Sunday, October 11, 2020

In the trenches of livin'


This one is another all-over-the-place mishmash. I can't vouch for its readability.


I got in a fight Friday night. It was a zero-punch fight. I won.

There's a new restaurant/lounge in town, which is nice for the town on several levels. However, as I walked home (beautiful October evening!) from an engagement with a couple of former sailors there were four intoxicated young fellows engaged in shit slinging and dick beating. When you've had your ass kicked as many times as I have, you begin to recognize patterns, and this pattern revealed a high probability of stupid. As I passed them on the sidewalk one of the fellows got shoved into me. As we made contact he started to mouth off. I didn't like his tone. For those who've been there and are prepared to act decisively to quickly de-escalate and minimize injury, these things happen very quickly. Time slows down and and decision trees spin out. He didn't complete a single syllable before shit went down.

I simply leaned back and let his inertia carry him on by. Hmmm. Inertia. My instinct was to shove him hard. I had an inkling that he would go down if I applied the proper Delta V (thanks blooger for fucking up your symbol fonts!). A complication was the vehicular street traffic in front of him. I didn't want him squashed, just acquainted with the reality of fucking up. Fortunately, there was a light pole between him and the street and his vector was just right. His face made a satisfying melon-splatting sound when it hit the pole. He rebounded and collapsed with a spectacular bloody nose.

I only barely slowed as I stepped over him. I casually looked at his fellow warriors, now gone totally silent, and saw six eyes big as onions. No factor. No need to say a word.

It felt good and it felt right, which probably means it was bad and wrong.

But I could be wrong about that.

It didn't feel like I acted out of anger, but there was a great deal of satisfaction in the way I performed.

Saturday morning there was dried blood at the scene but not very much.

As Richard Pryor put it, "Old men don't fuck around when they be fightin'."

Good thing, bad, thing, or just a thing? Probably all three. IIWII.


Thursday I did a bit more than 13 exercise miles. A good bit of that was simple hiking, but a couple of miles was hard hill running, the best of High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT. Good cardio-pulmonary workout. It's good core work and especially leg work. My thighs and calves are hard as chinese 'rithmatic (Richard Pryor strikes again!).

Friday I did seven-and-a-half miles of hiking. Not hard but steady. A body in motion tends to stay in motion. Often of late it's been a struggle to overcome inertia and get moving. Friday was that kind of day.

It sucked and that's a fact. The hurtin' was on me, yeah, and the great inertia monster and all of his heavy friends were draped around my shoulders. It's hard for me to adequately describe what that place looks and feels like. It's a place where moving and doing and livin' appear to be impossible.

I've learned a few things over the years, though. Impossible, ain't. To my great good fortune and everlasting gratitude navy training taught me that I could do more than I ever thought I could, and that the idea of impossible is just another way of quitting, giving up, surrendering.

Of course I'm a weak and flawed ape-lizard. We all are. Sometimes I fall short. Sometimes I quit, give up, surrender. In those times I can either fall back into the slow death of mere existence, or I can ask God to do for me what I cannot do for myself. And He does. Every time.

In those realms the task is never easy. It's always hard. But it's never too hard. God supercharges my purpose, effort, drive, determination, perseverance. God molds those things in a way I could never do of my own accord, and He steers my feet out of the mire of self and back upon the proper path, the path of love and service.

Is mashing a drunk's face against a light pole an act of loving service? It could be, couldn't it? Was it in my case?

  • A: Yes, of course. It's a very spiritual and giving thing to do.
  • B: No fucking Way
  • C: It's a spiritual experience, but not a spiritual action.
  • D: All of the above.

If you guessed B, you would be correct.

I am a serious piece of work.


Friday morning.

I sit in my recliner watching the dawn come through the big north facing picture window in my living room. Outside the pall of wildfire smoke hangs in the cool, still, October air. It's going to be another beautiful Indian Summer day.

I'm not feeling it. My spirits are very low and I'm hurting very much. The weight of inertia is nearly suffocating.

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen."

What can I change? I can get off my ass and log some miles.

I tried to enjoy the sight of Old Glory in the sun. I kinda felt better.

It was smoky.

My path took me past a property where odds and ends of old equipment are stored.

After a good few miles and a nicely worked up sweat, I took a peek at the new underpass. I used to be able to run steps there. Not no more! Some serious whining in this video!

Thence to the sole still-pumping oil well inside the city limits. Or town proper. Whatever.

Back home I did feel better. I got busy and washed laundry and hung it out to dry. The balance of the day was meh.

Until I won not much of a fight. That was awesome.

After the big win, Modern English came up on my u2b feed. I remember watching Melt With You on MTV back in what, '82 or '83? I've always liked the song. The video was a little freaky but it won a lot of awards.

Today the song speaks to me in ways it couldn't have back then. And I like the quarantine version of 2020 much better than the original.

I can wrap those lyrics around much of my recent and ongoing experience. The concept "melt with you" resonates strongly. My mind spins down a particular path. Self-pity, I see, will make me unworthy of her love. Self-pity is selfish, the love she gives me is selfless. If I am to be worthy, I must work harder.


Saturday morning I woke from sweet dreams. The dreams were dreamlike, yet also very real. There was serious communication. I can't recall the words, but the experience was alive with love and okayness. And touch. She made a point to embrace, to touch my face, to stroke my arms. The touch was real, palpable, tactile. I felt it. What a blessing.

What are the dreams in reality? Are they just random synapses firing? Or does she really come to me each night? I cannot know, not in this realm. Yet I do know.

On Saturday working out was easy. I was fresh, my head was clear, I felt comfortably strong and fit. There was no inertia to overcome, or none of the emotional inertia anyway. I still had to drag my carcass around, but that's just physics. I ran lots of flights of steps. More than 50 in fact.

Well, one more than 50!

Then it was back to laundry, and while clothes washed and dried the writing and posting of a corpsman chronicle. It was rather a dark effort in many ways. I tried to get the feel of the thing across but I'm not sure I was successful.


She came to me again in the night. It seems we're very well melted together.

It also seems as if I'm in a very interesting and challenging situation. I seem to be existing in two realms. They are very different places, connected by a white gold thread of love. The future, it seems, is open wide. I would never have imagined this experience could play out this way.

Batshit crazy? Probably. But this brand of batshit crazy feels okay.


Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.


  1. Replies
    1. It feels okay, and at the level of this unanticipated reality I kind of have to go with what is and do my best. It's not the worst place to be by far.

      Blooger still sucks though! ;-)

      Thanks Chris.

  2. Situational awareness and instant decisions; sounds like you still have it.

    Circa 1980 my wife and I enjoyed dining at a small Mexican restaurant in Renton, WA. while leaving the kids at home with a babysitter. Our path out of the dining area was via the bar where three louts were sitting at a table. As we passed, one reached out and grabbed my wife's breast saying,

    "Are those real?"

    A chair was handy so I broke it over his head. The other two louts jumped to their feet, mouths starting to flap. Since most of the chair was intact, and still in my hand, they got what lout #1 had received. I walked over to the bar and laid down two twenties and then we left.

    About a month later we went back to the restaurant. While looking at the menu, the owner came over with two margaritas and puts some money on the table. Responding to my questioning look, he said,

    The drinks are my compliment, senior, and the change is from your last visit".

    1. What a great story Frank! Sometimes people need to be clouted hard. Cool you got your change back. Forty bucks was real money back then!

  3. Sometimes you go with flow of the good energy around you and use it to divert the flow of the bad energy around you. You didn't deliberately shove him into the pole, Shaun. From reading what happened, you merely altered your course and heading, and he "deflected" off you. The fact that a pole was in his path was a random circumstance. I had a Big Bad Brute Boy come charging me once in college over some perceived slight. I just waited until he was up to full speed and was at just about "bad-breath range", and then side-stepped to my left about 12", enough for him to go sailing straight by me at full speed. The fact that there was a concrete wall 6" behind me where I had just been standing is the random chance of his charging me at that spot. I'd gone from "Code Yellow" to "Code Orange" to "Code Red" in defensive status, and used the only things I had, mobility and open space, to protect myself and move out of the path he was bearing down on me at. He thumped into the head-on at a pretty good trot, bounced back a few inches, and sat down wondering what happened. His friends just looked at me like I was some kind of wizard or "kung-fu" guy. I just smiled and did a "Beats me" gesture on my way out. Nobody got hurt badly and I heard the guy who ran into the wall looked like a raccoon for a couple of weeks.

    1. And another great story, thanks drjim!

      I wasn't clear enough in my written recounting of the fight. I very much did shove him into the pole. Hard and with malice. Of course he did his part and with injurious intent. You're completely correct on the good energy-bad energy front. Physics works and if you understand some of newtons laws you can often gain significant advantage in these situations. I did so on Friday and got a lot of satisfaction out of the encounter. I feel a little too proud of myself but realizing that fact may keep me somewhat humble.

    2. Ok, so you increased his momentum a bit by upping his velocity a tad as he passed by. Sounds like a sufficient Delta V increase to ensure his path to his destination. You're a trained person, and sometimes when you get in a situation like that, your training kicks in. If you were with the littles and this happened you probably would have opened the throttle a bit more and jumped up a notch on aggressiveness...and DO NOT MESS WITH THE LITTLES! would come thundering out.

      So you had a random training exercise that lit up your defensive systems for the first time in a while, and you kept it toned down and under control. You sound like you might be gearing up for full-time "Dadhood" if you're become more aware of harmful things out there. Since we've had our grandkid count go from zero to FIVE in our first three years, I find myself looking at "security" things differently. When you have a bunch of little ones around, you start to think differently than if it's just you, or you and a partner.

      I'll take it your 'satisfaction' was because you remembered the moves, and just did them pretty much automatically when required to.