Archive for July, 2018

Ceremony. (Picture- 2018)

Decade. Wolf Brigade: One decade, dead.

“Where are all the good men dead; In the heart, or in the head?”

For the few left alive that are actually good, the answer must be, neither.

41. Curse of Awareness #3. (2018)

If I wasn’t looking, I wouldn’t have seen; I’m seldom sure if that is better or worse.

Any attentive, creative mind could write volumes (and I imagine even semi-interesting ones) about the oddity and unpredictability of the American grocery store. I can’t recall a trip in which I didn’t see something that, even on my widely-sliding scale, wouldn’t be considered major-league odd.

How we perceive what we see is what keeps the innocuous from becoming tedious, I guess.

I’ve been forcing myself to stay even busier than usual lately; Attempt at a distraction from myself, I guess. I didn’t need anything, but wanted ice cream, and went to the smaller of the local grocery stores to get it. Independently owned, single location, and a strange mix of “normal” things and fancy things. I imagine the hybridization is a necessity, since if someone is spending $8 on a bag of hand-made, organic, ethically-sourced supercookies, they may need to save a bit on name-brand white rice and toothpaste.

The outing was a non-necessity, and I was in no particular hurry. I noticed an interesting young couple pull in a few spaces down from me in a well-kept older convertible, and waited a few moments to exit the car and move behind them, as opposed to walking arm-in-arm in the small lot. They would very likely never have noticed; I would have noticed.

In a world in which the list seems to get shorter every day, it was nice to observe what just seemed to be two kind, pleasant people interacting with each other and the world around them like non-assholes; Disappointed but not surprised, that such a thing, is such a surprise.

I got my ice cream, had a short and pleasant interaction with a woman that has been working there each and every time I have visited (and always remembers me), and made my way. As I walked back into the parking lot I noticed another boy + girl couple.

I’m not a big fan of glaring generalities; For lack of interest in detailedly describing someone so uninteresting, let’s say the boy was a.. metal hipster. His physical and superficial aesthetic did not match. Fat and physically unkempt, with an attempt at a sharp outfit, and a girl by his side that must have been either blind or indentured. Or, band; I always forget what misguided enchantment playing even terrible music can be.

As they walked, he moved away from her, and towards the older convertible. It became clear quite quickly that he was not admiring the bodywork, and actually snooping to see if there was anything not tied-down that he could walk with. I gave it another few seconds, in the interest of fairness, and then addressed him.

“Hey man, is that your car?” He turned, and also responded, quickly. “Yeah. It’s my car. Why?”“Well, it’s not your fucking car, since I just watched people that aren’t you get out of it five minutes ago, so get away from it.” Clearly not versed in the school of confrontational strategy, or listening, or not being a total fucking moron, he replied. “Mind your own business, and it IS my car.”

I am saintly patient, right up until… I’m not. “Get the fuck away from that car, and walk on. I’m going to stand here until you do, so fucking get moving.” And… almost as if out of some sort of “Idiots that wander into my life” playbook, he says “Is there something you’d like to do about it, bro?”

When I document situations like this I will occasionally describe my outfit, or another piece of circumstance that makes a response particularly curious to me. Today, I was coming from the gym, it was abnormally hot, I was wearing a tank top with rough-looking symbols printed on it, and relatively small shorts. There is, in my opinion, no way that I looked like easy prey right at that moment.

I did not want to fight, and was even more sure that he didn’t, so I responded as if I absolutely did, and “Bro’ed” right back at him. “Well motherfucker, I will put you to sleep and take your girlfriend, if that’s the route you want to go… “ Walking towards him while asserting myself elicited the desired response: “I wasn’t trying to start anything, for real man. I’m going. Chill out.”

Other least-favorite things: When the very fucking person that heightens a situation tells the hive they poked to calm down.

(Some local punk rock wrestling nerd started a fight with us a while back, and as I was choking him, he was tapping me. Same thing. YOU started trouble. We are not friends, and we are not training. Don’t tell me to chill out, and, don’t attempt to tap in a streetfight, especially one you started… )

As threatened, I watched until they had cleared the lot. She, was clearly mortified, and I was sympathetic. I would have a hard time believing things were the same for them, even as they left the lot. That is, unless society has truly shrunken to a state in which petty thievery, cowardice, lack of accountability, and disrespect are so common that it is no less than what “she” expects.

Less, unfortunately, is what we have been made to expect.

As expectations continue to fall, I appreciate so profoundly those that rise past them, and become more vigilant by the day attempting to exceed my own.

42. Time Under Tension. (2018)

(Originally seen in Raze magazine, Issue #1, 2018)

I over-think. But I am not the oft-seen “over-thinker/ under-doer”.

I think hard about deep water because I know I can and will put myself in it, and that it often gets deeper far quicker than even my over-thinkery could account for. Anticipatory pre-redundancy system; If you’re thinking about a single back-up plan, then the need for two is probably already one step ahead of you.

I did not over-think the booking of a recent trip to Salt Lake City to talk and train with a bunch of people I had never met in an environment I had never been in with a purpose that was completely (intriguingly) murky. When the offer was made, I immediately signed on the dotted line and began my plan. My lack of hesitation speaks loudly to the offerers’ quality and quietly to my mental disclarity.

My “plan” was to figure out at all costs how to unravel the tightening knot that my body and brain had found themselves in prior to making a daunting cross-country trip to talk physicality and philosophy with people so interesting to me that I would have walked the distance had that been the directive.

I had a spinal fusion surgery in 2012 after a less-invasive version went poorly in 2009. The invasion in 2012 also went poorly, and it impacted my left big toe and leg irreparably. I was informed of a 15% chance of return to normal function; I don’t want to know their percentage had the mistake they made been figured in. They tried to fix what they broke with too much medicine, for too long, and with too little care. It did damage, helped very little, and it was all I could do to stay ahead of it. Until, I couldn’t.

Based on a previous haphazard removal of a prescription steroid, this next exit was handled with care, but still proved far less than cooperative. (Because this is boring, and ultimately just the perimeter of the point) I will say that the steroid removal presented an element of physical and psychological dysfunction that I would not wish on any but three of my worst enemies; Nothing worked, yet I made it work, because it had to work. Until, it wouldn’t.

I knew that I had a few months to right the ship, and did not doubt for one minute (until the week before the trip) that I would do so. It was very important to me to be at my best. People do not offer me things; I am the proverbial squeaky wheel- We are where we are because we made it so (for better or worse)… Here were a group of people that I respected extending a thorns-removed olive branch, and there was not a moment of doubt (until the week before the trip) as to whether I would grab hold.

The primary inviter had some idea of the situation I was in, but only because I wanted to pre-qualify that I was not usually a tipsy, clumsy, poorly-coordinated mess, assuming I did make it out at all.

I was eating Borax (cleaning product) as a hail-Mary fix-it strategy, bracing for a 3/1000 prior to putting on or taking off my shoes because I was prone to falling down, and using any manner of trick, trap, and anchor to keep training the main movement patterns; There was no sense in getting weaker while I was getting weaker.

The removal of the steroid had baited some sort of inflammatory arthritis, and the drug had been falsely supporting my adrenals for so long that without it, they no longer felt any obligation to support me. I could barely walk, think, or sleep. But I trained every day. Some days I fell over, and each day I did not fucking care.

Someone I respected offered me something I appreciated, and I was going to do it justice if it fucking killed me; Maybe it’s a character flaw.

A week before the trip, the near-comical reality of what was going on set in during a moment of decaffeinated weakness, and I nearly pulled the plug. I was torn as to whether it was more disrespectful to accept an offer to be among high-level life participants such as these in the state that I was in, or to respectfully withdraw and not risk the humiliation, pain, and emasculation that a trip in my current state would certainly create.

I taped my wrists (the only way I could close my hands at that time), thought about some hard things I had done and seen, put on music made by people that had done and seen much harder, and pushed myself as far and hard as I could. Even in its respectively pathetic measure, the work provided the moment of clarity I needed to decide that suffering will always be better than settling, for me, and that no matter what happened before, during, or after, it was all more appealing than being left to wonder.

I fell down in the airport, twice, and took 30-minute cold showers at the end of each day in an attempt to even get my body to operate as a system. I used my entire non-existent 401K in Tiger Balm in two-and-a-half days, and my hands shook so bad when I wasn’t shaking hands that I was sure anyone present believed me to be nervous, or a junkie; Not sure which would have been worse.

We talked, we trained, and until reading this I still hope most had no idea that any of this was afoot; Their motivation and camaraderie (and insubordination and sincerity), elicited highest clarity, in the midst of some hearty adversity.

The philosophical transcends with a comma… It is only the purely physical that ends with a period; I was making the mistake of perceiving this as a task of body, when in fact it was just another devilish motherfucking mind game.

All told, all parts, were well-worth playing.