Buyer’s Remorse

In the spring of 2003, I did the unthinkable and took a move back into the “ranch”, the home office in Billerica from Arizona. I did it based on two pieces of critical information provided by Jim Howley: I could live in Groton, a nearby town famous for its “snob zoning” and that “things move very quickly”, due to increased exposure. I would soon be disabused of that notion.

But back then, I was more than willing to expose myself.

In sales, everything thing you do means something. Every sales call, flight, road trip, lunch, e-mail, phone call, team meeting, and even the ability to tell a good joke could fatten your coffers.

My coffers were obese at the time.

Once in-house, everything I did meant exactly nothing. To me, it was senseless. I was totally underwhelmed. Even the air refused to move in 600-2. I would flip a coin in the morning to decide whether I would venture in. Or not.

Back then, you could stop by someone’s office and lose a whole morning. It was a look behind the curtain.

What did I do to myself?

The only marching orders I received from my new boss was, “Don’t get me in trouble.”

We were beyond broke at that point. It was rotten in Groton. The walking around money they gave us was gone quickly and the cost of living bump was a joke. It was terrifying. I had plenty of time to worry about food stamps during those long, senseless meetings.

I remember us holding each other once and crying when we found out customer service wasn’t going to hire her. She had no extensive work history.

One day I left work early to try to run my disillusionment off in the Nagog Woods next to my house. As I was turning onto my driveway, I noticed the outgoing red flag was up on the mail box. I didn’t usually check the mail because I was gone all day.

So I got out of my truck and checked just out of curiosity. It was a $300 check written from our dwindled bank account to an insurance company in Arizona to pay for her son’s car insurance.

Huh? We couldn’t put food on the table. The re-lo was killing us financially. BMS had just passed her over for that customer service job and I was seriously considering resigning and moving back out west.

So I just stood there in the driveway, numb. We had only been married a few years at that point we hadn’t had any major skirmishes.

No one understands a mother’s love better than me. But where was the trust? The communication? Weren’t we in this mess together?

When I get inside, my wife and her mother, who had just come up from New Jersey, were sitting at the kitchen table. In a slow burn, I pay my respects and place the opened, unsent envelope in front of her and then headed upstairs to my office.

My life partner quickly followed me up and we just stood there ….staring at each other. There were no words spoken. No explanations. None were needed.

After that, I did what I shouldn’t have done…looked the other way.

It would come back to haunt me.

Punt!

I could write a book on job interviewing. The last two years has found me sitting across from recruiters, hiring managers, HR specialists and business owners. Shoulda been my therapist.

In financial desperation, I even offered myself to a fat chef in a greasy kitchen only to be insulted about my age. All bets are off in the culinary world. Despite my 40 years of experience and talent in that arena.

Recently, I’ve experienced a strange phenomenon. When the person you are interviewing with, instead of playing “hard to get” as you would expect, starts pitching you. This is never good.

Lift your feet, because it’s gonna start coming in heavy.

When this happens, you can be assured that they can’t keep their help, they pay shitty, and they have a “fly by the seat of your pants” sales process. There is no base salary. None.

Then comes the anecdotal on how much money the schlump out on the broker’s floor made last year. “I mean, if he can do it. C’mon.”

Now your host starts getting animated. In an unhealthy sort of way.

You notice the pitcher has some white stuff around his mouth as he removes his jacket. Shit, he’s digging in.

For a moment, I think if I look at my watch, Chris Farley will flip and come straight for me.

I have been asked to take a drug test…that day, asked if I can start tomorrow, asked for a list of friends and neighbors I can start pitching annuities to, and sometimes, even for upfront money. All in good faith, mind you.

I am so leery now, I usually ask my friends to text me mid-meeting to provide me an emergency out. In case.

Insurance companies, especially running up to enrollment periods, will casually mention how attractive your new co-workers are. Huzza huzza!

They will offer to train you to get your agent license, pay for your test, buy you an elevating desk and even pick you up at your house.

It is, in a word, icky. Your benefactor is now furiously rolling those two steel balls in his left hand as he scribbles furiously on the white board to bring this incredible opportunity to a crescendo. Climax?

His AA starts to clap.

You are almost expecting one of James Brown’s  “Famous Flames” to enter the room and throw a cape on him as he screams “Please, Please, Please.”

Keep your wits about you, but feign a bit of interest so you can at least get out of the building.

No good will come from this hasty muster.

Trust me.

Punt.

 

“It was only business”

Dear Bobo,

I was laying, uh, sitting, around my new condo with my boyfriend last night enjoying this movie when that famous betrayal scene came on. When Salvatore Tessio says, “Tell Mike it was only business” I suddenly realized I should have at least whispered something similar in your ear when I was planting the shiv.

You deserved at least that. Because it was business. In my defense, where would I come up with this kind of booty? Me, a grocery checker? C’mon Bobo, wake up.

I mean, I can’t make a living slinging bullshit stories to the rich ladies at the barn. (Although, it worked on you) I needed an opportunity and you presented it. What’s a girl to do? I didn’t tell you to go into detox that day.

You made it easy to squirrel away your belonging while you were reeling from the mind numbing effects of Seroquel. After they took your belt and shoe laces. Have to say, I never felt so much financial freedom.

You didn’t sense my treachery when I cut you off intimately on Sunday, May 13, 2013, at 2:30 pm? With that flimsy excuse? Boy, you must have been distracted, or loaded.

Now you’re out there shooting that big mouth off and making my new boyfriend look at me funny. For your information, I am not a rat. My new hair color may belie that fact but I resent the implication.

Bobo, you’re screwed, and nothing you can do will unscrew you. But knowing you the way I do, your outrage has given you wings. You love it, you miserable son of a bitch. Admit it.

You always appreciated a good screwing and here it is. Ha!

You’re a vicious Irish bastard, and I have a feeling you will never let up until you torture me into an early grave. Would I be correct in that assumption?

 

(yes)

 

The Perils of Paulina Street

When we last left our hapless hero, he was tied to the railroad tracks. He was almost double-crossed into captivity by his evil ex-partner because of his naivete and lack of judgement in the human character.

It seems the “ratress” had emptied his bank account then called the cops….on him. It was then that our protagonist grabbed his two furry associates and took it on the lam…out west.

Fast forward one year and we find our Monte Christo licking his wounds and plotting his revenge.

Some days, when his mind takes over, his eyes roll back in his head and he drools himself into a trance-like stupor.

He was removed from Fry’s Supermarket recently for head butting a lettuce, stabbing a rutabaga and apparently speaking in tongues.

He seems to forget where he is.

Sometimes he groans himself awake, scaring the shit out of his little dog. Oftentimes at night, he runs miles into the desert so he won’t choke things. Oh, dear.

Recently, his evil past reached out to rub more salt in his never healing wounds. Seems she wants to be removed from the very bank account she used to trick him, then banish him. What?

She just realized that that is the very same Wells Fargo account that the IRS uses to dip its never quenching beak. Every month. Oh no! And they know she’s on it. Double Oh no!

And she’s liable. (Getting a touch of the vapors, here.)

So now, will our hero, knowing what he knows, stop funding the account and let the full might of the government descend on him. On them? Oh, if there’s a God in Heaven, by all means. (That means yes).

Our hero is familiar with incarceration. To be captive. To be locked away. Marginalized. He still misses the C-Rations he endured during the war. Anything has to better than Paulina street.

So tune in next time when we might be live at the Yuma Regional Correctional facility to join our hero to celebrate his pyrrhic victory.

Stay tuned.

Waitin’ For Bob

It’s midnight. I’m awake and refreshed. As usual. Time for the ritual. A four mile round trip run then back to bed. It is 40 degrees different than what I’m used to, so I grab my hoodie out of the closet and my gloves off the dresser. My gloves actually have dust on them. But who dusts their gloves?

The street is quiet, crisp and glorious. The big dipper is straight above. About a mile in I spot something shiny in the middle of El Camino. Upon closer inspection, I see it’s a flashlight…then a water bottle… then, Oh my God, a wheel chair.

I look quickly to my right and there’s a body laying in the gutter. At this point in my run I instinctively know who this is. It’s Al, my 87 year old handicapped war veteran buddy. The one who offers me safe passage every night. It’s him because I see a baseball bat laying beside him. Our protection. I’m thinking I’m gonna have to make that call when I hear, “Hi Bob, I was wonderin’ when you was gonna get here.” He’s alive. Though he sure didn’t look it at first.

Seems he felt frisky tonight and thought he would check his own mail by pushing his wheel chair out to the box. He had to let go of the chair to retrieve his mail and when he did, his only means of support rolled out into the street. He went down quickly. He called his handicapped wife inside and she wanted to call 911. He said, “No, don’t, I’m just gonna wait here for Bob, he’s by here every night.”

He waited for more than two hours.

Now we have to get him up. He’s 250, with no use of his legs and no grip in his big beefy hands. We were up and down like the stock market. I looked like a skinny, outmatched sumo. At one point, I was actually laying in the gutter with him face to face with my arms around him. I haven’t been in that particular position with anyone in years. If you catch my drift.

I finally get behind him, wrap my arms around his chest, and it was up we go. Sort of. I tried to use mostly quads but he couldn’t lock his knees so it’s all me. My back starts screaming. I finally get him up, then up the driveway and safely in. After I gather his water, flashlight and his trusty baseball bat.

After I ensconce him safely, I continue my run starting to fret about my back but relieved that I was able to rescue my friend.

When I get home, the smell of warm cocoa and Icy Hot fills my head as I ready to go back to bed. I finally roll in, tuck Izzy in my armpit and start to feel the gentle pull of sleep.

Before I nod off, I think about what a strange evening it was. And how nice it is to have someone glad to see you.

Sure makes my back feel a whole lot better.

A Piece of Work

It’s 6:30 am. I am returning a couple of 35 pound dumbbells to their rightful place on the mirrored weight rack. I step back. What do we have here?

I see a heavily lined face, evidence of a full and sometimes foolishly lived life, less hair than yesterday, and more sun damage than my dermatologist recommends.

There’s no one around at the moment so I stop to take myself in. At first I can’t believe it. I have on an unforgiving Calvin Klein tank and femur choking shorts. My deltoids are jutting out like east-west  globes connecting my head and neck to my full chest and bulging arms.

The veins in those arms are like a blue garden snakes crawling towards my hands. I look around quickly to make sure no one is catching me in my act.

I launch into a side pose. I don’t have to pull my gut in because I don’t have one. For once in my life, my boobs push past my belly. Naturally.

I don’t have one of those clunky bodybuilder bodies with too much trapezius, a neck the size of a tree trunk, over sized arms and a too wide back. I look more like a fitness model, symmetrical, muscled and lean, which has always been the goal.

I don’t want to look like a goon in a business suit.

In street clothes you would have no idea I ever gripped a bar. The overhead lights and a coat of sweat bring my definition out in bold relief. This deserves more than a selfie, I’m thinking.

I look down at my legs. Ridiculous. They are shaped and ripped and veined from the miles they put in and the heavy stress applied at the squat rack.

What a piece of work.

Then that word flashes across my temporal lobe….elderly. Truth. I am an elderly man with less sand at the top of my hourglass than the bottom.

I’m elderly ….. if the actuarial tables are to be believed.

At 72, I don’t.

 

The Set Up

On July 20, 2017, I receive an e-mail from Wells Fargo. My bank. It said my account was at a zero dollar balance. What? My stomach drops. Has to be a mistake.

I go on line and see more than $200 dollars was spent at Hannaford’s Grocery store in Pepperell.

Hannaford’s? I don’t shop there. Then there was another forty for gas. At this point I am broke, I have no food, no gas and at least a week before my social security hits.

I gave my notice to my landlord two days prior because I am leaving for Arizona on the 28th.

Oh my God!

I can’t figure this out until I see the last 4 of the debit card that was used. It was her. Why would she do this? She knows my situation. She has already refused to pony up on our marital debt. This was almost a year after our split.

I had a lawyer but had to quit because she wouldn’t disclose her financials. The lawyer fees would have wiped me out completely.

Now I’m walking in circles in my cramped little apartment trying to think. I call, I text, she won’t answer. So I drive to her house. I don’t have a key so I don’t go in. I leave a note in her mailbox and one on her back porch then I leave.

The next morning, I am out with my dogs in my apartment parking lot when the police swing in. I had a bad feeling so I rush back to my apartment and hide while they almost beat the door down.

I needed time to think.

I came to find out she filed a restraining order…..on me. I was shocked.

When I saw one of the cops returning to his car from my kitchen window, I took this shot and texted her. She immediately sent it to the cops thinking I had already been served. I would have been jailed on the spot.

I hadn’t been served yet so they couldn’t arrest me.

She didn’t know that.

After I pulled myself together, I went down to the station to turn myself in. That was surreal. Someone you spend all that time with would have you thrown in jail. For nothing.

I immediately send all my video equipment to New York to be sold for pennies on the dollar and start planning to unass the geography.

I left for Arizona as scheduled so I couldn’t defend myself at the hearing. Which I didn’t think she would actually follow through on. But she did.

I never took her to be that crafty. She always ran off of pure emotion and would say the dumbest things when under pressure. She’s still saying dumb things.  🙂

Outliving Your Body

Never thought I’d live this long. So I didn’t prepare for it. I burned through my pension, my savings and most of my physical well being. I thought. But these days I run like a kid, train like an animal and sleep like a baby.

I’m lighter, smarter and quicker on the draw than ever. When asked my age I say, “72, so they tell me.”

My comprehension skills have only gotten better. I’m maxing tests on first attempt that have a 75% fail rate.  Having been voted “worst absentee student” year after year, (when I did show up), I seem to be a Rhodes Scholar now. Inquiring minds would like to know, “what gives?”

My seventies are looking like my best decade ever. I don’t suffer all the petty silliness I endured most of my life. I have real problems, not imaginary ones. I can go to bed relatively angst free after a long day and trust my next day’s intuition to figure things out.

Dash that image in your head of what a septuagenarian is supposed to look like, and like me, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

I owe my present state of existence to physical training, a curious mind and eating right. Simple as that. Increased blood flow helps cognitive skills as well.

I would tell anyone looking into their future that these are valuable and productive years and that you should never outlive your body.

Take care of your contraption because your gonna need it for your very own “70s Show”

 

 

You Cannot Lose With The Stuff I Use

These are my must have productivity tools. They are open and running on my system all day. With these applications you can do anything. From learning, writing, publishing, blogging, web and graphic design, access your content from anywhere and most importantly back your system up. Gone are the days of the big publishing houses, stuffy agents and lame excuses. Click on the links below for more info. Roll ’em, baby.

1. Evernote is an amazing organizational tool. If you love to collect stuff and collaborate with others on the web, this tool could change everything!

2. Carbon Copy Cloner backups are better than ordinary backups. Suppose the unthinkable happens while you’re under deadline to finish a project: your Mac is unresponsive and all you hear is an ominous, repetitive clicking noise coming from its hard drive.

3. Lynda.com is a leading online learning platform that helps anyone learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals. … With tutorials in five languages, Lynda.com is a global platform for success.

4. Dropbox brings your files together, in one central place. They’re easy to find and safely synced across all your devices—so you can access them anytime, anywhere.

5. Squarespace empowers people with creative ideas to succeed. This platform empowers millions of people — from individuals and local artists to entrepreneurs shaping the world’s most iconic businesses — to share their stories and create an impactful, stylish, and easy-to-manage online presence.

6. WordPress is open source software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. It just may be the easiest and most flexible blogging and website content management system (CMS) for beginners.

7. Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. … Enter Scrivener: a word processor and project management tool that stays with you from that first, unformed idea all the way through to the final draft.

8. Photoshop is the predominant photo editing and manipulation software on the market. Its uses range from the full-featured editing of large batches of photos to creating intricate digital paintings and drawings that mimic those done by hand.

There ya go, now do somethin’  🙂

 

 

Don’t Wait…Publish!

Everyone has a book in them. Some just talk about it, some act on it, others….wait.

I met a woman the other day who, in some series of weird hard drive missteps, managed to lose a book manuscript she had been working on for ten years. Gone. Hard to imagine.

It was her first time out and she had no idea if her work was seaworthy. No one had any idea of her talents. She never even got any sort of preliminary feedback. What a shame.

In social media we have so many opportunities to develop our writing skills. A Facebook post, LinkedIn, Twitter, e-mail and blog posting are ways to see if our stories and ideas can attract eyeballs.

You can set up a blog in WordPress for free and be on your way in minutes. If you are in any way an expert, have a passion about something, or love to tell stories, this is your opportunity.

Personal stories, jokes, tales of irony, morality and hope. Teach us something.

You have endless opportunities these days to see if your ideas have wings. If for anyone but yourself.

I have posts I’ve never published but read all time. Such is the magic of the printed word.

You can learn to type faster, harness your thoughts, construct a sentence and more importantly, edit. Editing is key.

Massaging a simple paragraph and pulling out the extraneous is a craft. It’s repetitious but rewarding.

Remember: The waste paper bucket is the editor’s best friend.  🙂

I have quite a few book ideas percolating but I’m also very impatient. I need immediate gratification, so I will post an idea or share some knowledge on a topic I am familiar with to slake my thirst.

The difference between a book and a social media post is the amount of words.

Social media feeds my beast while the larger projects simmer.

You have ideas, stories, experiences and dreams, go ahead, run ’em up the flag pole, you’ll only get better.

Publish!

“You’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat”

I have specific ideas on how I want my life and career to go. The universe has other plans.

Whenever I’m after that big trophy fish, something in my periphery rises up and blows me out of the water. It’s always much bigger than my intended target. Much bigger.

The more energy I expend in a certain pursuit, the bigger the alternative opportunity. We humans like to think we’re in control. I don’t believe that anymore.

What I do believe in, is energy. The more you put out, the more you reel in. I’ve had this experience more times than I can count. I’m sure you have too. It’s happening now.

Energy out, opportunity in. That’s why you need a bigger boat.

Limits

Recovering drug addicts and alcoholics, (like that guy in my bathroom mirror), know one thing that a lot of other folks don’t know….their limit.

This knowledge doesn’t come about by divine intervention. It usually appears after the victim has been laid low, brought to their knees, and forced to fold their hands in despair.

They might spend years in an apologetic stupor, stripped of their families and loved ones, lose their standing in the business world and become a pariah in their community.

Socially, they may never recover.

But they still have that one advantage, the advantage of knowing their limit. They know. Deeply. Where’s the up side you say?

They know that when you introduce chemicals into the body, all bets can go off. They usually do, don’t they?

It’s also a huge distraction to put it mildly. Whether it keeps you in the rack in the morning, affects your studies, keeps you from shedding those unwanted pounds or getting ahead at work.

Maybe you made an uncomfortable remark at the company picnic?

It is cumulatively destructive. But it’s not enough to wake you up. Unless….

….you hit bottom. Your bottom. The cellar. Some folks get there early, some are lucky in a kind of sick sense. What about you?

You can lay around and wonder what the hell is going on, or you can climb out and get on with the life you were meant to have.

This ain’t a preach-a-thon, it’s a real issue.

You can get this nasty business out of the way now, because life is hard enough without an unnecessary handicap, or let it drag on. And on.

Some get it. Some don’t. The ones who don’t, will have enough other things going wrong in their life to blame it on.

But I’ll promise you this: Whatever road you take, whatever fields of endeavor you attempt, you will be better at it. Without your little helpers. Football player, bank robber or embezzler, you will be better at it.

Without drugs or alcohol.

If you seem to be in a state of foggy inertia, always avoiding big challenges, never feeling up to it, having lots of drama and conflicts, you feel like shit every morning, and you can’t put your finger on it, well, here, gimme your finger.  🙂

Know your limits. Always.

 

 

Renaissance Man: What are you?

I’m a soldier who likes to wear his medals. And that’s a problem for recruiters. In my comparatively long career, I have worn many hats, and in my naiveté, I thought I should add them to my resume. You know, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Well, it seems nothing could be further from said truth. It confuses the recruiting staff. Piques their interest, but beyond that, it’s TMI. Their confusion is palpable.

One would think someone could look at “successful sales person, professional chef, artist, trained musician, stand-up, writer, video producer, business owner, personal trainer, weight loss specialist, nutrition expert, body builder, senior living advisor, dual licensed insurance broker and Vietnam veteran, and something would go off in their head. Especially when it comes to sales and marketing gigs that require a certain level of craft and creativity.

You have just been disabused of that notion. It ain’t in the script.

I did pick up a new moniker though, renaissance man. No job, but a new moniker. When they look up its the first thing out of their mouth. I’ll take it. If that’s all I get, I’ll take it. Renaissance Man. Yeah.

The drive inward.

If I have to take a “Sorry, Charlie,” at least I’ll leave with something. I will have passed up a temporary port in the storm, but I will be forced into the realization that if I’m not a fit, it’s damn sure time to quit.

Time to hang out my shingle. Get out from the maddening crowd and shape my own destiny. Write that book, start my own consulting business and unyoke myself from that elusive team. Renaissance Man. I like it. It fits.

Thanks folks, I get the message. Loud and clear.

 

 

No challenge..no change.

I run in the wee hours. Anywhere from one to three am. I run for fitness and clarity. The clarity comes in torrents. I bring all worry to meet the pavement. It wasn’t my original intention, but a process has developed over time.

In the beginning, when I would step out into my moon filled courtyard, my stomach churning, and my fingers trembling as I locked the door behind me, I would have a mountain of worry in front of me.

Slowly over the miles, they would diminish, but never disappear. Because they’re not supposed to I am convinced. Our problems are what make us.

These last two years have been the most challenging of my comparatively long life. All those sleepless nights. If I could paint, I would re-create my bedroom ceiling from memory. Every nook and cranny.

But look what’s happened? Look what it’s driven me to. Growth I never thought possible in areas alien to me in every respect. I have accomplished things beyond my wildest imagination. Driven by angst and self doubt.

I have also failed mightily, I have wept myself home. Bitterly.

I realize in that morning darkness that no matter who we are, the end game is the same. It’s how we play it. It’s the how, the process, and the journey, nothing else matters. It’s all we have. It’s now.

All of the heartbreak, disappointment and struggle only serve to produce one thing….our finest selves. No challenge, no change.

Playing The Weight Loss Card

I have four fitness certifications. As a personal trainer, a nutrition specialist, a senior fitness specialist and a weight loss specialist. This last certification was very challenging. A lot of material to chew on.

You think I would shout it from the rooftops, but I don’t.

It’s almost embarrassing in some ways to say it. “Hi, I’m a weight loss specialist.” It’s like being a televangelist touting a new show. What hasn’t been covered? What don’t we know? Calories in, calories out is how it works.

You need a deficit to lose that weight. House rules.

Who hasn’t tried all the fads, gimmicks and stool-inducing miracle foods? I sure have.

But still the problems persist. The disease states, the mobility issues and the depression that comes along in spades.

I have the weight loss card. I earned it, but I’m going to keep it in the deck for now. I’m not going to lead with it until I can present it in a more “enlightening” way. Luckily, I have my own fat ass as an example.

So it’s up to you: Calories are energy and you are the dealer. You can break the bank or lose it all.

Deal ’em.

 

Therapy: The Dead Rocker Playlist

If you are having one of those days, weeks, or months, and life keeps stepping on your neck, I will share with you a little remedy that grants me respite.

I create playlists of dead rockers. All dead. I listen until I feel better. Doesn’t take too long, either.

Every song that comes on you can say, “Well shit, he’s gone, oh yeah, he’s gone too, and he had money. Damn she’s way gone, died in a tub. Lyrnyrd Skynyrd? They’re ALL gone.

Now don’t you feel better? A little perspective is all. Trust me, you will be all over your whiney ass in a New Your minute. Got any Tupac?.

The Fatboy Slim Project

Good Morning, my name is Duncan Uplift, Doctor Duncan Uplift. I’ve called this press conference today to release the findings of a comprehensive two year program on corpulence and sloth.

First, I would like to thank the academy, the National Academy of Sports Medicine, (NASM,) for providing the educational tools and support to allow us to at least, attempt, to transform this poor fellow on the left into a contributing member of society.

This was no easy task. He was not a willing participant. We had to have a harpoon at the ready when he got hungry, and luckily, no one got hurt.

He did get a bit frisky at times. He was scaring my staff. It was also very difficult bathing him. The local car wash contributed mightily to the effort. Again, my thanks to Quickies In ‘N Out.

Some mornings we found it necessary to attach a bag of doughnuts to the back of fast moving vehicle to get him moving. We found his weak spot.

We saw an amazing change in his physical appearance and attitude over time. Soon, his vitality came back along with his lust for life. He’s still a bit obnoxious, but that should gradually diminish.

He seems to want to flex his muscles everywhere? It could be worse, I guess.

Again I would like to thank the academy. As you can see, he’s ready to lick the world. Let’s hope he doesn’t.

Now I’ll take some questions…..

My Half-Fast Meal Plan

 

I’ve been extolling the virtues of intermittent fasting for quite a while now. When you temporarily abstain from eating and digesting food, good things happen. Some of you are reluctant though.

You’ve been listening to mommy again. 🙂

So for the shy or timid, the uninformed and the superstitious, I have designed a plan that you will find incredibly easy to follow and will give you the results you’ve been waiting impatiently for.

You fast for as long as you can in the morning, skipping at least breakfast. Then, whenever you do sit down to eat, you eat just half. Don’t panic! You eat the other half two hours later.

This will throw your metabolism into a tailspin and it will be forced to break out the flame throwers.

As we all know when dieting, once the body catches on, the party’s over. Then everything grinds to a halt.

Weight loss stops and we might start even start gaining again.

We don’t want that. Right?

Recap: You fast for half the day, then eat half of your normal next meal, wait two hours and enjoy the other half. Do the same for dinner. Ya with me?

Assuming you eat fairly responsibly, we’re not gonna count calories, carbs or crusts because your metabolic fire will be roaring. That’s the trick.

Fasting like that early in the day, then throwing smaller meals, the kindling, into your furnace to burn those calories, will jack you up metabolically, and break into your fat stores.

Try that for a week and let me know how you fare. You will fare, trust me.

I could have written this piece, Fast-half, but it just didn’t have panache. Get me?  🙂

Without A Net

I am now forced to confront the reality I have been aware of at least subconsciously for years. There is no market for my diverse, fractured, skill set. I don’t fit these days.

If I’m honest, I realize I never did.

I’ve always had a simmering contempt for the corporate nonsense I chose to leave behind. I always had symptoms over the years I also chose to ignore. Or at least, not recognize.

On March 14, 2008, I handed in my resignation to Bristol Myers Squibb. I was making 6 figures and all I had to do was show up.

The re-org that had just came down offended me so much I had to staunch my own spigot.

I could have stayed…. and vegetated. I could have sat through the mundane town hall meetings while figuring out my gas bill. I could have let my pants go shiny.

I could still have a badge with my picture on it. I could still be making the annual sales meeting to Vegas or Jacksonville.

Nope, just couldn’t do it. I am always being driven inward. A curse of sorts.

But what are we here for….. anyway?

Now I find myself on that trajectory again. Attempting something so scary and exhilarating it makes me want to hedge this bet. A net.

But my feeling is that if you give yourself a net, you will, no doubt, fall into it.

So look out below.

Your Mother…is…wrong!

It’s 6:00 am. The alarm goes off and you reach for the snooze button. Then you catch yourself and say “No snooze button today, I need to get up and start storing fat.” No?

Well this is just what you’re doing when you listen to your mother about eating breakfast in the morning.

You are demanding your pancreas start squirting insulin all over everything. Insulin stores fat. There was a fat burning riot going on down there, and you just dumped Cheerios all over it.

This is why you should try fasting in the morning. Intermittently.

Fasting is by far, the best way to lower insulin levels and burn fat fast. Instead of low carb, try no carb.

Remember the time you had to have a fasting blood draw? You just hated the thought. No coffee. No doughnuts. “Now that’s an unnatural act” you thought. You get to the lab N,P, friggin’ O, and the phlebotomist is running late. Reeeeaal late.

You’re gonna die. You start to dial 911 and tell your wife goodbye, when all of a sudden you realize, hey, you don’t really feel so bad after all, do ya?

You big baby. Actually, you feel pretty good. Lighter in a weird kind of way.

You haven’t eaten for 14 hours by now. Where’s the coroner?

At this time, you be burnin’ some serious fat. The engine is revving. Now, imagine having a fasting blood draw every day.

After a time, the body adjusts and you could hold off until noon. And be fine.

You will notice a big difference in your weight, your energy levels and your sleep patterns.  I could go on and on from experience but I don’t like long posts. (And, I have a short attention span.)

People use intermittent fasting for lots of different reasons. Blood sugar issues, burning fat, and even clarity of thinking. What’s the first thing that happens when you get sick and you’re physician within takes over?

You stop eating.

That process will keep you alive. With intermittent fasting, you just skip breakfast. For now. You will see and feel a difference. There are lots of variations on this theme.

More on this topic in the future. Apologize to your mother for me. 🙂

And wasn’t lunch delish?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skinny Fat

I used to swim like a fish. At twelve, I was the favorite to win the swimming contest at Camp Copithorne. The trophy was to be presented by a young Ted Kennedy. It was in the bag. Nobody could touch me in the water.

That night, just before awards, they brought me outside and broke the news, “We have to give the award to Tommy Cleveland, he has more of a swimmer’s build.”

I had absolutely idea what they were talking about. I was twelve, for crissakes.

I would stare at Tommy for the rest of camp.

Then, Claire Nickerson broke off with me when I took my shirt off at Sandy Beach. I was 14. Dumped me cold and told me why. I had skinny arms and a medicine ball for a mid-section. That was embarrassing. What did I know? Who knew Claire used to judge bodybuilding contests?

I’ve been running with that body type for most of my life. Like a rope with a knot in the middle. Until I hit seventy. Isn’t that sick? 70 was when I got the right information.

When I learned the difference between weight and fat. Between aerobic and anaerobic exercise. What insulinogenic means, or how fat gets stored. What cortisol, the stress hormone, does to the body.

The myths got destroyed and I went to work on myself. The changes came fast and furious. Your body can be your enemy or your friend. It just needs the right type of care and feeding.

After two years of self discovery, I have a message and a plan.  Stay tuned.

Oh, and screw you, Claire Nickerson.

 

 

Lightning Recall

I go to bed some nights so overwhelmed I actually groan myself awake. The only remedy upon rising is one Advil and two sneakers. I lace up in grim determination. The plan is to take whatever is bothering me and leave it on the pavement.

Doesn’t always work, though. The right or wrong conditions can make things worse. As was the case this morning. Rolling along, cursing in cadence, flashes of silent light start popping up on the periphery.

It’s Monsoon in the desert and things are always unpredictable in this beautiful Arizona sky. A show of lightning was percolating silently all around me.

This amazing display reminded me of the days when I used to sit on sandbags, high as kite, watching the carpet bombing across the bay. You would always see the light first, feel the silence, then experience the audible ferocity.

This would go on all night. When I think of the dangers I was exposed to then, as opposed to what I’m going through now, I must admit to feeling a bit silly.

Back then, my THC riddled thoughts were, “Gee, I wonder how much each one of those bombs cost?” A year of living dangerously, indeed.

When I got home, I showered and slept like a baby.  Amazing how an early morning run and a little lightning can bring some much needed perspective.  🙂

 

 

 

Drunks Say The Darndest Things

I know, I’ve said them all myself. I have a naive fascination with people who off themselves. Especially people with money. My thinking is, if you have steady income, something interesting to do, and you’re not working through a bad diagnosis, let’s carry on, shall we? Told you I was naive.

If you must check out, and you have a few bucks, why use a belt or a bathrobe? Why not slit ’em in a nice tub in a five star hotel? Or put one behind the ear from your gold-plated Smith and Wesson? The reason you don’t, in most cases, is your mind is altered. You’re fucked up.

Which brings us to the hapless, Tony Bourdain. Shown here throwing down moonshine shots for breakfast in Northern Thailand. I’ve been devouring “Parts Unknown” of late and you can hear our boy telegraphing his intentions to the world. And CNN, the leader in world news, didn’t hear it.

Here he is getting seriously smashed and the folks in post-production even find it necessary to alter Tony’s POV shot to make it look like he’s hallucinating. Thanks for the visual. Like we don’t know he’s wasted.

His job is to stay on the endless road with a camera crew and document his travels and travails. Almost every episode I’ve seen so far, he’s drinking. The guy is a recovering heroin addict. I say recovering, because drunks and addicts are always recovering. Always.

I wonder if CNN has a twelve step program.

When you’re a drunk or an addict, (no difference) your life is one long, uninterrupted rationalization. You are forced to insult your own intelligence on a daily basis.

So, while this surreal scene is taking place, Tony’s overdub is telling us that even though he’s drinking all the time on the road, he’s not an alcoholic because he never drinks at home. ??????

Isn’t that the darndest thing?

I bet he did it in the morning.

 

 

Forward Head

Hey guys, I know this is a pain in the neck but we have to talk about it. It’s called upper crossed syndrome. Or forward head. It’s becoming an epidemic. As a trainer, I am trained to assess how people carry themselves. I can spot tight calves, tight hamstrings and a tilting pelvis. Upper crossed syndrome (UCS) is the most common. It’s them dang devices we always have our heads in. Hope this helps.
 
Upper crossed syndrome refers to a particular configuration of overlapping overactive and underactive muscle groups in the neck, chest, and shoulders.
  • Common causes include a hunched over posture, often an effect of repetitive tasks, such as computer use and office work.
  • Symptoms include neck and back stiffness or aches.
  • Exercises are the main treatment and can help strengthen the weakened muscles of the syndrome.
  • It is not usually serious, but chronic issues of pain and damage to the muscles may mean treatment is usually wise.

Here are a couple of exercises you can even do at work to strengthen those muscles and relieve pain in the area.

Deep Neck Flexor (Chin Tucks) – cervical spine exercise counteracts forward head position. Stand upright with back to wall. Slightly tuck chin to chest and draw head back to wall. The muscles in the front of the neck should be active while holding this position for a set duration.

Chest Stretch – works on improving the range of motion through the pectoralis (chest) muscles. Place inside of elbow against a wall and rotate body away from anchor point until a stretch is felt across chest. Repeat on opposing side.

Good luck and chin up.

Route 66

The route I run in the wee hours averages out to 66 minutes. In that time I manage to loosen my body up, massage my worry bone, calm my overactive ego, and marvel at the amazing machine. I crave the routine.

I feel I would self-destruct without it. But that’s just junkie-think. Dependency on another level.

My harnessed compulsion.

It’s a condition that’s been saving my bacon since birth. The fruits of that labor have taken me everywhere, so it will continue until the dirt nap.

It’s 66 minutes of mind clearing, prioritizing, sprinting, walking, side-lunging, backwards-running and jogging, all in an effort to confuse my Fitbit.

Does it ever.

Then I shower, eat breakfast and head back into bed with Izzy for the most restful sleep I will get all day.

In a few hours it will be distant memory. 66 minutes invested in a brand new day.

When I find myself driving on that road later, it will feel like it never happened.

But it did.  🙂

Endor-fins

I run in the wee hours. 2:00 am. Impossible any other time out here. It’s Monsoon. Like running with a hot, wet towel over your face. It’s on the dance card, so let’s do it.

Most mornings, I see my friend Al sitting out in front of his garage. In pain. He can’t sleep so he pulls guard duty on El Camino.

I don’t stop all the time, but this morning I did. Al was in an excruciating way. The low back and legs are shot and all they’re doing is pumping him full of dope. I know the feeling

Al doesn’t move around much because he’s afraid he’s gonna fall. Shirley can’t help him, she has her own problems. She ain’t moving either. She has her own dope.

Al says when he is able to ambulate, he feels a little better. The blood gets moving and he gets some relief. I promise I’ll swing by later and get them some exercise.

As I run off down the road, I start thinking about how if we all just moved around more, a lot of physical grief and agony might be avoided. Works for me.

We are made to move. We have to. Things get brittle. The pulleys, straps and levers start to malfunction. Then comes the pain, the pills and dependency. And such helplessness, I see it in his face.

Yes, we need to keep moving, like the shark. If sharks stop moving, they drown. They’re in perpetual motion. We need to shake it and keep shaking it.

Else…? We spend the years we were so looking forward to in pain and misery. They didn’t mention that in the your retirement plan.

When I got home I could barely contain myself. I was bubbling. I opened up Photoshop and got to work on this logo. Endorphins strike again.

Sharks, perpetual motion and less pain. This idea was worth a sweat bath. And believe me, I’m running with this concept. 🙂

OK, sharks….?

Sunday morning dumbing down

It will be different today. No piles of notes, no overheating computer and no furrowed brow. Yesterday, I filled in the blanks.

For months on end I have been slave to the curriculum of the human body. To the miraculous processes that leave me both awed and slack jawed. No simulations or theoretical back ending, no tests. Finally.

Just a soupy, cathartic run at 2:00 am into the soaking monsoon desert.

Even though I accomplished what I set out to do, certify my credentials as an educated advisor in the human movement system, I still find it too much information. Even spooky.

I find it incredible that our bodies have their own agenda. And as long as we’ve been traveling around in them, we know almost nothing. We tilt our heads and happily allow Dr. Oz sort it all out.

Being certified as a personal trainer and specializing in nutrition, weight loss and senior fitness, will allow me to move forward at what most would consider an advanced age to answer the question, “How can I help?”

Studying the inner workings of the human body structure, how it rejuvenates, how it survives, and how it dies, has been overwhelming.

Its innate ability to organize and distribute energy at all times is amazing.

And we haven’t even scratched the surface. Only our heads. What I have learned has saved my own life.

I am not religious, I am not even spiritual but I am …enlightened.  🙂

Kiss My Assessment

Obfuscation. That’s what is. Who do you people think you are? The job market has gone off the rails. I told my next door neighbor I would mow his lawn for him as a favor. He sent me an assessment.

What is this, some kind of trial by fire? You don’t look at this stuff, you just wanna see how bad we want the job. If any of these questions were pertinent, I might understand. I didn’t move your goddam cheese, OK?

There’s a guy in town that does small business marketing. He sent me an assessment. Something John Hinckley might have to fill out. His marketing materials looks like he does his best work with a box of crayons and two hits of acid.

And he’s assessing me?

Sometimes when you’re an hour into one of these nutty things, you realize you’re being had, but you’re too far gone.

It’s bad enough you’re unem-friggin-ployed, but now Dr. Phyllis is giving you the old reach around.

You people should store your assessments in a cool dry place.

Today, not only did I stop the nonsense after an hour of my valuable time, I sent the woman who forwarded it to me a note. Under no circumstances would I continue. Bye.

She called me. She used her actual human voice. She was defending her rope-a-dope. In condescension.

She said “good luck to you getting a job in this town, those assessments are a valuable tool in our hiring process.”

In this company we value unwavering leadership, creativity, innovation and independence.

“I sent you that assessment to uncover what type of an individual you truly are. We’re looking for leaders, independent thinkers who seeks their own counsel.

“And…. it’s what other companies are doing.”

Fear of Living

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose” – Lyndon Johnson

If you ask me, I’ve lived long enough. No good can come from hanging around the upper limits of a human life span.

If you can’t squeeze a good experience into seventy years, you’ve most likely been too cautious. (It doesn’t make you a bad person.)

While I run in the dark each morning, without music or other distractions, the battle of good and evil rages between my ears. Unabated.

Life has been amazing so far. Everything I signed up for. I think. I laughed, I cried.

The only thing I can hope for until the doorbell rings, is more peace and less pain. I’m talking physical pain. The emotional variety I can handle.

Once you marry an adversary, you will cauterize your Cupid and can move on in solidarity. Living alone can be a dream state.

But living alone scares people. That’s because they expect their bodies to fall apart at some point and the pain and entrapment ensues. They will need a support system.

That’s what I want no of. I do not want to hang around this planet in a diminished capacity.

If I am able to live a life I want, solitary, sane and mobile, then that’s all a guy can ask for. But I have to put the work in. And work I will, with a smile on my face.

In the retirement community where I live, I am surrounded by pain, dependency, immobility and depression.

No thank you, there are sneakers for that.

 

 

The Pantload Method

Oh, if I had a nickel for every person who tells me they don’t run because of hip, back, thigh, shin, feet, ankle and toe problems. I could lip-synch the list of excuses.

I usually respond with, “That’s because you run like a galoop” You hit the street with reckless abandon, thrashing yourself all over the pavement and letting your appendages fall where they may.

No wonder you’re in pain. I’m in pain having to listen.

Meanwhile, your chiropractor has developed priapism over his ever engorging income stream. What kind of fool inflicts that kind of pain on themselves? Uh, that could be you.

To save you any more pain and embarrassment, I will share with you a technique I developed in early childhood: run like you just pooped your pants. Yes, like you have a fresh one in the trunk.

This will keep your stride from becoming unwieldy, stop you from bouncing until your fillings fall out and keep you from wreaking even more havoc on your already weakened human movement system.

You don’t have to look like a gazelle. It’s not like ABC Sports is filming the event. I look like an idiot shooshing down the road. (That’s why I run at night.) But I am pain free, my weight is perfect and my blood pressure is in check.

And don’t let me catch you flopping around on one of those elliptical thingies. Your skeleton needs to make contact with terra firma. Stay low to the ground, take smaller strides and move your arms like crazy.

Leave your phone at home, get some fresh air, strengthen your limbs, empty your mind and get healthy.

See the USA without your Chevrolet.