Two quick thoughts that make me smile:
Firstly, if you stop reading political columnists/pundits (as I recently have), flipping through and, subsequently past, even so-called news headlines is a breeze—as apparently there’s hardly any actual newsworthy events to report. And no news is good news.
Secondly, as a pilot I have to take flight physicals. These used to be a breeze mentally because I was a twenty year old in excellent shape. Now, double that age, the last few (still passing of course) have been mentally stressful because I’m not a twenty year old in excellent shape. To alleviate this, I’ve started a fitness routine to handle and control that stress. The motivational point is this: I am probably half way through this life and have never had to run for exercise, beyond a few tests for school and the Air Force. Never. Are you going to tell me that after 40 I will start running? After 41? How about after 50? Think I’m going to develop a habit of running after 50? No sir. Take that to its conclusion and that means that I will have made it through life on planet earth without running. That’s something to marvel at.
“Yes,” I am aware that I am a hypocrite. But “no,” that is not going to deter me from changing my wicked ways and speaking truth to power (that’s right, ladies, you are powerful).
I cannot remember precisely when it began for me, but if I give it a thought, it was probably when I first headed from little pink house-Lenexa to the Rocky Mountains to ski as a teenager. It may have been the drastic difference in how you appeared on the mountain versus how you appeared in the restaurants, that is, the change from puffy snow-pants to form-fitting leggings.
Or maybe it was the cheerleaders’ underskirt attire during cold-weather events. Aren’t cheerleaders the rightful leaders when it comes to fashion?
Whatever it was, as a young man I wasn’t going to say “no”–if you weren’t. More form-fitting clothing, more of the time, I said!
But now, after two or so years of all y’all–no matter how short, tall, fat, or thin–wearing nothing except leggings, I’m telling you it is time to put your pants back on.
Oh, and here’s a tip for the next time this trend surfaces: I maybe could have lasted for a few more months if you wouldn’t have started wearing leggings that have massive patches of fabric missing around your not-naughty bits.
Here’s the tru tru. I have a daughter. As you know, I cannot fight every battle and win the war. So help a brother out! She deserves better from you.
One of the reasons I joined the mega-gym in town was to be more social and hopefully meet some new people. It has not gone well. I can’t quite put my finger on why not, but I think I am beginning to see a bit of a pattern.
First, and foremost, I am often motivated to talk to female members because I watch them talk to other men and everyone looks like they’re having fun. And especially of late, I’ve been more bold in striking up conversations with people that I’ve wanted to, regardless of my estimation at success. For your enjoyment today, I’d like to share three examples with you.
Before we get going though, I wonder how many of you have ever read Ben Franklin’s letter to a young man about a mistress? I doubt many of you have, so I’ll post the meat of it here for easy access. It’s well worth a read. I promise.
…then I repeat my former advice, that in all your amours you should prefer old women to young ones. You call this a paradox, and demand my reasons. They are these:
1. Because as they have more knowledge of the world and their minds are better stored with observations, their conversation is more improving and more lastingly agreeable.
2. Because when women cease to be handsome, they study to be good. To maintain their influence over men, they supply the diminution of beauty by an augmentation of utility. They learn to do a 1000 services small and great, and are the most tender and useful of all friends when you are sick. Thus they continue amiable. And hence there is hardly such a thing to be found as an old woman who is not a good woman.
3. Because there is no hazard of children, which irregularly produced may be attended with much inconvenience.
4. Because through more experience, they are more prudent and discreet in conducting an intrigue to prevent suspicion. The commerce with them is therefore safer with regard to your reputation. And with regard to theirs, if the affair should happen to be known, considerate people might be rather inclined to excuse an old woman who would kindly take care of a young man, form his manners by her good counsels, and prevent his ruining his health and fortune among mercenary prostitutes.
5. Because in every animal that walks upright, the deficiency of the fluids that fill the muscles appears first in the highest part: The face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the neck; then the breast and arms; the lower parts continuing to the last as plump as ever: So that covering all above with a basket, and regarding only what is below the girdle, it is impossible of two women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all cats are grey, the pleasure of corporal enjoyment with an old woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every knack being by practice capable of improvement.
6. Because the sin is less. The debauching a virgin may be her ruin, and make her for life unhappy.
7. Because the compunction is less. The having made a young girl miserable may give you frequent bitter reflections; none of which can attend the making an old woman happy.
8thly and Lastly: They are so grateful!!
It’s difficult to write after reading something as great as that. Anyhow.
Still with me? Good. The point of including that advice is to say that there is this older woman at the gym. I noticed her straight away one morning and couldn’t help but think to myself that she had a very natural beauty to her, the kind that is possessed by women who don’t know they have it. One day I introduced myself and we had a brief chat. The following week, her daughter was with her. Besides receiving all the important genes from her mom, the daughter appeared to be equal parts college student and cross-fit games champion. As such, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the pair. Suddenly, however, I was struck by something funny. On this day, unlike all others, the mom was going balls-to-the-wall as they say. Her daughter was spotting her every set and it seemed like some real results were nearby. This was rather silly to me. Nonetheless, my brain filled with what I thought was a good enough line to use to open the door to conversation. So I went with it. I finished watching them double team a machine from the close by station I was at and then walked over and said, as if delivering a useful secret, “I don’t know if you two know this or not, but the gym kinda frowns on two people using one machine at the same time. Something about liability.” Only half way through the delivery did I notice the daughter had in her ears the smallest, most invisible of ear-buds, which left the mom to be the lone recipient of my charm. And despite outstanding delivery on my part, which concluded with my beautiful smile, she responded with, “What?” And like a fool, I repeated myself. It was hell. No laughs either time. I walked away tail tucked between my legs and later apologized. Oh well.
Next, I have seen the same employee lady nearly every day I go and sometimes she even smiles at me. I figure to myself that gym employees, like all employees, would always prefer a fun day to a boring day. Boy was I wrong. This particular day I see that she’s helping a lady who talks like the Champion of Everything but appears to struggle daily with at least one thing. In any case, I happen to notice my girl enter a one-handed battle with a weight rack for possession of a 45lb plate. Again, leading with a tip-giving countenance, I offer, “You’ll find it takes less than half the time if you use two hands next time.” Crickets. I might have broken the no running policy to escape that real-life example of awkward.
Lastly, I see a lady with whom I’ve nearly successfully delivered one of these singular conversation starters in the past. She’s on the lying down leg curl machine. It’s the only one in the building. I would like to use it. Trouble is, she’s doing some other fandangled exercise on it. However, the exercise she’s doing on it is so wrong, that it must be right. Or, put another way, she must be intending to do whatever she’s doing. As an ice breaker after which I’ll ask to work in with her, of course resetting the machine for her after every set of mine as gentlemen do, I say, “So when I’m not sure how to use a machine, I usually look at the diagrams posted on it. For instance, you’ll see pictures right here. And if I’m still not sure what to do, I-” She cuts me off, asking, “Are you serious?” I continue unphased, saying, “-I then move to the written description of the movement. And, like everything, read left-to-right, top-to-bottom.” Another “Are you serious?” later and I smile. Minor conversation starts and I determine that the only reason she was a willing participant is because she has very, very low self-esteem and figured such a demonstrably wise man as myself might add himself to the list of men who award her daily validation from here on out and that’s just not my game. Conversation over.
And there you have it. I know I’d be friends with a guy or girl bold enough to deliver these lines.
Lazily leaning against the kitchen counter, George routinely placed some kind of large green leaves into the pan on the stove as Pete unknowingly wrinkled his face in disgust.
“I think I told you that I finally joined that gym.”
“How is it?” George answered.
“It is quite the place. And it’s ridiculously cheap for what they have. They have a lap pool open twenty-four hours a day,” Pete said. “And a towel service! The last club I belonged to that had a towel service cost one hundred thirty dollars a month. This place is just forty.”
“That’s not too bad.”
“And, I might add, even at ten in the morning there were a lot of young fit women,” said Pete.
“Those places are meat lockers for sure.”
“On principal I have never picked up a woman at a gym, but I’ve also never seen such a high ratio before,” Pete continued. “It’s crazy. I’ve always hated the feeling I get that I might meet a women there. Luckily, I have my sights already set on this Cammie.”
“You’re wasting your time, Pete,” said George.
“I mean, this one blonde, there was no reason for her to walk right past my machine. No reason at all. But she did.”
“I’ve been trying to tell you, Pete, that women are more forward than you ever let yourself believe,” said George.
“No. No way. This one was gorgeous. She wasn’t checking me out. She came by because she was pissed I wasn’t ogling her,” said Pete.
“That’s beautiful women for you. And that’s why they hate the mustache.”
“What?” asked Pete.
George then elaborated, saying, “My mustache. Beautiful women can’t stand not getting the attention. And a mustache, different than a beard, demands so much attention, that women can’t stand them. I was with M- at the mall the other day. She was actually getting upset. She thought it was a fluke the first time, but a total of three random strangers complimented me. Nearly everyone else stared at me, not her, as we walked around. It was eating her alive. It was so funny.”
Men fall into one of two categories. There are those who-can-swing-a-sledge-hammer-effectively–and those who cannot. Those who-cannot-swing-a-sledge-hammer-effectively can be subdivided further into two groups: those who-cannot-swing-a-sledge-hammer-effectively because they are weak and those who-cannot-swing-a-sledge-hammer-effectively because they over-think it; whereas those who-can-swing-a-sledge-hammer-effectively remain united. Being fairly strong, Pete found himself in the category of unable-to-swing-a-sledge-hammer-effectively because of over-thinking it. Roughnecks nicknamed some variation of Thor seem to limit their thoughts about the task at hand to “object needs to be struck; strike object.” To his detriment, Pete, on the other hand, took a more studied approach. To him, the task included thoughts such as, “Is this really the only way to accomplish the task? How many people are watching? I hope they’re standing far away, because once I begin there is no telling how this will end.” And, “While I realize that I am supposed to be swinging this 12-pound piece of metal as hard as I possibly can at this other piece of metal, is it possible to unintentionally break anything? Follow-up: If so, will someone be mad at me for breaking it?”
There is another nuance of sledge-hammer use that rarely surfaces in white papers. Men like Pete have full awareness of what happens at that moment–the moment the back-swing ends and the forward-swing begins. Despite increasing his effective swinging average from .500 to .734 in seven months time, Pete couldn’t forget about the remaining .266 that was unpredictably divided between missing completely and striking the object in such a way as to cause his muscles to have to transition from “HIT THAT MOTHERFUCKER!” to “PROTECT THE MASTER!” in an instant. Lucky for his face and feet, an instant was plenty of time.
“Want a break?” one of them asked him.
It was night. It was always night. They were in the middle of rig move and in the process of hammering up one of the mud-line’s hammer unions. A hammer union is a particularly fiendish way of connecting two pieces of pipe–several inches in diameter themselves–which must not leak under pressure. A thick metal ring with three or four gear-type knobs protruding at even intervals, the hammer union (permanently affixed around the male end of the connection) is first twisted onto the female end’s threads by hand. Upon reaching the limitation of its human’s tool-less ability, a hammer is then lifted by a gloved hand and proceeds to strike the knobs in an effort to seamlessly seal the union.
“Na, I’m good,” he answered in the middle of his quick breather.
After a few more solid swings, the tone of the metal-on-metal contact lowered several octaves until the four men heard the deep sound of the hammer hitting the entire mud-line that signals the job is complete, rather than the high-pitched sound that informs all that more swings are necessary.
“Peter, I bet you one hundred dollars I can get one more full turn out of it,” Becki volunteered.
Breathing hard, Pete peered into Becki’s soul, saw innocence, and said, “Whatever man. There is no way. No way. That one is not moving anymore. It’s good.”
“If you think so, then bet me,” Becki rejoined.
“You bet me one hundred dollars that you can get a full turn on that union?” Pete asked, his winnings already spent.
“Okay. That’s a bet,” said Pete, offering his hand.
Glee filled the other two men’s eyes as they each claimed witness to the bet and excitedly awaited the outcome. But not as much glee as filled Becki’s eyes.
“That’s the wrong way Becki,” Pete said, shaking his head that even the fastest roughneck messes up righty-tighty lefty-loosey sometimes.
“Wrong way!” yelled an onlooker to the unceasing Becki.
The twinkle in Becki’s eyes could be seen for miles. It spoke so loud that he needn’t put his voice to use until the loosening turn was completed at which point he asserted, “Like I said, one full turn. Pay up.”
A very sad Pete put up one volley in a futile argument concerning unstated betting assumptions.
At the young age of twenty-two, Becki had waited a full tenth of his life to put to use one of the oldest oil-field bets on an unsuspecting worm. Suffice it to say, Becki got more than one hundred dollars. He made a friend.
I will cry when Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro die. In the past I have thought about celebrity deaths that will be difficult to stomach, but only after watching Grudge Match am I sure that those two will cause a genuine sense of loss.
The movie is easy. The story is straightforward. And as a bonus, a black man and an old man use their societal advantages to provide the audience with guilty laughs.
The movie is almost good enough to be called “good” even if the viewer hasn’t seen Raging Bull or any films in the Rocky Saga–almost. Then again, no movie would be comprehensible if all context could be removed.
It’s humorous the way each fighter is equally the underdog. We have underdog versus underdog. Luckily, the respective underdog attributes are acted well-enough to birth some curiosity. By the time we find ourselves calling the filmmakers names for not having the courage to use Rocky’s theme song one last time to accompany the mandatory training montage, we do wonder how the fight will end. And we nurse a hope that it will end the way we want it to, whichever way that is. Surprisingly, the film’s writers and director are more on point than we ever could’ve imagined.
In the final round of the fight we arrive at two specific moments that explicitly reveal the film’s theme, and whether these moments are taken together or individually, that theme proves to be well worth the, at times perfunctory, 90 minute commute.
In short, if you remain undecided about watching it, watch it.
Who are these men? Where do they come from? What forces form them? Is it nature? Is it nurture?
Is there a specific set of childhood variables that must exist in certain quantities in order to produce these men?
We must admit that one attribute that these men have in common is ignorance. As children, during the formative years, they must have been ignorant and unaware of situations where women hurt men. Oh sure, we’ve all heard of poor John Bobbitt’s pain, but, seriously, what man considers amputation a likely outcome that need be guarded against? In fact, there’s probably a man somewhere who has created some statistic which proves that the chance of a woman cutting a man is less than getting struck by lightning.
And men are proud creatures, the lot of them. And rightfully so. Is that it then? Can we point the finger at an adult man’s pride? (A father’s pride?) Is pride the causal factor? Is pride the reason that he wouldn’t share with young men that a woman had hurt him? Or maybe he, the adult man, had never owned up to himself that she had hurt him? Is this whole mess created by a simple lie? Is it created by simple denial? A virtual, “She didn’t hurt me. I wanted to break up. I hadn’t liked her for a while anyhow. I can do better”?
Whatever the causes, I haven’t been able to figure out what words would get through to these men–or as Heat puts it, “All you are is a child growin’ older!”–these men who rush into relationships with women. And no ‘mounta nothin’ cn talk ’em outta it–don’ matta who doin’ da sayin’. I know, because I was one of them. And then I almost repeated the mistake. And then almost repeated it again. And if I didn’t have such a hatred for patterns, I probably would’ve rinsed and repeated for the rest of my life.
Enter “old people”.
Turns out, they can hold their own in conversation. And they’ve got, by definition, no shortage of experiences to back up the talk. And I was looking for answers, ready to try anything.
So after a lot of listening, and a lot of thinking, the answer finally appeared. I believe that I am invincible to women. Or, rather, I believed I was invincible to women. No longer. Now, I know the truth. Women are just as capable of hurting men as men are of hurting women.
So fellas (you know who you are), I have broken down the (our) problem as simply as I know how. We need to acknowledge the simple, unbearable truth. This truth is captured by four words, though I think its most effective delivery comes with repeating the words four times in a row, emphasizing a different word each time.
She can hurt you. She can hurt you. She can hurt you. She can hurt you.
What’s the rush?
PS – As a reminder, hurt doesn’t feel good.
(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions.)
“So, guess what I just got?”
“I don’t know. What?”
“Tailored shirts. They’re great. Gone are the yards of fabric that hide my svelte figure.”
“Yeah, I actually heard the radio talk about how women like men who wear tailored clothes the other day. Though, I have to say it seems out of character that you’d do something like that. Did you have them done at the store? When did you even go shopping?”
“Oh, I didn’t get them done. My friend was going to throw some away, so I said I’d take them.”
“So, they’re not tailored…to you?”
Instructions for How To Stay Single
Step 1 — CROSSFIT for life.
Step 2 — WALK through Costco like a kid in a candy store.
Step 3 — ABSTAIN from soap.
Step 4 — TELL everyone you know about Steps 1- 3.
“I heard that his face was blue.”
“I heard that he still had a faint pulse, so they tried CPR on him for a long time. It’s all about oxygen in the brain. Doesn’t matter if there’s a pulse if the brain’s been deprived of it for that long.”
Any teacher looking toward the boys during the passing period could tell by their enhanced self-awareness that none of them possessed tools capable of handling the news. As if bound by tacit consent, each of them did their part to keep the silence–the sadness–at bay.
“His parents were the first to see him in the tree early this morning. Can you imagine it?” the boy asked, almost forgetting to avoid silence. “Knowing that,” the boy stumbled to resume, “knowing that while you were sleeping in your bed, right outside your window your child was…” the boy couldn’t say it.
“I’ll tell you something. His brother, Josh, is probably the reason I began lifting weights,” another interrupted in an attempt to lighten the mood. Attentive and curious eyes rewarded his move. “Seriously. I remember in gym, in 7th or 8th grade, that a girl was in awe upon, at her request, seeing his flexed bicep. She had such a big smile.”
Their acceptance of a prolonged silence told him they were happy to hear more of this odd revelation.
“Yep. I remember going home and flexing. I was so ashamed. He wasn’t much stronger than me, but compared to the sphere sitting between his elbow and shoulder, mine was like a straw. In that moment, I knew what I had to do if I wanted a girl’s attention.”
They shook their heads in disbelief at his confession, so he continued.
“Of course, if we were to replay the situation today, he’d look puny. On that day the big difference between he and I was that he was flexing incorrectly, his arm bent all the way, while I was already using a more proper pose, arm bent at ninety degrees,” he modeled to an approving audience. Dropping his arm, he concluded, “But she didn’t know any of that. And without her, without that smile, I can’t say for sure that I would’ve ever picked up a weight.”
“Great story man,” one of them voiced, lighting laughter’s fuse.
“Give me a break! It’s just a memory I had,” he answered, smiling as they shuffled off to their classes.
Last summer an entrepreneur, friend, and sometimes blogger told me, “If you blog daily for six months, you should have 1000 followers at the end of those six months.” Well, it’s been more than seven months of daily posts on Captain’s Log, and I’m sitting at 199. As is the case with most facts, this amuses me. Just the same, seeing that I am a part of the human race, and therefore partial to round numbers, I’m excited to amass follower number 200. And I’m shameless when it comes to getting what I want. So here’s what I’m offering: the blogger who follows me as number 200 will get a free review of their blog. That’s right. I’ll take some time between now and Monday to peruse your blog and then I’ll write the review for Monday’s post. You can trust that I will be sure to say nice things as well as true things. If you’re on the fence, think of it this way: in return for a simple click of a mouse, you’ll get exposure to 199 readers who possibly aren’t aware of your stuff. Heck, I might not be aware you exist.
This is a one time offer, and it is sure to go fast. A little book called “The Magic of Thinking Big” mentions that “everyone you know craves praise”. Well, I’m offering praise in exchange for bliss. Whatdya say?
Schwartz, David Joseph. The Magic of Thinking Big. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1959. Print.