Archive for the ‘The Human Side’ Category

I’ve gotten away from blog writing.. maybe I’ll pick it up again.. but right now I feel compelled to write a few things. It’s (very) early on Father’s day and while my thoughts are fresh .. I just have to get them down.

My Father now lives up the street from me and he has only been there a very short while. But he’s been in my thoughts and my heart every day for as long as I can remember. He probably doesn’t know this because I am not the best at communicating it. I may actually be better at doing so subconsciously. I say this because I see my Dad in all three of my kids and I am pretty sure I don’t outwardly try to make them like him.

I attribute that to the way my Dad raised me. You see, whether we like it or not, we take on the traits of our parents in many ways. Some obvious, and some not so much. But I look at my life now, I look at my children, I look at my choice for a soul mate and all I can say is thank you Dad.. Thank you.

I look at my 3 children and I thank God softly in my heart for giving them to me and for giving me the honor of calling myself their father..

failblogsportsmanship

You just wait one second there mister!  I never saw in the manual the part about me having to teach my kids what it’s like to be a good winner and an even better loser.  They are supposed to learn that through TV and the internet.  All I have to do is make sure they get fed properly, get a good education and make it to their 18th birthday.. then Daddy is OUT!

Ok, so I don’t believe that for a second really.  I’m just scared shitless at the thought that I have to come up with an effective way to do this.  My assumption right now, is that it’s an ongoing process and I will probably not stop trying to achive this until they are almost adults.  So, knowing this is going to be a grueling task, Im starting young.  My children are 9, 4 and 2.5.  I started with the 9 year old when she started swimming and playing soccer.  She made it seem relatively easy… but my 4 year old son smacked me with reality.  You see, this little guy hates to lose.. hates to lose at ANYTHING.. even racing up the stairs to get ready for bed or bath time.  Hates it so much that if he even comes in second, he’ll drop down and cry and complain.

The first time I saw this my jaw got stuck in the carpet.  I couldn’t understand why the hell MY little boy is wailing at the fact that his little brother (half his age mind you) beat him up the steps.  I mean, I gave the 2 year old a huge head start and he still almost lost.. c’mon kid.. suck it up right?  I’ll tell you how I began this life lesson in a minute.. before I do that, I want to reflect on something that I found profoud in current events.

If you are paying attention to the Winter Olympics even a little bit.. you almost certainly heard about the totally awesome US Hockey victory against Russia the other night.  I didn’t see the game myself, but I read about it and caught all the highlights. Being a huge sports fan..and once a huge hockey fan, I was totally enthralled with the details.  However, one detail caught me more than anything else.. and it really had little to do with the game. TJ Oshie scored the winning goal for the Americans and during an interview he was called a hero.  Rather than accepting that moniker like I think so many other professional athletes would have done.. he made a beautiful display of humility. In a single statement, Oshie showed our kids a perfect example of what it’s like to be a good winner.

Dejan Kovacevic who writes for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review Tweeted:

“Just had good talk with America’s newest hero. Only don’t call T.J. Oshie that. “The American heroes are wearing camo. That’s not me.”

You can Google TJ Oshie or you can do what I did and look up “real heroes wear camo” and find a ton of people talking about this.  One article I read is right HERE. It’s short and sweet and has a couple of links that are inspiring as well.

Like it or not, our kids look up to professional sports figures.  Much to the chagrin of many of them, they have this cross to bear, even if they didn’t sign up for it (remember Charles Barkley and this Nike commercial?).  Our job as parents is hard enough and now we have to try and explain to our kids why Michael Vick got in all that trouble.  Or why Richard Sherman is being called a Thug.  The Bleacher Report did a pretty neat job of compiling some good examples HERE.

So, back to my first real attempt at teaching my boys how to lose well and how to win well.  When the 4 year old finished his rant.. I sat them both in the tub.  I got their attention and told them that in every race, every competition there is going to be winners and losers.  IT’S OK TO LOSE!  When you lose you need to stand up and say “I’ll get you next time!!” or “Im gonna try harder so that doesn’t happen again”.  I also told them that when you DO win.. don’t do a happy dance and tease your opponent.  Say “nice job!” and throw em a high five.  I was quickly loosing sight of the fact that I am talking to two humans barely more attentive than a chihuahua.. so I had to bring them back to reality… I finished off with my version of the Hulk Hogan eat your vitamins schtick.

I told the boys the best way to help yourself win is to EAT GOOD FOODS (did I mention that my 4 year old thinks the 4 major food groups are Pasta, Pizza, cookies and Pasta?).  Even the 2 year old gets it.. I said hey #3, do you know what good foods are?  He says “MEAT DADDY!”  So I rattle off a few other good protein rich foods.. and then I said what else can you do to help yourself become a winner?  “Exercise and lots of SLEEP!”.. figure, while I’m at it.. might as well go hard.  By the end of the little speech they were reciting the foods and forms of exercise and even thowing in some of their own.. so I would say mission accomplished this time around.  At least until tomorrow, when we race to the top of the stairs again.

So, Mr. Oshie I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You struck a cord with me not only as a father of 3 aspiring winners but also as an American.  Our media outlets do like a feel-good story but they also know that train wrecks are far more fun to watch and are good for ratings.  We don’t see enough of this.. I for one, am hoping that you inspire a lot more folks than just me.

(top image thanks go to failblog.org borrowed from- https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/2942401792/hD60B407D/)

gogoIt’s 3pm.. I am hitting that late afternoon wall at work.  I am totally not looking forward to my hour long drive home.  It’s the commute of death… 30 plus miles of cursing and finger flipping with the occasional good song on the radio to take my mind off murder.

I know I have to hit the gym before I head home but my brain just keeps saying… “SKIP, SKIP, SKIP…”

But wait a God Damned minute… I know what to do!  There is no way I can let myself skip another head bumping, Cancer preventing, muscle building, fat burning session at my favorite sweat shop… I run to the water cooler and grab a bottle of water.. I know what is waiting for me in my car… and I’ll be ready.

Quittin time rolls around and I pile into my Jeep.  I turn on my Sirius rotation to get my head in the game and I reach into my gym bag.  I pull out a zip lock bag with this beautiful pearly white powder all nestled in the corner of the bag.. in perfect pour position.  I dump the bottle of water into my shaker cup and then quickly dump the contents of the baggie.  I have to hold my breath though because I hate the smell of this shit.. makes me want to gag every time..but trust me, it’s worth it.

I shake the shit out of this stuff, because I hate that gritty residue that most powder supplements leave in your mouth.  Then I pop the lid and to my surprise (every time) the lid pops like a soda can.  Whatever is in this stuff has got pop from the second you finish shaking.  I never was a chugging expert.. in college I would be on the verge of puking every time I tried.  That said, this stuff tastes so nasty to me, I have no problem.  I unhinge my jaw like an Anaconda and pour this stuff right into my gut.

Ok, so by now you are probably thinking.. why the hell would he drink this stuff if it tastes like shit and doesn’t fully dissolve when shaking it?  Be patient my friends.. read on.

The directions say that a full serving is 2 scoops.  I don’t want to take changes being old and all.. you know, 41 years old is practically geriatric by gym standards.  So I go with 1 scoop to start.  Actually now, I am up to 1.5 and that seems to be perfect.  Says to wait 30-45 mins after guzzling to start your work out.  No problem there, I have at least that much on the highway to hell.

Approx 7 mins in… one of my favorite tunes comes on the radio and by now.. my cheeks are starting to feel warm.  I know that next up is usually my ears.  When they start to tingle like someone just hooked up the battery cables.. its GO TIME!

By the time I pull into the gym lot I am so amped up that I am practically sprinting to the locker room.  Imagine you have that super urgency to take a shit and you are running to get your pants down before your ass explodes… well it’s kind of like that.. I just thought that was funny.

Anyway, back on topic.  By now I am fumbling with my phone to get Pandora turned on, get my shorts and shirt on to hit the cardio.  I wanna get on that damn elliptical before this stuff wears off because I know that just an hour ago I was dreaming of my couch and another episode of whatever I DVR’d over the weekend.  Ok Ok… Im ready to ROC… ah..shit.. shorts are on backwards!!

Needless to say, in all seriousness.. I am happy I have discovered Pre-Workout supplements.  I don’t know if they are all safe or not, but the way I look at it is that it keeps me motivated and gets me to the gym.  When I am there I am amped up through my entire workout and it’s pushing me farther than I would go if I didn’t take a thing.  So for now, it’s my savior.  Hopefully I won’t burn out on the stuff, because it’s really keeping me positive in the sweat factory.

Rottenecards_76210012_zr644jdxpfHave you ever felt like you are so worried about pleasing everyone else that other things around you start to fall apart?  How about being so concerned with what others might be thinking about you, that you start to drift away from being the person you really are?

Kind of heavy huh?  Maybe so, but I think this is a problem that a lot of people have and some struggle to find a way to deal with it.  I used to be one of those people and sometimes I still struggle.  Inherently I believe most of us want to be liked.  I don’t think anyone who is truly honest would say that they don’t give a shit if someone likes them or not.  Living a life 100 percent by that sword may lead to a lonely life.  However, I do think there is a balance that we should seek.  That balance will lead to a lot less stress and ultimately a happier place.

The key to finding this balance is first understanding a few inevitable facts of life.  One is that not everyone will like you.  Some may even act like they like you. But when your back is turned they are throwing you under the bus.  Those are the ninjas that can do the most damage and you must identify them as soon as you can.  Another fact to remember is that it is impossible to please everyone.  No, seriously.. that is a fact.  Just look in the mirror and tell me how it’s working for you if you are in fact trying to accomplish this feat today.  There are too many different types of people out there. You are just one person and we are all human..so it’s just not possible.

OK, So what?

Why is this important?  Why am I even writing about it?  Well, it boils down to this.  I see people I care about struggling with this and since I have been through it, I want to try and help them.  I want them to see that it’s normal and can be overcome.

When I was first married.. (way back in my early 20’s) I was smack in the middle of it all.  I had a career that I was trying to cultivate, a new wife and new life.  I was barely out of college and here I am starting the first big chapter in my adult life.  I didn’t realize it until much later, but I was in this weird tug of war.  On one hand, I am in my 20’s with no kids and a good job.  I had money to spend because my wife and I were diligent about saving and had a house with little overhead other than a mortgage and the usual expenses.  I was on the corporate softball team, I was playing hockey, going to the gym and still felt the need to fit in office happy hours and nights out with my buddies from time to time.

This was a problem and it had not yet hit me.  I had this beautiful wife at home that was also starting the same chapter in her adult life.  However the plot line for hers was not in perfect parallel to mine and it should have been. I was still too naïve to see it.  I still felt like I had to keep up with my single buddies.  I felt like I was missing something if I wasn’t hitting the happy hours.  To be totally honest, I wasn’t showing the Mrs. that the first thing on my priority list was being a husband.

I felt like I needed to keep up with everyone so that they would like me.  I wanted to stay relevant with the social crowd.  I even conned myself into believing that running with this crowd was helping me in my career. I thought that if I can be a family man, a corporate guy and “one of the guys” and with out skipping a beat, I would somehow win everyone over.

Little did I know, but I was failing on all fronts and it took me several years and a few life experiences to figure it out.

How the hell could I be a good husband and give my wife the life that she deserved while I am out at the bar with my buddies?  How could I be giving 100% on the job when I am spending more time with my extra-curricular activities than focusing on work..

Fast forward to today…

Here I am, in my 40’s.  I have 3 kids and I have experienced a life time of events in that relatively short span.  I’ll share some personal things to put it into perspective.  Several years ago, I had to bury my first two children.  Like many, I have been through financial good times and bad.  I have dealt with loss of other loved ones and I have dealt with more family Cancer scares than I care to admit.

It was the loss of my first two children that really opened my eyes.  It was a very succinct and immediate smack in the face that had me thinking what is really important?  If I can make it through losing two children, then I certainly can get some focus on what is real and what is not.  From that period in my life until this very day, I have learned that there are only a few things in life that (really) matter.  For every person I believe those things will vary.. what’s important to me may be different for you, but you get the point.

A very important lesson that I learned through all this was that I no longer wanted to surround myself with people who did not exude the kind of traits or qualities that I liked.  If you are overly negative, I don’t have time for you.  If you are hyper-critical or obnoxiously opinionated, nah beat it.  If you can’t like me for me, no problem.  Good luck with your life.  I use words like “hyper” and “overly” because not everyone is perfect, I get that.  You can’t possibly be awesome 100% of the time.  But the right people with the right attitude (right for YOU that is) will understand and having them in your life becomes .. easy.

You see, that is the key.  Being someone’s friend, a true friend should be easy.  If it’s not easy, then immediately stop..and question it. Why is this person in my life?  Why do I want this person in my life?

If you struggle to find good answers to these questions then I would argue that you don’t need them.

I look at my personal network like a bull’s-eye.  In the center I have my wife and children.  The next ring is for my parents and siblings.  Each ring after that is for my closest family and friends.  Often I find that people jump in and out of different rings and I think that is ok.  People’s lives change and people mature at different rates.  But the common theme prevails.. if you are an asshole or don’t fit the mold of the kind of person that is going to be constructive for me and my loved ones, you are out!

Finally, it’s important to note that adopting this kind of thought process doesn’t give you a license to be an asshole.  When I first lost my sons, I didn’t like anyone.  I had no filter what so ever.  Didn’t matter if you were my mom, my best friend or my boss.  I called it like I saw it and didn’t care if you didn’t like what you heard.  That was wrong!  That is no way to go about life, because I still believe you should be a good person as much as you can.  There is nothing wrong with a filter.  There is nothing wrong with finding a creative way of making your point or disagreeing without being a dick.

The bottom line is this.  Try to be the best person you can be and remain true to yourself. Then surround yourself with people who make you feel good being YOU.  If you can do this, then you are on the right track.  You will start to see that all the outliers are a waste of your time.  If you can’t feel good around someone then kick em to the curb.

My Challenge for you!

1. Mentally or on paper, create your own bulls-eye and figure out who belongs

2. Think about who the people are that cause you anxiety.  Try to make an immediate assesment as to if they deserve to be tolerated.  If they don’t.. cut them out of your life.  

3.  If you find someone that you want to give another chance, confront them.  Tell they what they are doing that bothers you.  If they are truly your friend and deserving of your love/friendship they will get it.. if they don’t, then see #2.

You don’t have to do this alone.  I got your back!  Feel free to chat me up about this if you want.. Im a good listener and I will encourage you if I can.

Rottenecards_47603570_2ccygpcxk5

gymwall

Day 6 of the 30 day Squat Challenge and still going strong.  75 squats today and my legs are quivering in anticipation…

I start today’s work out like every other work out.  Pandora in my ear, elliptical machine set to “fat burn” and timer set for 30 mins.  I jump up on my perch and set the cruise.  With in minutes the sweat is beading on my face and my mind begins to wander.  My eyes are searching… searching… then BOOM.  I have a target.  It’s time for me to mentally make fun of the jackwagons I see trolling around the gym equipment.  Today was a JACKPOT of subject matter… oh where to begin ?

I think I will start with a collective observation.  I was at the gym by 6pm today and that must be a peak time. It seems as though this is a good time for the muscle-heads to congregate.  I can’t prove it just yet, but I suspect it might have something to do with the fact that there are also a couple fitness classes going on at this time and lots of pretty women walking around.  There was no shortage of flexing and flirting to be seen. The first thing that jumped out at me today was the obscene amount guys sporting black shirts.  Particularly the wife beater variety.  I counted 13 black shirts in all, with 8 of them being tank tops and 4 of them normal T’s.  The other peculiar aspect was that 10 of said 13 shirts were Under Armor brand.  Santa must have found a deal on these because I never saw that much stretchy material in one place in my life.  It looked like a Pauly D convention.

Ok, enough of that.  Here is the fun part for me.  Anyone that knows me, knows that I love TV and I love movies.  A by-product of this addiction is that I have a habit of seeing regular people and then comparing their facial profiles to the bank of celebrity images I have stored in my head.  Sometimes I am spot on.. and sometimes not so much, but none the less I do this often and I can’t control it.  Today I will share with you a few that I got stuck in my head and see if they make you smile like they did me.  You will have to take my word for it though, because I don’t have pics of the actual people to compare.. just use your imagination.

SUBJECT #1

For my fellow readers that go to the same gym, you may recognize this guy.  Actually, I am counting on it.  This dude is at the gym ALL-THE-TIME.  I go at sporadic times and I am not kidding when I tell you, this cat is there every single time I go.  He’s a tall guy and almost always has a 5 o’clock shadow.  He walks around like he has a smoothie shoved up his ass.  His chest is always out and he’s always looking in the mirror.  What I find odd though, is that a guy like this should be ripped to shreds.  But he’s not.  He seems to gravitate to other muscular guys at the gym.. maybe he thinks by association he’ll start to look like them, I don’t know.  I will round out my description of him like this..

He’s tall and kind of dorky looking.  Almost always has a baseball hat on and if he’s not wearing sweat pants, he is wearing basketball shorts with knee socks, either black or white.  Yes, I said knee socks.  It must be a new thing, because I have seen them on other guys.  However, in my humble (judgemental) opinion.. they look silly.  If you still haven’t pulled together a good visual image let me help you.  If I had to pick a celebrity look alike I would  tell you to think of a cross between Ross from Friends and Alfred E Neuman:

Ross and Alfred

SUBJECT #2

Another regular that I often see is subject #2.  This guy is actually in pretty decent shape.  He’s a big guy with big guns and shoulders.  He seems pretty quiet and tends to go about his business and doesn’t really bother anyone.  He doesn’t annoy me like Ross Neuman above.. but I have to say that every damn time I see him I think of the combo that I will reveal below.  This guy almost always wears a baseball hat as well.  I am pretty sure I only ever see him in a wife-beater too.  He’s not a flashy Under Armour guy either.  He’s just a big guy, with zombie pale skin, glasses and a baseball hat.  I have to repeat it though.. the dude is big.  He’s been at the work out game a while.  You are all gonna either laugh or hate me when I tell you who I think he looks like.  But here goes… Do you all remember the TV show Life Goes On from back in the 90’s?  How about Lou Ferrigno and his days as the Hulk ?  Yep, you guessed it :

Corky Hulk

 

SUBJECT #3

Ok.. my last one for the day.  This guy is new to me.  I am going to assume that he’s either a resolution guy or just one that I got lucky with tonight.  Nothing particularly special about this one other than he has an uncanny resemblance to a famous Movie actor from the 80’s.  What caught my eye first though was his long-ish hair and his red head band.  This threw me off and I had to do a double take.  A head band?  What GUY wears a head band other than maybe LeBron James or other NBA pros?  If you are going to sport a head band to the gym in 2014, I would expect you to at least look like this guy:

rambo

and not this guy: dork

Well anyway.. dude was wearing a RED head band and a shirt with the sleeves cut off.  He was also wearing knee socks, like my man (Subject 1).  On a normal day that would be enough to make me laugh all by itself.  But today I couldn’t shake the vision of his celebrity look alike.  All I kept seeing was THIS GUY:

Emiliotrashmen

Yes, Mr. Emilio Estevez!  No kidding.. I shit you not.. this guy was a spitting image.

I will leave you all with this.. I know that I am far from perfect.  I am simply sharing with you some of the thoughts that come crashing through my mind and I am hoping that at least some of them will make you laugh.

Can YOU think of anyone in your life that causes you to think of a celebrity?  Someone that resembles someone famous and no matter how hard you try, you can’t shake it?  Let me know about it if you do, because I know I am not the only one with this special power!

windy-road-in-the-forest-hd-widescreen-wallpapers--1024x768I am amazed at how being a father can be so damned rewarding.  By comparison to many, I am still a rookie as my oldest is only 9.  I have also been blessed with a 4 year old and a 2 year old.  My oldest is a girl and the other two minions are boys.

I have been told by many dad’s that becoming a father is the most important and wonderful event in a man’s life.  Prior to becoming one, I believed these guys but couldn’t truly appreciate it.  All I had to go by was being a son and that is just not a fair comparison.  For me the whole experience has been enhanced by the fact that our (my wife and I) road to parenthood was not easy.  Wanting desperately to have children and then physically being denied is a very tough thing to deal with.

It seemed like people all around us were getting pregnant.  When you can’t get pregnant you tend to experience this phenomena where everyone you know gets pregnant.  It’s almost like sperm is flying around in the breeze impregnating all the fertile women.  You would swear that if a random man and woman were to bump into each other they would be delivered a bundle of joy 9 months later.  Not for us though.

It was intense.  Just about everything I would see, reminded me that we were not allowed to have kids.  The doc told us we had a 1 in 1000 chance of getting knocked up on our own.  I had friends getting pregnant out of wedlock.  I had family members getting prego with their 2nd and 3rd kids.   It seemed like every God Damned TV show or movie out at the time was about babies.  Meanwhile, back at camp infertility… wifey and I were sitting down, looking at a calendar and planning which days we had to try and make shit happen.  In-between doctor visits, medication and the calendar  the joy of making babies was becoming a job.

What do you do when you are on a strict baby making schedule and good old Murphy’s Law throws an argument in the mix.  An argument that happens just an hour or so before bed time.  How the hell are you gonna get into the mood when you both want to rip each other’s head off?

Anyway.. let’s fast forward a little bit.  The Doc’s know what they are doing when it comes to fertility.  They got us pregnant finally.  Pregnant with twins!  What the ??  I want to be a dad..but I wanted to start one at a time.  I figured I would cut my own teeth on the first one..and that would give me enough experience to handle the next one or two.  By my logic, odds were my first kid might be messed up because of my poor parenting..but I could always make up for it on #2 if we were that lucky.  BUT TWINS?

It took a while, but I finally became used to the idea.  I think it was after we found out they were boys.  I began to bond with my future golf partners and really started to relish the idea of having two boys around.  Then Murphy entered the equation again.  I’ll spare you the gory details, but my wife and I ended up losing the twins.  We were quite a ways into the pregnancy so it was not a good time for us.  The following months were very painful.  I hated everyone and everything.  I doubted my faith in God, in medicine and people in general.

My entire outlook on life had changed that year.  Some would say it was just a maturation process.  Maybe so, but I tend to think maturing means you learn and grow from the process.  For me, more than just my sons died.  A piece of my soul died as well.  Even to this day, I have a very low tolerance for bullshit in life.  My internal filter is damaged as well.  I tend to call things as I see them more often.  I am quicker to judge than I had been before as well.  I no longer hate the world.. but I no longer trust it either.

Life is so complex and so interesting though.  Just when I was beginning to think that I had to accept the new normal, Mr. Murphy threw me a bone.  My wife had somehow, almost miraculously gotten herself pregnant.  The mailman was an old man..so I ruled him out right away.  We don’t have a milkman so that couldn’t be it.  I am pretty sure God wasn’t going to do the whole Jesus thing again so the only conclusion I could come to was that I must have gotten one past the goalie.

Completely natural.  No doctors were involved.  No medication.  Just some good old fashioned bumping uglies and viola my daughter was born.  If I could be so lucky at the casinos on 1000 to 1 odds, oh boy!  Not only did I feel like the luckiest man on the planet I was scared as hell that I now had a little lady to care for.  I know now that having a girl is extremely special for father and nothing can compare to the love I have for this little girl.  I can already see the bond that we have is strong and growing by the day.  I also see my love for guns growing too.  I am becoming quite proficient at the range and I can even do some pretty cool things with a knife..so I know that she is safe.

Mr. Murphy must have felt really fucking guilty for what he did to us.  I say that because a little over 3 years later we had our second blessing enter our lives.  My first boy! Well, 3rd really.. but the first that I will get to keep.  I now had what some call a “rich man’s family”.  One of each gender to call my own.  My life now was complete.. I had all the pieces to forge ahead and work on the rest of my legacy… until..

Wait.. what?  Are you sure?  It can’t be…

The doctors told us we couldn’t get pregnant on our own.  God and Mr. Murphy just threw us a couple of bones.  There is no way you are pregnant again.. we were not even trying this time!!

Wrong!  2 years after our son was born.. we had our 3rd and yes, another boy.  Most men might have started to worry.  The transition from a man to man defense to a zone defense can be daunting.  We were going to have two in diapers too.. but I didn’t care.  All I knew was that I had a beautiful little girl and I got my 2 boys back.

To this day I still break down in tears once in a while.  Usually while driving to or from work.  Just thinking about what life would have been like if the twins had survived.  But almost always that bout with my manhood ends with me smiling and sometimes even laughing out loud because I know how fortunate I am.  Fortunate to have looked life in the face.. dealt with the shit it threw at me and not having cracked… well not completely anyway.

So, you can see why I feel as though I have been rewarded with a little something extra in the parent department.  I imagine most dads see something special when their child smiles at them or laughs.  I imagine most dads can feel the warmth and bonding of a child who is hugging them.  But what I have over most other dads is a unique feeling of triumph and security.  I know that in each of my kids is a part of their two brothers who have passed.  Each hug, smile, kiss and fit of laughter is multiplied by 3.  I truly know how special children are because at one time I couldn’t have them.

I am sure that everyone has had to overcome some kind of adversity in their lives.  Everyone who does handles that adversity differently.  I heard a quote once and it really stuck with me. I believe we are defined not by what our experiences are, but how we react to them.

Have you ever experienced something tragic only to grow stronger by it?  Tell me about it.

gym-monkey

What kind of gym monkey are you?  Are you one of those flirty, chatty types that do more networking at the gym than you do moving weights around?  How about that dude that is all business with his work out garb and ear buds slinging the dumb bells like his life depended on it? Let me state that whatever kind of gym monkey you are, you have at least some of my respect for just being there.  Actually getting your ass through the front door scores some points.. kudos to you.

Back on point!

What kind of gym monkey am I, you ask?  Oh boy, you might not want to know.  I am the guy who goes to the gym because I feel I have to.  Gone are the days where going to the gym was fun and something I wanted to do.  I go now because I have 3 small children and a beautiful wife and I have crested the 40 mark.  I now go because I want to be able to keep up with my kids as they grow and be fit enough to scare away the boys when they come to see my daughter. If the boys get bigger and stronger than me .. I have other methods of keeping them in check..(so those reading, don’t get any ideas).  I mention my wife, because she is a fitness freak of nature (by my standards).  She stays is good shape and she never seems to age, so I figure I gotta try and keep up so she doesn’t kick my ass to the curb.

Cardio Section OverviewSince going to the gym is more of a chore than enjoyable pleasure, I need to find ways to keep my head in the game.  One way that seems to work for me is working the Cardio Judgment Stand!  What the hell is that?  That is where I jump up on my cardio perch du jour, slap on my headphones and start sweating.  While I am up there I need to stay focused on something so I don’t lose my motivation and cut my circuit short.. so instead of watching one of the mounted TVs.. I just look around the gym.  I mean c’mon guys..there is an endless amount of writing material right there in front of me.

I call it the “judgment stand” because from my superior tactical vantage point I can see almost the entire gym and all of its subjects.  In just 30 minutes you can survey the whole place and cast judgment on just about everyone!  I thought it would be fun to describe some of my favorite gym types for you here.  I want to make one small disclaimer.  Any of my friends who decide to read this are safe.  Even if you are a member at the same sweat shop.. please do not read into any of these next paragraphs thinking, “OMG.. he’s talking about ME”.  If you think I am, it is purely coincidence.  If you have a guilty conscience.. I can’t help that.. pull your big boy/girl yoga pants on and get over it!

Ok.. let’s get started..

#1.  Mr. (or Ms.) Hardcore – metro-sexual gym rat:

These guys are usually hardcore douchebags as well.  The one in particular that I am thinking about always comes to the gym dressed in his best work out clothes.  Color coordinated of course.  Never without at least one and often two Under Armour items.  Complete with some kind of beanie cap, long flowing hair, tightly trimmed facial hair and an obnoxious set of over ear headphones .

Why is he a douchebag you ask?  Jeeze, can’t a guy come to the gym dressed nice?  Sure, I don’t have a problem with that per se.   What bugs me about this type is that he is so damned obvious about it.  The guy’s in good shape and he knows it.  He walks around with a dumbbell shoved up his ass, carries his big bottle of water and gym bag with his wrist wraps and chalk and shit and acts like he runs the joint.  He also flaunts his douchebaggery when he flirts with the women in the gym.  Again, no style points here.. just walks up to girls on the treadmill or on a weight machine, props one of his neon colored sneaker on something close by and turns on the cheese.

Kind of reminds me of this guy: douchbag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ToothBrush#2. Mr. (or Ms.) Hardcore – muscle-head gym rat:

This is the more traditional “gym rat”.  Mostly guys in this category and that’s ok by me because good LORD I don’t think I could handle too many women that could bench press me.  You don’t see a LOT of these guys at my establishment.  I think that is because my gym is actually called an “athletic club”.  None the less we have some metal benders here too… or at least some wannabes.

I used to work at a gym in my hometown that was a hardcore bodybuilding gym.  Lots of dudes with thighs thicker than my waist.  Guys that can bench press 400+ lbs and squat every fucking plate in the gym.  If you ever come across one of these monsters .. you will know it.  They can be identified by any combo of the following traits:

–          Their head runs almost directly into their shoulders (or delts as they refer to them).  No neck to speak of

–          They often have zits on their back and arms that are bigger than most of our biceps

–          They will travel with chalk, wrist wraps, knee wraps, some kind of protein drink

–          They often smell like eggs or decomposed chicken from all the amino farts

–          They grunt, bark, growl, scream, fart, burp and that is before they get behind the weights

–          They will rarely “place” the weights down, almost always dropping or throwing them

–          Many times you will catch them walking on their tip toes with their chest out and arms swaying at least 4 inches away from their body due to the lats protruding from their body.  My wife thinks the tip toe thing is due to tight hamstrings due to poor stretching technique..but who am I to make assumptions

This is not to say that all these guys are asshats.  I have met some very very cool bodybuilders.  The Steroid rage thing seems to be overblown in my opinion.

Make-Up-Girls-at-Gym#3. Ms Yoga Aerobic Foo Foo:

The ladies probably thought I was going to spare them… WRONG.  I have to admit that at my place most of the women are cool and do not fit a particular stereotype.  However I would be remiss if I didn’t call upon the gaggle of women who come to the gym dressed to the nines to do their thing.  You see, to me.. the gym is a place where you come to sweat and hurt yourself.  I want to be as comfortable as possible if I am going to do this to myself.  I can’t imagine putting make up on and crystallizing my hair before the torture.

And while I am at it, let me say this.  If you are going to come to the gym in skin tight yoga pants or a sports bra that is so tight I can see your goosebumps through the fabric, then please do not give me the stink eye if you catch me staring at you.  You can’t be selective as to who gawks when you come dressed to impress.

(other reads: interesting perspective on what not to wear to the gym found here: http://www.mamamia.com.au/health-wellbeing/what-not-to-wear-at-the-gym/

Similar Blog with funny perspective: http://www.realliferealityblog.com/2012/05/stupid-things-people-do-in-gym-good.html)

Trainer-600x320#4. The Tough guy:

Ok.. this one is interesting to me.  I have seen all ages and all sizes fit this mold.  This is a guy who is typically in pretty good shape and knows his way around the gym.  This knucklehead can be either very good looking to boot or ugly as sin.  No in-betweens.  What they both have in common though is usually a noticeable physique and an attitude that just plain sucks.  This is the asshole that will not smile and will not engage in a conversation more than 2-3 words at a time.  They will give you the stink eye from hell if you walk between them and the mirror or you even think about sitting on the bench they are using in-between sets.

One time I was in a hurry because my kids are like ticking time bombs and I needed to get them out of the gym day care and home to eat dinner.  I saw this Tough Guy dipshit monopolizing two pulley machines.  All I wanted to do was 3 sets of tricep pushdowns and get out.  I asked the guy while he was resting if I can jump in real-quick and he just looked at me.  Seconds go by… still just looking.  I even did that thing your golden retriever does when it cocks its head to the side..looking at you all stupid-like to see if that would elicit a response.. nothing.  So I asked again and even threw a please in there.  He finally just put his ear buds back in and said…. “no”.

That’s ok though, I am pretty sure that karma will come back to bite him in the glutes someday.

Check out a funny pic that is fairly accurate to what I describe above: http://yepyep.gibbs12.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/typical-douchebag.jpg

#5. The NOOB:

The noob is anyone who is brand new to the gym atmosphere and equipment.  This poor bastard (man or woman) is easily picked out of a crowd.  If their look of bewilderment doesn’t tip you off it’s probably going to be their blatant misuse of gym equipment.

Take this guy/girl for instance:

Nuff said!

There are most likely others that I am not able to recall right now.. that is primarily because I am anxious about heading over to the gym tonight to do day 2 of the stupid squat challenge.  My legs are all jittery as I sit here and type.. I have no idea how I will manage to get 55 squats done.. maybe if I do 55 sets of 1?