Reporting, Recording and Relaying - But Always Telling It As I See It

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Post-Workout Therapy - Part 3

If you need a short pre-cursor to my conversations with my gym buddy, please see the links below. 

(Installment One)
(Installment Two)

I was worried Monday when Vince wasn’t at the gym. He is easy to spot when he walks the track – a slow moving figure with those (I am convinced) self-invented arm movements that he swears by.

Today, however, he was in his spot on the couch as I was leaving. He claims that he waits for it to get a little brighter before he goes home. That’s bullshit. It’s dark when he comes to the gym (about six in the morning I think) so if he was really worried about driving before the sun comes up, he would arrive later in the day. He is eighty-six and long retired, I imagine his calendar is fairly open. No, Vince comes to look at the girls. God bless him.

Anyway, today he told me that he finally made peace with the Veteran’s Administration. If his lung cancer gets to the point that he can’t stay home, he is going there. As he said so eloquently, “The Army may have tried to get me killed, but at least they got clean sheets.”

No conversation is complete without a little mortality discussion. Dare I say, the man is more prepared for death than most people are prepared for dinner? His secret seems to be two-fold. First, he has an unwavering faith in God and heaven, and is quite convinced his next stop will far exceed this current one in terms of desirability. Secondly, he is making a concerted effort in the days he has left to be completely at peace with his life and existence here.

“I’m giving everything away. These people with boats and a house in Florida, it’s just more things to worry about. When you give everything away, you are left with only the things you need. That’s a great feeling.”

He goes next week for the results of his recent PET scan (that’s where he was Monday.) “Then they are going to guess how long I have left.” He chuckles. “They have been wrong every time.”

Before I leave, he lays this line on me. “On the other hand, King Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, so who’s kidding who?” I don’t know Vince, but I know we can all use some clean sheets once in a while.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Because Great Quotes Don't Always Come From Famous People

Our world has been blessed with great orators: Winston Churchill (“This was their finest hour!”), John F. Kennedy (“If you believe-they put a man on the moon…man on the moon.”), Jenna Jamison (“I’ve never seen a plumber with such a large – tool.”) Their prodigious words stand the test of time and still evoke emotional upheaval. They are beacons that have guided us through our troubles and light the way for our future.

Then, there are the quotes I like; ordinary people saying extraordinary things. I have begun to jot down a few and want to share them. They are from friends, associates and strangers. They are all true – I wish they were mine.

“I smell heat.”

“I’m allergic to alcohol, I break out in handcuffs.”

“Those Koreans feed, house and give blowjobs to thousands of American troops, that’s why I bought a Kia.”

“Face it, Ken, there are grandmothers out there who have taken it in the ass.”

“Don’t forget, there’s a dead leg on the ass end.”

“I drank myself sober.”

“He was in between mouthfuls of French whore.”

“The donkey screamed and the children cried.”

“I don’t eat them; the doughnuts are for my horse.”

“As much as I like helping my mom out, I’m not cut out for this shit, man. I’d rather be working at a club, mixing it up with some hotties and a few drinks.”

“Not really sure where, but we drove a long way from Bangkok.”

“Ace Fraley and Bilbo Baggins are having lunch on the green.”

Hopefully (for me, maybe not so much for you) this is only part one. Keep your ears open because this stuff writes itself.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Equal Opportunity Political Offending

We have breached the wall of common sense in this country. In the wake of these horrific shootings in Tucson, we find ourselves in the midst of a fierce debate over political speech – with BOTH sides shoring up their defense, and their offense.

What prompts this is the very real fact that political speech has now turned into entertainment. The frightening thing is, too few people realize it. Olberman and Beck and the like trumpet faux insight through slick graphics, snazzy production and fine fitted suits into the waiting mouths and empty brains of the hungry little birds that are eager to gobble down all the vitriol they can handle – which apparently is a lot.

How can anyone hear the Fox News mantra of “fair and balanced” and not chuckle? They are no more fair and balanced than the Huffington Post. Are we so lazy that we are going to let Bill Maher or Rush decide our views for us? Are we going to follow them right off the bridge of sanity? Scary version? It seems like yes, we are.

This isn’t Jeffersonian debate that rages on our airwaves, this is Snookie with a higher syllable count. It’s like the Manchurian Political Candidate out there – we walk around like zombies until Bill O’Reilly says “talking points” whereby there is this universal snapping of attention, and we mainline someone else’s ideas, immune to the fact that at the end, all we are doing is boosting ratings – same thing as when we watch the Real Housewives. Because it is entertainment!

Here is a quote from the Buddha that has been influential for me, I think it speaks volumes.

“O monks and wise men, just as a goldsmith would test his gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, so must you examine my words and accept them, not merely out of reverence for me. “

Let’s burn, cut and rub the things we hear.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Post-Workout Therapy - Part II

(For anyone who missed the introduction of Old Man Gym, please see here.)

Seven o’clock is the worst time to try and talk to Vince. Seven is when the morning spin class lets out, and with that, about a dozen latex-clad and sweaty girls walk up the stairs and right passed Vince on their way to the locker room. And he talks to every single one of them.

“How’s that cold? Chicken soup and two aspirin.” Giggle, giggle.

“Look at these two, the queens of the gym.” Smile, wave.

I’m invisible.

And on it goes. I catch Vince, with his sly smile, steal a quick glance when they pass by us.

After the parade, I ask him how his Christmas was.

“Great. The kids were in and I gave them all money. My wife still wanted to go shopping. I asked her if she saw where I put the decimal point on those checks!”

“Hey Vince!” a young girl carrying a yoga mat says. He waves, then looks at her ass.

“Vince,” I finally say now that things have calmed down, “did all the kids go back home?”

“Yeah. My son went back to Texas and the other to DC. The one in DC, I don’t get this. They are always RE-DOING (he emphasis this) something on their house. New kitchen, new...something. Then, everyone in the neighborhood has to have the same thing. Never content with what he has that one. I try to tell him it is not a contest. He don’t listen. But they all had smiles on their faces when I handed them those checks.”

“I bet they did. Money always works,” I say.

“Yep. It’s a great year…I was never supposed to have survived the last one.”

Amen.  Be content.