The Adversity Advantage

Adversity changes us all. Usually for the better. Adversity, especially in early life is the gift that will always be there when you need it. It has been my saving grace. I have laughed my way through ass whoopin’s, interrogations, bookings, lock downs, forced marches, expulsions, detox, divorce and incoming mortar rounds.

There ain’t nothin’ I can’t get a laugh out of these days. Humor in the face of adversity is a gift from my sainted mother, Nora.

I got a steady taste of my own blood at at an early age. I was closed-fisted into unconsciousness when I was no more than crotch level to my chastiser. I was beat and re-beat in the same session.

Today, that person would have gone to jail. Back then, it was de rigueur. In those days, if a nun beat you up, you got beat up for getting beat up. It hardens the jaw.

There were 12 of us in one apartment with one bathroom. At night, couches opened up and the top of a large desk could sleep two.

My parents were Irish-Catholics who thought the “Rhythm Method” was a song book. We never knew when my mother wasn’t pregnant.

We were poor, ostracized in the community, and on the lips of every police detective in the city. We were challenged every day. If you couldn’t fight, or talk your way out, you were fucked.

We owed everybody money. The variety stores in the area wouldn’t extend us credit. When we walked in, the proprietor would hustle out from behind the counter to yell about the money we owed.

When we walked down Paulina Street at night you would hear the neighbors hissing disapproval. It was like “High Noon.”

Then there was Catholic school, (vicious) reform school, numerous drunk arrests, buglaries, physical and sexual assaults, street fights and lots of drugs and alcohol.

Every day was a crap shoot. And crap was shot everywhere.

Still, we laughed our asses off at just about anything. Everything was fair game.

When the war took me, I brought my shameless sense of humor to the battle. Someone over there actually asked me once if I understood the severity of the war we were in.

I am running on empty these days but I want for nothing. I got wiped out making bad business and personal decisions. But I am as resourceful as ever because I had rugged basic training and provided with a quick wit compliments of those O’Hearns down on Paulina Street.

Adversity brings advantage. If you survive it.

And I am grateful. For all of it.

Dad was right

53 years ago this week, I opened my first eye with dread. Today I would be inducted into the Army. I had a massive hangover (as usual) and realized I was out of cigarettes.

I pulled on my cranberry iridescent dress pants and slid a yellow, wine stained ban-lon shirt over my head so I could go out to the kitchen and mooch a Herbert Tareyton regular off my mother.

My father was home for some strange reason. The only time you would find that guy home on a weekday was when my mother was having another baby. Which was 10 annual occasions.

Right now, I’m a wreck. I’m running late, I can’t find my shoes, kids are screaming, I got a fucking hangover and I have to ask my father to lift his legs so I could see if my left shoe was under the couch.

All the while he’s hissing behind the newspaper about what moron I am. My mother is hysterical over me possibly getting killed in a war that’s being played out every night on CBS news. “Bob, she said, “he’s going away, he could get killed.”

“Awww for chrissakes, it’ll make a man out of him” he groaned. I hated him for that. I was his namesake first born and he thought I was a goddam fool.

And I was, as I would soon find out. The next few years damn near killed me in more ways than one. But it grew me in ways I never would have if I missed that opportunity to serve the country.

As he used to say, “I’m your father, not your friend.” I’m glad now he was so tough on me. I still feel his presence every day.

Especially when I’m trying to find my shoes. :).

It’s a privilege

If you managed to plod through 40 years of working in someone else’s business, raised a family, lowered a friend and survived a war with all your limbs intact, you are privileged.

If you can still put one foot in front of the other, not be hooked up to a dialysis machine, aren’t dragging an oxygen bottle through a supermarket, haven’t been told to get your affairs in order and are not locked up in a nursing home while the Social Security Administrationwaits to get you off the books, you are privileged.

Every footstep is a celebration of the miracle you are moving around in. A human movement system that even the brightest minds on the planet haven’t managed to completely figure out. Yet!

Every day free of a hospital visit, a new prescription, a walker or a bad diagnosis is cause for celebration.

Exercising your gift is an act of gratitude.

When we see examples of human wreckage all around us every minute of every day and we are not among those walking wounded, it’s humbling.

The next time you are lacing up and thinking it’s a chore to shake it up for 30 or 40 minutes out of your allotted 1440, try to think of it as a celebration and an opportunity to be grateful for such good fortune.

It’s a privilege to be able to move around and shake that thing. It’s a privilege to be free of pain and disease.

Exercise your privilege.

Soon you won’t have to worry about feeling old, you’ll just have to worry about thinking old. 🙂

I Train, Therefore I Am

I just lost my dog. I watched her get old and die. I don’t know how old she was, she was rescued.

It’s been hard to get out of bed these days, but I do… to train. I train very hard for my age, for any age. I’m 73, and I’m considered an elderly man. I can’t abide that.

Because I feel my work is not done here.

I get in a 5 mile run by 3:00 am. At 4:30, I ride my bike 10 miles to lift weights for an hour. Then I walk the two mile round trip to pick up my groceries for the day before he sun gets too hot.

At 3:00 pm I ride for 35 minutes in at least 100 degrees, every day. It will help me sleep.

These days, my depression is heavy. It makes me question everything. Hurling myself into strenuous activity blunts the negativity that wants to take me down. Life seems pointless.

They took my dog.

Waking up in an empty bed and reaching for my sneakers feels like a heavy, wet blanket. Still, I push myself to roll out.

All the time my brain is asking “What’s the use?” “Why work so hard?” “What are you trying to prove?” “You’re elderly, remember?”

I get out the door fast before I become despondent and fall back under the covers.

Running in the quiet desert night, answers come… torrents.

I know exactly why I do what I do.

I Train:

To live longer and be more productive.

To never be a burden.

To remain relevant.

To live without pain.

To avoid disease.

To respect what I see in the mirror.

To have more energy in my day.

To spread that energy.

To be capable of service to others.

To have more confidence in a world where ageism exists.

To have more vitality.

To improve my cognitive skills.

To produce good work every day.

To outrun bill collectors.  🙂

To be an example to others.

To die fully used up.

To celebrate and be grateful for the gift of life.

To be here for the little furry soul that’s out there waiting for me.

Why do you train?

Ground Level

With the recent loss of my little dog, I can honestly say that I now have nothing left in my life of any real value. To lose.

Nothing that anyone could blackmail me over or hold for ransom. I’m down to the ground.

My only dependence these days is on the U.S. government. My worldly goods were either hornswoggled, defauIted on, or pawned.

I own no furniture, kitchen utensils, jewelry, musical instruments, real estate or motor vehicles.

I’ve gone by the point of caring about worldly possessions.

I have no one left to disappoint. There’s no one to report me missing.

And it is freeing. All the sturm and drang of daily life is beneath me. I won’t major in minors.

I owe no one and no one owes me. Because in the end, nothin’ from nothin’ means ….freedom.

Freedom of the soul.

Head Game

Your life, your health, your well-being, your financial and physical independence, your self confidence and your relevance depends on what gets agreed upon between you and that guy in the mirror.

It’s a head game. A game you play for keeps. It’s not a series. No do-overs.

You have to maintain your manliness, your courage and your stamina. You have to work your body, feed your soul and calm your mind.

You have to be rigorous in your pursuits of a healthy machine. You need to train your body and mind like your life depends on it. Because it does.

Step up to the mirror, throw your shoulders back and commit. You’re in a fight for your life. It gets even tougher in the later rounds.

Note to self: This is the later rounds.

Are you gonna address it? Or will you fall to the back of the herd to be picked off by the hungry predators of sickness, disease and irrelevance?

Time to man up!

I’ll step out while you two talk.


The Doughy Pant Load Syndrome

Age is looking to take you down. You can ignore this advice and be the funniest fat guy in the rehab or you can start training your human movement system to meet the rigors of nature, the pull of gravity and the adversities of life.

I’m 73,  I live in a retirement community and the view from here ain’t pretty. Some of it’s gruesome.

I’m here to tell you that a lot of bad stuff goes away when you pump oxygenated blood through your body. A lot of bad stuff goes away when you stress your muscles. And a lot of good stuff comes back to you when you do both.

When you do nothing, you are effectively standing naked in oncoming traffic.

The odds are not in your favor.

Are you looking to live this part of your life, or merely survive it?

I see men everyday in their mid-sixties dragging their time ravaged bodies into the supermarket looking for a motorized cart.

They are hunched over, they have soft, doughy asses, flabby arms, and bloated ankles. They’re not supposed to be there yet.

What if, God forbid, your circumstances change and you have to find work again? You can’t show up in a millennial world like your sides are about to retire.

You’ll be punching above your weight class in a world that gives shit none.

You need to be able…bodied.

Yeah, you can wear your war campaign baseball cap while your asking an employee to hand you down the cupcakes but you have already admitted to yourself and the whole world that you’re done.

You ain’t. The fat lady’s not even in the building yet.

It doesn’t have to be this way. I got the message at 70, when my chips were down. And I got ’em back. I was a stroke waiting to happen and I turned my body back into a machine. A bigger, leaner, stronger, machine.

Retirement is not the end of the struggle, it’s just the beginning. You gotta be up for it. Don’t leave your vitality and lust for life on the table.

Let me dispel a few myths that you might be entertaining: First, it ain’t a crap shoot. Your body will still respond to rigorous stimulation and resistance. No question.

You can still build a fabulous, rugged body. You can be a track star in your 70’s, 80’s and beyond. I’m living proof.

Older people get depressed because they don’t pump enough blood. They don’t run, they don’t jump, they don’t push. pull, pound or pillage.

Going to the supermarket isn’t foraging for food.

We are made to stress our bodies like our ancestors did, hunting and gathering, chasing and fleeing, and looking tough so other tribes couldn’t take our women.

You can have it all back but you gotta put the work in.

Man up I say. Don’t let today’s technology make you look like someone’s fat, toothless uncle.

Get yourself a Fitbit and get back in the game. You body will love you for it.

What I’m trying to say is, doughn’t be a pant load.  🙂


I was going to guest on a local podcast about my experience as a Vietnam war veteran. The host put out a call for guests and I responded. When he read my bio he seemed very excited and sent me the requirements for my end of the remote conversation.

I checked his site out and saw that he’s just starting up and most of the content is just him speaking. Pretty dry. His last guest interview was with his wife.

As the date nears, I’m wondering why I don’t get a call from either him or his people. I tell my friend Wayne this is very strange behavior.

This is show business and I am no stranger. I’ve been around this business so long I am incapable of making a noise when I fart.

So on Wednesday, August 7, at 10:30 am, I put on my headset, set up my mic, and got ready for…nothing. At first I’m amused, then I’m confused, then, of course, I’m abused.

All that day, nothing. The next day, nothing. On the third day I write, “What happened?” He said, “I waited but you never showed up.”Where? His house? The mall?

I am a veteran of more cluster-fucks than I care to remember and this sent me over the top.

There’s something about some of these people out here in the desert and their lack of urgent professionalism that makes me beg for a warm needle and a glass of Saki.

So against my better judgement, which is how I know it’s the right thing to do, I sent him:

“Scott, I am put out. Sounds like you have a very casual operation. I did everything I was supposed to do. You were supposed to send me final instructions, which you never did. If I were you, I would have had a conversation with me to uncover things that would have made the show. Things like that matter in show business, which is what you are attempting. You never called to see what was up? I’ve been in music, comedy and video production for years, and I understand the value of having your shit together. A good producer would have been all over me. I have an incredible story, but you thought it was going to tell itself. If you are serious about your podcast you should do your homework about the talent you are trying to bring on. Until then, you should keep your day job.”

At least I got a blog out of it.

Remains Of The Day

October 11. 2018, the day my finances died.

I met you twenty years ago today. August 9, 1999. We had a good run until we didn’t. That’s life and I have no regrets.

But I have to say, in all the time we spent together, I never knew you had such a lethal sense of humor.

You know, like when you sicced the cops on me when you didn’t like the conversation, thereby chasing me out of the state.

Being treated like a common criminal after picking you up and dusting you off is one of my favorite pastimes. Remember the shack you lived in?

You sticking me with all the IRS and credit card debt even after I prematurely split the proceeds of the house with you. Did your arms shrink?

Then divorcing me by telling the judge you didn’t know where I was while I was ducking your restraining orders. (That was a good one).

And just to show you I have no hard feelings, I’m sending you the reaction shot of my face on the day you emptied my two bank accounts, then closed them. A truly surgical strike.

Did I think, back 20 years ago, as I looked at you across the table at Earl’s, that this was the woman who would try to ruin me and lock me up?

Unfortunately for me, no.

And fortunately for me, we never had children. (I would still be on drugs.)

But I don’t want you to feel like you’ve lost a husband, think of it more as gaining an enemy for life.

Enjoy the day, I have a funny feeling you will. Happy Anniversary. 🙂


They’re Still With Us

As I crawled up the corporate ladder I noticed the people who infested the upper echelons of these big companies had a few chips missing. The higher the position, the more Captain Queeg you got, and the stranger the conversations.

I would always pre-defecate before every meeting and make sure I skipped the extra caffeine. I would be covered with sweat after every interaction. It was like walking a drunk home.

Now I see these deranged fuckers are still out there on LinkedIn, talking more shit than a North Korean radio station.

All the big shots I worked with had a leather couch in their office. Now I know why.

The woman who took over as brand director for Cardiolite was a walking nervous breakdown. I used to record our meetings, take them home and slow them down so I could understand what she was saying. Or at least try to make the conversations linear.

At first, I thought she was speaking in tongues.

The guy I saw this morning, extolling his incredible salesmanship and records of success, traveled with me on a customer visit once and I had to break up a fist fight.

The tech had him in a headlock, I had to do something.

Another destroyed my dashboard on the way back from Tucson screaming about how he was gonna kill the co-worker who was sleeping with his girlfriend who was married to someone else….in the same company. Still with me?

A reimbursement specialist who came out to travel with me was so drunk when she got off the plane in Phoenix, she had to be detained. I guess she yelled “PARTY!” too loud when she fell over.

Thankfully, they grabbed her right after she told me, “Don;t worry Bob, I took care of the birth control”. True story.

In 2003, I handed a product manager a USB stick with an idea for a customer give-away. At first, he thought it was whistle.

Three hours later he was still staring at it like a monkey in a fishbowl. Maybe his internal batteries needed charging.

The good thing is, they’re still out there….. and I’m not. 🙂

Confessions of a Corporate Houdini:

As soon as I got in, I was trying to get out. When I ran big kitchens, the only person I had to deal with was the owner, and most of the time he didn’t know how to cook, so I was free to hoist myself on my own petard.

There was no HR, only a tap on the shoulder and the choice of whether the back door was open or closed when you went through it. Performance no excuses. In 1982, I took a job on the distribution dock for Dupont.

Compared to what I came from, this was kindergarten with benefits. But the petty daily bullshit put a fuzzy expiration date on my new career. I didn’t think I would last. That little conundrum was solved when they offered me a satellite position in Boston. (Next door to Mike’s gym.)  🙂

Then, all I got was the daily phone call from the Gestapo in Billerica. Which I was always sure to answer out of breath. Then that started getting political. Just when I thought I would try something else, a sales position opened up in Arizona.

I had my doubts because of my limited education, but Sully convinced me I could get by on my looks, my jokes and my nice ass. As usual, he was right. And I killed those numbers year after year.

So, for 30 plus years I’ve been able to escape the fishbowl most of you haven’t. I have never had to sit across the room from some asshole all day who was trying to report me for not doing my job.

Fortunately, I was never exposed for my lack of attention and detail to….anything. I have the attention span of a gnat. A dead one.

I was always out somewhere shaking the bush making them think I was working hard and by the book. And I would like to thank you all for covering for me.

Not much has changed these days because I’m still out here trying to escape from something else.

Adios muchachos. 🙂


Nietzsche said, “It is only ideas gained from walking that have any worth.”

I never miss my evening dose of road tar. It is a tonic for my soul. I’ve hardly missed a session in two years.

I leave the headphones at home to let my internal music play. I am in the world but not of it.

Tonight, I am once again in the coliseum to do battle with my sanity.

I bring myself to a state of “no mind” in the beginning, to free myself of the nocturnal depression that can cripple me.

I start to imagine my arteries lit up and pumping. My heart is huge and hungry as I feed it the blood it needs for this physical undertaking.

Then I feel my muscles and ligaments warm to the tempo of my padding, joyful feet.

When I start to feel the rise in body temperature and the familiar and welcome moisture of salty sweat, I open the flood gates…slowly.

One incredible thought after the other comes tumbling out. Like IMAX. Front row. Buckle up, Bobo.

Answers to questions I haven’t even thought of asking fill me up. Tracer fire, coming from everywhere. Non stop.

Soon, I’m drowning in epiphany. I don’t realize it at that moment, but all of these thoughts are connected. I become frantic. TMI.

I try to keep track but it’s like chasing chickens in a great big barn yard.

I panic at the thoughts of loss. Already? These thoughts aren’t even fully conceived and yet I mourn. It’s like the Muddy Water’s song “Can’t lose what you never had.”

But I know from the way my gut is initially processing this information, that I’m onto something. Huge. Oh, torture.

Now I have to focus. There are loose threads everywhere. I make a beginning a middle and an end. Always. I break the information into blocks that can be arranged to tell the story.

I talk out loud. I yell things to make them stick. I cram sentences into my jaw to burn them into my temporal lobe. Where’s my crowbar?

All this is taking place on a dark road in the middle of that might. But I have no idea where I am at that moment.

After years of “runstorming”, you think I would have gained some confidence in pulling a blog together. The more incredible the ideas, the more elusive they seem. It can be maddening.

I just need to keep these thoughts  together until I can sprinkle them onto my keyboard, once buried in the bowels of my man-cave.

Which is still three miles away.   🙂

The Positive Feedback Loop

What keeps some people in the gym, on a bike, in the pool and on a diet? What keeps them lacing up in the wee hours? Do they do it simply because it’s the right thing to do? Are they banking on some fuzzy payoff thirty years from now? Hardly.

They push their bodies to their potential because they’re seeing things. In their mirror. The feedback they get in that mirror is a reward for their efforts. That feedback keeps them striving to do more activities that will keep them vibrant and healthy.

That feedback loop works like a life giving drug.

And it doesn’t stop until you do.

But it’s more than the physical. Seeing the results of your efforts has an incredible effect on your psyche, your posture and your overall health and confidence.

I remember after I got out of rehab how it changed the way I felt about myself. I felt more engaging. I liked the way my clothes fit. I smiled more. I wanted to meet more people. Life started coming back into my tired, world weary eyes.

What I got back from that mirror in just a few months, kept me going through that dark winter of my life. My journey became more bearable.

As the pounds melted off and I saw my body change, my horizons opened. I felt I was ready for anything. I naturally wanted to eat better so I wouldn’t blur my artwork.

The human body is a miracle waiting to respond. Doing the right things for it will pay off in more ways than you can imagine.

When you see someone who is always exercising and you wonder what keeps them at it, rest assured they’re seeing things. Good things.

They’re in that positive feedback loop. The gift that keeps on giving.

Be good to yourself, get in the loop.



You’re a drunk, it’s time to double down

So you’ve hit another one of your rock bottoms. You’ve been abusing yourself for so long your body is about to give out while your family is about to give up. But you need to avoid the pains of living that have brought you to your knees. I hear ya.

What to do?

Is it back to AA where you finger the rosary as you listen to horror story upon horror story? Is it asking your higher power to save you when your higher power did nothing to stop you from your descent into hell in the first place?

Is it more expensive consultations with that therapist who never had a drug or alcohol problem? No wonder he let’s you talk and talk and never says anything. You know what the problem is: Life sucks. I agree, it does suck at times.

And you can suffer every day of it while knowing that no one gets out alive. The problem is, once you stop a nasty habit, a huge existential void looms on the horizon. You feel wobbly as hell and even less secure. Your little “feel good” ritual has disappeared and the big bad world has you all to itself.

This is the time to act. Inertia will not save you, it will kill you.

There’s a hole needs fillin’.

You need to jam that void immediately with a new habit. Don’t wait. Dive deep into a new or existing passion. You’re on fertile ground. You’re gonna feel like shit anyway for the first few weeks so you might as well be learning something new. Who wants to be sober just for sober’s sake?

Not me, I can assure you.

I ain’t no saint, I ain’t no savior, I’ll never get to Heaven on my good behavior.

A.R.T – Addiction Replacement Therapy

I’ve had to get clean and sober twice in my life and both times it was physical exercise that pulled me from the brink of relapse. It dulled the withdrawal symptoms and activated my endorphin levels. It changed and saved my life.

Exercise will help you clean out that musty attic you have upstairs and get your body back in shape.

Addictions are about escape and feeling good. Exercise will fill both of those needs. You can’t just sit back and wait for the rain to stop.

You need to act.

You can look back on the day you stopped abusing yourself as a victory and a triumph of the spirit, instead of a whimpering concession.

Don’t miss this wonderful experience. You will find a new world and you’ll find you were more than worth it.

Wanna bet?



Confessions of a Stickie-Note Guy


Okay, here are three things that are happening with me that I didn’t expect and that I definitely attribute to my healthy lifestyle.

First, I have always been a stickie-note guy. I could never remember anything. I would have stickies stuck on everything. Even my forehead.

Every night I would write down exactly when I went to bed, because I could never remember when I got up. That has changed. I I remember everything now. What time I went to bed, what I need to pull out of the dryer, and even where I dropped my sweats. Amazing.

I remember the web site and what I was working on the night before. In perfect detail. Scary. Almost.

Second, it seems my eyesight is getting better. I have taken to running at night without my glasses. At 73, it used to be one big psychedelic blur. Not so, anymore.  I’ve even been forgetting to put my glasses on when I get in. I can’t read like I used to, but everything else is a lot better.

Third, and this is the weirdest. 25 years ago, I got a complete physical in L.A., from a noted sports doc. After the exam, I asked him if he could prescribe something for the nasty toenail fungus I had acquired since my re-lo to Phoenix. His exact words were, “Sorry, that’s going in the box with you, just try to keep your nails short and keep your socks on.”

Well, it’s gone. All of it. I have been so used to not looking down there for obvious reasons, I never realized it had cleared up. Now I can take my socks off.  🙂

The take home: Everything gets better when you do. So get better and never listen to conventional wisdom. You’re better than that, right?

Dangest thing, this healthy living stuff, ain’t it?

My Great Depression

It’s the fourth Wednesday of the month. All of you on Social Security know what I’m talking about. The eagle landed some time in the wee hours. Now it’s 5:00 am and I’m walking the one mile to the supermarket in a thunderstorm. I have no car.

I have on a knapsack and I’m carrying two plastic Costco bags. For the last nine days, Wells Fargo has shown almost a zero balance. My last purchase required 80 dimes.

And my doggie needs to eat.

Being a life long learner, none of this is lost on me. The wolf is at the door and I can smell his breath.

A paltry but unanticipated iTunes charge can wreak havoc and confusion.

I have fought a $12.00 charge for two hours on the phone. For once in my life, I know exactly where every cent is going.

There is virtually no fat in my fridge, in my bank account, or on me. I have searched for and found loose change in my business clothes, behind the washing machine and under the bed.

What celebrations have ensued.

And I have learned. To anticipate. To appreciate. To cut and cut again. To endure. To shut my mind off and be at peace with my lot in life.

I have concocted amazing dishes from almost nothing. Food combinations only a pothead could think of. Without the pot. 🙂

I can even drink black coffee now.

I am now a brutally savvy shopper. Even purchases under $5.00 require arbitration. I have learned to survive on popcorn and protein powder.

Now, on my way back from the supermarket with two full bags and an overstuffed knapsack, the skies opened to a brutal desert downpour.

It drenched everything. All my food, my clothes, my sneakers and my head. But not my spirits.

I was so wet you could barely make out my grateful tears of joy.


If I couldn’t detach, I’d be dead. I’ve lost everything. More than everything. I’m below sea level.

I had to detach when they were taking my belt and shoelaces at the VA hospital rehab unit. I had to detach to endure the yelling and screaming at night on the ward.

I had to detach when some skinny, out of touch psych told me I was near death, a health risk and I would not be released.

I had to detach when I realized my life partner had other intentions in our divorce settlement and filed charges against me.

I had to detach when I found myself in a hotel room in Arizona, on the run, out of money and out of options.

I had to detach when she shut my bank accounts down and raised the ire of the IRS.

I had to detach when I read the government’s threats against me.

I had to detach when the repo man came for my car.

How can I be so detached? Easy, as a long time video producer, I know it’s just a movie. I just happen to be the hero in this movie, and like all formulaic offerings, the good guy always wins.

We all know that if you kill off the good guy, the movie tanks. Can’t have that, can we?

So sit back and enjoy. We’re only three quarters through and there will be lots of close calls and near misses, but our hero will always prevail.

He might even get the girl.  🙂

Want some popcorn?

Sweatin’ Like An Oldie

Sweat has saved my life. When I got out of rehab three years ago, I was broke, homeless, and shaky. Sure as shittin’.

I had a belly full of Seroquel and nowhere to go. I was fat, bloated, sore and sorry.

Then I stumbled on a 24 hour gym not 900 feet from my rundown apartment. It was a sign, for sure.

At 70, I didn’t think I had any mojo left. I looked like I had melted when I saw my reflection in the mirror. I was a pear shaped 230 pounds and felt every ounce.

Then the rains came.

The sweat started pouring out of my dilapidated frame and I felt new life.

I would sit on an exercise bike in the dark all through the holidays that followed. I lifted weights, I ran and I biked every day.

My prison doors were starting to open.

Sleep without medication started to follow. My thinking cleared and brightened.

A different story was starting come out of my mirror. I could see my lines again. The lines of a healthy, symmetrical, muscular, firmly erect, older man. 45 pounds lighter and tighter.

No matter our troubles, sweat is a soothing balm that can gives us new life.

There is a whole different world on the other side of sweat.

I’m glad I took the trip.

Is there a doctor in the house?

Have you seen this nonsense? Can you believe what they’re putting out there with a straight face? This is pure science denial.

Obesity isn’t one of those things where you can say, “just go exercise” it’s not specific enough.

There are so many issues associated with obesity which can’t be simplified. You have to give specific exercise protocols and regimens to obese people looking to lose body fat.

But for Tess Holiday and her camp to put such misleading information out, and profit from it, is a danger to everyone. What’s worse, she has thousands of followers.

With so many easily influenced young people out there struggling with this disease, it should be a crime to mislead them. And they are.

This Project Body Love outfit is playing to their base and pumping out dangerous, science denying information and cashing in, telling people that they can be fit at 300 pounds. They can, if they’re 6′ 8″.

Is there a doctor in the house?

Large amounts of body fat leads to:

Type II Diabetes

Low grade inflammation

Unhealthy cells

Decreased ability to do daily activities.

All causes of death (Mortality)

High blood pressure

High LDL cholesterol, low HDL and high triglycerides.


Coronary heart disease

Gallbladder disease

Sleep Apnea (Never met an overweight man who didn’t have it)

Low quality of life


And of course, morbid endings.

I remember the Boston comedian John Pinette whose whole act was based solely on his obesity. John’s not with us anymore. He left the stage early.

But he wasn’t trying to spin it.

I would just like to say shame on you people for passing this nonsense off as truth, while trying to keep your faces straight. Shame!

Again, is there a doctor in the house?




The End Game

Life can be a suck-filled experience. It can roll over you and leave you begging for death. For every thought you have, there’s a disease to match it. I have no idea what this struggle is about and I don’t spend my time dwelling on it.

All I want to do is minimize the pain of living. I want the ability to pick myself up and dust myself off after every major fuck up. I want to keep on keeping on until the whistle blows.

I don’t want go off like a stick of pepperoni either, slice by slice.!

If something nasty befalls me it won’t be because I let myself fall apart physically and mentally.

I am 73 years old and never, ever, been this physically, or mentally, fit. We still have the tremendous capacity to grow muscle, get lean, stable  and flexible. It’s all there, waiting.

You just gotta put a little work in. It’s your physical 401K.

Maybe you’ve had a great life already. Maybe you’re not looking for more. You still have to tread water until the buzzer. You can do it easy, or you can do it hard.

Most of the folks I meet don’t give it too much thought. And it shows. I see it in their shopping carts, by the extra beef they’re swinging, by the overuse of golf carts and motorized shopping carts. Nobody walks these days.

I see the human wreckage every day. Most of it is ignorant needlessness. Life’s a crap shoot they will say. I say, God helps those who help them self. If there is a God.

You gotta have an end game. What are your retirement years going to look like? The demands on our bodies don’t lessen because we’re retired. You need strong muscles and a vibrant constitution to fight the gravity of aging.

You need muscle, you need strong bones, you need a stable structure. You need a resilient outlook.

You can’t do anything if you’re in pain. Pain will sidetrack you, confuse you, consume you and addict you to things. I see that ghostly white pallor on faces many years younger than mine.

And now they have plenty of time to think about it, to worry about it and to get prescribed for it. Plenty of time to sit in waiting rooms and prescription pick-ups. Or wait for the Handi-van to come and get them. They also have plenty of people to discuss their aches and pains with.

Most of what I’m seeing could have been avoided by keeping their weight down, putting on some muscle and moving their bodies. A shame. These are your years, not your company’s.

These are the years you were always pining about at the water cooler. You put so much time and effort into these years where you could smell the roses. Now you’re smelling hospital disinfectant.

What’s your end game?


No, Thank You!

Won’t be long and I’ll be heading into my 74th year. If I read all the problems they say are waiting for us as we age, there doesn’t seem to be any good news.

There are cardiovascular issues, bones, joints and muscles start crapping out, your digestion gets problematic, vision, urinary, memory, weight, libido, (Where’s the gun?) and depression.

Actually, I was cooked at 70. If I opened my medicine cabinet without my glasses, I would see one big orange blur.

The only things that would fit me was sweats. Someone actually called me on my black sweat pants with a double breasted jacket and tie once.

Everything hurt, my back went out more than I did, my blood pressure and triglycerides were setting records, and I never left the doctor’s office without a new prescription.

I kept my trophy-sized kidney stones on the mantle and my doctor would always thank me profusely for putting her kids through college.

I had to be detoxed off of alcohol, xanax, muscle relaxers, pain killers and multiple sleep medications. In a ward, of course, for that added level of humiliation.

That was 45 pounds and 10 pairs of sneakers ago. It all comes back once you start to move it around. No matter what age you are. I know.

There isn’t a drug on the planet that makes me feel as good as when I move my body, stress my muscles, steady my mind and feed my human movement system the nutrients it needs.

Yes, the future’s uncertain, but to go into it unprepared, is a fate worse than, well, you know.

So, if it’s all the same, I’ll pass on the pain and misery.

You should too.


Here comes Marvelous Marvin

I was washing my kitchen floors this afternoon and I thought I would add some ammonia to get the job done. As soon as the vapor went up my nose, my memory bank burst open. All at once I was back at the State Police Barracks in Middleboro, Mass, as a ward of the state, washing the floors with ammonia.

In 1963, I was surrendered to the Division of Youth Services for an undetermined length of time as was the custom with juveniles. I was on probation in three cities and I was due for a vacation. Even though the charge they got me on was based off a lie the kid across the street told them. Still, I was due.

I stayed at the Roslindale facility almost 3 months in a maximum security situation, before I met with the Mass. Parole Board and it was decided that I would be a “mess boy” at the state police barracks indefinitely, or, until they decided to release me.

It was October 4, 1963, when I arrived. I thought I died and went to Heaven. I had my own room, and one day off a week to go home and look for work for when I was released. These cops ate great, and I was going to eat what they ate. Plus, I had free Trailways bus passes.

I had a TV, a record player, sparse bedroom furniture and my own shower, all on the top floor of the barracks building. And I got worked from sun up to sun down. I cooked, scrubbed, waited on troopers, shined boots, sanded dredging boats and washed more state cars than I care to recount.

I was there when Kennedy went, and the Beatles came.

But did I eat. I had clean clothes, a nice room and they even paid me 50 bucks a month. I started thinking maybe hell would be getting paroled out of this place. This was better than home.

Then one night, when I was in bed, the door to my quarters squeaked open. It was just a big empty space up there. He was still in the shadows when I hit the light. It was a trooper. My first thoughts were maybe I left something amiss down in the kitchen.

He was tall, Scandanavian, very fair, and had a blonde crewcut. His tie was undone telling me he was off duty and his heavy boots scuffled as he moved towards me. He had a bunch of what looked like magazines under his left arm and he was eating a bowl of coleslaw.

I was in bed

He sat on the edge of the bed and told me to relax, his name was Marvin Pratt and he used to live in Somerville. Like me. (He did his homework) We made small talk for a few minutes before he handed me the books. They were extremely graphic.

They were the kind of graphic, full frontal, unnatural, illegal, sodomy heavy material that only a state cop might get from a bust in those days.

He told me to look at them. Take my time. Relax. I sure wanted to look but I didn’t need company. Know what I mean?

What happened next is still hard to comprehend. He reached under my sheet and grabbed me. A Massachusetts State Trooper, with a wife, three kids and a great reputation on the force and he’s gonna molest a kid he doesn’t even know, that’s been in the can for months and has no clue if I will go running to Captain Luciano? It still boggles my mind.

I won’t list all of his sordid attempts but, suffice it to say, this fucker went on the hunt. For the next eight months, he was everywhere. He would stick his finger up my ass while I was cooking, carrying dishes or walking down a hall way. This guy had no fear and he knew where I lived.

When I was returning from my day off at home, he would pull the Trailways bus over on Route 44, board the bus, find me with a flashlight, hand cuff me with my hands behind my back, pull me off and try to terrify me by driving 120 mph and massaging my crotch. While I was still handcuffed.

This happened almost every week and still, no irregularities were ever reported by Trailways.

Once, when I was home, I came walking down Paulina Street only to see him sitting on my front porch talking to my mother. She was thrilled to think they liked me at the barracks. Of course, I could never tell her what I was going through. She never had a clue. Until years later.

Shows you how dangerous he was. He knew, and I knew, that one word from him would have me back in Roslindale in lock down, right on time for supper. I was a criminal, he was a cop.

Still, he never got me. Once, when I started to cry in frustration, I saw that he hated that and would suddenly leave. After that, I could have won an academy award. I could cry on cue.

I called the Division of Public Safety a few years back and didn’t get any satisfaction. They told me it might be best if I just moved on. I did.

Every now and then I imagine I might bump into my pal, Marvin…without the coleslaw.

Flashback without the acid.

The house that Jack built.

A woman asked me last night if I was married. I honestly didn’t know what to say. Hadn’t thought about it.

When I went home and went to bed, I dreamed about being married for almost the last twenty years.

I never cared for the institution of marriage after watching my parents suffer through it, but I married her because I cared for her and she had no health insurance.

And she knew that.

She had no money, no skills, no education and two grown children.

To make it worse, she had a nasty Bronx attitude about taking orders, so she was always mysteriously getting canned.

We were married in a quick afternoon ceremony with a justice of the peace and a saguaro cactus in attendance.

I remembered how I took that move back east with her for BMS and how disappointed and disillusioned I was when I got there. With everything.

I went from working on a dock, right into sales in Phoenix, so I never got the in-house politics, small talk, coffee machine, CYA thing.

When I got there, I found the whole thing embarrassing. There was no excitement, no joy, and sadly, no danger. It was just a bunch of nice local people trying to keep their gigs.

And moving back east put her in close proximity to her family and a horse barn and that was almost all she wrote. She was gone that first weekend.

The word horse never came up until then. From then on, she was either at the barn or in New Jersey.

One Sunday afternoon, as I was walking past the main bathroom, I saw her getting ready. “Getting ready” always meant she was off to the barn.

She had on her riding clothes and boots and was standing in front of the mirror..

When I expressed my frustration at her not even telling me beforehand, she whipped around with a brush in her hand and let me have it under no uncertain terms. I was stunned.

She told me what her rights were in this marriage with such clarity, I was sure she had either rehearsed it, or given that Patrick Henry before.

This was my biggest fear and why I stayed single for 53 years. Trapped.

Slowly, while thinking there was no way out, I started working my doctor for Ambien, then Soma, then Tramadol, and then Lunesta. You can fill in all the notorious pain killers right here. Check.

Around 2007, the wheels started coming off and my doc offered me Xanax. But she didn’t call it that. She called it alprazolam. From then on, you could call me fucked.

I was always home alone with my six dogs. I always had a nice buzz and something furry to snuggle with. Then I started hoping she wouldn’t come home at all.

Three years ago, feeling I had nothing left to lose after almost 40 years of hard earned sobriety, I picked up a drink.

To be continued.

I’m living the life I once so feared…and thriving.

I got nothing. I have no stash, no backup and no wiggle room. I own no furniture, no silverware and no TV. I have no car. I don’t shop, I forage.

All of my meals are variations on a theme.

I can do things with rice, oats, frozen vegetables and pasta that meet all my daily requirements for nutrition.

By the end of the month I have to decide if it’s me or the dog who eats. We know who wins that decision.

Clothing comes in the form of donations and the only thing I will spend money on is running shoes.

You can see through my t-shirts and don’t ask me about underwear.

The VA provides whatever medical attention I might need and so far I’ve been lucky.

I take deliberate, tactical and anticipatory steps to stay healthy.

I live solitary days filled with self education, music, extreme exercise and meditation.

I can go weeks without speaking to another human being.

Still, I am fulfilled. I have what I need and nothing more.

I sleep with a clean conscience and I’m regular.

You can’t put a price on that.

Some find it pleasant dining on pheasant.
Those things roll off my knife;
Just serve me tomatoes; and mashed potatoes;
Give me the simple life.

Man Up!

I love being a man. Love every minute of it. Love all the pain of it. I love the testosterone that courses through my veins.

I love the opportunity that being a man presents.

I love the opportunity to fight and die for my country. To live by the code of “women and children first.”

To voluntarily be the last one off that sinking ship. I revel in it.

I love being a breadwinner. To head off into a dreary, cold and stormy Monday while my family is safe and warm in their beds, comforted in the knowledge that I would never let them down. Ever.

What a precious gift!

I treasure all my lock ups, detentions, conscriptions, being on the run, detoxes, black eyes, bloody noses, forced marches and sleeping in the rain.

I loved being in a holding cell with my gang and tormenting our captors so they would beat us so badly they couldn’t present us to a judge.

I loved getting high in a balmy jungle with mortars walking in.

I love the smell of gun powder.

I love the muscle on my body. I love the sweat and grind it takes to put it there.

I love the total awareness of my well trained human movement system.

I love being brought to my knees….and getting up again.

I love being the oldest of ten and having next to nothing.

I love women. Love ’em all. I love their smell, their delicate nature and their wisdom. Surely a reason to live.

I love the fact that men can age and actually become more handsome. Wrinkles and all.

I love the adventure and the uncertainty of everything.

Manhood isn’t that thing between your legs, it’s a badge of honor. We should strive to measure up to that honor. Every waking moment.

James Brown was wrong when he sang “This Is A Man’s World.” It’s not, but it sure is an honor to be a man in this world.

Man up!

The Path of Most Resistance

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the poor house. I discovered that the broker I got, the better I looked. At 73, I am cut, lean, flexible and rugged. I have endurance levels that under similar circumstances would have offed me as a younger man.

My failed financial situation has proven to be a windfall.

I have no car, so I walk, run and bike everywhere. I carry my groceries home for a good mile in the hot sun. Because I have to. I eat only simple, whole foods and drink lots of water. No sodas or soft drinks. Can’t afford it.

I am in a gym before the sun comes up. Every day.

I am never sick. Ever.

Our bodies are made to work. To stretch, to push, to pull, to chase, to flea and to struggle. To resist. To resist predators, enemies, the elements and to resist gravity. When we don’t resist, we atrophy.

When our respiratory systems aren’t challenged, we get sick, we develop all manner of illness and we slowly regress into helplessness.

Technology is removing our starch, our resilience and our resolve. It’s a trap.

We don’t even have to climb a bookshelf for information, it’s right at our fingertips. In short, we ain’t working for it. Instead of hunting, we started putting seeds in the ground and waiting.

We need to progressively overload our muscles or they will turn to mush. We need to eat whole, clean foods and push our heart rates up because today’s technology driven world will not provide the opportunity.

We will lose our independence, our vitality and as I see frequently, the will to live. We will become motorized against our will. God forbid.

Anytime you can put your feet on the ground to get somewhere, do it. Push, pull, lift, squat, jump, run, and celebrate your human movement system for the miracle that it is.

Struggle, for God’s sake.

You will soon see a difference in your body, your outlook and your attitude. You will lose a chin or two and save your own life in the doing.

Always take the path of most resistance.

Go for broke.  🙂



The Art of Being Ridiculous

Bob Sullivan is across from me. We’re sitting in the Rusty Pelican having dinner. He used to be my district manager, now he’s VP of Sales. As usual, he’s nervously patting his receding hairline.

This is what he does when he needs to straighten someone out without extinguishing their fire. I feel for him but I hope he doesn’t make this too awkward.

You see, he’s the one with the bright idea of bringing me into sales, which George Jones thought was a ridiculous idea. (Me too). Sully pushed, George relented, and I moved to occupy the Arizona-New Mexico territory.

It was mine to lose.

At 44, I had never held a sales position, never filled out an expense report, a business plan or a speaker’s bureau request.

I didn’t even know which end of the body the product went in.

So, having no formal education but for a GED, I was forced to make it up as I went along. You don’t get the close supervision required when you’re 2500 miles from the home office.

Soon, when word got back that I was naked in hot tubs with customers, teaching cardiologist’s kids how to play guitar, doing stand-up at the Elks in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and suspiciously getting bit by customer’s dogs in Albuquerque, the in-house tension would start to rise.

The fact that hundreds of pounds of lobster, steamers and chowder were being dry iced out to the desert, mercifully escaped their attention.

Signed contracts were often stained with drawn butter.

I was FTD’s most valued customer with my constantly updated spreadsheet of birthday flowers sent to all my lovely female customers.

It was FTD without STD. Took some doing, believe me.

I needed to be dealt with of course, but gently, because my coffers were rising. Aetna was approving Cardiolite at $110 per injection under my clueless guidance and favorable customer letters were hitting Georgie’s desk.

There was enough hand wringing, lip biting and forehead patting to go around in Billerica those days.

“You’re doing a great job out here Bob,” he would say “but you take absolutely everything to such a ridiculous extreme.”

Fuck yeah, I would think while trying to look concerned. I take everything to a ridiculous extreme. Why bother, otherwise?

Fuck remarkable I say, shoot for ridiculous. No one from that era is ever gonna say, “O’Hearn? I don’t seem to recall.”

A few years ago I got a call from Brussels from a couple of reps who reported to Sully at the time, asking if all the stories were true. Sully told them I was the best he ever saw.

Anything worth doing, is worth overdoing.

When I brought a guitar home at the age of 25, my father told me I didn’t have enough rhythm to masturbate. Dad, ye hardly knew me.  🙂

In five years, I was fronting a popular band playing guitar…and keyboards.

When I got into video production, Sully gave me another “ridiculous reminder” and I ended up creating my own studio in the home office.

Now, in my 73rd year, after a total physical and financial collapse, I am inching towards 10% body fat, a twenty year-old’s body, the wind of a track star and the start of a very successful business.

It’s time to get even more ridiculous.

I’m now almost 50 pounds lighter, a certified personal trainer, certified in nutrition, weight loss and senior fitness. All areas just waiting to be drowned in helpful servings of my ridiculousness.

And the hits will keep coming because I know the value of going shit house.

Remarkable doesn’t work anymore. Always shoot for ridiculous.

Don’t ever have them scratching their head when your name comes up.

Be ridiculous!






Murder In The Sun Room

I accidentally double dosed my melatonin last night. What a ride. I dreamt in 3d about my stay at the VA Rehab in Bedford Ma.

Things came up I absolutely forgot about. About how I would get reprimanded for not using my walker. A walker? Me?

About the big guy behind me who quickly slipped my belt off of me as soon as I signed that paper.

About when I asked if I could shave, I had to have someone watching me who would take the razor from my hand on my last stroke.

About all the times I was asked if I felt suicidal. I would say, “No, but if you ask me again.”

About that flashlight in my face all night long every hour on the hour.

And that goddam endless screaming almost drove me bat shit.

About that dangerous guy in the next bunk who would sit cross-legged on his bed and stare at me while mumbling incoherently.

About that ambulance ride over to Dedham to get a cranial CT because of all the falls I had taken while under the influence of xanax and Chardonnay. Forgot about that.

About that crusty old female psychiatrist who laughed in my face when I told her I was a U.S. citizen and they couldn’t hold me against my will.

About how she told me if they released me, I could stroke out on their sidewalk. How she went into gory detail about my “hot liver.”

About how we would line up in front of the pharmacy window at 5:00 am for our morning doses of who knows what. I remember it had a soothing effect so I would quickly slip it into my top pajama pocket and double or triple dose on it later. It made for a nice, blurry afternoon.

I also remember worrying about someone’s passive aggressive tendencies now that I was among the walking wounded. You never really knew where you stood with her until there was an altercation. Then she would unload. She was in charge now by default. My worries were not unfounded.

Then, in my deep dream state, it all came back about the sun room where they would plop us down after lunch. A dozen or so vets from campaigns over the last 50 years, free to reminisce until dinner.

That sun room, where all the horrors of war were discussed in detail. Too much detail. It was wheelchairs in a circle like wagons. Everything but the marshmallows.

I now remember the young kids with with more notches on their belt than Billy the Kid. How are they gonna deal with that when the get my age?

It went on every day. For hours. Horrible. No wonder I blocked it.

It was so real and surreal.

Really, you gotta watch that melatonin stuff.

Here’s Your Motivation

On Monday, August 29, 2016, my first morning in my new apartment after being released from the VA hospital in Bedford Ma. with a belly full of Seroquel and Mirtazapene, I was still shaky.

I made my way to the phone booth of a bathroom with the garish, depression era wallpaper to see for sure that I didn’t pass away in the night.

The mirror still had toothpaste spray from the last tenant and the single light bulb in the ceiling created a shadow effect on my detoxed features.

What I saw was enough to make me pick up a drink again. I didn’t turn that light on for days after that.

The following Sunday, while walking my dog, I stumbled onto a gym not 900 steps from my door and life took a major turn.

In a matter of months I was back in that mirror constantly. I couldn’t believe the changes in my body. My whole composition was changing.

The overhead light I was previously cursing was now accentuating my new muscles.

I was just turning 70.

The hook was in. I started learning everything I could about fitness.

I became a certified personal trainer with nutrition, weight loss and senior fitness specializations. Whatever I learned in that process, I used on me.

Now, almost 50 pounds lighter and carrying more muscle that I ever have in my life at 73, I know through education and trial and error what works and what doesn’t.

These days, it’s a dream to work with clients who now have a new relationship with their mirror. The changes in their body composition is always a surprise and a delight.

I do two things right off the bat that make a huge, immediate impact with my new clients:

1. In their meal plan, I raise the amount of protein their taking in, to one gram per pound of body weight. That makes a huge difference.

Protein is muscle sparing and increases metabolism. The big one is satiety. Which means you will feel good while losing weight. Uh, fat.  🙂

2. I have clients focus on resistance exercises, using full body circuit training three times a week. Muscle burns more calories than just flopping around on an elliptical.

You will need all that muscle and more as you age. I can’t stress that enough. When muscle is allowed to atrophy, the machine starts breaking down and before you know, there goes your independence. Your house can become a jail cell with doctor visits.

You want to change your body composition not just shrink. You’ll be amazed at what you see in that glass from now on.

Muscle provides hustle, it keeps you stable and rugged. As you might already know, senior living is not for the faint of heart.

People always ask me what motivates me to train my body and teach as hard as I do, and I just tell them what motivates me is in my mirror.

It’s a direct reflection of who I am these days.  🙂




The Hook (How I learned to love the feel of iron)

On a much needed afternoon off in Vietnam, me, David Hamilton, (on my left) and Fitzy, got orders to go into the local Cam Rahn Village and catch us a little “boom boom”. (It didn’t say that on the orders, exactly)

Before we left, we decided to get high, so we went way up behind the battalion ammo dump, you know, for some atmosphere. We were already pretty buzzed in this shot.

When we got there, there were half a dozen shirtless, shiny and sweaty troops lifting up barrels, squatting with chains on their back and bench pressing a truck axle. Oh, my, what a sight. Never saw anything like it.

Back in the 60’s, if you saw a tanned, muscular man, he was usually standing in between Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon.

As we got higher and took in the show, I started to come down with my first (of many) sexual identity crises. What the hell was this about? Bad enough I gotta dodge bullets, but now I gotta worry about my sexual preferences?

I had no frame of reference for what I was seeing. I just stared at them.

I felt like a girl.

These guys were peacocks. They had it and they knew it. They strutted around between sets, sticking their chests out, spitting on their hands for effect and glorying in their masculinity.

They were beautifully developed humans and the sight of them had an effect on me that is still with me today.

I realized then that nothing is more beautiful than a well conditioned, tanned and graceful, human body. David was no stranger to weight lifting, as you can see by his  arms in this photo. The guy was jacked.

He promised he would show me how to train myself but he was killed in a tragic ambush not long after this photo. That’s another story.

But the hook was set. When I got back to base camp I got one of those long poles we used to stir the burning human waste with, cut it down, put two number 10 cans filled with cement on each end and would pump myself to distraction trying to look like those guys.

Over the years I never stopped. I would train drunk, sober and everything in between. It’s a drug in itself.

It is with me today. Having muscle not only looks good, it feels good. It affects your confidence, your well being and your bearing.

It stands me up straight and helps me survive all the unnecessary bullshit I put myself through.