget important – crazy important – things all the time. People forget to pick up their kids, forget to show up for some super important meeting, etc.

They forget what they really wanted in the first place, mistaking the noise for signal.

People even forget – all the time – that they’re going to die. That’s why the saying, memorto mori even exists. People forget to make the most of their time because we’re all not here long. But we forget that.

Everybody knows they’re going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.

For her, she forgot that I was everything she had hoped her whole life for a date with a guy that she forgot she loved (not me, it’s complicated) who ended up marrying someone else.

And I forgot that I loved her, which, itself, is the most ridiculous thing ever.

Cancer and awful luck notwithstanding, I suppose we all live the lives we earn for ourselves.

Location: learning about officiating weddings in NJ
Mood: resigned
Music: you didn’t notice (Spotify)
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Still speaking Martian, Pt 2

Lovely imposter syndrome

It was Rain’s birthday recently, so if you see him, wish him a good one?

Years ago, he told me about this comedy skit where there’s this guy that has a speech impediment where he can only speak in a sarcastic voice, which makes his life totally miserable and lonely.

Rain told me about it and then I told you about it.

Finally found it, if you’re interested.

It’s not like I didn’t want to have friends.

I just talked like a weird 49-year-old Chinese-American man with a Queens accent…when I was 13. That was my speech impediment.

Met a pretty girl once in 7th Grade. Told her she looked lovely. And she and her friends called me a weirdo and worse.

As an aside, I say lovely all the goddamn time now.

In junior high, the closest I had to friends were a girl named Julia and a guy named Phil. I’ll tell you about them someday but, not for a while because I wasn’t exactly kind to them.

And the reason was because I started making friends here and there.

I did this by reading books like How to Win Friends and Influence People and Think and Grow Rich.

Books are really amazing things. But I digress.

By the time I got to high school, I (kinda) started figuring out how to talk like everyone else. I always had a Queens accent but used words like lovely and idiosyncratic all the time – studying for the SATs didn’t help matters.

In many ways, I always felt the weight of imposter syndrome – as if someone people would figure out that I was super mechanical at being social.

Step 1: Introduce yourself by looking someone in the eye.
Step 2: Shake their hand.
Step 3: Repeat their name.
Step 4: Smile.

And so on.

Yet, for the most part, people didn’t figure out that I was a ghost in a machine, pretending to be human.

The girl I called “lovely” was named Stella.

She wrote in my junior high school yearbook that I shoulda asked her to the JHS prom. She went with a guy named Edwin instead. It was junior high school where I slimed down and started dressing better.

It was also then I learned that if you look good, people will talk to you, even if you talk like a weird 49-year-old Chinese-American man with a thick Queens accent.

Hence my being unkind to Julia and Phil. That is one of the earliest of my 10,000 regrets.

A much smaller regret was that, for years afterward, I wished that (a) I didn’t tell Stella she was “lovely,” and (b) I asked her out to the JHS prom.

Didn’t realize that I was speaking Martian while everyone else was speaking English.

I wanted desperately to be understood, like that guy in the video above, but I didn’t know how.

I’m bringing alla this up because the two arguments I had recently have been on my mind.

Both were with people that mattered to me in some way and in both, I couldn’t make myself understood. And I suppose the same was true in reverse.

35 years after Stella, they were speaking English and I was speaking Martian. Or vice versa.

One ended with me being told to leave in the rain, the other, being told to get out at a desolate intersection after midnight.

Everything I said was construed in the worst possible way and there was no way I could make myself understood.

I always say that we’re the prisoners of our 14-year-old selves. In both arguments, I felt like I was telling Stella she was lovely and all she heard was that I was weird.

Every so often, we feel the weight of the chains we forge for ourselves as kids.

I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. 

This is where I sat, waiting for the library to open.

In the end, the question really is, how much do we want to be understood and how much do we want to understand someone else.

These days, for me, most people aren’t worth the effort. I’d rather just be with my (e)books again.

But some people are worth the effort, even if you realize it too late.

Spoke to one of the women that helped me survive 2017 recently.

It wasn’t – at all – what you would call a “good” talk.

But she also didn’t tell me to go fuck myself, so I suppose that’s a net positive.

Location: West 79th Street, giving the boy a hug and telling him I’d see him soon
Mood: mute
Music: you do not need to speak (Spotify)
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Still speaking Martian, Pt 1

With a Queens accent

Him: I don’t wanna go to camp!
Me: I wish I had camp as a kid! (annoyed) For goodness sakes, why not?!
Him: (sadly) I don’t want to be away from you, Papa!

Well, I’m a jerk.

Just got back from a 12-hour Scenic Fights shoot. Pac, Chad, and the resta the crew are still there shooting.

I suppose that I’ll tell you more about the shoot some other time but Pac was there along with the producer, who – like Pac and me – grew up in Queens.

Pac: (insert very questionable language here)
Me: It’s funny. I spent years trying to hide my Queens accent and speech patterns and you highlight it.
Him: Why would you do that?
Me: (shrugging) Long story. You know, I stopped cursing when I was 18 and started up again just a few years ago?

Told you once that I read the entire side of a library once. But never told you why.

What were your summers like as a kid? Camp? Parties? Just hanging out with friends in a basement?

Mine were nuthin like that at all.

Like I said, I grew up poor. Really poor. Air conditioning was essentially non-existent.

But the local library had air conditioning and both my parents worked full time.

So, every summer from third to roughly seventh grade was about the same: I would wake up, eat, and walk to the library – either by myself or with my mom – and sit at the entrance of the library and wait for it to open.

Here’s what it looks like, same as it did when I was nine years old.

I knew the librarian there so well. She wore a red sweater no matter what the temperature was outside because, man, that AC inside was kicking.

I was always the only kid sitting outside, waiting for the library to open, unless my brother or sister were with me. Then I/we would go in and read.

I read until they kicked me out. They literally kicked me out every night. Although I did head home in the middle of the day for lunch.

This lady named Susan Wiggs once said that, “You’re never alone when you’re reading a book.” And that makes sense to me because those books were my friends.

I read entire series of books – every single one of the Little House books, all the Narnia ones (The Horse and His Boy was always my fave – The Silver Chair sucked.), all the Great Brain books, all the Sherlock Holmes books, all the Tom Brown books, the entirety of the World Book Encyclopedia – for serious – all of Bullfinch’s Mythology, etc.

By the time I was 15, I was reading 750 words a minute. I still read about 650-750 words a minute.

I read the entire fucking wall. It took me four summers. But I read that whole goddamn wall.

These were my friends. My only friends, for most of my childhood.

It doesn’t make one well socialized. At least, not for a long while.

Ultimately, though, you either change, the world changes, or a little bit of both.

Him: Cursing is fucking great.
Me: (nodding) It’s fucking great.

I told the Counselor about my summers not that long ago. She found it both sad and endearing, which was really sweet of her.

There’s a point to alla this, though.

But it’s super late and my brain’s feels heavy, so I’ll tell you the rest tomorrow.

EDIT: Day after tomorrow. Got injured at the gym being dumb. Again.

Location: 8:42PM, just catching the train before having to wait 12 minutes for the next one, on 14th Street
Mood: nostalgic
Music: Every day’s another day to have the best day with you (Spotify)
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Cyrano de Low and the Siege of Melos

Yo-Yo, the Philosopher

Back before I met Alison, I recall writing emails to women on behalf of my friends, or – at the very least – editing them.

Now, with everyone texting these days, I find myself being asked by friends to respond to messages from women. It’s all pretty amusing for me, gotta say.

I was trying to explain to one friend that communication isn’t just what you say but what the listener/reader hears.

To further drive the point home, I told him something that I tell my friends alla time but also gave him two versions of the same concept: The first is by Thucydides during the Seige of Melos and the second by a kid called Yo-Yo in my junior high school.

 

On a related note, a young woman in my gym is going back to college – an ivy league – and wondering what she should pick as her major if she wants to go to law school.

Been telling her that, if that’s the case, she should really consider philosophy and read more from people like Thucydides – although, admittedly, he’s more of a historian than straight philosopher.

I actually never took any philosophy classes as an undergrad and it’s a regret of mine.

As for my own dating life, I saw the Acrobat and the Counselor recently, which is always entertaining, conversation-wise and otherwise.

Me: (noticing her ordering an open drink) Aren’t you concerned about roofies?
Her: With you? No. Not even sure I’d object. No wait, I would. I’d want to be awake for that.
Me: Noted.

The Counselor was actually in my area doing a cold sauna, for people with inflammation (everyone has inflammation to varying degrees).

The concept is to step into a super cold – negative 140 degrees Celsius – room and just be there for three minutes.

She was part ice cube when I met up with her.

Her: It was so cold, Logan!
Me: (laughing) I can imagine.

We ended up going to the Dublin House, which I’ve actually never been to, despite it being only a few blocks south of me and one of the oldest bars in NYC with a really cool neon sign that was recently rehabed.

Me: You should take advantage of me while you can. These looks won’t last forever.
Her: (shrugging) I figure that if you were going to fall apart, it would have happened already.

The Dublin House was cool but without air conditioning so we went to another of my usual bars around the way.

This one had both air conditioning and candy all over the place. Unfortunately, I’m dieting for a couple of things coming up so I ended up trying to hand the candy to other people so I wouldn’t be tempted.

We’ve both been so busy that we’ve not actually seen each other in a while so we ended up chatting most of the evening.

Her: My last boyfriend was closer in age to my dad than me.
Me: No kidding. What was the age difference?
Her: (thinking) 15 years?
Me: Wait, that’s the difference between us.
Her: Oh! You’re right. I forget.

Location: sitting in front of a 14TB external USB drive at 5400RPM and an 8TB external USB drive at 7200RPM with a USB-C hub and wondering if I should shuck both, and then swap the internals.
Mood: super tired
Music: Fell in love with a girl who’s a few years younger (Spotify)
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Just-ever-so-slightly

Controlling the effects

Saw my mom and sis this past weekend. They were happy to see us, I think.

The cat, less so…

Also saw the surgeon, his brother, and their families this past weekend at another dinner party.

Surgeon’s wife: You really should ask out French Dancer. Except, she’s really young.
Me: Yeah, really young. I’m busy enough as it is, anywho.
Her: Oh! What’s the latest?
Me: Where to begin?

A couple that I didn’t know was there and the wife commented that I was probably 34 vis-a-vis something else entirely.

Me: Well, you get a hug for that.
Her: Wait, how old are you?
Me: Almost 50.
Her: How is that possible?!
Me: (shrugging) Same as everyone else: 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For 49 years.

I often marvel at how many really good souls I’ve met in my life.

While my luck – broadly speaking – is of the stripe most people don’t want, in that small regard, I consider myself lucky.

On a related point, there were about five women that I met after Alison died. They all had a hand in helping me pull myself outta my crazy and depression, to varying degrees.

Unfortunately, I was probably the worst version of myself so it’s no surprise that none of them are really on speaking terms with me. I get that.

It’s one of my 10,000 regrets.

On that point, Lviv rang me today. After everything that went down between us, I’m touched that she still finds the time to check in on me.

I told her, honestly, that I was grateful.

Me: Before you left, you said, very simply, “Love shouldn’t be this hard,” [about a messy situationship I was in]. I appreciate that and you. Thanks for that.
Her: Aww it’s good to hear, I just want you to be happy.

She didn’t realize what a profound effect her throwaway line had on me. In fact, it’s probably the main reason everything in my life has been so different – and better – these past several months.

Of course, she’s part of my possible pasts. I wonder what woulda happened between us if things were different.

I wonder about so many things that were just-ever-so-slightly outside of my control.

Boy: Why’s he so mean?
Me: I dunno, kid. Here’s the thing, though: You can’t control other people and how they treat you. But you can control how you let things affect you. Pretty soon, you won’t care. So, you can start not caring right now.
Him: OK. I’ll try.

Location: earlier today, chatting up a tall singer named Izzy in a park
Mood: hopeful
Music: I’m out of my mind but I’m feeling just fine (Spotify)
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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)
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