Wednesday, November 19, 2014



I am going to be a friend to Nebraska.  Because this is an executive decision, I am making this choice with the full and complete understanding of the possible positive circumstances, in spite of evidence to the contrary.  I just do believe that we can be good friends. But, because of our recent past, it may be that she feels it is too late for us. I can understand why she may feel that way and that is something I can live with.

One of the things that I had always hoped that we’d get to do was go to Chicago around this time of year.  This was the season when we first actually met and though we had unique takeaways from that meet, it was one that left a piece of glam from a possible future between us.  This is a future that still potentially awaits us, and was one of the factors that was taken into account.  Again, if she does not respond, I can dig it.  Having dealt with something that was nagging at me, I return my attentions to the tasks currently at hand.


That is the working name of a prospective You Tube show that my co-worker and I are mulling.  He watches a few shows regularly and feels that we (‘he can’ to perfectly honest about the venture… I never had given the notion such a show a passing thought) can make a short show about mostly extemporaneous stuff, with a little fitness advice thrown in.  It would be sort of kind of cool if we were to make some sort of connection and find our niche, but if we don’t, then being able to say we put in the attempt will be good enough.

On Monday night, a former world champion powerlifter who works out in our gym occasionally was attempting a deadlift of impressive weight.  At least it was impressive to us at the non-competitive level.  When my prospective co-host saw the weight that our guest had place on the bar, he came and got me from where I was working in the spin class room to watch the weight lifted.  What he did not, nor the guest either, anticipate, was my walking up to the weight and warming up to lift it.

The rational, logical part of my mind knew that the weight was about to go NO-where.  There were so many plates on the bar that I did not try to calculate what our guest was going to lift.  I just warmed up and grabbed the bar… and … I … barely… moved… it!  Come to find out, the big guy was working with 590 lbs., and my max deadlift to that point had been 425 lbs., so I was in VERY deep water.  Later, after he got his work in, we talked of my “mission to fail” and what it REALLY was about.  That is what I am going to share with you here.

First, I don’t believe any of what I am about to write about should be of any surprise to regular readers.  I know that it did not surprise my co-workers or the cat who lifted the weight.  I mean, competitive is who I am, and seeing the challenge of leaping from “cat who works cleaning gym equipment” to “cat who works cleaning gym equipment AND does world-class deadlift” was too fat of a carrot to dangle before me.  When we spoke of my attempt, I told him about the experience, how I FELT the bar move and that there was a “movement” when I tugged at the weight.  He shared of how he would show up, similar to what I did, coming in cold and jumping into lifting without a proper warm-up or working to the weight level.  Sure, it was wrong, but sometimes if you want something you just have to jump in with both feet.

Second, there are times where the attempt is of greater consequence of result.  For instance, I felt that I have grown stronger from the fail that I would have been had I not walked up and given it a go.  The thing about challenges, about the “things that don’t kill you”, is that they DO make you stronger.  I can scarcely think of a system in nature that does not grow from its struggle, from a cellular level, to that of a complex organism.  Anywho, not wanting to leave on a missed shot, I did grip up a double at my old max, 405 lbs.  I had thought that I would get a triple, but not having been really ready for a lift, and the lack of using weight gloves, I did not get that third rep.  Eh, I will take what I got and finish my shift!

Overall, I am a nice guy.  Yet I have always wanted to maintain and further cultivate a part of me that I call “the inner a--hole”.  It isn’t like a person you call and think of as an a--hole, a jerk.  That person has a character defect that makes you question their worth as a human being.  No, the inner a--hole is what makes a super nice cat like Ned Flanders leave his hapless neighbor Homer Simpson to find his own way, not because Flanders isn’t a nice guy, but because there comes a point where the character of his own self-interest has to act on his behalf, and the role of agency  falls squarely on Homer. Whether Flanders cares or not doesn’t matter… he makes the decision that best supports himself.

Sometimes, I wonder about people who make poor decision based on bad information.  Sticking with Ned and Homer, usually because it is a situation involving Homer, Ned can make causal assumptions on whether or not he should play a role in whatever maneuver or circumstance his neighbor finds himself enmeshed in.  And here is where my personal coda and axioms begin grinding against one another.  

In real life, many of us lack the clarity of purpose, the sanctimony of spirit, of a Ned Flanders.  We are flawed in spirit, jaded and unconsciously bitter in varying degrees, by our encounters to where we are in the now.  This is something that I think should be considered in as one battles to rise above their present state.  Finding clarity of purpose can only truly be done, I believe, with clarity of consciousness.


When I left “the provincial town I once jogged ‘round”, having the ability to blow the smoke and fog that clouded my mind and vision, I begin to make progress.  Reaching wherever it is that I think I am at now, has been a long series of making the best decisions, choices that enabled me to still take sight of my goals and DREAM, as well as continue on the path that leads to my goals and dreams.

As with my relationship with Princess and the ill-fated deadlift attempt, the relationship with Nebraska will be one where “we know the environment’.  No illusions or expectations beyond the next day, the next visit, the next meet.  So this will not be a relationship made of pure invention… it will be calculated and I intend to be conscious throughout the entire process.  I won’t wish for more than what I am offered and I won’t be concerned about my level of participation.  I know me… and I know my intention.  If that isn’t enough, then, “Oh well…”


abbiestreehouse said...

One other benefit of trying the deadlift: you understand, in a way few can, what that weight really is. To me it's an abstract thought, for you it's more concrete.

The YouTube venture sounds interesting. I think you should go for it- you're bound to learn something from it, even if you don't become an overnight sensation.

Ken Riches said...

Glad you have clear sight on your going forward with Nebraska!