Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Potential and Biceps


When I used to coach college football, I always heard about this kid and that kid who had "tons of potential", if he could "just get his mind right", or "play harder" or "use his quickness" or "mature a little bit", or "use his athletic gifts", and so on. Or "he may just be the best athlete on the team."  Guess what all of this means?

Not a damn thing.

You see, its what you can do right now, and oh yeah, before I forget, you know what the worst is? When the coaches used to describe a player who may not be athletic as hell (meaning he may not be a great basketball player) but gets results on the field as gutsy or getting the most out of his limited ability.  He doesn't have limited ability, he's making plays and getting the job done. He has plenty of ability, because he is expressing it on the field. Thats all that matters, not the way he looks or if he can run the 40 fast or if his vertical jump is 40 inches or if he has 20 inch arms. None of that matters, anyway. He is getting it done, while the "potential kid"doesn't have the intangibles that the "unathletic" kid has, namely heart, work ethic, drive, determination, hustle,  and smarts.Which to me are talents. Those are talents just as much as a 40 time is, maybe even more. Because those are inside of the kid, and most of the time, you can't coach it in them, it is wired into them from an early age, or who knows where it came from, but they have it, these attributes that every coach should love in a player. Potential is nothing. Realized potential is a whole other ball game.

Park that ego for bigger biceps

I don't have huge biceps by any means, but I used to have really spindly arms. I never felt a connection with my biceps like I did with legs and back and I thought that by using super heavy weights and sloppy form, (cheat curls with 175-225), I could force them to grow. Doing those heavy weights was great for my ego, but my arms weren't growing, although I did get a good case of biceps tendonitis for my troubles. So, because I simply couldn't do those cheat curls any more with the tendonitis and my flexors constantly fired up, I was forced to find other ways to train them. I saw a video with Stan Efferding when he was bodybuilding and getting ready for a show and I think that he was saying the same thing, that he started to go lighter because Flex Wheeler told him to, and his arms started to grow. I believe that he was using 30 pound dumbbells. Also Ben Pakulski's videos were espousing the same thing: Controlling the weights.

So what did I do? I went lighter and slowed it down. Also, I noticed that whenever I used high reps in the dumbbell and ez curl, that my shoulders would start burning and so would my forearms. So I dropped the reps to 6 on free weight exercises ( with cables , I could go higher reps and keep my shoulders and forearms out of the movement mostly), and really dropped the weight down. I went from the 60-70's on sloppy curls to 30's and 35's and using perfect form and slowing down the eccentric phase of the movement . I did 10 sets once week of biceps with perfect form and lighter weight and wouldn't you know, those biceps started to grow, and with weights that my 6 year old Maximus could lift. And another thing-I used to lift with guys who could grow their biceps by barely even thinking about them. But I realized that I couldn't train like that and grow, I had to adapt to something else. It's like me and math. When I first saw algebra on the board in 7th grade, I was like, what in the hell is that stuff? And it took me many years of summer school and failing grades to realize that math didn't come naturally to me and I would have to work smarter and harder than the other kids to catch up with them. The best thing for me to do was accept it and buckle down. Don't have a body part growing like you think that it should? Find a different way than the masses to find out what works for you. 

Here is sample routine for biceps-

Standing dumbbell curls 5 sets of 6 (5x6) Focus on keeping wrist straight and only bring the dumbbell 3/4 of the way up, meaning don't relax at the top.  I think, scapula pinched, ribcage up, elbows back. And just bring it to chest level. Think control on the way up, and think slow on the way down. If it helps, count to 4 as you lower the weight. Don't relax at the bottom, but pause momentarily at the stretched position and then go up again. And one more thing: Squeeze, squeeze at the top of the movement.

Cable curls 5x12
Stand to where you feel the cable pulling back on you, meaning where you feel the most tension. You can do these one arm or two, I just do two arms because it takes so damn long to do one at a time. Controlled ascent, elbows tucked back, ribcage up . Same body position as the dumbbell curls. Bring it 3/4 of the way up and squeeze then lower slowly. If you find yourself cheating, throw your ego out the window and lower the weight. It's the tension that counts, not the weight. Cable curls are the best because of the constant tension provided.

It also helps to close your eyes and see your biceps going through the movement. The mind-muscle connection is real and is effective. Don't close your eyes during squats but with "safe exercises" feel free. It helps.

Thats it, 10 sets of biceps where you are totally locked in, focused and controlled. No ego. I promise that they will grow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


In college, I played football with a guy, that with literally about 45 minutes of training a week, maintained 20 inch arms. And he could bench 405 pounds whenever he wanted to. It was frustrating to see him crush weights with ease and with very little training. And he took it for granted. He could do that, press that weight easily anytime that he wanted. But he never pushed himself, and eventually, I could bench more than he did, but only after years of planning and hits and misses on my part. But you know what? I wasn't a natural bencher like he was, however, I knew that if I just kept going, I would surpass him. He didn't know how to persevere and keep going past what came easy for him.

And that's the important: Just keep going and the weights will come, the strength will come. If it was easy, it wouldn't be worth it, if it was easy, you wouldn't appreciate the final outcome, if it was easy, you wouldn't understand the drive and fortitude the it takes to get strong or big or whatever your goal may be. Think about it, think long and hard. In history, ease of effort is never rewarded with greatness, but hard work and determination eventually are rewarded.  

So what is the key to getting big and strong or lean or whatever your goal may be? Consistency. It's going to the gym when it is a holiday, it's going to the gym when your girlfriend breaks up with you or your wife is complaining that the garage is a mess, it's going to the gym when you are on vacation, or when you feel like you have a cold coming on or just don't feel quite like yourself. It is never, ever saying that you don't have the time or that you are too busy. 

It's going to the gym when you know that you have 10 sets of squats in front of you and it is a Sunday morning and the whole family is in their warm beds, and you have to brush off the snow from the windshield of your truck and start that engine and crank up the Hatebreed and just get going to the gym. You see, that is what makes you special. That is what sets you apart from the talkers and the "I remember high school before my knee injury" people. You are doing it, it's important to you. And no matter what anyone thinks or says, you know that when you challenge yourself with the weights and you come out stronger, that you have achieved something of which you don't care if others understand one bit.  

You like that people think that you are a little nuts. To you, it's nuts that they don't do what you do. It makes you feel like you have something inside that they don't have nor will they ever understand. 

It's yours, these goals and this lifestyle and you keep those goals deep down inside and check off the wins and the learning opportunities in your head and then you get done with the training and you step outside and you are sweaty and the fresh air seems just a little fresher than when you got to the gym initially and all is right with the world. You pushed when others wouldn't, you got out of bed and made yourself special, you completed a task that helps you handle your life better. And it doesn't matter that you weren't born "gifted" with genetics. It matters that you know your life's secret: Training is the foundation in which you are built on and you never want it to be any other way. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Thoughts and Stuff

I read some books. Some fiction, mostly nonfiction, some self help. Not too many books written by people who haven't played sports, been in the military, or haven't been punched in the face. I mean, I'd rather read a book by Cowboy Cerrone than by some guy who never bit down on his mouthpiece, literally and figuratively. Maybe that is shallow of me, but I can't help it. Just like its tough to call yourself a powerlifter if you haven't competed. Who has been in the arena? Hemingway? Yes. Donald Ray Pollock? Yes. Frank Bill? Yes. It's like the Bob Costas thing.  Who did he play for in college? Skip Bayless? C'mon.  Like my college coach used to say, "He couldn't play dead in a cowboy movie."  Non athletes who are announcing and criticizing.  Who are those guys on ESPN spouting their opinions? Stuff doesn't come from a book. It's the playing, the doing. That's what I think.

Been doing some public gym stuff. Cell phones, useless exercises, talking, talking, talking. Everybody looks the same day after day. Killing that 135 on everything. Not frustrated by any of it, just looking for some battle ropes and a foam roller.  Man yelling at his young son as his son does exercises that will herniate discs in the long run. You are the man. Make him hate it for your gratification. A lady who is on her phone, but has an assortment of dumbbells at her feet. Yep, it's your gym, nobody needs those dumbbells. I asked a guy if I could "work in" on the piece of equipment that he was lounging on and he looked at me like I had two heads. In the old days, everybody 'worked in." It's not your freaking machine. Learn the old school etiquette, the gym etiquette, dammit. So I am like, are you using it, or just sitting on it? Oh, he's using it, he says, but he got up. And then he sat back down after I was done. So I asked him to move again. You are wasting your time. Go get the kid who works at the front desk with his hood up (I guess that its cold in the gym or he is showing just how gangster he really is) who holds his arms out like he has Ronnie Coleman lats to make you a smoothie.  Get a protein packed energy smoothie.

I have learned a few things over the years of training. One is that when it comes to building the muscle, that the mind muscle connection is real. If you really (let's say you are curling) focus on that biceps, see that muscle working, actually close your eyes when performing the movement, you will make more gains than haphazardly throwing weights around. Another is to use great form to really work the muscle and not the ego.

 I slung the weights around,  did it for years. All I got was good case of tendonitis in both arms and my progress was halted. 

You can train forever without all the joint and tendon issues and make progress. I am not talking about competing in powerlifting here. For that, you have to challenge the weights and sometimes you may use questionable, even risky form to get a max weight up. That's just the way it is. But when training for hypertrophy, you can slow it down, focus on the execution of the exercise. Check out Ben Pakulski's MI40 program. He is the guy who really knows what he is talking about in bodybuilding. He focus on the anatomy and how the muscle should move and focuses on the positive aspect of the movement and the negative and what he says makes perfect sense to me. And you don't use momentum to lift, you use the muscle. I can't recommend his stuff highly enough. He has a bunch of stuff free on YouTube but I buy his programs . I figure if anyone puts out stuff that helps me that much, I'll spend my money on it instead of just freeloading. I mean, his stuff is so well done that you can tell that he puts his whole self into the product. I like his Hypertrophy Max program the best.

Also, if you have been lifting for awhile and haven't realized it yet, diet plays a huge part in everything that you do, but especially when you are lifting weights. I mean, it's a huge part of the ball game. Throw out the freaks who can eat Big Mac's and look like a bodybuilder. Most likely, that ain't you.  If you are any type of athlete, get right with the eating. Get your protein and veggies and sweet potatoes and lots of water ( I like watered down BCAA's. Hate water plain.), and do it consistently. Set a timer if you can't remember, but get 4 meals in that equal over your bodyweight in grams of protein. Do it for 3 weeks and be dedicated and you will notice the difference. 

What else have I realized? So form matters, eating is huge, and consistency is king. What else?

Throw away the excuses. Listen, you do have the time to train. What you do not have is the WILL to train. You have the time to text, party, surf social media, eat, call friends on the godforsaken phone with talk that just wastes words, but you can't find time for a 30 minute workout? Of course you can, you just don't want to. The "I am busy" thing is an excuse that makes me want to hurl. Just say that it's not important to you, but do not bitch when you are still deadlifting the same weights and looking the same year after year. It's a choice on what is important to you. Do not go to the gym until you really commit. Keep telling everyone that you "just did a 2 hour workout" and fool yourself but nobody else. 

C'mon, go ahead and commit right now! Stop going to the gym and wasting your time. Do a real workout! Train hard. Eat right. Get it done. Get out of bed and knock out 20 pushups while you are still half asleep. Then get a huge mug of coffee that you had ready from the night before, write down your physical goals for the day (I will bench, press and work my triceps today. 15 sets total. I will be supremely focused for 30 minutes and will not bring my phone into the gym.) and stick to it. Now get that gym bag and go to the gym or your garage and get started. Grab the bar and just go. Start light and work up. Do as many warmups as needed but get started. After the warmup, do you feel good? No? Don't worry about it. How you feel is a lie. It's your weakness trying to get a vote.

 Do NOT let it have a vote. Your body is moving and you will let it keep moving. The body knows best today, and you will let it be in charge. Grab it, go up and down and then change the weight. Pump the music, pull your hat down low, no eye contact with the guy who is watching you creepily and move , move, move. And now you break a sweat and all feels right and you are thinking, damn, I can do this! Why not me? Yes, Why not you? And you are training and huffing and puffing and you know, you just know, that this is the start of something great for you. And guess what? You WILL do it again the next day and the next day and be happy going to the store and getting pounds of meat and bags of frozen green beans, because you have some goals, and you don't want to talk about it, you are just doing, and doing is what really matters. And after a few weeks you start to see the difference, you feel the difference and your life, your whole life, has changed. 

Why not you?

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Viking Up

Damn, all this thinking about nutrition gets so old that your head starts spinning and you just wanna squat, press and drink beer and eat wings. 

Ya know, I will be honest here,  my head isn't spinning.

 I know what to eat, how it goes, macro this and macro that.  Its boring as hell. Necessary for some, your health and your recovery and all that stuff, but sometimes you just wanna be a Viking, and squat and go to failure on some stuff and feel that pump exploding and see the veins in your quads and maybe do an arm superset with triceps extensions behind your head and some cable curls that leave your arms busting out of your t-shirt and you feel on top of the world and you aren't ripped , no not at all, but damn, you feel just right and you giggle at the guy using a 20 pound kettle bell in a way that you have never seen before and you just feel , you feel great. 

So what would a Viking do?

Well, dammit, in my mind, he would get done training and hoist a mug of hard ass beer backed by a whiskey shot or just go straight for the whiskey and it's not about the drinking its about the carefree physical culture lifestyle that makes you feel something  It makes you feel so damn free. 

That after-glow at the cessation of training is something that has to be experienced, the cascading of catecholamines and hormones that make you feel higher than any Percocet ever could. 

So you get done, eschew the shower (Vikings worried about showering?) and break to the post workout nutrition, barley and hops and whatever that makes beer taste so good. You do this stuff when you are a kid, when you don't give a shit what you eat and drink because you burn that all stuff up working in the summers at the golf course digging holes and cutting the rough and weed whacking and you just know that nothing that you will do will screw up your life, body fat-wise or workout -wise. Because you are young and all that you want to do is be manly as hell and actually, you just wanna do what feels so right, and that's working your ass off, being different than everyone else and pushing until the vomit comes oh so close to spewing but you hold it down and then you are in the parking lot afterwards and the sweat is pouring down you and your clothes are soaked and you all , all your training partners, are giddy with all the cascading that is going on in everyone's body. 

And you get older and all these responsibilities and payments and bills and the phone ringing and you yearn for the carefree days, no agendas, just living, fishing, hunting, dogs and your girl. It aint like that now, but maybe you can go back once in a while.

You get to the tavern which is right across the street from the gym and you walk in and you have to get used to the darkness and coolness of the place, but it feels just right, this atmosphere. It feels like everyone is leaving everyone else alone, and nobody is judging everyone for drinking at this time of the day, they figure that you must have a reason to be here, and so they all look up when you come in, and then go back to their business. and you and your buddies see the waitress that always waits on you, and nobody has a chance with her, but you all think that you do, but deep down inside, it's a game that you play and you sorta admire her for putting up with all y'alls crap day after day. 

Your legs are slightly shaking and you still feel the remnants of the pump, and then you get that pitcher of beer and a couple of beers in, you start going over the workout with your boys. Nobody talks shit about each other, for this is a dangerous group that doesn't take Kindly to criticism, it is more about a recap of the good reps and sets and then laughing at one's self about something in the workout that didn't go quite as planned.

And you eat wings and not one person thought if this was breaking the diet, they just "Vikinged up", and you actually feel like a Viking, carefree and physically spent with exertion and now you sit back in your chair, your appetite is gone, don't feels like eating, just drinking , and you laugh with your buddies and you cannot wait until the next work out. And you wish that you could freeze this time in your life and relive it over and over again. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Thoughts and fake Lucky Charms

I went down the cereal aisle at the local Acme today.  I haven't gone down that aisle in a long time. My, how things have changed.  The number of sugar sweetened cereals has increased exponentially 

WOW, dude that is some cereal! All flavors of cheerios! Oreo everything. I scored some generic Lucky Charms and having not had them in a long time, am typing this while sugary coma high on those wonderful, sugar coated, colored marshmallows. 

Sweet lord! That is some sugar pulsating through me. And kids are munching on this all the time and then they get literally hooked on sugar. I can see why. Its, I don't know, its sweeter. It's like this sweeter than any sweetener chemical taste that mixes with the milk  and hooks you, and makes you a little sick at the same time. I mean, the best marketing ploy in the history of marketing is marketing candy soaked in milk as part of a "complete breakfast". Imagine if you ate it every morning in your freakin' life like some kids that are adults now? You'd be obese or diabetic or your moods would be up and down and there are tons of people that have done it and now they pass it onto their kids. 

You can't, even if you are a little dense, think that its good for you to give Lucky Sugar Oreo Crunch with a prize to your kids in the morning. Seriously, wondering why the country has issues with this shit is not hard to recognize. All the cheapest, sweetest stuff is readily available and marketed out the yin yang. I'm starting to see, more than ever that all the stuff, from social media to the TV to everything we watch and pretty much all we see on t-shirts and billboards is marketing, image, buy, buy, buy. 

It has now become a type of identity for people to wear a company's name all over them while paying money for their clothes all the while advertising for them at the same time. 

I can't say that I have fallen for much of the materialistic, brand named stuff . I have to admit that a Remington 870 shotgun holds a special place in my heart, but that's because of its performance for me, not because the logo looks cool. Then when it performs, I wear the hat. Then I am proud to advertise, but it's after the proof , not just because all the other sheep are wearing it. As far as fishing goes, most of the time the big name stuff is the best stuff. That's why they are still around in that industry.  The pretenders don't last.  Let me see, I did have some Frye Boots on the 70's when they were all the rage in my town, but they were a free hand me down from a kid my sister knew. I felt stupid in them, anyway. Clomping around. 

Let's see. I don't read popular books or watch any network news, ever.  Haven't for a year or two. Feel slightly addicted to Instagram, but all my sites are my interests  so it doesn't irritate me too much. So I am at the point right now in my life where I can honestly say that I don't know what is "in" at all anymore, although in the weight room I do hear the atrocious noise that is masquerading as music and it is disheartening. When I check my Yahoo Mail I purposely try not to read the headlines because it anything catches my eye that pisses me off, I am in a bad mood for a while.  I try to avoid it. I look at outdoors stuff online and heavy metal stuff online and I read bodybuilding sites and watch Olympic lifting videos and hunting and fishing videos on youtube. I watch documentaries unless I start one and it is like, MEAT IS BAD and they have folks espousing the horrors of meat looking the whole time like they need about 5 years of hard labor at the local Nautilus Gym. 

Then I turn it off and watch RX Muscle and Muscular Development and I see the ads  there and wow, its easy to fall for that stuff if you were a kid these days! The preworkouts are dangerous as hell, and a bunch of that stuff has no research backing it up. Reminded me of when I was a kid and pretty much fell for everything that the Weider athletes were selling, especially Belknap and Platz until I started drinking that awful concoction that he was selling and literally puking it out at times while running to the bus stop in the morning. I saved up many weeks of allowance to buy that junk. Some salesman have no shame and these companies couldn't care less about the kids and they couldn't care less about the side effects of the stuff that they sell. 

It is a shame, this trail of obese, sugar addicted , people that have to wear some dude's name on their glasses (who lives in zillion dollar house and laughs at the minions wearing his name all over them), to feel important is now here to stay and the health problems keep on and the ads get more shameless and you just gotta turn it all off, gotta get back into your head and what you know is right by instinct, not what some flashy ad told you about that you gotta just have this product or act or vote this way because this is what they think is right or all the rage. Screw that. We have become so watered down as damn men and what society now thinks is manly that I am sometimes at a loss for words...but that is another column altogether.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday Thoughts

What is life? 

I have been asking myself this question for quite some time. And as the years go on, it's obvious to me that life means more than a game won or "meetings" that take a piece of your soul or the wasted time and hidden agendas or worthless emotions like jealousy or envy or hatred that fill up the brains of most folks that I come across.

Look into people's eyes and see what they are all about. Look inside and see. Most have nothing there. Most have an agenda that is selfish and impure and they just don't get it. When you have a loved one or yourself or someone close to you get messed up with sickness or tragedy or something that makes you suck your breath in when you hear about it, you start to realize what life is all about.

This death sentence that we have over our heads never leaves us and you approach the "past middle age " stage and you research just how to live longer as its like you are hanging off of a cliff and the hand that is reaching out to help you is slipping through your finger tips and slipping and slipping. 

I laugh at folks who fight little battles.  You think what you are so adamant about is important? Trust me, it is not. Shallow and lacking, soft and yet uncaring. Wake up. It's gonna get you if it hasn't already.  Because when you have seen death or disease close to you or close to a loved one, you will have a new appreciation for life. You get to the point that you don't care about a damn thing except those that you love.Your little battles will not be the thoughts that you think of on your death bed. Most likely, if you have any self realization, you will regret that you didn't spend more time with your family, or take more chances. Because now, that whole thing that you were afraid to do seems sorta silly now, doesn't it? You'd kill to have just one more chance.

And so, just where am I going with this diatribe? 

I don't know, really.

I just know that life is this precious thing, and we all need to be striving to squeeze every ounce and second out of every single day and take the negatives and laugh and let them all off of your shoulders like a shrug that dissipates it into nothing. And then if you take all of the chances and do all the you have wanted to do, you can face all challenges , including death, with pride and your head held high and satisfied.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Cold and Football

Wind whipping, shivers running down my spine

Pull my hood down low, endeavor to persevere.

Knowing the reasons for the shorter days does not make it better.

All of the bite that the morning brings floods my senses with 

thoughts of elementary school and cold days on the playground at recess trying to gain the 

affection of the pretty blonde girl who never liked me all that much.

And of course football.

The joy of the struggle, the smell of the grass and the coaches yelling.

I loved it all.

It was whole life, my identity.
The great days of Saturday morning little league games where I ran to exhaustion.

Then Dad and I went to the Maryland football games and I sat in the stands with my muddy uniform on.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Songs To Train To With Commentary Part One

I have always been a Metal Head and I always will be. I like soulful country and Metal. All kinds. First I discovered Heavy Metal. Not Black Metal or Death Metal.  Just metal. And it remains the cornerstone of my music. I have some Metal songs and albums that I like to train to, listed below. Train to any of this and your testicles will immediately drop and you will be squatting reps with what you previously thought was impossible.

I have to admit that "Number of the Beast" is a killer song to train to. LET HIM WHO HATH UNDERSTANDING. Yeah, its about satan, but not really. It's a story. It's Charlie and I driving around after school, going to Jack n the Box and having a blast. And then sitting in his room with his cassette player and cranking Maiden and dissecting every word, and his Sicilian mom feeding me bowls of noodles after noodles while we crushed Metal.

 White Zombie. "Thunderkiss '65 kills. Always will. After that album that it was on? Not one good song by Rob/White Zombie, But that album crushes and crushes.I know that some of you like that rap/rock combo stuff. I despise it like the worst case of flu and then death by hanging. But go for it.

I love Screaming for Vengeance by Priest. Not a weak song on it. I was in like 6th grade and we all gathered around Eric Mendzella's house in Knollwood off of Powder Mill Road and listened on his plastic record player as he put it on. I was blown away and still am. Any song on that album will make you wanna pillage the village like a Beserker on meth.

"Raining Blood" by Slayer
"South of Heaven", Slayer  They kill like hell.

"Hellbound" by Pantera, opening song on 2000 or 2001. Saw them like three times that tour. I think all by Pantera is great, sans the Cowboys From Hell album. Vulgar is great, Far Beyond Driven is amazingly amazing, and all is great after that.

  "Stronger than Death" and "Thirteen Years Of Grief" by Black Label Society. I love Zakk Wylde, and Stronger Than Death is a killer, death machine album that has not one weak song on it. I mean, damn, he was angry and drunk and wanting to fight and had Rottweilers on the thing and yes! But then, I don't know what happened, and I love Zakk, I met him and he was , albeit drunker than Cooter Brown, COOL AS ALL GET OUT, but why did he change?

Maybe it because he stopped drinking. but he had to do that for his health. Maybe he got older. Mellower. I get it. But damn, he was a badass on Stronger Than Death.

Anything by Phil Anselmo I buy and train to. Superjoint Ritual's first album, Use Once And Destroy is absolutely great. Down kills. Pantera, of course. Love Phil. Met him a few times and he's totally cool. I read an interview recently where he said that he didn't like guns. Not cool. Entitled to his opinion. Seems delusional, but ok. Great music. Lifted tons to his stuff.

"Simple Man" by Charlie Daniels. Lifted to it in '91 with my buddy Jimmy. Then we ate biscuits and gravy at Hardee's while we looked out the window at this strange little man who picked up aluminum cans while walking his little white poodle strode on by, That guy walked everywhere. One time , I tried to give him some cans that I had picked up just for his walking ass and he acted like a prick, like" I don't need your can charity". So after that, I used to make fun of the way he walked and what a loser he was for walking around all day with his softs ass self and his soft ass cotton ball dog.

Highway to Hell and Back in Black. I mean, AC/DC is youth, my youth. And the talent stands up! I remember standing in Joe Rhoa's living room when I was in 7th grade and we had the album out and we were just staring at it, and look ahh devil horns and I heard AC/DC meant this and that, and they are devil worshippers and all that. It was really cool. Not knowing every damn thing about those guys. Some mystery was good.

I have more, those were just some basics. I have some black metal, death metal, country and whatever, the next time. More to come.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Old Man At The Bar

I sat at the end of the bar, wanted to be left alone, wanted to just have enough drinks where I don't  feel a thing. This night, I didn't want to feel a thing.

I had my baseball cap pulled down low, flannel shirt, cowboy boots and jeans.

A man sat two stools down, about sixty years old, smiled at the bartender, ordered a drink for himself, and ordered one for me too

whatever he wants, he says

I appreciate it, I say, and look down at the wet bar napkin in front of me, start tearing it apart, slowly, bit by bit.

Having a good day?

It's fine

You look pissed off

I'm not.

Well, I say that you are. You sure are troubled by something

Not used to people talking to me so directly like he does, sorta surprised, pleasantly surprised. He wasn't irritating as hell like ninety nine percent of the folks that I run into, he was dressed like me, had calloused hands, had dirt and grime all over him.

A working man

He makes a toast, holds his whiskey up high, looking through it, then downing it.

Here's to a goddamn beautiful day

I reckon so

So tell me whats going on with you

Ha ha, no I'm good, really, all is good, and I look right at him, not disrespectfully, but I really don't feel like getting into it. Trying to tell him that without being rude.

folks don't want to hear my problems, everyone has them, nobody gets out of this damned life alive

Then he begins, like he had to get this off his chest and I am there and he chose to have me hear it. Maybe somebody somewhere sent him to me, crazy as it seems. Like he came a long way just to tell me some stuff that he has been thinking about for a while.

You know, there are a few things, things that everyone has that are hanging around their neck, like some kind of jail sentence. Scars from something. Men seem to hold stuff like that inside, and it tears them up, sends them to dark bars where they mull over everything by themselves and they don't come to a conclusion, they just think and think and then they drink and the next day, it is all just still right there, maybe even more so than it was before. Could be a woman that broke his heart a long time ago and it is still fucking with his head, or a child that is far way that he doesn't see enough or a loved one that passed and he feels like he never got to tell them how much he loved them. Maybe he is just down on himself and the scars are there and they reopen every once in a while, and they reopen unexpectedly and then the downward spiral begins. Bars and well, he finds himself tearing apart a napkin like it will help break it all up and then it'll be gone.

But it never really leaves

And I've learned, I am a little older than you, that there are ways with dealing with this shit that engulfs you, that is always in the back of your mind, sorta buzzing there, always there, always there.

I down my whiskey and I have to admit that it seems like he is reading my mind and I sorta get pissed off that this stranger is so close to me and  he is hitting the nail on the head about me and my shit in my head and its like he can see inside my brain and what I think and I never met this old man before.

Here is what I know, young man. I know that if you look back, it never solves a damn thing. I know that right now is what matters and Ill tell you a story, one that changed my life.

I was in a church one time, a snake handling church, a hardcore church in the West Virginia mountains, and it was strange and surreal but I remember that the preacher came out and it was deathly silent amongst the congregation  and he said just one thought to the people.

He said, I don't care what you did ten years ago, I don't care what you did ten minutes ago, I want to let you know that Jesus forgives you and your new life begins right now. You know what it meant to me? It meant that whether you are religious or not, life starts right now, and you can't beat yourself up about anything in the past because it doesn't do a damn bit of good, it just makes it all worse and you know that this is true, don't you?

I nodded my head.

 I started to shake just a little as I held my whiskey glass.

He continued

So I walked over here when I saw you because I saw a man beating himself up in his mind and trying to forget all the stuff that he has done and dealt with  in the past, and I saw you shaking your head as you were drinking like you were trying to get your mind right and I couldn't wait to tell you that the key to it all is to forgive yourself and let it go and begin again, and it doesn't matter if you have to begin again every damn day, just do it, forgive yourself and strive to make this day better than the last.

Some days will be rough , but everyone has rough days, from the highest CEO to the lowliest worker like myself. You have to know that, you are not alone in struggling.

 Just let it go, young man, let it go and you will be much happier.

And then he waved the bartender over and said he'd like one more whiskey for himself and for his friend and to cash him out, also.

The bartender brought over two whiskeys and he downed his in one gulp and stood up.

And then this man whom I never met walked over to me and put his hand on my shoulder. I looked up at him and nodded.

And then he left a fifty dollar bill on the bar and stated walking out. He looked back one more time at me and called out

remember what I said

I will, I will

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.