October 10, 2013

I Just May

No I don’t have kids. Yes I plan to have kids. Here’s a hint going forward…
Please don’t tell me the following, “You’ll see when you have kids of your own!”, because that may be the single most nauseating statement a current parent can make.
This just in – I may “see” when I have a kid and I may, GASP, still agree that they can play football when they’re young.
I may, GASP, still not give a shit if someone curses in front of them.
I may, GASP, tell them what to do and not have it be an open ended question that ends in, “Ok?”.
I may, GASP, punish them and not have to reinforce the punishment with an “I love you.”
I may, GASP, tell my kid that defending yourself physically will not get you punished because I think it’s called standing up for yourself.
I may, GASP, not think my “life is over”.
I may, GASP, still do things for myself and not be a terrible parent.
I may, GASP, allow them to miss school for vacations.
I may, GASP, allow my kid to ride their bike without a helmet.
I may, GASP, not have their 1st birthday party look like a wedding.
I may and I may and I may and I may
Football is too dangerous. Playgrounds are war zones. Swing sets need to be padded. Trophies for everyone. No such thing as winners or losers. Dodgeball is target practice. Every kid is a genius.
On and on and on and on
ENOUGH! I may do all those things and I may not. Either way can we all just agree to stop overthinking every god damn step we take in this world? Everyone spends so much time worrying about anxiety and psyche’s and all we’re doing is creating more anxiety and psychos.
Just be.

August 20, 2013

Who Am I

I’m a continuous battle with excuses. I’m a guy swatting the devil off my shoulder only to have him return with a pitchfork and that same toothy grin.
I’m a guy who “couldn’t” compete in a triathlon because he wasn’t mentally ready and needed a year to prepare. As if it were battlefield deployment I was embarking on as opposed to a pristine lake in the mountains.
I guess the veteran with no arms or legs that swam a half mile spent the year mentally preparing. I suppose the blind man that joined him and swam tied off to a friend spent the last year strategizing just as well.
Wipe that toothy grin off your face, Hades.
Many people say I’m too hard on myself. I say I’m too easy. Those who know me know a person who doesn’t necessarily hate losing as much as he loves winning…and yet that smiling weight on my shoulder cloaked in red still finds his way atop the podium.
Go ahead start writing your book. Get your ideas organized. Get some structure in place. Nope. Too hard. Nobody cares. Not enough time in the day. Too busy.
I guess all the writers in the world have all the time in the world. I suppose back in 1963 when Stephen Hawking was told he had two years to live he phoned it in just as well.
I guess. I suppose.
I’m too hard. I’m too easy. I’m red. I’m white. I’m over it. Not really.
I’m trying.   

June 21, 2013

The Rest is History

Saturday, April 7, 2007. My mother is in the hospital.
She had been battling some annoying and seemingly harmless pneumonia/water-in-the-lung/who-the-fuck-knows issue for a few months. Random bouts of shortened breath frustrated her. Doctors giving her the run around on numerous occasions was the norm. Shocking I know.
On this day; however, she was feeling great. Guess it was just another random  breathing episode in the midst of what had become a lifestyle of trying to be healthy. Eating better, being more active, and finally trying to take control of her body. By all accounts it was working. She had looked great and never seemed happier.  
Sitting up in her bed and in a smiley mood, she read a furniture magazine like a kid reads a Toys ‘R’ Us circular. She was being released and her house was being renovated so she was ready to shop!
Now comes time for the visit to end. After all, we had important things to do. Michelle in her physically loving and outwardly affectionate way gives my mother a big hug and kiss and tells her she loves her. It was a short 3 months prior she lost her own. She knows not to take them for granted.
Now I’m up. My turn at the plate.
Thoughts are churning, “Tell her you love her. Just say ‘I love you.’ Cut the shit and just tell your mother you love her because you never know. Look what happened to Nancy. I mean god forbid…No. I can’t. It’s just so uncomfortable. It’ll be fine. Nothing bad’s gonna happen. Just say goodbye and all good!! Stop overthinking it.”
3, 2, 1 go…Kiss on the cheek and, “Bye mom!”
The rest is history. That was the last time I spoke to my mother. Those were the last words and the final thoughts that went through my mind while I had a mother in this world.
It’s haunted me ever since.
That day has forever changed me as a person. I’m different. I’ll always be different. I’ve become slightly obsessed with living and trying to be healthy. I look at life totally different. I used to plan out my future and look forward to things only to subconsciously wish the present away…as if the present wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  
I’m now terrified of death when before I never really gave it any credit. It consumes me. It’s always on my mind.
Death is horrifying. Anyone who disagrees is kidding themselves. You’re here one day and the next you’re not. We’re not invincible. We’re nothing. We’re animals on a planet full of animals. No different than the ant or the spider you killed 20 minutes ago. They were here and now they’re not.
Nature wins. Nature always wins.
You can tell yourself there is a higher power looking out for you all you want. If it makes you feel better believing in Fairy Tales then I’m all for it. Be careful not to disrespect death though. Go ahead, act like a “better place” exists.
Whats the point of this blog? I’m not sure. I’m not sure any of my blogs have a point, per se. They’re public journals. Some people get pissed off at what I have to say and some people love what I have to say. I write for both audiences. I write for myself. There are people out there that may relate to my feelings and if that’s the case, well, than that's the point of this blog.
You think about wanting to do something then do it. You want to break up with your boyfriend? Do it. You want to quit your job and follow your dreams? Do it. You want to write a book and pour your emotions out on paper? Ahem, ahem, do it!
Remember, nature will win. She always does. It’s sad, morbid and terribly depressing but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
So fucking say “I love you.”

May 2, 2013

King Of Your Life

So as I was driving up the Garden State Parkway the other day I couldn’t help but notice this bumper sticker on the car in front me…

I could probably end this blog now and leave the rest up to your imagination. Alas, that’s not as much fun as writing about it. I’m going to take a different tact though. Not one you’d come to expect from a guy like myself.
Let’s say Jesus was on the ticket for King of Your Life. Who else would run for that post? Who would his running mate be? His toughest opposition? Not surprisingly these are things  I thought about as I idled my way through traffic. Bumper stickers like this serve as immediate alarms for potential blogs and when that sound goes off my brain starts kicking.
My gut tells me Jesus wouldn’t have a hard time finding a good running mate. One might think he’d have one of his many loyal Disciples or Apostles by his side. Pretty sure John, Matt or Luke are the popular ones but are they most deserving? Didn’t one disobey him or steal a goat or something? Probably shouldn’t go with one of these untrustworthy groupies.  
If I were him I’d have to reach out to the famous trio known as The Three Wise Men. Wouldn’t you? Makes sense to me. I guess the only issue that could arise would be which of the three to select if he could have only one. Rock, Paper, Scissor might have to happen and that may prove more trouble than it’s worth.
Maybe everyone’s favorite boat captain, Noah, would get an interview. I mean hell if that kid could orchestrate not only the design, engineering and construction of a boat large enough to house all the worlds species in advance of a worldwide flood who’s to say he couldn’t organize peace in the Middle East?
Then there’s Moses. The author of the famed 10 Commandments. The magician who parted the almighty Red Sea. If I’m running for King of Your Life I may want a magician on my side and Moses may have to get the nod.
Biggest opposition to King of Your Life would have to come down to the usual suspects. Maybe Mohammad? The lovable Buddha? The bearded Zeus?
Mohammad is not only an obvious favorite going in since he’s so beloved but it’s also the most popular first and last name in the world. I imagine that will go a long way towards swaying votes come Election Day.
Buddha may ultimately be too nice a person and it’s possible he’d get typecast as a pushover. The King of Your Life needs a little bit of an edge I think.
It’s early and the campaigns haven’t begun but I’m fairly certain Zeus would get my King of Your Life vote. Who wouldn’t want your King to live atop Mt. Olympus? Who wouldn’t want a King who’s symbolically represented by the thunderbolt, the eagle and the oak tree!? Strong. Demonstrative. Fair. Someone you could really stand behind, not to mention a man familiar with dividing up responsibility. Unselfish to say the least.
Here’s a sleeper. What about Joseph of Joseph and Mary fame? I feel like he gets a raw deal. Same goes for God while we’re at it. Everyone always seems to pray to God but very rarely do they pray to Jesus. That might say something about people’s true loyalties. I liken it to people preferring the original George Bush over his son. I digress, back to Joseph, never really hear about the guy. You see statues of Mary but never of Joe. What’s that about?
So who would you vote for King of Your Life? You know where I stand...

May 1, 2013

It's Okay

Sometimes you don’t succeed. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes you’re not the best version of yourself.

Believe me. It’s okay.

Sometimes you attempt what seems like your average task and you fail. Sometimes snatching the weight you “crushed” last week feels like snatching the weight of the world. Sometimes writing a proposal letter stops you in your tracks immediately after “Dear Mr. So-And-So,”.
It’s okay.
Sometimes getting out of bed pissed off happens. Sometimes the sun doesn’t seem to rise and shine. Sometimes the grass isn’t greener on the other side.
Believe me. It’s okay.
There are times when all the positivity in the world combined with all the inspirational pep talks do absolutely nothing for you. You can’t be “on” all the time the same way you can’t truly appreciate summer without the winter. The same way you can’t enjoy sleep unless you’re tired.
You should always try and push yourself to that proverbial breaking point. If you don’t you’ll never know just how far you could have gone. You’ll never quite know how great you could have been. You’ll never quite reach your “potential”. At the same time, it’s equally important to keep perspective...
Sometimes life is heavier than the barbell and believe me, it’s okay.

April 16, 2013

Get Off Your Knees

I need to write.
Shit like this makes me sick. Literally sick to my stomach. A pit in my stomach started forming yesterday afternoon and hasn’t left. Probably won’t leave for some time. Not unlike most people’s feelings I’m sure.
I would like to make a few statements as a result of what happened. Remember, everyone’s entitled to my opinion after all. I warn my religious friends in advance this may not go over well. Just keep in mind I love you. I just don’t love religion.
1)    Stop telling me to pray for the victims. This just in, praying isn’t gonna do shit other than make yourself feel better. If that’s your goal than absolutely do it. But don’t think for a second your prayers are helping those victims because they aren’t. They’re helping you cope. Let’s remember that. Let’s remember that prayer is therapy for YOUR soul not someone else’s. You may not agree with that but deep down it’s the truth. The fact you’re praying makes you feel like you’re contributing in some way. And that is a great thing but realize that’s what it is. You’re not literally helping anyone other than yourself. So to reiterate, stop telling me to pray. Segue….
2)    Stop quoting the bible. Stop giving me some dumb ass proverb that does nothing more than insult the victims like, say, this one I saw yesterday…
Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; For the Lord will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught. - Proverbs 3:25-26
What human can throw this dumb fucking proverb out there in a time like this? The lord will keep my confidence and keep my foot from being caught in the trouble. Where the fuck was this lord for the people in Boston yesterday? How about the father who had his 8 year old son waiting at the finish line only to return to bloodshed?
Do not be afraid of sudden terror. That’s hysterical. So the people standing along the sidelines enjoying a beautiful Patriots Day shouldn’t be afraid of the horror they experienced? They witnessed carnage and a near death experience. Some of them will never be able to stand confidently in a crowd again. Oooh but don’t be afraid ‘cause thank heavens the lord is in your corner. Fantastic. Unless of course the lord is asleep at the wheel like he must’ve been yesterday afternoon.
I get that we all have our own coping mechanisms. Some people need to, ahem, write about it, as an example. But please don’t be na├»ve to the harsh realities of the world. The lord ain’t in your corner. He’s not in anyone’s corner. It’s you and your soul…and a keyboard to write.
3)    Comments from the I-Like-to-Bitch-About-Long-Lines-&-Security Peanut Gallery, anyone? I’m listening…anyone want to complain about those pat downs at the airports or at stadiums? Go ahead…I’m listening. Great idea allowing pocket knives back on airplanes as well. That’s just a fantastic idea, President. Give in to the demands of the spoiled passengers found in the aforementioned Peanut Gallery. How about we just realize we are perennial targets so toughen the fuck up and be patient for the sake of security ‘cause this shit isn’t going to stop in your lifetime. Ask Israel.
Sorry if I offended anyone. Not my intention. Just my opinion and had to get that off my chest. #copingmechanism

January 30, 2013

An Opinionated Blogger's Dream

As I sit here amongst the masses in Assembly Room B I can’t help but formulate opinions on everyone and everything I see. We’re all here to “solemnly swear” and “raise our right hand” to serve our country and perform our duty as citizens. People of all colors, shapes and sizes all united in one common goal – figure out how to get the fuck out’ve here as quickly as possible.
Back to my inability to reign in my opinions on everyone and everything. I think the judge and the associated lawyers should be made aware of this fact. I just got back from the initial introduction to the case I may be selected to jurorize (Yup. Made that word up but I think it works) and I’m pretty confident the defendant is guilty already. I haven’t been told any facts of the case other than the type of charges and where it took place. For my part I’m confident I know they are guilty just by my first impression of the defendant.
Some of you may cry foul and say I shouldn’t judge and that we’re all innocent until proven guilty. Blah blah blah. The fact of the matter is that my first impression of people has an overall success rate of somewhere between 98% - 100%. I’d save this Court and prospective jurors a lot of time and money if they would hear me out on this.
Some observations of the morning so far…
1) While on “recess” if you decide to monopolize a private cubicle in the Computer Lounge you should do so with a computer. Not an embarrassingE-Reader. Not an iPod. Not an actual book. It’s a Computer Lounge not a Technology/Leisure Lounge and other people with computers on hand value that space. Glad we cleared that up. Thanks.
2) Something about sitting in a room with 100 other highly opinionated jurors who would rather be elsewhere really does bring me back to the days of yesteryear when our government was formed by our prophetic forefathers. Harkening is about as far as I’ll go with that feeling though. I’d rather be elsewhere. Thanks.
3) In a tightly packed room filled with unhappy and slovenly people the last thing you should be doing is slurping your coffee like a 9 year old slurps apple juice. Grow up buddy. Thanks.
4) Woman behind me in the Computer Lounge this one’s for you. Shut the fuck up. Read the sign on the wall that says “No Talking on Cellphones”. I don’t give a shit about how great an employee this Brad character is and I don’t give a rat’s ass that you are a Managing Director. Thanks.
5) I’ve come to realize that I’m not a pew guy. I hate sitting in pews. So as I was sitting in this uncomfortable position listening to the judge speak of “community responsibility” and “civic duty” I couldn’t help but wander off and think about how maybe I’m not necessarily atheist but I’m actually just anti-pew? Maybe when I was in CCD back in my formative days it was the pew that got me thinking The Big G’ was a fraud. You’d think if the guy was a carpenter as they say he’d like his subjects to be a little bit more comfortable as they worship him in his house, no? I know if it were my house and I had hundreds gathering daily to worship me I’d at the very least offer a cushion on something other than the thing you kneel on. Something to think about G' as you go fw: with this religion thing. Meeting with the Pope may be in order?
6) Oh and woman behind me, one more thing, you are NOT talking softly as you just claimed on the phone so don’t apologize to the schmuck you’re talking to right now. Thanks.

January 29, 2013

My Muse Marci

My morning started out nicely. An early morning WOD with the wife and others at Brazen complete with 16 minutes of shoulder torture. Snatches, Handstand Pushups and Double Unders all before the sun rises. Great way to start the day. After said torture session I took advantage of my one free food or drink courtesy of Starbucks gold status and enjoyed a not-so-little vente with a shot of espresso.

I was 2 for 2 to start my morning. Really going strong. Headed to work and ready to get on with the day. Working for “the man” and being miserable doing so had nothing on me today!
And then she had to go and ruin it.
“She” refers to the pretentious, nosey, judgmental bitch I encountered while enjoying my idle session in typical Rte 280 traffic. I’m gonna dissect this stuck-up bitch because it’s therapeutic to do so. I’m fairly certain I have her pinned down as a person. But first, let me set the scene…
We’re start and stopping our way down 280 like moths to a flame. Every one of us in our cars embarking on a day not one of us really wants to embark on. Hundreds upon hundreds of cars filled with doubt. I’d say 90% of the people on the road in the morning are doing something they wish they didn’t “have” to do. Alas, we’re doing it. We’re like pigs voluntarily slogging our way to the metaphorical slaughterhouse of life.
I look to my left as if someone was tapping me on my shoulder telling me to do so and what do I see. I see a woman with a face of disgust. I see a woman ranting and raving. I see a woman who is evidently not to pleased to have seen me check my iPhone while, gasp, driving. She rolls down her window. I have no idea what words are coming out’ve her mouth. I only see her mouth moving and her finger waving back and forth. I may not have heard what she said but I’m fairly certain she heard what I said…
“Really? Get a fucking life. You fucking bitch.”
Victory. I’m now a hard fought 3 for 3 to start my morning. I was in disbelief of what just happened. Some thoughts that ran through my mind in the aftermath, “Did that really just happen?”, “Are people really that fucking tightly wound?”, “People need to get a grip.”
I don’t get. Is checking your phone while driving safe? No its not. That’s not the point. The point is the judgment. The point is the fact that she got so bent out’ve shape over witnessing such a heinous crime that she exploded and felt the need to yell at me like I’m her bratty kid she sees when the Nanny cancels last minute. Here’s what’s really going on in her head…
Her name is Marci and the reason she’s so upset this morning is because her husband, Jeff, is cheating on her and the Nanny, Rosa, has been cancelling of late leaving her with more work to do at home. She was actually one of the 10% this morning that wasn’t on her way to work. Instead she was on her way to Newark to pick up Rosa since one of the reasons for the cancellations has been her unreliable mode of transportation. Having to wake up so early was not the way she typically likes to start her day unless it’s out back with her massage therapist, Derek.
Last night over dinner she got into a little dust-up with Jeff over how much he’d been working. Late hours at the office turned into accusations of an affair. Jeff, although guilty as sin, denied vehemently and his response, “I work late so you can continue buying expensive things and taking vacations. You want me to fucking stop or do you want to keep buying that jewelry of yours?!” That didn’t go over too well and their daughter, Madison, was caught in the crossfire. It’s times like these when Rosa is needed most. Unfortunately Rosa’s brakes failed earlier in the day which caused the build-up of frustration that came out come dinner time.
It’s amazing how it all comes full circle and I get yelled at as a result. I’m a complete stranger. I’m minding my own business in my own car. We’re two steel door frames and a solid 10’ away from each other and yet I still find myself in her crosshairs. She looked to her right and she didn’t see me. She saw Jeff, Rosa, Morgan and Derek rolled into one…although with what she pays Rosa I dont’ think she’d have an iPhone. Semantics. She saw Jeff banging his secretary, Stephanie, because Stephanie appreciates him. She saw Rosa calling to apologize for her unreliable station wagon forcing her to be a mother to her child. She saw Madison come home and bitch and moan that her friend Morgan got picked as cheerleading captain and she didn’t. And she saw Derek continually turning down her advances because he doesn’t play for that team.
She saw it all in me.
I like to think I represented the prevailing thoughts of Jeff, Rosa, Morgan and Derek by calling her a bitch. I also like to think that there is a “mutual friend” out in the facebook world that knows Marci and can share this blog with her. I’d like her to know how transparent her life has become. I’d like her to know she played muse to my creative side this morning. In a fateful twist of irony I thank you, Marci. I thank you for being my muse.
…or maybe she was just unhappy with my unsafe iPhone-While-Driving actions. Could be either one.

January 16, 2013

Look In the Mirror

I’m setting the record straight. At the end of this spontaneous rant we should all just move on from this discussion and find something else to bitch about.

Violent video games don’t make violent people. Let’s say it one more time, violent video games DON'T make violent people.

Parenting, or lack thereof, make violent people. Lack of morals make violent people. Lack of common sense make violent people. More and more you see and hear people bitching and moaning about their kids and the access they have to video games that depict killing, war, gang violence, etc. and they blame that for their children’s misbehavior on the playground.

How about blame yourself.

I grew up playing “War”. I grew up playing “Cowboys and Indians.” I grew up “killing” my friends. I would die every day. They would die every day. We would get shot and suffer and experience slow and bloody deaths. We would play with fake guns and knives that looked exactly like real guns and knives. We would mimic every violent thing imaginable.

Guess what? We’re not killers. Amazing.

We knew right from wrong. We knew actual war was actually horrific. We knew actual torture was actually wrong…in most cases.
This isn't a "pro-gun" debate either. Even though I am a gun owner I understand people not liking guns. I get it. I may not agree with that stance but I get it.
The fact of the matter is that it’s all fun and games. As a child I knew when I said, “Bang you’re dead!” I wasn’t literally killing someone and I knew that literally killing someone was a bad thing. I knew when I’d get into an argument over them not dying and I’d say, “No I got you! I shot you in the head!!” that it was just a game.
How did I know?
Well, I had parents that raised me to know right from wrong. It’s easy as that.
So for all the parents that blame Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, R-rated movies and the media for the violence of their children I say look in the mirror before you start pointing fingers.