Monthly Archives: December 2011

Cool Runnings

Another milestone year is behind us in a few hours.

Starting out the previous new year with a bang, my friend died on January 2nd. It doesn’t matter that you know someone is extremely ill; loss hurts. The first connection between Jerry and I came about so he could talk with a spouse of a cancer patient in order to help his wife. Our friendship started there, but it went much further over time and I’m grateful to have experienced his gentle courage.

Then as if turning 52 the next month wasn’t hard enough [I can’t be this old, dammit!], shortly thereafter my daughter announced that she liked a girl but isn’t gay. We always say we love our kids unconditionally and want them to be happy, but the true test comes from making good on the words. I decided that I indeed loved my daughter for who she is, and so now the girlfriend has acceded to my hipness as well. At least I know where my daughter goes, even if sometimes it’s the local gay bar, and with whom.

My car then died and resurrected a few times between June and September, causing me no end of delight in getting stranded when I least expected, like the Northway at 4 p.m. rush hour. New car in October brought much-needed stability to my life and a new home for my running magnets.

Despite the ups and downs, I managed to squeeze in the requisite training to finish 26.2 miles in just under 5 hours, setting a new PR and losing fewer toenails.

For the second year in a row, I was unable to buy a bicycle [thanks, car trouble] although I did actually pedal one for a whole hour once. Considering I hadn’t been on a bike in over 30 years, it was a big moment for me. Didn’t go on a hike either. Those things remain on the List Of Things I Would Like To Do while other people waste time watching football or visiting the mall.

“Life is meant to be lived. Take risks.Feel passion. Discover love. Run free.” Fuckin’ A.


“God is not on our side because he hates idiots also.”

I’m not a spaghetti-western aficionado or an Eastwood fan, but this line from ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ kicks ass.

The recent passing of the writer/rebel/iconoclast/splendid bastard Christopher Hitchens and these happy holidays about to descend have me thinking more about the issue of living quite happily without religion. In the great conservative Northeast where I reside, the shocking espousal of anti-piety is right up there in popularity with disdaining Sunday afternoon football and mall-shopping as entertainment. Those who follow such a path to righteousness still find me and my secular coven worth cultivating; methinks those extra recruitment points have something to do with it…because they know something we don’t…but if only we would listen then we’d be magically transformed…yada-yada-yada. Very soon, I am resigned to suffer the company of some of these people because of the irony of DNA, but thankfully Christmas only comes once a year.

Hitchens wrote during his cancer illness, which he ascribed to lifestyle choices of his own volition, “Redemption and supernatural deliverance appears even more hollow and artificial to me than it did before.” While Mark’s cancer had little to do with poor choices on his part, I doubt if he’d heeded his cousin’s advice to visit the Virgin of Medjugorje that there were would have been any other outcome. I’m okay with that because I have to be.

I never ask anyone to come over to the dark side of living sans religious affiliation. None of my personal spaces – home, office, car, etc. –are decorated with “Jesus Doesn’t Save” paraphernalia. I have been known to preach the fitness gig, but only when provoked and only from a standpoint of how it works for me. If you want my suggestions or opinions on why cross-training is important I’m definitely your go-to, but I’m not going to nag you to join me on long runs or pump some iron just because lean muscle mass is my belief system.

Keep the anti-faith. And to all a good night.

“A woman is the only thing I am afraid of that I know will not hurt me.”

Obviously Old Abe Lincoln never met me.

Early on, I told Mark that I was high maintenance but worth it. I figured it was best to get that out in the open rather than employ the time-honored feminine wile of subterfuge. This continues to serve me well. Why beat around the bush when it comes to the dance of the male-female species?

Conversely, I was once admiringly told by a gentleman acquaintance that I was very ‘un-chicklike’ indicating that I often exhibit behaviors/interests at odds with traditional gender stereotypes. This includes, but is not limited to: appreciation of The Three Stooges, gangster movies a la Scorcese and Bogart, and frat humor [think The Farrelly Brothers]…being quite handy with swearing…and having keen interest in world history, bordering on obsessive interest in World War II events.

This apparently endears me to men who find the mall and chick-flix as unappealing as do I. I’m the first to admit my closet burgeons with trendy clothes and shoes, but the idea of wasting  a Saturday ‘shopping with the girls’ when there’s a good independent movie to be checked out — and a hipster doofus guy with which to check it out – well, I think my choice is clearly defined by now.

Contrary to Honest Abe’s statement, I could easily hurt you…that is, if you want to be entertained to death.

Eat, drink and beat Larry

Four years ago at this time, the sights and sounds of the holiday season affronted my senses in a very painful way. The very idea of a store clerk wishing me a happy holiday would leave me shaking and tearful. Thank god for on-line shopping.

As with all things widow, this pain has subsided. But I still feel like Charlie Brown, standing alone on a stage yelling “Can anyone tell me what Christmas is all about?!”…although in my case, one should interject expletives liberally.

I have a hard time with ‘Christmas only’ radio formats that begin mid-November, causing me to change my car radio pre-sets until the season is over.  But I’m really good at passing myself off as a partaker of happy holidays. I like my friends and buying presents for them is more fun than challenging. I like to take a little run on Christmas morning and give myself some ‘me time’ before the extended family onslaught. I revel in certain old movies, especially ‘Three Godfathers,’ a John Ford movie that is somewhat corny but full of the usual Ford colorful characters and humor. I wish ‘Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol’ was still shown.

Otherwise, January 2, 2012 can’t come soon enough.