Tuesday, June 23, 2009



The week before I would fight was invariably the longest one. I called it 'zero week', counting backwards from the beginning. There would be a 'grind week' somewhere near the middle, as the body finally begins to come on line from laying up and eating donuts and drinking yoo hoo's as you go thru regular training.

That would be tough, but that is physically. Mentally you are still fresh and the body is but a slave to the mind. But by zero week, you are worn from drilling on strategy, dealing with what you can and can't do in the ring, and being concerned about maybe even being exposed by your weakness.

As Mills Lane would say, 'Let's Get It On!' Enough talking about it! That is how I am feeling about this week. Friday can't come soon enough.

One of the reasons that football players have empty rhetoric, is that they don't exactly face each other. They play positions, and very rarely is it that someone who lines up directly from you, is the one talking trash.

I used to show up at fights, dressed with a blazer and tie, trying to look the part of someone who was above the level of 'common pugilist', and trying to affect the mildly disinterested sportsman. I would talk about whatever was in the news, always switching the topic from my opponent. There be the gratuitous acknowledgement, but I wouldn't degrade nor compensate for whatever he did well.

Pressed on strategy, I would be prone to say, "Watch the fight, and you tell me what happens. THAT is when we'll know what the strategy is."

As a pro, the only time I tried to agitate someone, was a fight in Vegas. This cat was HUGE. But I kept talking about his feet, and he was foreign, with a heavy accent. His english couldn't keep pace, so I kept telling him that his feet was too big for him to get out of the way. I was going to put a hurt on him, and he wouldn't be able to get away from what I was giving him ... and he didn't!

I haven't seen 'The Right Stuff' in such a long time, that I confused it with the fine show with Craig T. Nelson and Cindy Pickett. Astronauts have such a low margin of error, that only someone who was involved in science, you know like molecular biology or nuclear physics or something like that could really appreciate the low, low tolerances they deal with.

That is what makes them so amazing. They live in a world where that .00001 actually makes a SIGNIFICANT difference. When they have one time to get something done, ONE TIME is what they mean.

In real life, that doesn't happen. We are more tolerant of one another, be it because of our spiritual philosophy, or because in accepting that we all are imperfect, we learn to adjust our expectations. And that is okay, in a way that so many of us accept that it is okay.

Walt Kowalski wasn't as compromising. For him, 'irascible' would have been a compliment. He was a tough SOB, and he wasn't backing down from anyone for any reason.

But I think that there is a reason that we aren't perfect, that we all don't talk the same, or enjoy the same things. A reason for why what appeals to one, can offend the other, and leaves yet someone else indifferent. There is a reason that 'this' is not related to 'that'.

I think that it is that way so that we get to know one another and find something in every one of us. That is what happened to Walt, and he grew as a person. For sure, I have found in reading journals that there is a little bit of each one of us in each other. If we but realized the insignificance of our differences, what kind of world would ...

In speaking about Nebraska, and what I perceived as her lack of 'available space' for me, it made me keep asking myself what was I doing with my life. I mean, this woman had stated her plans ... which had to be neither here nor there to me, because I was being drawn towards something beyond her. She may have been part of my getting there, carried along with me, but what I did know was that I was getting ready to live my life once again.

Remembering when I got my first diagnosis ... and then the hearing ... I simply sucked it up and said what would NOT happen to me. This was not going to be a sentence for me and my dreams. I was not going to allow this to diminish my goals, set upon clouds, aloft in the hazy glow of the sun. The only reason that I could not make any distinction between things was that I was not close enough to see. Things were too far away for me to make out.

I remember my childhood as one of my being annoying. Annoying because I wasn't going to lay down 'just because', annoying because I wasn't going to accept anything but what I considered someone else's best. Yeah, there are a bunch of second place and 'participant' trophies in my life, but hey, I never stopped trying.

Today I lost my cell phone. I had it in the doctor's office, because I had to turn it off. It is missing because ... it's missing. I won't allow myself to get worked up over things. Speaking about 'practice', it is something that apparently isn't going to be different in me, that I am going to want things in a certain order, have a level of security that allows me to feel that I am secure, and not only in a relative way.

I tell myself, and I believe that if I was in a place of my choosing rather than being in of place of 'resort', then things would be different. I would be able to establish my arc, and know that conditions would be as they should, and as expected.

It isn't simply about me not being able to deal with anxiety. It is that anxieties are my enemy. It isn't about dealing with them, it is about avoiding them entirely.

Getting Ken and Beth up from Mexican Town ... I am sure that there were more expedient ways to get 'there, from here', but I couldn't worry myself about all that. I knew what I knew, and that was that. Not that there was anything 'clear and present' about the ride, but I am only saying ...

That is what 'chaotic home life' does for me ... adds to my already anxiety filled life. And why I was again sure that if I had to be to myself, I would be that. Not going to invite an unnecessary risk in my life. Period.

Getting back to the astronaut (man or astro man?) part of this entry, I see two things - one, there is nothing wrong in taking risk. That is a part of life as anything else. People who don't take risk, rarely gain anything out of the gift of living (oh and to be sure, life is a gift ... it is heavy, but I have no doubt that mine is a gift) that they have in their hands. Eventually it turns to dust and crumbs falling between their fingers.

And two, be prepared. There is no air in that (pun not intended ... I wonder if anyone caught it?), because once you get a small thing wrong, the error grows and grows. At some point, you become lost in the error and lost in your mistake. Whatever possibility you can foresee, if you are ready for them, then you will find that you will be able to overcome the ones you DON'T see.

Oh, and to be prepared for the opportunity you didn't expect.


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

So glad that an unexpected opportunity is on the horizon. Two more days :o)

DB said...

Sometimes I think that every day is an adaptation to all the days that have come before. Errors are inevitable, even in a lab, I guess. I tend to prefer making big ones. My life is a compensation for my life. I would be no good in the ring. My idea of success is not getting knocked down.

By the way, Ken called you a peach and Beth called you a doll. You're a peach of a doll, young man, and don't you forget it.


a corgi said...

I liked what DB wrote about you, Mark; don't forget that for sure!!

I liked what you wrote about preparing for a fight and counting down the weeks; I'm sure any athlete who is playing the big game or whatever the event feels the same way, just wanting it to come and be done with on that zero week

Perhaps Nebraska was a place to just wait and stay put for a bit until SFC came back into your life.

I agree with taking the risk and being prepared just in case....

I think you have always been wise to do just that