Sunday, August 2, 2020

Here in the Real World

Best thing about being young is that you always think everything will work out and you don't pay a bit of attention to world affairs, because you thought, ah man, all of the older folks will sort it all out. And I really do believe that men mature a lot later than women because I didn't give a crap about pretty much anything until my first son was born in 2000. And that was when I was 32. So I went 32 years just thinking about lifting weights and football and sexy girls. And of course, hunting and Black Labradors. Those two were the most important, by the way.

I guess that I am writing this because I don't like the real world.

In the real world, people steal from you, They actually steal stuff from another person. I will be the first to admit that I grabbed a can of Skoal or two when I couldn't rub two nickels together in college, and that was wrong. But in the last year, I have had someone steal my checks, steal my kayak, steal  my generator and my faith in humans. A workman  stole my checks and signed my name and people accepted the check because they suck , too.  And then he cashed them all over Philadelphia and the cops can't do anything and it is ME who has to get a new bank account and then go on and talk to the fraud department. That happened to me. Or workmen steal your brand new in- the -box- generator when you go to pick up your kid at school. Happened to me, too.

Two guys came over to fix the air conditioning the other day. I stayed with them the whole time. I don't give a shit, I will never leave a worker alone in my house again. Can't trust anybody. And then you have friends who suck and/or people you thought were your friends and then they end up being so..., well so normal. What is normal now to me? Untrustworthy, late, soft, weak, hate America, hate guns, hate family, hate the flag, hate everything that this country was built on and makes it great. That's normal now.  Whatever. All these pedophiles and child trafficking and nobody gives a damn. I threw that one in there,  I really cannot help it. It makes me nuts . Because I won't get crazy about much, but I will get nuts about that. And these cowards wanting to take my guns but they are protected by guns.

"Good enough for ME but not for the peasants." 

Illogical , right?

 And when you see all of that stuff, it burns your eyes, man.

You see people trying to normalize child trafficking and it makes you cry, makes you want to run somewhere where people would string somebody up for talking like that , and I saw something on a major network  the other day about "normalizing" pedophilia. You know that is wrong, correct? That the trafficking stuff is like a 90 billion dollar industry? Your kids. Lots of kids. Don't leave them alone, I am serious. But in many states, try to get a gun to protect them, Takes forever. Meanwhile, alllll the criminals dont have to wait. You see that, right? Thats illogical and makes no sense. Drop your misconceptions and think about it.

You. Alone at night. Someone breaks down the door and is coming upstairs after you. And your kid. What will you do without a gun? He has a gun. He has your kid's lives. Tell him to leave? Ask him gently? Give up your life? Or blow his damn head off? I'll take the last one.

You get it, right? That people who hate America want you to die, right? That there is a radical bunch of folks who wouldn't last ONE DAMN DAY in China, but want the government to be like they are, right? Is that cute to you? Try it for a freaking day. You will go back to your bowl of Lucky Charms in your Mommy's kitchen real damn fast.

Like I said, when you open your eyes, it gets rough. Especially after 40, then you see how messed up everyone really is, and how you think everyone loves you but then you realize that they don't, and it hits you like a ton of bricks that there are actually some people who HATE you! Crazy, but yes, little old me.

 One time, many years ago, I had a whole section of a forum devoted to how much I sucked as a strength coach.  I think we had just won our third championship in a row or something. The posters were kids who were soft as Pillsbury but the problem was that I told them so. Nobody wants to be told that they are soft. What they could have done is risen up and taken the challenge and be strong and be a leader, and.... it messes people up that there is someone in this world who knows that they are a pussy. That no matter how much bravado they display or how much money they make, there is always someone out there who knows. And I know. So you take it and you move on. I have gotten letters and emails from people who didn't like what I had written. Usually they misconstrued what I meant, but whatever. Just move on. Laugh and move on.

So where does that leave us? Freakin' frustrated. But, I understand. I understand how it is, but I don't like it, not one bit. I'm not changing though. I'm just more awake and I don't trust a soul.

That's how it goes, I guess.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Be Like Coach Miller

Ya know, I have been around athletics and coaches my whole life. I started playing t-ball in kindergarten, then baseball, basketball and football from the third grade on, with football going all the way through college. Then I began coaching in 1989 and that went on for thirty years and is still going on, albeit on more of an unofficial level these days.


I have had plenty of coaches over the years, some good, many bad. Funny thing is, the best coach that I ever had was one of my first, Coach Miller. He coached me when I was weighing 80-100 pounds in football.   He was a Marine, with tattoos on his forearms and a fiery red beard that scared the hell out of me the first time I met him.  “Get your beady little eyes on me,” he began the first team meeting. And we did. He was tough, but fair. Never did anything stupid with us like run endless laps for no reason. He'd say, “Now men, we can play some football or we can be the best darn track team in the country, if you don't want to listen.” We listened. He'd also say, “Men, two things in life to avoid, the Army and wind sprints.” And then he'd gather us around and say, “Men, tomorrow is the game. I don't want to see you running around at night, going to bars, hanging out with loose women.” We sat there with our collective mouths open as he spoke to us. Then he'd say, “And no bubble baths. I want your mommas to lock you in the closet tonight and slide you raw meat under the door. Makes you mean." I loved that man.


 He'd play everyone, everyone got to run the ball. And we'd have a big pizza party at the end of the year and he'd give us a trophy with a marshmallow stuck on top of it. He called us his marshmallows. Nobody got offended, nobody thought anything about it. He wasn't petty or vindictive, and he wasn't silly and he didn't think that he was Vince Lombardi. He was just Coach Miller. We won some , lost some, and some parents would get irritated because he played everyone, but the kids didn't care, we just had a lot of fun. Oh, yeah, he'd send us into the woods to urinate, and he'd yell, “Shake it more than once and you are playing with it!"  Nobody needed to be coddled when he said it.


 Hell, men just talked like that back then. But he really cared for us, we all knew that about him. He was a great man. If I am 52 and still remember him and things that he said, he must have made a huge impression on me. He sure did.


Times have changed.


 My kids play little league or whatever it is called these days. I guess I call all youth sports, “Little league”. I didn't even know that all of this existed when I was coaching in college. I just thought that some parents volunteered and did the best that they could. But it's a big deal to people. Parents get all nuts and the coaches? I see the coaches that they have, and I appreciate the time they put in, but damn, some of them, suck. I don't know if it's because they think that they should act a certain way because they watch too many videos of coaches, or if they are just stupid. All the yelling just to yell, all the posturing, all the fake bravado. Hell, they probably never even played the game. The really good ones played the game. In college, usually. And the good ones that didn't play, realize that they don't now a whole bunch and focus on the fundamentals and having a positive impact on the kids. Its all so stupid even talking about it. Makes me pissed off. Don't you know that they are just kids, and the little kid game is not about you? My one son had a coach who I swear to you, was dumb as a brick. He talked crap to the kids, blamed them for losses, blamed everybody for losses but himself. What he really needs is a good ass kicking. You can always tell a lousy coach by the way his own kid treats him. This one lets his son YELL at him and talk back to him during the games. Embarrassing. And amazing to me. I don't think I ever said two words to Coach Miller besides, “ Yes, Coach.” The problem with coaching in college for years is that when I see guys trying to be all “coachy” and stuff that I spot the fakeness right away. And it's all too much, these guys who think that they know what they are doing because they are a coach of a “travel” baseball team. I feel like saying, you are nobody. You can't coach and you aren't a celebrity, you are just a youth baseball coach who nobody gives a damn about. YOU ARE NOBODY. Belittling kids is a pussy thing to do. I have had to pull my one son off of two teams so far, one football team because the coach had them run endless laps before during and after practice and also wouldn't allow them to take off their helmets or get water in 100 degree weather. Bye. The next one was when he told my kid that he “fucked up his practice plan” and belittled him for playing as a guest player on another team. Bye to you too, coward. I'm too old to go to jail, but I would like to gather all of these lousy coaches up who treat the kids like crap, have them swear that they won't press charges, then beat them down, bad. 

But it wouldn't solve anything, besides make me feel good. They'd still go along, sucking, but thinking that they are an MLB or NFL coach. 


So in conclusion, if you wanna coach kids, coach them, actually teach them. Don't make it about you, don't be a bitch and and don’t ever think that you are important. Hell, just be like Coach Miller.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Heat Love

Where I grew up in Maryland, the summers can get hot. And it's not even just the temperature,but the humidity. The average temperature in July is usually close to 90 degrees and the humidity can be stifling.  On plenty of summer days, there would be warnings from the Weather Service about not going outside because of the combination of high temperature and humidity. 


For some reason, I have always loved the heat, and I mean very high heat and humidity, and I absolutely love to train in the heat. Cold temperatures are fine to train in, but I only do it to prove to myself that I am not a coward. It's definitely not as enjoyable for me as training in the heat.I don't see any reason for cold except for going hunting when the birds migrate at that time. Other than that, I'd rather it be hot, extra hot. 


When I trained for football in high school, I’d always run in the heat of the day, usually around 2 pm. I always felt that if I trained during that time, then the heat of practice would be nothing for me. Much of that running was done in the woods across the street from my house. There was some shade, but it was still smoking hot. And then I’d run down the hill to the house and turn on the hose and spray it all over my head and gulp some of the cold water. Or my Dad would squirt me with the hose if he was out watering the garden. It was probably a mile run, sometimes more, sometimes less.


When I got to college, I’d run twice a day, at 10 am and 2 pm in the offseason. I divided the days up: The morning was for cross country (again, never more than a mile. More like jog-sprint up a hill-jog), the evening for sprints. I had three different trails that I ran that had hills and straightaways and more hills. And then in the evening, I'd go to a football field and run sprints or I had a hill that I'd run that was way back in the woods that I affectionately named “Throw Up Hill” because most of the time when I ran it , I'd end up puking my guts out. What a hill! I guess it was like 60 yards, and it had some fallen limbs across the path and sand and lots of rocks. And at the bottom of it was this little brook that I'd leap over at the start and the finish. My own self made rule was that as soon as I leapt across the brook and turned around, I had to go right away. 


The football field sprints were usually 5, 10 yard sprints, 5, 20 yard sprints and 5, 40 yard sprints. I'd walk back and go right away. 


I remember running so much that my squat weights went down and I didn’t care. I figured that was part of it. I had to get ready for three- a -day practices.


 In later years, if my football players worried about not maxing as much weight before camp as they did in the spring, I explained the stress involved with the amount of running , especially in the last month before camp. These days, football players can stay strong all the way through the season. I had players gain weight during the season and get stronger the last few years that I coached. There are no two -a- days and practices are relatively easy compared to the old days. Lots of rules because of players dying and head trauma , which I get. But up until just a few years ago, if you were in camp and not in running shape , you were doomed. Of course strength is important, and as a strength coach, I loved the new rules! The players stayed strong and got less injured. And these kids are big, very big. There's a lot of beef banging into each other out there and you need to be strong as hell to survive. Plus everyone has the tv timeouts to rest. It's like BAM! Walk back to the huddle, rest, tv timeout, rest, BAM! Just a different game. Not worse or better , just different.


Back to the heat and training. When I was done with playing football in college, I still lifted, did some bodybuilding and powerlifting and stuff. At one point, I got really into Muay thai and Boxing and fell in love with the training (except jump rope. I hate jump rope. Jump rope is stupid) especially on a hot summer day. Try going a few rounds on the Thai pads in oppressive heat and you will learn a whole new level of fighting to survive. 


When I moved to New Jersey years ago, I found a killer hill that was a bitch to run in the heat, but my favorite work out to perform, and still is, is to go in my shed on a hot summer day and hit BOB, that rubber punching bag that looks like a man. It's hot as hell in there, especially with the door shut. Sometimes I'll do just 5 rounds of 30 seconds of punches with a 30 seconds rest, sometimes I will do 10, 1 minute rounds with a minute rest.Just throwing punches the whole time, different combinations. It's been 112 degrees in there and I don't care at all. It's so much fun, just dripping sweat and not being able to breath. You feel so damn alive, like you are a surviving son of a bitch. And you don't care if your neighbors hear you grunting when you are hitting the bag because you are picturing some face that you hate, taunting you, and hell, you are in another place in your head. You have blocked it all out, all of it. You have blocked out life and are totally present. 


I am not trying to be a tough guy by training in the heat. I should probably talk about taking in water and minerals and such.I know that's the right, the smart thing to do.  But I really don’t do that stuff. I just go over to the hose and drink a bunch of water.

I can see how cold would be trying to train in and I get the toughness factor about it. But give me a suffocatingly hot, humid day and I am a happy camper.

Friday, May 29, 2020

A Prick from the Past

The problem with this quarantine bullshit is that it’s given me way too much time to reflect on stuff in the past and when I do reflect, its usually about playing football or lifting or today, my high school football coach. And I remember every word, every slight, every compliment that a coach ever gave me. Coaches have a huge influence on their athletes, good or bad. Hell, it was 1982-1984, and it seems like yesterday. 


My high school football coach, Coach Voight, was a real prick. In fact, I don’t remember one person on my team who liked the guy. Just a nasty old fat dude who was some kind of athlete like 100 years ago who sat there during gym class or weight training class, sort of watching us, but usually just sitting there, being useless. He'd roll out the ball and tell us to play or he’d give us some fake ass lifting program, but he never lifted a weight in his life.  


As a football coach? During  games, he would walk out to the numbers and yell, “SAME PLAY” to our quarterback. Brilliant.

To say that I despised the man would be an understatement. 

After everyone’s senior football season, he would take all seniors and put them on one side of the weight  room, and they weren’t allowed to intermingle with the other players, so they wouldn’t “infect them” with….well, I’m not sure what the seniors could do to the younger guys except lift with them, advise them and push them. But the coach wasn’t into that at all. 

So, when he tried to do that to me, I rebelled, and I refused to lift weights at all in his weight room. I would go to my friend’s house after school to train. Mr. Voight got tired of me and he put me out in the hallway. I’d go to class, grab a chair out of the weight room and sit in the hallway. I’d do that every day. I’d be out there in the hallway, and my girlfriend would come visit me, my friends would come visit me. What a joke. Even as a 16-year-old, I knew more about lifting than that bitch.  

I think that he gave me a “B” in weight training during that time. I think about this guy every so often and I try to figure this asshole out. Like what was he thinking? Why was he such a prick? What made him tick? Sometimes I think too much. But it infuriates me that this guy had a chance to have such an influence on kids when they needed him the most and he fucking failed. He failed miserably. 

Where I grew up in Maryland was a blue collar place with a lot of tough guys who worked their ass off all week and then convened at the Golden Bull Bar or Phil’s Bar and Grill after work to drink Budweiser or National Bohemian and argue about the Baltimore Colt’s or Redskins chances for a good year. I had one little league coach,  Coach Miller, Marine badass, perhaps my favorite coach ever, who would line up beer bottles on a table at Phil’s Bar and Grill with one of my future junior college coaches and figure out plays and the defenses to stop them. They loved football. And drinking beer. In my area, football was for real men and baseball and pretty much everything else were titty pulling sports that you played when it wasn’t football season. 

I’d drive up with my Dad for little league practice when I was just a kid and the coaches of the team would be leaning against their pick-up trucks, smoking cigarettes and bullshitting.

 And the kids were tough. We’d play “maul ball” before practice where whoever has the ball gets slaughtered by everyone until he gives the ball to someone else to get slaughtered. 

It was a tough area. Not crime and stuff, there was never that very much at all. It was just tough dudes who took zero shit from anyone. 

One of my friends’ uncles played in the early 70’s for Mr. Voight and got in a fight with a local college football player and bit the guys ear off. Folks had a chip on their shoulder, they worked and worked, and no fancy college boy was going to leave a fight without remembering that he had gotten into a real fight.

So, this high school coach couldn’t handle these kids who came from tough backgrounds and their values were different, I guess. But all he had to do to harness these kids was to treat them with respect, understand them , talk to them, relate to them or at least try. You see, he could have been an asshole like he was if the players knew that he cared. He was in a great position to have a huge influence on all of us and he failed , he failed. Chance of a lifetime. And instead of everyone remembering  him as a MAN, we all remember him as a nobody. We knew he didn’t give a damn about any of us, I really don’t know what he gave a shit about.  And we would have won a state championship every year or come pretty damn close. You wouldn’t believe the athletes that came through this high school. We had huge kids, and nobody was huge back then and we had fast kids and we had kids who would give their left nut to just win some games and be great. 

I tell my son all the time when they say that they dislike this coach or that coach that I had some lousy coaches who we just ignored, and we knew they were lousy, and we just played for ourselves. If the coach sucks? Screw him, we will band together and do it in spite of him. See, nobody had any money back then, so there wasn’t all this, “ I don’t like the coach so I’m gonna transfer to this school or that school.” That was unheard of back then. Now it’s just the way it is  when it comes to athletics.

We made the best of it.  I guess that what pisses me off, still to this day, is how much influence this prick could have had on all these kids. Kids with broken homes, kids with dads who beat the shit out of them, kids with divorced families who were dying for a father figure. Damn, man. Don’t you see those kids with hope in their eyes?

So dammit, if you are a coach, that the players may not look like they are listening, but they are listening, I promise. They want you to be there for them , to understand them, or at least try to understand them.

You don’t want one of your athletes, 37 years later, writing a column about what a prick you were back then. 




Saturday, May 9, 2020

Idaho

This shit has to end. 

This quarantine or whatever it is. 

It seems like it goes like this: The powers that be decide what is essential and what isn't essential. 

And the arrests? Seriously? A guy alone on a beach is arrested. 

Hey, here is the deal: If you want to live where you can have a little home, ,with a little garden, with a little family (the government will tell you how many kids you can have ) and go in your yard and walk around and panic when the police come by because you are wondering if you DID something, said something or WENT somewhere they didn’t like, go for it. 

That’s not AMERICA, it's China or Russia or wherever.

Seriously, why do we need the government, anyway? Our roads suck, it's like pothole heaven around where I live, the playground is closed, you cant do a damn thing.

 RULES WE NEED RULES MORE RULES.

 Our freedoms are dwindling away. Taxes? C’mon, man. Where does all that money go?  I want it itemized. If I am paying “Adam the alleged child trafficker Schiff's” salary, I want out. Do Nancy Pelosi and Biden get paid by ME and the American people? Why? What the hell do they DO? Lots of worthless folks, treasonous folks in our government. Especially, the Democrats, the party of slavery. Oh, yes, they were/are. It’s okay, there is a feeling in this country that Communism /Socialism is the way to go. If that happens, I’ll be in Idaho. So far out there….

What if everyone fended for themselves? And your neighbor realized that you are entitled to your space and then his neighbor realized the same thing and we lived happily ever after?  Is that a pipe dream? Maybe. But before all that could happen, the government will do whatever they can do to show that they are in control of your life. IN CONTROL. Oh my gosh, put your mask on, here comes the police! 

It seems to me like it’s a lot of:

The people aren’t smart enough to think for themselves

Congress-We make decisions on what’s best for us

Billionaires are now health experts. (Screw Mark Cuban, screw Bill Gates. Just because you have money, we should listen to you? And lebron whatever? Just play and take 3 steps and shut up.) 

 Of course, Epstein didn’t kill himself. 

Canada’s Prime Whatever is a hopeless pussy who thinks that the world is a kind place with wonderful little rainbows and unicorns all dancing around. Bet he is protected by the guns that he outlawed. Stand up for yourselves, CANADIANS! What the hell? Y'all just bend over and take it? I hope not.

Trudeau in black face


Church is bad, Walmart is good

Basically, THE PEOPLE  CAN NOT BE TRUSTED

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Thoughts

How about that coward Trudeau in Canada? Outlawing 1500 weapons with a pen held in his non calloused little hand? Another pussy in the world who needs to spend about 10 years chained to a power rack, squatting. And that's why we have the SECOND AMENDMENT. And you can like it or not, but why should the government be the only people with weapons? Ah, so you can be helpless against them and be ruled and have zero freedoms. Our freedom has already been compromised enough. And a motivated populous can't fight a government when that government has superior fire power? Of course they can.  Just ask the Vietcong if that works. 

Remember World Gym in California where they had the outside deck for training? That's what every gym needs. Training outside is so freaking cool, it gives you some type of visceral, primal feeling. It would be great to have a squat rack between some trees like Joe Kinney, the first guy to close the number 4 gripper. He built a bar and put some big old cement plates on there and got two trees and put some hooks on the trees and there ya go, a squat rack. Every time he passed the squat rack he would do a few squats.Before breakfast. I think it was like 335 pounds. He was a little guy, too, like 170 pounds. He was getting that tonnage in, wasn't he? Going to the shed to get out the lawnmower? Get some squats in. Going to the machine shop? Five reps of squats. Pay the toll, my man. I think it's great. 

I just like when someone's out there just getting it done. No gym? No problem, I have a couple of trees and a shop to make a bar and hell, what does a gym have that Joe Kinney doesn't have? He has what he needs. I have his grip DVD around here somewhere. He could explode beer cans with his bare hands. I seen it myself.  

Then he could go grab his buddy from down the mountain some and do stuff like this:



So you do a few squats as you are going back and forth to the shed or garage getting all the fishing stuff ready in the morning and then you have EARNED the right to have fun with your friend and go fishing and have some beers and build a big old fire and cook some steaks on a fire and eat them with your hands and feel satisfied that you had a great day.

All of it goes together, the lifting outside, the fishing, the fire, the camaraderie. It just appeals to me, that type of day. If you haven't done that in your life, do it. Even if it's with a kettlebell. Do 300 total swings, run up a hill or something and then shoot some skeet or hunt or fish and then build an amazing, roaring fire and toast the day. I remember when my son James was 8, we went on a fishing trip way out in the country in Maryland. I brought a 55 pound kettlebell and had to do 300 swings before we could fish every day. My son didn't "get it" at that age. He was always saying, "HURRY UP DAD! THE FISH ARE BITING!" 

But you have to earn it. I love that stuff.




Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Dog Days

I just walked in from watching my 8-year-old hit the punching bag in my shed. It's quarantine work, you know how it is. While he was punching, I was having a few Budweiser’s. I had already done my work out for today, I did bent over rows and rode the exercise bike early this morning. My Black Labrador, Rebel who is a year old,  joined us in the shed. 

I have to tell you something about Rebel. He loves beer, Budweiser in particular. Now, relax, he just licks the top of the beer can a little after I take a sip. The problem is, he loves beer. Listen, I train my dog. He heals without a leash, can sit on a whistle at 50 yards, listens to me almost all of the time, hangs on my every word. Except when it comes to beer. All good behavior goes out the window when the prospect of licking the top of a Budweiser is present. My son was hitting the bag and I was sitting on a compound bow target and having a few beers and Rebel was jumping around, licking me all over, circling me. Nudging me to take another sip so he can have his lick. He was going crazy. He does this all of the time.

But that’s okay, I can overlook it. Because I love my dog. 

I did not grow up with dogs, but I have had black Labradors since 1990. In fact, I can't imagine life without a black Labrador. I'm sure that other dogs are fine and all, little white fluffy dogs and long hot dog looking dogs and Huskies and Chihuahuas and I'm sure that yellow Labs and chocolate Labs are fine, too. I do have a soft spot for Malinois, after being around a Special Forces buddy who had one. Awesome dogs. But I am a black Lab guy and I reckon that I always will be.

Back to Rebel. This whole quarantine thing has made him into a mess. No, what has happened is that he has made my life a mess. 

He demands attention from me all of the time. Let me give some examples.

I end up sleeping on the couch in the living room every night, because my 8-year-old kicks me out of my own bed and he gives off so much heat and punches me in his sleep that I head to the couch in the living room. The problem is that Rebel’s kennel is in the living room. This means that daddy is here, and now he can demand something from me. And let me tell you, he would demand to eat or be taken outside, but I fool him. I purposely don't look at Rebel as I pass by at 1:30 in the morning. If I look at him, his tail would begin to wag, and he'd wake out of his slumber. But I'm smart, see. I ignore him. In fact, I cover my face with a pillow sometimes or put up a laundry basket to block his view of me while I sleep. I can FEEL his eyes on me while I am lying there. And around 530 am, whether I am blocking his view or not, he begins pacing in the kennel. I hear him and I open my eyes and I say to myself, self, he's not going to quit until you get up. And he doesn't whine, he just paces and then stops and looks at me. I can feel those brown eyes burning into my soul. So, I get up and let him outside. Then I get dressed and after I shake the cobwebs off of my brain, I go outside and retrieve with him. He's my hunting dog , so we have drills that we work on. At 530 in the morning, my enthusiasm for all of this is not quite there yet, so we get the drills done but what I'm really trying to do is make him tired. These dogs have unlimited energy. Then after ten minutes or so, we go in and I feed him. I put his food down and he sits until I tell him that it's ok to eat. Sometimes, he just stands about five feet away from me and looks at me. We have been doing this forever, I say, you have to sit to be fed. He looks at me like he doesn't get it. Mind you, we do this every meal. Then I say, SIT! And his butt hits the ground like it was his first time. Then I tell him OK and he rushes over and eats like a madman. 

I wash some dishes and wait for him to eat and then I actually make the mistake some days of trying to lie back down again, but NOOOO, Rebel wants to sit on the couch with me and be petted and to be told how wonderful he is. So, I get up and he lies across my lap and acts like I am the most important thing in the world. But he can’t help himself; he will jump off of my lap after about 10 minutes and grab a sock or a pen or a pillowcase or sometimes a whole blanket and start chewing on it, or sometimes just bring some of that stuff to me. Hunting Labs and most Labs have to have something in their mouths all of the time. I had a  45-pound barbell delivered to me the other day in a cardboard sleeve. He tried to pick it up and carry it around the yard. Yes, he did. He’s a retrieving fool. 

Rebel
I realize that you are probably saying to yourself, Just how old is this guy? How can he let a dog run his life? 

Dammit! Rebel is looking at me right now.

I’m not taking him out again, I’m not taking him out again. 


And it continues throughout the day. I'll try to write and there he is, nudging my hand or he is in the kennel groaning. Yes, groaning. He knows that I hate whining, so he sort of does this groan/moan thing. And sometimes he gets the hiccups when he is staring a hole through me and I point at him and say, you have the hiccups! I like to make fun of him sometimes because he busts my chops so much. 


As the day continues, I take Rebel out and retrieve with him numerous times. I'm embarrassed to say , but it's like fifteen times a day. Yes, fifteen. He's nuts, I already told you that he's nuts. By 8 o'clock at night, he's pretty exhausted. Or is it that he exhausted me and now he is satisfied? Either way, I like watching him sleep and dream and bark in his sleep with his mouth closed and kick his little legs like he is running while he's dreaming. I get him back by telling him that he looks silly while he is dreaming. 


But I say it in my head, of course. I don't want him to wake up and make me do something else for him. 


It just occurred to me. Maybe I am the one who is trained. Damn.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Old Man at the Pond

I drove down to Salem County, New Jersey the other day to take the family fishing. We drove by farms and desolate roads and empty strip malls, and it felt like there was a pall hanging over the land, like after something really bad happened or maybe it was thirty years ago when there weren't so many people living around there. 

I was looking for a place where nobody else was, a place where I didn’t have to be around other humans that may just be sick or hell, just folks in general. I have had enough of folks in general. It’s mostly like that for me. 

We found a state game land pond where we could fish. I fished for a while, but we ran out of line after I had to cut mine one too many times, so I worked on some boxing stuff with my 8-year-old and enjoyed being out in the country.

An old Chevrolet truck pulled up , and of course I was dreading it, somebody pulling up and me having to tell them to stay away. But I still waved, it’s what you do in the country and then I saw it was an older gentleman getting out. He pulled up, but he was still far away enough that he wasn't gonna get any of us sick if he had the dreaded virus that has paralyzed the world.

How’s it going?

Oh, it’s going ok. 

I asked him if he had fished here before and if there were any fish in the pond and what baits he usually used. My older son was fishing with a spinner bait and the old man offered him some minnows out of his bucket that he had on the bed of his truck. Ah, that’s ok, I said, thinking that my son would get sick if he went over there. And the old man said, look, I will open the bucket and stand over here away from you if you want some minnows. And my son got a minnow and said thank you and started fishing with it.

And I thought what a shame that it has come to this, where you can’t shake another man's hand or get a few minnows out of a bucket without worrying about catching the plague. 

And we kept talking. About dogs and training dogs and just how great dogs where to have in the family. He talked about when he was young and how he'd been in the Marines in the 1970's during  the Vietnam era but didn’t have to go over there, and how lucky he was that he didn’t. But he talked about his friends coming back from Vietnam and getting spit on and how messed up it all was back then, just a bunch of kids doing what they needed to do for their country and not understanding why folks hated them for doing what they were called to do.

He started talking about he and his wife just getting back from Mexico and not being able to find weed anywhere in Mexico but that he could find plenty when he and his wife went to Jamaica and that hell, he wasn't ashamed to admit that he smoked weed. And he told me that dammit, he couldn't find Miller High Life anywhere in any foreign place that he visited. 

He really liked beer, he said.

And he asked if I wanted a beer.

I said no because you may have the virus and then you’d  give it to me and then I'll be really sorry that I got everyone sick just over the fact that I had to have a beer.

But I really wanted one, because there is something about sharing a beer with a stranger , like breaking bread of sorts , and everyone sort of relaxes and starts talking about everything.

I didn’t get a beer from him.

But I searched around the back seat of the truck and found an old semi warm Budweiser and drank that while we talked some more.

He talked about his son being a county police officer in Maryland and how his daughter had all the smarts in the world but she had never really applied herself and now she had a job that she really didn’t like and he seemed disappointed about his daughter but plenty proud of his son , who just made Sergeant down in Maryland.

We agreed about the gun grabbers not understanding just what it was like to shoot and to have a tradition of the hunting and the outdoors and why New Jersey laws are straight out of some communist manifesto , and just why are the laws made by know-nothing politicians up north in Newark and Jersey City. Damn you, North Jersey.

After a while, I felt like it was time to go. I knew we were in his favorite fishing spot and we had been there long enough. It was his turn.

We wished each other luck with this whole thing, and I was not quite sure what the feeling was that I had inside of me as we pulled away and waved to the old man. 

Maybe I was feeling that things that I really loved to do, like talking to someone that I just met and telling stories over a beer or two or casting a line into a pond with a stranger would just always feel a little different to me. Like there would always be this hesitancy about getting too close to someone.

 I  guess that I was feeling closed in, and  I know that I was feeling a little lost and plenty sad. There was something foreboding about this day and there was something that just felt off. The ride home was pretty quiet, maybe my family was feeling it also. It was just different, just very different. 

Steel Reflections Podcast with Chuck Miller

Steel Reflections Podcast!

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a year...it's for life. Whether its training or your family or your job...it 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.