The Voice of Reason

In the spring of 1980, I had barely a year of sobriety under my belt. And I wasn’t happy about it.

I was still in my band, Skidder Munrow, working in a restaurant, and trying to chase the babes around.

None of these activities were appealing to me sober. The guys in the band were still using, and the gig profits went up everybody’s nose but mine.

Work sucked when I had to do it sober, and it seemed I didn’t have the same nerve with the ladies without my bottle of balls.

So I slipped. Big time.

There was a big party on a Saturday night and I was determined to be the life of it.

I drank a half a bottle of Jack Daniels before leaving the house and continued into the night with, as Jack Kennedy would say, “great vigor and aggression.”

That evening was shithouse crazy. All through the night I was rethinking my new life with my old friends, drugs and alcohol.

Oh, happy days are here again…..I thought.

The next morning I felt like I had contracted malaria. I was sick all over. I was shaking and puking while trying to stand up straight. And I dare not fart.

I had to go to work, so I had no choice. I had to have some “hair of the dog.”

I grabbed the half empty Jack Daniels bottle from under the sink and it was “over the lips and across the gums, look out belly here it comes.”

It burned so good. I immediately felt my composure start to come back. Then that old evil grin came over my face.

Then I vomited, lit a cigarette and headed out the door for work. Just like old times.

The ten hour day in a hot, noisy kitchen was a feverish nightmare. I couldn’t stop shaking. I was terrified to pick up a knife. What’s this all about?

Luckily, I discovered an unopened quart of Seagrams V.O. the band left in my trunk, and when I felt I was getting sick, I would step outside for some “Dog.”.

That happened every fifteen minutes.

How I got through the day, I will never know.

That night, after a nightcap or two, I passed out. In less than an hour, I shook myself awake. I thought I was having a stroke.

I got violently ill, and in front of my bathroom mirror that night, I vowed I would never go through that again.

That next night there was an all men’s AA meeting at a church in Woburn center.

It was a smoke filled auditorium that wreaked of body odor and heart break. The stories they told were terrifying.

Drunks only go to AA after they’ve lost everything.

These were 200 of the toughest, meanest, and orneriest men I have ever been around. Everyone was there but the warden.

They were convicts, construction workers and miserable losers. And they did not suffer fools. At all.

Physically, I was barely hanging on. I stopped drinking, but my nerves were so shot, I was laughing and crying uncontrollably for seemingly no reason.

I could have gone to detox but I was determined to tough this one out.

Just as the meeting was ending, I raised my hand to speak. Big mistake.

I decided to tell my tale of woe to the group and how quickly alcohol can take hold of you after you slip.

Well, I know how to dress up a story, and the way I described my downfall, the group started laughing. Oh, I love this, I’m thinking.

So I continue to regale these guys with all the ups and downs of my big slip. Which were actually a comedy of errors.

Now I have a couple hundred natural born killers rolling on the floor. I could hear gasping and choking through the gales of laughter.

At the end, the whole room broke out into applause. I couldn’t believe it.

As the meeting was getting ready to close with the Lord’s Prayer, this little old man raises his hand.

He stands up with his tattered scally cap in his hand and says, “Shame on you. What the hell is wrong with you people?”

Then he proceeds to take the whole room down for encouraging a moron like me.

“He could have been dead or killed somebody while driving, and there you are applauding him.”

“That goddam fool will go out and do it again just to make you laugh. Shame on you all.”

I was mortified. The room went dead. My face was burning. I could have slipped through a crack in my chair.

As we were all filing out in silence, a hand touched my shoulder and a voice said, “Hey, kid, that’s still the funniest fuckin’ story I ever heard.”

But It was too late, the voice of reason was still echoing in my ears.

Thank God .

Weighing In

Remember what life was like when you were fifteen? Remember all the silly hang ups? The childish rivalries? All your real or imagined imperfections? Being ostracized in school?

In my day we had Elvis, Rickie Nelson, Fabian, followed by Paul McCartney and Jim Morrison. Who could compete with that?

Oh, the adolescent angst we suffered through.

But young people today have it even worse. They are blowing up to twice our size and are twice as inactive.

They have phones and computers, video games and fast food that is so calorie dense you could fatten up a cow for slaughter in days.

I recently worked a quinceañera at the country club.

A quinceañera is the celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday, marking her passage from girlhood to womanhood.

There were about 150 attendees and of course, there were many fifteen year old girls there.

These girls were extremely overweight trying to squeeze into the latest fashions.

The anxiety in that room was palpable.

These young ladies were wearing, (or trying to wear,) a type of sarong wrap around dress that opened in the front. (What do I know, I’m a guy.)

This was painful to watch. They did not look comfortable.

I was wondering which dress would explode first.

Very few attendees were normal weight. The woman who threw the  quinceañera for her daughter was so big, it looked like she was fitted at the Navy yard.

Today we have fat activists and fat liberationists telling these young people that they should love their size, and be happy shopping in the Junior Moose Department

I study people and at one point in the festivities a slender, lithesome young lady sashayed her way by a bevy of these heavies and if looks could kill.

Life is tough enough at that age and these poor things have a long, hard road ahead of them.

Seriously, something needs to be done.

Less food, more exercise, more information.

My opinion.

“Formal education? Not enough to hurt me!”

In 1990, I went into sales totally unarmed. I had ten years of sobriety under my belt and an “eked by” G.E.D.

I knew nothing about sales, marketing, or business in general. Not enough to hurt me, anyway. 🙂

My lack of business knowledge made me get outside the box forever.

The plan was to last long enough in this position before I was exposed as an incompetent, to be able to use it on my resume for a less challenging position maybe selling Amway.

Little did I know I would come to be a sales leader in my burgeoning territories of Arizona, New Mexico and Las Vegas.

Through grit and street savvy, I made a name for myself that I’m still proud of today.

In sales, sometimes you have to provide more than products and service.

You have to provide things that nobody else is thinking about.

You have to get inside. You have to be listening with a musician’s ear.

When I was selling nuclear medicine for Dupont, and me not being a Rhodes Scholar, I had to really be on my game.

For instance, if I had a meeting with a physician and they told me to wait in their office, that man or woman was gonna get thoroughly investigated.

I would scour the walls looking for clues about what they might be up to, and anything we might have in common. Anything to make that connection.

Like anything. If the kid was a football star, or he had a particular passion, or an award he might have received.

I did not suck at small talk because I could always lift the tone with humor. Carefully.

It was nights, weekends, holidays and nasty weather. The post office had nothing on me.

I had to bail rowdy customers out of jail on more than one occasion. I was also there when the baby arrived and the boyfriend was nowhere to be found.

If a tech got kicked out of the house, he headed straight for mine. That’s just the way it worked.

I was purely a relationship guy, and seeing I didn’t have much technical expertise to put on the table, this was how I ran.

I built a bond you couldn’t break.

In the mid-nineties, the main competition for our Cardiolite imaging product was launching, and by some ridiculous miscalculation, the reimbursement for their drug was at least three times what customers were getting for Cardiolite.

The way the government works, that particular boo-boo had to be in place for a year. Money talks, right?

Now selling a product based just on reimbursement is not totally illegal but you should be selling based on the merits of the product. You could get your hand slapped.

So we were keeping our eye out.

Then, one Saturday morning at a Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting held at Mayo Clinic, a product specialist from Amersham takes the stage in a garish yellow dress and did the unthinkable. She thought she was shitting sherbert.

She was rubbing that miscalculated reimbursement money in everyone’s face. She had her face in the trough and she wasn’t pulling her head up for anyone.

Unfortunately for her, I just got into video and I had a small camera with me. (This was before smartphones)

I got everything. I even made her repeat things. (She didn’t know who I was)

Everybody in the room got a huge kick out of watching this dipshit hang herself.

Back at Dupont, I am a national hero. The company lawyer told me I was doing the Lord’s work.

So they confront the head of legal for Amersham and they apprise him of my handiwork. They even play some of the audio over the speaker phone.

That, set him back apace.

In defense, the other lawyer starts weighing in on me and my specious business tactics. Gulp!

He says, “Well, if you think that’s unfair, who brings food over to a cardiologist’s house and cooks dinner for the family?

Who’s does that? Seriously? That’s not unfair? My rep is just doing her job.

Who teaches customer’s kids how to play guitar? Really, who does that? What does that have to do with nuclear medicine?

Who goes away for the weekend with ten female techs? Unheard of, who does that?

Who goes to the courthouse when a tech is getting a divorce? We don’t do that. Who can compete with that?

Who takes customers to AA meetings? You ever hear of such a thing?

Seriously, who does that?”

Well, I have to plead guilty as charged. I was using the skills I learned banging around the mean streets of Boston back in the day.

Sometimes people make decisions on more than just a package insert.

I thought about all the things he said as I was spending my bonus.

Epilogue: When Cardiolite first launched there was a bailment on it. Because the product was so hearty, you could pull hundreds of doses out of one vial that was supposed be limited to six. The bailment, if they signed it, would have them agree to just the six doses.

That went over like a fart in a space suit. Nobody wanted to sign. New Mexico was laughing us out of their labs.

So I visit the radiopharmacy in Albuquerque with my boss, Bob Sullivan. Things got tense in a heartbeat. I didn’t know what he was going to say and I was bracing. He says to Paul Gotti, if you don’t sign the bailment you don’t get him, pointing to me.

They signed. (My face is still red over that one.)

“Let ’em know”

B.B.King was a consummate performer. He was also a master communicator.

He was clearly one of the hardest working people in show business.

He was always in constant communication with his audience. Whether he was using “Lucille”, his guitar, or a microphone, he could work a crowd like a Baptist preacher.

After every song, when the audience was cheering wildly, he would keep it going by standing to the side to highlight his band and saying “Let ‘em know, they love it.”

Then he would introduce each member and tell a brief story, while the rest of the band vamped.

The audience loved it and you can be sure the band did too.

Businesses should do that. They should always find ways to tell stories and make a fuss over their people.

Like B.B., you should point your employees out, tell a story about how you acquired them and how they work hard every day for you, the customer.

By doing that, you’re showing your customers and your employees how much you care.

You’re also showing people that your company is a wonderful place to spend a good chunk of their life.

Instead of desultory trade show line-up shots, introduce your employees one at a time. If there is a landmark event going on in their life, all the better.

You are also finding a good excuse to constantly communicate with your audience instead of “interrupting” them all the time with annoying messages about how great you are. 🙂

These days, we need to keep the conversation going with our customers. We need to always let them know how hard we’re working for them.

We can’t take for granted that our customers are satisfied just because we haven’t had a complaint in a couple of weeks.

Keep the lines of communication open. Always.

So… let ’em know.

Carma

As many of you may remember, I rode a bike out here for three years. I traded my Lexus GX460 SUV in for a Walmart special. You don’t miss what you don’t have, so all was well.

I was just grateful to have a roof over my head and my Social Security.

Through winter and summer, darkness and light, there I was, peddling what was left of my ass off.

A few months ago, a snowbird from Canada, who I became quite friendly with, (I even named my dog after him) offered to sell me the car he was using down here while he was escaping the harsh, Canadian winters.

This year, he told me he was going back up north and not be returning.

It was a little out of my range, so I took a grueling, 10 hour night shift job at Amazon for six weeks. (Ugh)

And when a gracious soul helped me with the rest, the deal was done.

I didn’t drive it much because I was working within walking distance at a place I really enjoyed. The biggest kick I got out having a car again, was taking my pooch for our evening rides.

What happened yesterday caused me to break out the bicycle pump. Again. Everything that could go wrong with a car, went wrong. The engine noises even scared my pooch.

Lights started flashing, strange beeps and a nasty smell.

When I finally limped the car home and into my garage, I rummaged through the glove box and found a service receipt from September 2021.

I called, and was there in 30 minutes.

After a quick inspection, the owner, a guy named Kyle, put his hand on my shoulder and asked me what I paid.

When I told him, he grimaced and said he was sorry, but my little Canadian friend was well aware of the terminal issues with the car.

So it looks like I’m back in the saddle again, older but no wiser. And soon to be a lot skinnier.

The one I really feel bad for is my dog, who not only lost his evening ride but has to have his name changed on Monday.  🙂

 

Passion Comes Later

“There he goes again” my family would say after I would make one of my life changing announcements.

I was always tilting at windmills and off on my next big adventure.

I was really full of passion until the work began.

First it was the Chef’s Training Institute, then it was Berklee College of Music, then it was computer programming, then I thought I would be a personal trainer.

Which felt to me, like I was going after a medical degree.

And these guys seemed like such dopes at the gym. How did they do it?

All these lofty goals seemed wonderful when I announced them, but when the work started, well, not so much.

I had more stress studying music than my whole year in Vietnam. I was getting shooting pains in my head.

You would think cooking, music and exercise would be…fun. Wrong!

To this day, I don’t know how I hung in at any of those professions.

But I did.

If the G.I.Bill wasn’t paying for Berklee, I would have been gone in a week. That was crazy.

It was like learning another language backwards.

You had to sing, play, write and conduct music in front of fucking virtuosos. Yikes!

When I got the training package for my fitness certification, I tried to get my money back immediately.

This wasn’t exercise, it was science. I don’t want to be a doctor, I want to be a gym rat.

What I’m trying to say is, passion on it’s own isn’t going to get you anywhere unless you put the work in.

Passion and a dollar won’t get you a cup of coffee.

Usually, once I got over the shock of what I had gotten myself into, I had to buckle down and get serious.

That ain’t fun. I would sometimes grumble my way through.

And I was very passionate about all those things…in the beginning.

So I say, passion, smassion, dig in and get to work.

Passion only comes after you get really good at something.

Trust me.

 

How my sense of humor saved my life in Vietnam.

Isaac Jackson and me got off the USS Geiger troop ship on the same day, April 22, 1967. He was 21, and drafted out of Philadelphia. We were also assigned to the same tent.

With all the drugs over there, Jack went down quickly.

He started doing those drugs immediately, and was always duking it out with somebody. He was constantly on punishment and would have to fill sandbags until the wee hours.

He stopped bathing altogether and sometimes his friends would come into our hooch and drag him to the showers. It was messy and embarrassing.

In six months, Jack was a changed and deranged man. This father of two was a pariah to his own race in the 557th Light Maintenance company.

You could smell him coming. You always knew when he was in the area.

He was constantly up all night getting high and he seemed to be laughing to himself about something.

He usually had a weapon close by and was always threatening to use it.

One day he was supposed to ride with me to Phan Rang. A sixty mile run through a place called Coconut Grove.

Coconut Grove was a stretch of road where the enemy would sometimes lay in wait.

Jack starts telling me he’s gonna stash weed all over my 2/12 ton truck to make his ride more enjoyable.

I did not want to ride with him like that and told him so during lunch in our makeshift mess hall.

When he started talking shit, I told him he was ignorant.

A bad choice of words.

He walked up behind me and broke three glass sugar shakers on the back of my head.

I was so stunned I hardly felt the impact.

I picked his scrawny ass up and heaved him over the mess hall serving line where he landed on his back.

I unassed the building quickly so I wouldn’t have to fill sandbags in the dark. With the enemy watching.

When I threw him over the serving line counter, I forgot all about the knives back there.

Just as I breached the mess hall door, he was on me. He pushed me up against the wall and stuck a huge kitchen knife right in the base of my Adam’s apple.

The smell of him filled my nostrils as I looked dead into his red, crazy eyes.

I was frozen, I had absolutely no idea what to do.

In the commotion, all 200 members of the 557th fell out into the company area.

Some are yelling for him to drop the knife, others are telling me to run.

Jack is loving this. He would love to go out in a blaze of glory. At my expense.

And with all his boys looking, he’s gonna have to do something.

Then he yells, “I’m gonna kill you, you motherfucker.”

I don’t know where this came from but I returned, “Go ahead, I have guard duty tonight.”

The place collapsed. Laughter like I have never heard filled the company area.

Confusion splattered Isaac’s face, and after what seemed like an eternity, he dropped the knife and ran off.

I was left dazed and confused.

For that, we both got an Article 15 for fighting and two weeks of moonlight sandbag filling, together.

Jungle justice, I guess.

During that time we actually became very close.

Isaac ended up in the stockade two weeks later for another offense and I became a comedy legend.

Me, to be honest, think that line I chose was a case of Tourette’s. 🙂

Embracing Your Masculinity

I just read an article titled “90% of men are unattractive to women.”

I agree. It looks like we’re not trying anymore.

Most men are carrying too much body fat and it makes us look weak, soft, and undisciplined.

Either we are carrying our bellies around in a wheelbarrow, or we have the body of a twelve year old boy.

Add to that an unkept, Moses looking beard, with the wardrobe of a homeless person and you end up with the sex life of a Tibetan monk.

Only 24.2% of men participate in daily exercise like sports and recreation. Walking doesn’t count.

Only 8.9% of men train their bodies with weights.

Only 1% of those men train using progressive overload to increase strength and hypertrophy (muscle growth)

Only 1% of men prioritize nutrition and follow a dedicated meal plan. And it shows.

Most men aren’t trying to build a masculine frame. That’s too bad because having muscle makes you more attractive.

You can’t fake having a good body. We need muscle. It affects your bearing, your posture and your confidence.

Muscle growth is an evolutionary survival mechanism to adapt your body to the demands of the environment. To hunt, to gather, to protect and to nurture. Right, I said nurture.

Women still want to feel protected and cared for by someone who is bigger and stronger.

A great physique is appealing in more than romantic ways. It shows discipline. It makes you stand out as someone who takes themself seriously.

The last three jobs I’ve had, the interviewer brought up my body composition. “You look like someone who takes pretty good care of themself.” Right before they offered me the job.

I’m 75 years old and still swinging for the fence…because I can.  🙂

Men, we also need to be doing deep work. Deep work is also attractive.

Deep work is work that is meaningful and done with purpose and rigor. Being on a mission makes us more attractive and also less available.

Trust me, that’s attractive.

No woman wants a man who hangs around the house all day playing video games.

Write a book, start a business, join a group.

Have a plan. Always.

I have two books in the works and two businesses, Enlightened Rogue Fitness and Double O Creative to fill out my dance card.

There aren’t enough hours…..

Look, it was the luck of the draw, you drew the “man card” and despite all our imperfections we can change the world for the better.

That is, if we’re strong enough and disciplined enough.

Embrace it and be that one percent!

Learning To Suck!

“I can’t do this, I’m outa here.” If I had a nickel every time I’ve uttered that phrase over the last five years, I would be in a different tax bracket.

Nobody likes to suck.

Nobody likes to have to start from the bottom. Nobody likes to be clueless.

Nobody wants to feel stupid.

Nobody wants that groundless sensation when you finally “go live” on your new position.

Such a humbling, soul crushing, experience.

All the new systems, the new hours, the strange people, the layers of passwords, workarounds and steps.

They pelt you with new jargon, new rules, and after they think they’ve got you, new penalties.

You are having your brain rewired and it hurts.

At this point, onboarding feels like waterboarding.

Right now, everyone is smarter than you. That’s different.

Even the mouth breather who couldn’t pass a random drug test is dazzling you with his casual, effortless grace at the very thing you find impossible.

You stare at him and wonder what special qualities he must have been endowed with at birth.

Even though your new employer is patient and confident that you have the right stuff, and are the right person for the job, all the mistakes and fumbling around in the dark can wear you down.

You come home beaten and discouraged some days, and you don’t want to go to bed because more of the same is waiting for you when you wake up.

This is the time to be extra good to yourself and let patience be your guide.

Find something to enjoy in the process. Focus on the new, interesting people.

And don’t forget the folks who were kind to you and took the time to help you in your time of need.

Everyone else had to go through it, even that idiot savant who wreaks of the devil’s lettuce.

Yes, it sucks. And at this point, you suck.

My advice: Suck harder, and the joy, ease and lightness that comes from mastering a difficult skill will soon be yours.

I’ve found from my own experiences that the tougher the job is to learn in the beginning, the more rewarding the job will be down the road.

It’s called mastery and it feels wonderful.

Ask me how I know. 🙂

P.S And don;t forget to help that poor schlump who follows you in.

Skill, minus ego, plus determination, equals success.

On June 19, 1990, Dupont took a huge gamble on a 45 year old dock worker and offered him a sales territory encompassing all of Arizona and New Mexico.

Selling, of all things, nuclear medicine.

I was told later, that the two things I had going for me was my attitude and my personality.

But that was about it.

The VP of Sales at the time, told me upfront, personally, and without hesitation, he didn’t think it was a good idea. At all.

He washed his hands.

But Cardiolite would soon be launched, and they needed warm bodies in a hurry to get the word out about this revolutionary new technetium agent.

I think it was six months before I fully grasped the concept of what I was selling. Scary.

As I caught on, I realized Bob Sullivan was right, “It’s all about people.”

As the years went on, I became a force to be reckoned with. I ate, slept and drank my new career.

I knew everyone personally, professionally and some, intimately.

I could have run for office.

I was in on all the rumors, upheavals, gossip, competitive information and new business plans.

And if you even so much as flew over my territory, I knew about it.

The rep from my main competition became unglued and started seeing a therapist while bemoaning the fact she had to go up against a “wild man.”

I was doing so well, upper management was starting to worry about who might take my place should I leave, or get promoted out of the territory.

I was delivering product, speaking at local SNM Chapter meetings, and hosting lobster dinners at customer residences. Stuff they don’t teach you at Wharton.  🙂

I was setting precedents nobody wanted to attempt.

Then, after a chance meeting with two Aetna nurse reviewers, I secured the first reimbursement approval for Cardiolite at $110 per injection for two injection.

As Aetna goes, so goes the nation. Now we’re playing money ball!

Ken Kasses, the president of the company, called my house that night.

In 2002, I met with my manager, Karen Randall, in a Las Vegas restaurant and we were having our annual career development discussion.

Karen, a sweetheart if there ever was one, listened intently as I told her I was frustrated “just carrying the bag” and had other ideas about how we could be doing business.

Yeah, me, of all people.

You see, I started shooting marketing videos of all my biggest customers. They were actually branded patient education videos featuring Cardiolite.

This idea started as a lark, but got serious in a hurry after the word got out.

The customer got to tout their practice, and we got to tout our product, Cardiolite. It was a win-win…I thought.

I produced a script heavily laden with the features and benefits of using Cardiolite that the cardiologist would have to say on camera.

Now, I started gaining business at a very fast rate.

Pretty soon, I was venturing into other Western District territories to help reps secure business with this value-added benefit.

I thought this should be part of our business strategy and started getting vocal about it. I was sending CDs, DVDs and video tapes in every week.

The idea of shooting customer focused videos was shot down immediately and…repeatedly.

Karen agreed with my concept and thought they should at least hear me out in person, so she set up a meeting back in Billerica.

That first meeting was a “pat on the head” and I was told (gently) to get over myself and go back to doing what I was paid to do.

Disappointed, but not to be deterred, I kept at it. By now, my numbers were veering into screech region.

Some customers were buying Cardiolite just to get the video. Some bought Cardiolite just to get me.  🙂

Dr. Nathan Laufer, the cardiologist in the photos, offered me my own office.

After much back and forth, and with a lot of help from Wally Smith, another meeting/presentation was set for October 25, 2002. My 56th birthday.

I was told to watch myself on this one because the daggers will be out, as Bristol Myers Squibb just bought the company.

No more warm and fuzzy mother ship.

Bob McBrier, the new VP of BMS Sales, told Wally, “We got some clown out there running around the desert with a camera and we need to throw a net over him.”

On the morning of the meeting, in a marketing room in Bldg. 600-2, I showcased my ideas.

I handed out a permission based marketing book by Seth Godin and showed customer examples of patient education videos.

But when I slapped a VHS tape of “Taking The Test” in Spanish, into a tiny portable TV set, you could hear the suction break.

I had ’em. .

Peter Card, the VP of Global Marketing, jumped out of his chair, pushed me into a corner and said, “You have to come back in house. We’ll create a position for you and we’ll build you a studio.”

I called my wife, who was shopping at the Burlington Mall. She thought we would be flying back that night. I told her, “You’ll never guess what just happened.”

Needless to say, my life changed after that, and I had many creatively enjoyable years producing content for sales, marketing, human resources, manufacturing and the executive office.

I produced digital signage, introduced permission based e-mail marketing, streamed company meetings around the globe, and even produced national sales meetings.

My ego survived through it all and I am still grateful for that wonderful opportunity.

What a ride!  🙂

Destination 80: My Five Year Plan

It’s 4:00 am. I’m running down Broken Arrow Drive and into the full moon. I am not surprised, but delighted, at the way my body is responding.

Here I am, 75 years old and moving like a teenager. I am gobbling up road tar and celebrating every heart beat.

I’ve been doing this since my unceremonious arrival to the desert in August of 2017.

I am on no prescription medications and I have no physical limitations. So far.

I’m thinking that if I’m in such good shape now, chances are great that I will survive until my eightieth birthday.

Which raises the question: How do I want to do it?

Do I want to limp over the finish line, or run right through it?

No question there.

So what’s my plan?

First, I want to make sure I get enough exercise in my daily regimen.

That includes resistance and cardiovascular training. Strong bones and a healthy heart.

Can’t go wrong there.

My program will need two components to be successful: adherence and sustainability.

I will do my cardio, running, biking, first thing in the morning as I have always done. It will wake me up and clear my head.

I will do my resistance training later in the day after my body has warmed up and I have had adequate nutrition.

I will train upper body one day, lower body the next and take the third day off to recuperate. No “Gym rat splits” for me, I want to look like a man, not a bouncer.

Nutrition is key. You can run and jump all day, but if your nutrition is off, you’ll be wasting a lot of your time.

Maintaining my current weight (170 at 5’11) is critical for obvious reasons: diabetes, heart disease and blood pressure. Cancer, of course, is a wild card.

Sleep. This is a head nodder to most, but critical to the success of any sustainable program.

When you don’t get enough sleep, you feel weak and tired and you make bad decisions.

Plan your sleep like you plan your taxes.

Try to include some form of meditation or relaxation techniques. The world is crazy and you need to be present and accounted for. Ooooohhnmmm!

Flexibility: Staying loose and limber will keep my back spasms at bay, and avoid possible headaches from over training. (To that, I plead guilty)

Balance exercises : This is something older folks especially have to start to focus on. As we age, we start to lose our balance and when we fall, a cascade of terrible things can happen.

Our brittle bones betray us and we become dependent on mechanical devices and other people. Pain is bad enough but who needs the guilt?

That’s my plan. If I go tomorrow, it’s been fun, but if I get the chance to hang awhile, I want it to be on my terms not the staff at some nursing home.

If you have any questions or need some advice, reach out I’ll be glad to help.

Can you spell octogenarian?  🙂

Denying The Body

Why do we deny our bodies?

As a corollary to my recent “You Are Your Body”,  I came to the conclusion that:

We are ascetics. We willfully torture our bodies like we’re settling a score.

We try to disassociate from it. We think if we ignore it, we won’t have to listen to it.

Our body, the critical engine of our survival, and we don’t even bother to read the manual?

We skip the maintenance, pour on the mileage, and void the warranty.

We starve it, stuff it, sit it, sleep deprive it, and over stimulate it.

Like going cross country without filling the tank or getting a tune-up.

Still, we rely on it to provide sustenance for our journey.

We are ashamed of our bodily functions and change the subject quickly when they come up.

We all want the shiny new object and miracle transformations from a social media influencer.

We watch it atrophy and wait like sheep for the inevitable slaughter with a world weary sigh.

We settle in to a life of limitation and misery as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Your body and your mind were alloyed at co ception for a reason: so you can fully experience this thing called life.

Your pilot is in constant contact with your cabin.

We shouldn’t have to get our marching orders from someone in a lab coat. Someone who was taught to prescribe and not proscribe.

Someone who received fifteen minutes of nutrition training out of eight years of study.

We should understand our bodies innately, for it is a work of magnificent art.

You can’t deny it. So don’t.

Denial is not a river in Egypt.

No balls, no blue chips!

When my father would say I was an alcoholic, my mother would say I had a “good constitution.”

When my father would say I was “all balls and no brains”, my mother would say I had “gumption.”

I will always have a special place in my heart for her. With ten children, she was living vicariously through me.

She lived through all my hair-brained schemes and tacitly encouraged me to take huge risks.

And I always obliged.

I was always up to something. Every time I flopped, I would turn it into a funny story. Sometimes I was the only one laughing.

At 25, after learning to make a G chord on the guitar, I asked “Who wants to be in a band?” Talk about high hopes.

I often walked on stages totally unprepared and bombed unmercifully. I always shook it off.

I was always providing entertainment to my family and friends.

My brother says the saddest day in his life was the day I stopped drinking.

Having gumption, or the courage of my convictions, has taken me places I never would have dreamed if I had been the least bit rational.

I fronted bands, ran big kitchens, had my own business and even sold radiopharmaceuticals with nothing but a G.E.D.

When I was in sales, I bought a cheap camera and started shooting marketing videos for Cardiolite with my more than willing customers. The home office didn’t know how to respond.

I ended up inventing my own in-house position. Nobody did that.

It took a lot of gumption to walk away from that cushy job in Billerica and start my own business. I left a lot of money on the table but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I went out the back door and came in the front as a high dollar consultant. Needless to say, I was a hot topic at financial meetings.

After getting detoxed from drugs and alcohol in 2016, I wasn’t satisfied with just being sober. No, I had to become a bodybuilding track start with a fitness certification.

I run Enlightened Rogue Fitness, have a YouTube channel, write a blog and run five miles every night.

Anything worth doing, is worth over doing.

You can be anything you want to be in this crazy world, but it takes a little gumption. 🙂

A Funny Thing Happened…

 ….on the way to the poor house…. I started to enjoy the ride.

When it comes to going down, I don’t take the elevator, I take the laundry chute.

I went from two huge homes, a beautiful wife, three cars, a million dollars worth of video production equipment, a horse, six dogs and a big fat 401K.

Needless to say, I like to take chances. I thought my winning streak would never end.

But it did. I think they call it entropy.

I was on the phone with my Fidelity broker one afternoon looking to withdraw 400K to buy a big spread with a pool and a Casita in Cave Creek, Arizona.

He tried to warn me that the immediate penalty would be 170 thousand dollars. I said, “Just do it.” (I honestly hate telling that story)

Not long after, I started losing big clients and life began to have its way with me.

It was time to start un-assing my properties. I was imploding.

Then I picked up a drink after almost forty years and found myself at a VA hospital in a ward full of screaming, moaning, men.

My health was rapidly deteriorating from my overly helpful, overly prescribing, internal med doc.

I took a crappy apartment next to some railroad tracks for a year and planned my move out west.

I was getting broker by the second.

Just when I thought I hit the bottom of my bottom’s bottom, the excavation began.

By the time I reached Arizona a year later, I was looking in gutters for change.

I couldn’t even afford to feed my dogs.

I once made a grocery purchase with eighty dimes, much to the chagrin of the moody cashier.

I used to groan myself awake those days, but somehow, I stayed sober.

Soon, my car was gone, my dogs were gone, and down went my credit.

They say, whatever doesn’t kill you.

Then one day the lights came on and my attitude changed.

It was a game on, from then on, so bring it on.

I cut coupons, followed supermarket sales, bought a rice cooker, soaked my own beans, cut, cut, cut.

I worked retail, sold insurance, became a personal trainer and stashed my dough. Yeah, I was getting good at this shit.

I was running at a high idle. I grew more cunning, agile and alert.

My eyes even got bigger, if that’s possible.

My many years of slaving away in hot kitchens was paying off.

I was eating sumptuously for pennies on the dollar. Burp!

I traded my Lexus SUV in for a Walmart bike and a Goodwill knapsack.

I skinnied down to fighting weight and grew more muscular by using what I learned as a trainer.

Not bad for a man society considers elderly.

I still live this way today. I am hipper, happier and healthier.

The moral of the story? Every belt can use a little tightening, if it happens to you….enjoy the ride. 🙂

 

Tenacity, veracity, audacity.

Fifty years ago, in 1972, a friend of mine at work invited me to Fresh Pond Park on a beautiful Saturday morning to show me how to play guitar. It was a red, semi-hollow Gibson rip off without a case.

When he launched into “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye” the hook was set.

We jumped onto a bus headed for the North End and picked up a cheap acoustic guitar at a pawn shop on Hanover Street.

Little did I know how my life would change that day. I remember the goodhearted ridicule from my family at the unboxing in the kitchen that afternoon.

The only one who wasn’t laughing was my music loving mother. That lady thought I could do anything. She was my wind.

Like anything I do, and over do, it became my life’s passion. At 25, I had no time to lose.

In less than a year, I was auditioning with local bands and failing miserably.

If they didn’t want me on guitar, I tried vocals, and when that didn’t work, I asked to be a roadie…for free.

I sucked and I knew it.

Then, I had a brainstorm. I went into Wurlitzer Music on Newbury Street and bought a public address, or, P.A. System.

Then, the phone started ringing. They were taking the bait.

I knew why they wanted me and I didn’t care. Nobody had a P.A. system in those days, so if they wanted a P.A., they had to take me. Ha!

I started gigging way above my pay grade. It was terrifying. They used to turn my amp down so I couldn’t be heard, but I didn’t care. I was progressing.

Very long story, extremely short, I became a journeyman.

I went to Berklee College of Music on the GI Bill, learned harmony, arranging, and picked up piano along the way.

I had no idea how those skills would benefit my later professional career in Dupont and Bristol Myers Squibb.

But they did.

I took the lead in “Radio Daze”, an on site recycling production, and wrote safety music for the sales force that was distributed to the whole company on CDs.

I wrote and performed music all over the country. I played original material at national sales meetings and trade shows.

I played for customers and anyone who would listen. When I traveled for business, my Martin was always in the overhead.

Later, I wrote jingles, commercials, and catchy openers for corporations and small businesses.

In Dupont, I had a corporate web site (nobody had one of those), wrote newsletters and started an e-mail marketing program.

When I got into video production, it was a marriage made in heaven.

But music was the catalyst. It got me noticed and allowed me a creative voice in corporate America.

Who knew?

I still play and practice every day. My guitar has gently weeped through heart break, loss, drug addiction and destitution.

I developed my skills through tenacity and veracity, (being honest with myself), but without the audacity, or nerve, it wouldn’t have happened.

As my mother used to say. “No balls, no blue chips.”

It was worth the bet.

Roll ’em.  🙂

 

 

“Hey, knock it off up there.”

I used to date a girl back in the 80’s, who was determined to hear her favorite song every time she got in my car. To make it worse, it was a sappy Willie Nelson song. I didn’t have a tape deck.

If we were in the car for an hour, it was an hour of non stop channel scanning and sudden volume changes.

It was maddening.

Sort of like our thoughts. If you were to monitor your thoughts all day, and notice how all over the place you are, you would know that the mind can be a terrible thing.

Usually, your mind is not your friend. Most of the time, you’re not using your mind, it is using you.

It can take you places you’re not prepared to go. And you will suffer.

Enter conscious awareness.

Consciousness refers to your individual awareness of your unique thoughts, memories, feelings, sensations, and environments.

Essentially, your consciousness is your awareness of yourself and the world around you. This awareness is subjective and unique to you.

I learned to meditate back in 1979. In desperation.

I was desperate to kick drugs and alcohol. I lost my job and my band had kicked me out. I had no income and was terribly ill from all the chemicals still circulating in my body.

As you can imagine, my nerves were shot from years of alcohol and amphetamines. I was sitting alone in my little apartment chain smoking, shaking, and crying.

I remember some nights, sleeping on the floor next to my mother’s bed, just to make it through the night. Sober.

To darken my thoughts a bit more, the Jonestown Massacre was crowding all three networks. It was bleak.

I was not in a good place, to say the least.

Then someone gave me a meditation tape. I always thought that stuff was foofy. Like something someone from Harvard Square would do. I can smell the incense now.

Slowly, I learned to become still. I learned to breathe and focus on my body.

I would sit in a straight back chair, drop my right arm and cradle my left arm in my lap. Then I would start to focus my attention on each one of my fingers until I felt a tingling sensation.

Over time, things started to quiet down.

When you become quiet, you start to notice the ridiculous thoughts coming at you from every direction. Scary.

Then I knew why I drank and took drugs. It was to numb that noise upstairs.

My life so far has been a roller coaster, and learning to meditate or “quiet the mind” has most likely, saved my life.

When times get tough, as they always do, I roll my eyes upward and say what the lady downstairs used to say, “Hey, knock that racket off up there.”

Oh, does that feel good.

 

 

Shit Jobs

If I wasn’t receiving Social Insecurity, I would be sucking on a gun barrel.

I just finished a bewildering stint at an Amazon fulfillment center. It was like committing an unnatural act for money. I’m still not right.

They’ll take anybody.

When I showed up for my non-interview, I was told I had the job. I wasn’t even in the building yet.

It felt like I was being drafted.

One of the victims in my hasty batch of dispensables will be surrendering himself to prison in December. He told them the truth and they took him anyway. It’s because they know he won’t make it until December.

It reminds me of the guy with no arms and no legs that shows up at a house of ill repute and the Madame says. “What are you gonna do here?” He says, “I rang the doorbell didn’t I?”

The job is a 10 hour graveyard shift in the bowels of a building the size of Montana.

I thought I was incapable of loneliness until I started there. I sleep with a doll now.

And it was relentless.

You see no one and no one sees you.

In all that time, one faux manager came by to tell me to make sure my mask was covering my nose. Huh? I told her I haven’t seen a another human in weeks. She says, “Company Policy”. WTF?

They offer a $2,000 sign on bonus after 30 days which they’re pretty sure they won’t have to fork over. I left mine on the table.

Thankfully, I still have a few brain cells left. I am now down to two.

Once you sign on the dotted line, they tell you to sell your toilet seat because your ass belongs to them. They ain’t jivin’.

Those of you who are aware of my many travails in the job market know what a shit storm I have experienced over the last four years.

There was CVS, Verizon, United Healthcare, Caring.com, HPOne, a string of shitty retail jobs and the list still goes on.

But each nightmare makes a good punchline which I use with relish because I am an ordained masochist.

Remember when I was escorted out of Verizon by security? I got a lot of mileage out of that mess.

Verizon was a gulag. An absolute police state. Three cavity searches a day, no phones, no pens, no paper and no mercy.

I am thinking of serializing “Shit Jobs” to “enlighten” folks about the pitfalls of these shitty companies.

Methinks this is what “The Big Resignation” is all about.

I should probably get married again while I’m feeling lucky. 🙂

I could go on and on but I have another job interview at a chain restaurant at 2:00pm.

Stay tuned.

Greetings: You are hereby ordered for induction …

Fifty five years ago at this very minute, I struggled to open my right eye. The pain was unbearable. I made a phlegmy, raspy noise and pulled the covers over my head. It hurt to think.

I was still in the clothes I would be wearing for the next four days. I had on cranberry pants and a wine stained yellow Ban-lon shirt.

The letter from the draft board was laying next to the bed with a beer can on it

My room was right off the kitchen and I could hear the rest of my tribe, all eleven of them, readying for their day.

This was my “Garden of Gesthemane” moment. I was praying for someone, anyone, to take this cup from me. Because today was the day, September 16, 1966, when my life would end.

It was the first day of my unsought military career.

My poor mother was a wreck. Vietnam was all day, every day. The atrocities and casualty count was the lead story on all three major networks.

Now, her oldest and unwisest, was heading off to slaughter. The one who couldn’t even find his shoes that morning.

Oh, the agony that woman endured.

My father, my eternal nemesis, was home that day with his face buried in the newspaper. Trying not to make a snide remark that would provoke my mother.

Once I mooched a few cigarettes and bus fare, I staggered down the back stairs to my darkest fate.

After vomiting in the neighbor’s bushes, I walked to the bus stop at the end of my street and got on my first connection to the South Boston Naval Yard Induction Center.

My life, at that point, was over.

The induction center that day, looked like a rock concert. There was wall-to-wall confusion, fist fights and lines everywhere.

In a few hours, we would be hastily sworn in and were told that from that moment on, we were “Government Issue.”

G.I.

After a riotous, rebellious, and drunken five day train ride to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, we were taken off our passenger cars by MP’s using night sticks.

Then we were given ponchos so we could stand out in the rain all day waiting to be processed.

This was one of the largest drafts of the war. Thousands of train cars linked from Boston to Columbia, South Carolina. Masses of unwilling victims who didn’t want to be there.

Everything from the engine to the caboose showed signs of wreckage.

In return, they spent that first week letting us know who was boss.

The demons those sons-a bitches wrenched from my body didn’t go without a fight. I bled, I ached, I cried, I begged for mercy, They would have none of it. They ran us, marched us, grass drilled us and pushed us to the limits of our already threatened sanity.

The cruelty knew no bounds. Relentless.

I could actually sleep standing up.

About six weeks in, the fever started to break. Formations formed quicker and we instinctively knew our “military” left from our right.

Six mile runs seemed shorter and muscles stopped aching. There was less bitching, our fatigues started to fit better and we stood up straighter.

There was even less groaning when “Double Time” was called, and hardly  anyone was lining up for sick call.

Fast forward to today. I rise from slumber before daylight with a clear head and a plan. I make my bed before I hit the loo.

I hit the coffee button then I grab my sneakers.

Everything works.

I am organized and dangerous.

I have a tight belly, strong legs and a healthy constitution.

At 75, I have the body of a teenager.

And I spend no time wondering what my life would be like if I hadn’t had that incredible experience.

It’s just too painful to contemplate.

Thank you.

 

Back To Life

Five years ago this week I was a dead man. It was alcohol, pain killers, sleeping pills and Xanax.

All day, every day.

I had to take a drink before I dare put a razor to my face in the morning. There were times when I thought my heart had stopped.

I would scream myself awake some nights. It seemed the misery would never end.

I sought help from the VA and they took me in.

My marriage, my business and my 401K…gone. All of my personal possessions disappeared into a P.O.D.S. in Nashua, New Hampshire because I couldn’t pay the monthly nut.

For a year it was me and my two little mutts in a garishly decorated month-to-month apartment in Ayer Mass.

Down looked like up.

When the police showed up to enforce a bogus restraining order, we lit out for my beloved Arizona.

It wasn’t all sunny.

It was years of poverty, disappointment, bill collectors, IRS threats and bank account closures.

Topped off with an an ambush divorce. (I’ll never get over that)

But nothing was as bad as losing my two little girls, Bailey and Izzy. I still grieve.

But that was then, this is now.

As most of you know, I found a whole new world on the other side of sweat.

I live like a Spartan and it has served me well.

These days find me healthy, happy and most of all, grateful.

It’s been quite a ride.

So far.  🙂

It All Comes Back…With Interest.

Five years ago I was sitting on the edge of my bunk in a noisy barracks at a VA Detox facility in Bedford, Massachusetts. I was full of dread and apprehension.

As I was signing in, they removed my belt and shoe laces and asked me if I had any suicidal thoughts.

They reminded me that I no longer had a choice as to how long I would remain in their care.

I was told to use a walker at all times due to my fragile state of health. I was there to get professional help for addiction to Xanax and alcohol.

I weighed in at 230 pounds and had a blood pressure of 180 over 100.

I was beaten, bloated and oblivious. I was 70 years old.

The coming days and weeks were a blur. There was screaming at night and a flashlight in the face every hour to ask the suicide question. They actually woke me up to inquire. Hmmm.

At one point, in frustration, I yelled, “I’m an American citizen and you can’t keep me here against my will.” They fell out of their chairs laughing,

I was released to a hotel as I had nowhere to live, my marriage was over and all my belongings were in a P.O.D. in Nashua New Hampshire.

When I first caught my naked image in a full length mirror that night, I wept.

The following month I lost ten pounds just from having the shakes.

While walking my dog on a Sunday morning, I stumbled on to a gym just down the street from my apartment. The rest is history.

I needed to get busy if I was going to climb out of my deep, dark hole.

I got certified as a personal trainer and started taking my iron pills religiously. That was almost 70 pounds ago.

Today, as you can see, the human body will always respond to proper care and feeding.

’Nuff said.

What doesn’t kill you…

What doesn’t kill you…

Anyone aware of my many travails, from incarceration, drug and alcohol addiction, obesity, war, rock and roll, comedy, Catholic School and being a less than shining example to my nine younger siblings, knows I can be a moron.

I am not a wise man.

I played fast and loose with every rule in corporate America when I was a rep. If I had to wake up with the receptionist to gain access to a client, I did.

I’ve made hasty decisions that could have killed me.

To me, that’s just the cost of living life.

I’ve thrown caution to the wind so many times I could have been a weatherman.

Through some of that trauma I have suffered mightily. But I wouldn’t change a thing. When my sides retire, I will go out with a smile on my face because I gave as good as I got.

I have fucked up all over the place and had a ball doing it.

I leave nothing on the table.

What didn’t kill me only made me stronger.

I have a strong body, a lusty laugh and a deranged sense of humor.

Muscles grow after you inflict trauma on them by lifting something heavier than they’re used to.

You’re actually breaking them down.

When they recuperate, which they always do, they come back bigger and stronger.

They call that process hypertrophy.

I call it post traumatic growth.

Life is a gift, exercise it.

The Good “Old” Days.

 

Who knew these declining years would be so wonderful? Who knew I would still be out there kicking ass and taking names? Who knew I would be living happily alone in a Spartan paradise and flourishing?

Who knew I would reach my mid-seventies and have the body and libido of a high school student without the use of PEDS, (performing enhancing drugs) like steroids, testosterone or SARMS?

A typical day for me is bed at 5:00 pm, up at midnight for a five mile run, some stretching, a healthy breakfast, maybe a nap, and then on to my creative endeavors which include writing my book “The Elder Athlete”, researching health and fitness articles, playing guitar, piano and song writing.

I prepare my food for the upcoming day and then at 5:00 am I jump on my bike for my 35 minute commute through the Arizona landscape.

It is out there in the balmy desert that I am assured that there is, indeed, a God.

After a full day, (which could include as many as 20,000 additional steps) I’m back on my bike for the ride home.

I hit the shower first and then the popcorn machine button and soon I’m ready for bed with very little tossing and turning.

As you can imagine.

By this time I have been rode hard and put up wet and grateful.

I told you all that to say this: It is never too late to get back to you. Yes, you may stray, as I did, but you can always come home.

Your body remembers where you left off. You have muscle memory in your favor and it doesn’t take much to stir up that old wonder in you.

Some of you might be anticipating a long painful withdrawal from this life but I can assure you it doesn’t have to be that way.

You can keep creating and growing until the final bell if you put the work in now.

Yes, the good “old” days. It’s what we’ve worked for, enjoy it.

Now, I Remember…

I feel like dog shit.

I am barely making it through the day since my second Pfizer Covid injection three days ago. I think they gave me the disease.

I got nothin’.

I dread going to work because I am listless, drained of energy, sore all over and depressed.

I enjoy nothing and turn my nose up at my favorite dishes.

The thoughts of getting on a bike at 5:00 am, in the dark, in busy traffic to get to work as I usually do, fills me with fear and loathing.

It has been years since I’ve come down with anything. No colds, no flu and no stomach bugs. I haven’t had so much as a headache in as long as I can remember.

I am usually always ready for anything.

Now, I feel like I am collapsing into myself.

Normally I sleep well, eat well and live out each day as the celebration it is intended to be.

At 75, I have the lean, muscled body of a teenager and not afraid to flash it.  🙂

I forgot what it was like to run on less than 100%.

I actually forgot how to call in sick to work.

In all those healthy years, I forgot how to suffer.

I forgot how to lay in bed and wait for it to be over.

But now, after that last injection, I remember.

I remember the weakness, the ennui, the sadness and the fear of losing my job because I can’t show up.

Oh, do I remember.

And mostly I remember how much it sucks to be sick. How to be totally out of it. Sidelined.

But then… I remember why I train my body. Because this ain’t no way to live.

I remember why I lace up my sneakers in the middle of the night.

I remember why I feed myself healthy nutritious foods so that my human movement system can run at optimal levels.

I remember why I get enough sleep so my resistance levels won’t ebb.

I remember why I enjoy my life so much because I can participate in it.

I remember how alive and grateful I feel all day, every day.

Maybe the second Covid dose was the shot in the arm I needed to help me remember how wonderful life really is.

Yeah, now I remember.  🙂

 

Want some of this?

He’s 75. Been rode hard and put up wet. He’s been fat, skinny, drunk, sober and everything in between. He’ s been detoxed, divorced, detained and discredited.

He’s the oldest of ten children from a rough and tumble Irish Catholic neighborhood called Somerville, where the real Winter Hill gang took up residence.

He was expelled from Catholic school at the age of 14, and soon after sentenced to an indefinite term at the Division of Youth Services.

He did a year in Vietnam, studied music at Berklee College of Music and then became a professional chef.

The next fifteen years found him in busy kitchens and rowdy barrooms fronting blues bands. He was “slinging and singing”.

And putting anything in his face that would alter his consciousness.

On May 20, 1979, life caught up with him and he cleaned up. For a while.

He’s worked docks, warehouses and even sold radiopharmaceuticals for Dupont and Bristol Myers Squibb before becoming a corporate video producer.

In 2016, at the age of 70, life caught up with him again and he was institutionalized for alcohol and prescription drugs.

His weight ballooned up to 230 pounds and he was forced to use a walker.

Through all of his ups and downs he knew one thing: how to train his body. He never stopped taking his iron pills and always craved the physical.

Which is why he has survived himself.

In less than a year he lost 70 pounds and became a track star. He knows no moderation.

He is now a certified personal trainer through N.A.S.M. (National Academy of Sports Medicine) and is also certified in nutrition, weight loss and senior fitness.

He is arguably in the best shape of his (or anyone’s) life at his advanced age.

His experience and knowledge in physical fitness cannot be questioned.

He didn’t get it out of a book or a weekend course. He’s lived it.

If you’re serious, reach out. If not, don’t.

You want some of this?

 

 

 

Life’s a marathon, not a sprint!

Phillip C. McGraw’s words couldn’t ring more true when it comes to living our best lives. As we all know, sprints are over quickly while marathons take time. Lots of time. Which brings us to our longevity.

Longevity is the holy grail if you talk to most people. Anyone selling a supplement or a pharmaceutical is weaving that word in and out of their pitch.

The focus always seems to be on quantity and not quality.

If someone told you you had to do hard labor in a prison work gang in a Louisiana swamp for the rest of your life, I bet you wouldn’t be hoping for a longer life. An extreme example but here’s my point: Would you like to hang around here suffering, lonely, incapacitated, bed ridden, broke and at the mercy of an overtaxed healthcare system? Today?

I remember an elderly gentleman I shared a hospital room with many years ago. I was just a kid. The curtains were always closed but I could hear him groaning over there. Every morning when the nurse asked him what he wanted for breakfast, he would mutter “rat poison.” I never forgot that.

As many of you know, I’m 75 years old, on Social Security and live in a retirement community. I am considered elderly which grinds my gears. I consider myself an elder athlete these days and I can give as good as I get.

Here is where I see suffering on a grand scale. I see the lack of mobility. I see the walkers, the canes, the motorized grocery carts, the misery, the helplessness, the disorientation and the palor on the over medicated faces of these souls who are old before their time.

They have no muscle tone, they are bent and shriveled and seem resigned to their fate.

They never got the memo. Their generation just thinks life is a crap shoot. They didn’t know they would have to wait patiently for some underpaid nursing home attendant to come and change their bed pan.

They believed everything that came out of a TV set. They even thought certain menthol cigarettes were good for a cough. !!??

They didn’t know about nutrition, or the benefits of cardiovascular and resistance training. They didn’t know that if you take care of your body, it will take care of you.

They didn’t realize that these could be the best years of their life.

They never got the memo….but you just did.

 

 

 

Passing The Torch

It sure is dark in here, ain’t it?

I knew the day I was certified as a N.A.S.M. (National Academy of Sports Medicine) fitness professional at the age of 70, I was never going to be a high fiving, back slapping “get that leg up there, honey” personal trainer.

I have other plans.

When I started weight training in Vietnam, my comrades and I would bench press truck axles because all the mortar rockets were in use.

I started taking my iron pills in earnest when I saw what was happening to the arms of my brothers in arms.

I have been in and out of YMCA’s, Bally’s, LA Fitness centers and assorted sweat holes over the years and I have seen… and heard it all.

My expertise comes from making every fitness and nutrition mistake under the sun….and moon.

I have a right to be wrong. Right?  🙂

I have been fat, skinny, drunk, sober and everything in between. I have had my protuberant belly poked on one too many occasions.

I had to be institutionalized to get off alcohol and prescription medications in 2016. (That’s another story.)

I have been divorced, detoxed, financially decimated and disenfranchised.

Nothing succeeds like excess, I always say.

Starting your fitness journey can be like sitting in a dark room. Or a minefield. You can’t see anything.

You don’t know where the furniture is, you don’t know the layout, you are afraid to step in any direction and you damn sure don’t want to hurt yourself.

So you sit. Deteriorating.

This is where I can be helpful. You can be the beneficiary of my clumsy and unartful attempts at fitness and nutrition.

And my success as an Elder Athlete at 75 years old.

I am the guy who knows where the light switches are because I’ve been in the room before.

I’ve stumbled over the furniture, hit my head, stubbed my toe and howled in pain at the darkness.

But my failures can illuminate your journey.

It did mine.

Physical fitness is a head game. You’re not going to succeed if your head’s not in the game.

It takes more than a note on the mirror to make you fetch your sneakers.

It takes more than a prescription to prevent your chest from sliding down into your drawers.

You need to have a why. As in: Why would you want to leave your comfort zone to work up a sweat?

Why would you head out in the morning to run, or start banging out push ups on an empty stomach for no payoff?

If you are about retirement age or older, your why is staring back at you every morning in the bathroom mirror.

I can help you with more than exercise routines and what to cram in your pie hole.

I can shed some light on your situation.

I can show you why.

Go Rogue

508-517-6714

 

What The Fat?

If you follow my fitness rantings you know that I consider my retail job a feast for the eyeballs. At the end of a given day I will surmise that I have seen everything.

And of course, I haven’t.

If you saw my YouTube video on Fattitude you will know that I am fearful of what is happening to beautiful young ladies these days. They are piling on the weight with reckless abandon.

I am also fearful because who doesn’t want to ogle the babes?

This young couple approached the counter yesterday to get some paint. Yup, they were moving in together and going to spruce up the place.

She was rotund to put it mildly and he was normal weight for his age and build.

She was deep into the color chart with me when a really attractive, well built young lady entered his (our) line of vision.

Immaturity knows no bounds so he turned to get some more eye candy. Petunia caught it and things went south from there. She went ballistic. She cleaned his clock and didn’t care who heard it.

She used “disrespect” about a dozen times.

It was brutal. And they haven’t even moved in yet. As I say in the video, men are visual animals. It’s the way we’re wired.

This young lady was morbidly obese, and her health isn’t the only thing that is being jeopardized.

And her boyfriend won’t be going blind any time soon. If you catch my drift.

Maybe she should stop disrespecting herself. Maybe spend less time on the nails and tattoos and more time on the elliptical.

Just tryin’ to help.

* Man Tip:
When I used to get caught ogling, I would say, “Darling, I was just thinking how much nicer that outfit she’s wearing would look on you.”

Good luck with that.  🙂

Get Over It!

I am a certified personal trainer also certified in weight loss, nutrition and senior fitness. I am a 75 year old former fat boy who had to be weaned off alcohol and prescription drugs at the ripe old age of 70.

Essentially, I became a fitness professional to save my own life.

My body’s response was overwhelming. I went from death risk to track star in no time. I learned how the human movement system works and what a macronutrient is.

I watched myself morph into my current 165 pound frame down from a bloated and sickly 230 pound desk potato.

After almost five years of dedicated training and nutrition, I think I can safely say, “I know how to do this.”

That being said, I do not solicit clients or have any intentions to do what what I call “herding gerbils.”

I’m sure there’s lots of money to be made by offering my knowledge and experience training clients on line but I have other plans.

I am writing “The Elder Athlete” a prescriptive memoir of sorts, and have just started a YouTube channel under “The Enlightened Rogue.”

I will be sharing exercise strategies, best practices and meal planning, which will include recipes and supplement reviews.

But mostly it will be about A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E. Without that, you got nothin’.

I am a busy boy these days, so I won’t be cluttering up your inbox with “Sign up now and save” notices.

I am passionate about fitness and I share my knowledge and experience freely.

The demographic I’m looking to impress is seniors who have already retired after fifty years of voluntary servitude.

Talk about no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. That’s a waste I cannot abide.

I live and work in a senior community and I am constantly interacting with people my age and younger and the conversation is always tilted towards senior health and fitness.

But…when the topic comes up in normal conversation, I get pelted with unsolicited excuses. From the sublime to the ridiculous.

It’s amazing what people will offer up as legitimate when it comes to why they can’t throw on a pair of sneakers and some sweat pants.

You’re all you got, take care of you. It’s a short jaunt from the womb to the tomb.

There are many obstacles to health and fitness but life is constantly raising the bar.

So I will only say, “Get over it.”

 

 

Members of the congregation….

I run five miles every night. My daily commute to work puts me on a bicycle seat for 70 minutes in heavy traffic and I train with weights every day for at least an hour.

I eat like a Spartan, shit like a show horse and sleep like a baby. I haven’t had as much as a headache in years and my doctor frames my blood work.

I don’t teach theory, I teach experience. Mine.

I’ve hit all the roadblocks associated with confusion, misinformation and YouTube bullshit.

I have dieted, fasted, and hypertrophied myself into the “Elder Athlete” I have become today.

At 75 years old.

I know first hand the pulled muscles, the sore knees and “the agony of the feet.”

My back used to go out more than a Las Vegas hooker. I know from whence I speak.

I have abused myself using drugs, alcohol, neglect and matrimony.

After getting clean at a VA Rehab Unit four years ago, I lost the equivalent of a circus midget in useless body weight.

I’ve tried Keto, Vegan, Carnivore and Intermittent Fasting and came to the earth shattering conclusion that it’s calories in and calories out.

It’s about energy balance folks, and don’t let anybody shine you on.

I have developed varicose forehead following the science. I get my poop from strength trainers and performance athletes who have to produce winners or they’re out.

I have suffered mightily for the knowledge I have gleaned from scientific articles and presentations.

So maybe you won’t have to.

 

 

If ducks could sit…

These days, I am reminded of a time I spent in a country where the precariousness of the situation wasn’t allowed to dilute the purpose.

Half of the country wanted us dead and the other half didn’t give a shit. It weighed.

What mitigated our situation somewhat, was the fact that we were trained for our mission. We could anticipate threat. We understood consequences.

We had each other’s back.

All the drills, forced marches, grass drills and hours of target practice readied us for war.

Today, we are faced with a different type of precariousness and a purpose that is driven by survival, in our own country.

By an enemy we don’t understand.

We don’t even know what it wants. We don’t have spies.

As a country, we are knocked on our heels. As physical specimens, we are almost defenseless.

We don’t provide mandatory fitness training in in this country, but it is never too late.

Television, computer screens, fast food and automobiles are wiping us out because we are atrophying.

We are slouching into extinction.

For most of us, because of our lack of resilience, poor health and skyrocketing obesity, our resistance to disease is down around our ankles.

If ducks could sit.

When I look at this picture it reminds me of a time when everyone was locked and loaded. There was no panic.

There was grim, educated, determination.

We knew we had an enemy, and if we had to engage, we would do what we were trained for…kill or be killed.

Today, no one’s on the same page our information is scattershot and we are being picked off one by one. We need to train our bodies and our minds to face enemies like these head on.

Our confused and fractured government can only do much. It’s survival of the fittest, as always.

Saddle up!