The Zen of Fitbit Maintenance

I broke up with my Fitbit a couple weeks ago.

It’s okay, really. We gave it a really good run. Literally speaking . . we actually did give it a really good run. Many times over in fact. And while I would love to say I was the aggrieved, it just ain’t so. Nope, I was the lowdown dirty shame of a partner in this one sided crime. My Fitbit gave me everything and in return, I gave it my best Paul Simon hatchet job.

I still remember the moment when I looked into my Alta’s organic light emitting display and uttered the deep fried cliched sentiment that has been cashing royalty checks on a million years worth of love gone wrong songs . . . It’s not you, it’s me! And it was a mean ass razor of a misbegotten truth; because I had used that Fitbit, abused it and I never imagined there might be repercussions attached to my hard loving ways. Until it was so.

Evidently, the steps we took just weren’t enough for me. I always wanted more. Steps, I mean. And the ways in which I gained those steps were more varied than the spectators at a Grateful Dead concert. It was by my side through the thick of work days that saw me log in as many as thirty thousand steps, to the thinly administered diet of an early morning mall walk when I was recovering from a procedure. It climbed a rock wall (better than I did actually) once, and it hung with me through tennis matches in spite of the oftentimes inglorious outcomes. It even ran with me- short sprints that tested the crankiest parts of my body, to longer runs that improved my stamina. It was plenty fine with being relegated to my ankle when I used the stationary bike whilst catching up on a favorite TV show. It brokered the negotiation of black diamond studded slopes with such elan that you’d have sworn it was Swiss.

And it danced to the rhythm on those mornings when I would practice martial arts forms, never minding the demonically possessed manner in which I went about my business. It stuck with me through writing binges and push-ups and sit-ups and chin-ups; even meditative repose, despite the fact it was getting nothing in return. It endured the flames of my manic cooking expeditions as well as a one hundred and ten pound mastiff named Bull who’d had enough of shelter living and was intent on making a break for Key West.

Yep, I hooked my mojo to a ton of mofo until my Fitbit screamed “No mo!”.

And then one day, it all came crashing down. Almost. Thankfully I was able to catch my Alta before it hurtled to the ground as the result of a busted latch on the wristband. I held it there, as if a hatchling . . cradling it with the utmost care as if such an action would retrieve all those disharmonious actions which led to its demise. And then I tried to put it back together, but it was having none of it. The face of my Fitbit just stared up at me and let me know that it was going to need some time. To which I dutifully agreed with it.

So I gave my Fitbit the space it needed. For both of us, really. And I went about my life, naked and carefree to the entanglement of recorded steps. I let my steps do their own talking, I let my runs breathe with the energy that my legs and my lungs afforded them. As with Kata (a training exercise in Karate), I let the form fill that emptiness.

For the span of a couple weeks time, I learned to measure steps in the quiet of doing them and a funny thing happened. I gained an appreciation for those little buggers that I never possessed back when I was hooked on logging a hundred thousand steps a week. The space in between, it taught me things. Like how to breathe rather than binge. To cultivate rather than collect. To practice rather than possess. It taught me to be. Just be. That’s the thing about patience, it’s eloquent in its teaching methods.

It was during the mayhem of a Gotham episode the other night that I took the equity of this peaceful, easy feeling and cashed it. I figured it was time to step back in- literally- to the something I had before with my Alta. Replenished and renewed, smarter and stronger. A humbled participant rather than a greedy consumer of the Way. A couple taps later, I had become the proud owner of a 3 pack of Alta bands, in bright and shiny colors of a new. I’m happy to report that the band should be back together by this evening.

Galvanized from the break, I have all kinds of plans for my Alta. My actions will be steeped in the tranquil swim of a Zen trip taken accidentally. The application of these lessons will be similar to riding a motorcycle for the first time in years, or picking up the piano after a long hiatus. The difference this time will be in the way I transform a rudimentary understanding of the steps into a flow of new ideas.

A writing lesson, a life lesson. Served up one step at a time.

 

My First Girl

This post is ten years old today. It’s meaning is a forever kind of deal though. To Mom, and to all Moms. May your blessings be abundant. May your peace possess solvency, and may love cradle you inside its sweetest dreams. On this day, and all the ones to come. 

I remember walking you home from school. We’d stop by the park and I’d push you on the swings. We’d fill our faces with chocolate bars so perilously close to supper, because we could. And then we’d laugh at having broken with such frivolous convention. We’d hike to the supermarket and trade knowing winks, as if we had committed high treason on the butcher with our chocolatey smiles.

I’d haul the heavy bags home as we talked about the Beatles and the travails of kindergarten. You were my first girl. Hey, I was rather mature for my age, and you needed a five year old best friend. You needed to know what it was to feel young. God knows you had so much of it stolen from you.

I’d tell you how beautiful you looked and how great you smelled. Compliment your shoes. Hold the door. We’d make dinner. Dad, absent; the hours with him were dissolving as work took him away from us more and more. So it was you and me. You taught me to cook. Give foot rubs. Dance. All the essentials for a boy who was just beginning to marvel at the wonders of a girl.

I was the man of the house whenever he was away, and you made me earn it. Cause a Catholic girl always does. I loved the time we spent alone, because it gave me the chance to steal that amazing laugh you possessed. I wish dad would’ve warned me about that laugh. To this day, a woman’s laugh holds a most deliciously intoxicating mystery for me. Yours was childhood, the one you never got to unwrap because you were too busy growing up, too soon. I knew enough to know too much. It’s why I beckoned that laugh whenever I could. To summon the little girl away from the primitive conclusions of this world for a little while.

Thank you for teaching me how to throw a baseball . . . how to set a table . . . how to love a woman . . . thank you for that silent conversation we shared when you came to visit me in the hospital, a conversation I might never match with spoken word if I live to 100. Thank you for the advice you would impart whenever I went searching for the answers to a woman’s heart, like the time you told me “If it was that easy to figure out a woman, there’d be no need for alcohol.”

My little girl has a middle name that comes from you, but that’s not all she carries of you. She carries your sense of humor, your honesty, your grace. And my son has your persistence and that wholesome sense of purpose that makes him my twelve year old role model.

Because of you, I spend a small fortune on Mothers Day cards. I have my own personal “Mothers Club”, and you are the reason why I lean on them so hard and love them so completely. Because of you.

You taught me that life isn’t about having all the answers. Not when comfortable shoes are so much more important.

There is a thank you in every conversation we share. But here’s one for the hell of it.

Sunday Morning Coffee Love

I love this song.

It takes me back to the time when I was a wee lad, with tentacles that were mysteriously ventured guesses of a lovely sounding lullaby wept into song by a pretty grade school teacher whose smile proved stimuli to my innocent senses. I ran with these singularly vested lyrics in a strongly absurd manner of clumsy, until I reached a teenage boy; re-learning the proverbs in a classic rock style with disco move answers to a college girls luminescence.

Over time, I ran into an age that fit me better still. Its moody embrace would throw me all the way back to the places I never rightly trusted, but duly trespassed; with the veracity of moonshine and crazy love songs I didn’t have to totally understand in order to abide. This song pushes me into the sweetly of all sounding places, without asking permission for such a thing.

It reminds me of the journey to that righteous place. A trip which requires a great deal of patience, an everlasting faith and a bare naked honesty. This righteous place is where the heart learns the peace of Sunday mornings and the soul nourishing qualities of a flower’s perfume, and the comforting blanket of a summer wind and the bittersweet symphony of winter’s lonesome grip. It’s where the heart flutters sweetly and the soul sings to mysteries unraveled and a spool of time flickers in sublime currents of a sweet and everlasting glow.

It’s where the heart dreams mightily and the nights speak a poetry to all the unknown places. It is in this magical place where the sun screams madly of ancient rhymes and the moon strikes its match to all the lonely planets of forever. And the stars, they run hard and long and wild along an endless beach  . . .

Raging.

 

Doing my Slim Shady

Yeah, I am.

And while I would love to say this time will be different. Well, I don’t have to say it. It just will be different. Because this time I endeavor on bringing a more personal attache to the proceedings. There’ll be less mystery, just as much hilarity and all of the guilt. For shits and giggles, here’s a “Spoiler Alert!” should you want to live in the Tao of Cayman Thorn for the rest of time. Don’t read the little blurb below. Otherwise, take the red pill and I’ll hold your hand into Wonderland. Coo?

Cayman Thorn is an anagram for Marc Anthony. Which is kind of my name (The first name is correct). It’s as close as I will ever, ever give the world of social media. Mostly because my real last name isn’t my real last name anyway. This is the result of my grandmother having been a slut who wasn’t about to stay at home when mi abuelito went running. She was rocking the power vagina whilst Gloria Steinem still believed aprons to be proprietary accouterments of the X chromosome. As far as Drinks Well With Others? I came up with that unoriginal idea thanks to a fridge magnet I didn’t even know I had until I was fixing up some adult drink or other (2009 was an interesting year, to say the least). This blog was an answer to my last blog, the800lbgorilla, where we specialized in the art of fucking with anything we felt like fucking with. This blog? Wasn’t that blog, and thank God, really.

Now, this is not to say that I’ll be posting on the regular here at Drinks. What it does mean is that I am not going away. Heavens no. This blog will serve as a bridge to a writers blog, which will deal up writing and stories, health tips (just kidding) and semi great feats of strength. There will be special interest posts, links to brand spanking new selections served up at thelovelyfire as well as links to vault pulls from the800lbgorilla (which will include horoscope reinventions!) and there’ll be shit I haven’t even thought about just yet, but will.

Everything will start from scratch at the new crib, so be sure to bring snacks, ideas and any book projects you’ve got cooking and I will promote the hell out of you just because I’m chill like that. Don’t bring weed, since it’s not legal in PA just yet. No wait, that would be a reason to bring the weed . . I forgot. And when the new blog goes proper, you can ditch Cayman and just call me Marc. I mean, I ain’t gonna take it personally if you prefer to stick with Cayman Thorn, mostly because I dig the last name. The Bond vibe is real.

The future? Is coming on.

The Irish Post- Last Call

Seneca once opined that every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. It was a thought so laden with festive sounding implications that the twin city rock band Semisonic repackaged the quote a few years later and fetched some pop culture notoriety in the doing.

What does a Roman philosopher and a bunch of white kids from Minnesota have to do with the Irish post? Well, they provide cover for my last call. As in, this is the last regular post on Drinks. But I’ll get to that in a moment. And for this particular jaunt, James Joyce has been replaced as the key holder by Rob Zombie. Sooo . . . there’s that.

Lemme start by saying how funny a thing love truly is. And by funny, I mean . . . funny. Let’s face it. Love makes you feel good, do good and want good. For you and for the universe at large. When you got love, you imagine every single love song was pencil scratched into vinyl just for you. When you got love, you think Foreigner is a cosmic ally that was bottle tossed from light years worth of understanding away. When you got love, you possess the 20/20 vision of Stevie Wonder.

Love happens to be a cosmic provision with little to no concern for those mortal souls who find it to be cruel and unfair. Hey, it’s human to take things personally, rather than to seek a broader understanding of the stuff. Most people need love to be what they want it to be. They believe the end of such a significant event signals failure, without ever scrunching their toes up into a ball and stopping on that there mistake before they take a high noon step further. Instead, they keep on stepping until they reach a point of no return from which they find themselves at an impasse with the way things work.

It’s okay. These peeps usually catch up with themselves after bucco fat days where Haagen Daas and Cheetos become staple foods and plots to assassinate Richard Curtis become retirement plans.

To others, love is an acquisition. It’s something they believe will round out their perfectly orchestrated march to stardust. It’s a highfalutin bit of self centered me-speak that is indicative of a time and place where movies and romance novels are taken as blueprints for the real thing. And it is, to be perfectly frank, complete nonsense. Perhaps necessary, as pain pills and vodka are necessary . . but nonsense just the same.

The Holy Day went unanswered for me this year. There was little to no advancement of song or well spoken thoughts. Without benefit of some ninety proof inspiration, there were no clever haikus or misbegotten memes to be had on the 17th. And yanno what? It was plenty fine with me.

Instead, there were several woebegone texts from various members of my hard scrabble posse enlisting their condolences at the cancellation of festivities and asking me to coordinate a New York trip for next year. Which sounds a bit extreme on the face of it, but will happen nonetheless on a majority vote. Hey, if it’s good enough for the Supreme Court, Imma go with it.

So it was that I made my way out on the 18th instead. This wasn’t a makeup consideration, since that would’ve been akin to celebrating the 4th of July in October. I called up Big Papi because I haven’t seen him since our Super Bowl get together and then I texted my friend Brian to see what he was up to since I hadn’t seen him since our last ski outing.

Once upon a time, Brian had a life he believed would never go away. It began as a young man of party going age, when he took his impressive skill set on the slopes and began the wickedly obscene lifestyle of a circuit brat. When the money ran out, he went to work as an architect and he lived the life of Gatsby until his marriage went bad and the white picket fence became a studio apartment.

Turning off married life and moving into the next chapter wasn’t all that difficult for me, seeing as how I’m not entertained by conventions or traditions as much as I’m interested in keeping things quiet in my head and mellow in my soul. For Brian, not so much. He misses his old life every day. He wants for the things he once possessed, and I haven’t the heart to let him in on the fact that he never really had them to begin with.

Brian made the life changing decision a few years back to flip the script on his little black book when it became painfully apparent the life he once knew wasn’t coming back. I have to admit, when he first told me I thought he was joking and I made a rather crude joke that probably would’ve pissed him off if it wasn’t so fucking hilarious.

“How’s the new guy?” I ask as we toast to the St. Patrick’s Day that wasn’t.

“He’s a drama queen.” Brian replies.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” I say.

Big Papi tells Brian he never would’ve guessed and then he proceeds to ask a couple of alcoholically induced questions without being crude or prejudicial in the least, simply because it’s his way. I cut things off by screaming at the big screens that are busy delivering up the wrong final score in the Villanova game.

Big Papi is a frail facsimile of his former self, and the change has come rapidly. It’s increasingly difficult for him to get around and it is fast approaching that time when his strut is gonna be a motorized thing. He’s fifty five going on maybe another ten years if everything goes really well.

Still, he has pipes when it comes to anything sports related. And he’s using them on a group of young fellas who are high fiving each other. I can’t help myself, so I follow this up with the suggestion that they take their celebration to Madison, Wisconsin. I’m not really a Wildcats fan, but for the octane that a little smack talk may provide. The high fiving dissipates, but I’m pretty sure this has more to do with the fact that Brian is six foot too much with a mug that should’ve been cast in Goodfellas.

So there we were, the three of us, bitching about being men of a certain age whilst laughing about it inside the same vast breaths. Big Papi misses the good old days, and so does Brian. I happen to think it’s a waste of time, to miss them. Life is one big series of wins and losses, to which you can answer the uncertainty with swings. In the end, it’s all you got.

Donna and Allie arrive as we’re busy flagging down the waitress for a final round and they hop on the fledgling party bus. Donna is a forty something divorcee and Allie her younger concubine turned full time thing. The first time I met them, I was busy praying to Jesus that I might arrive at the bottom of a black diamond hill with all my necessaries still operational. They behave as if they’ve been married forever, and they’re much more interesting than that.

This is what love looks like in the new age. Everything is on the table, every happily ever after is subject to change. Nothing is as it seems, and to those things that are? Well . . don’t go putting money down on it. And so it was on the St Patrick’s Day celebration that turned into a simple trip to Buffalo Wild Wings the day after. Some decent eats, solid conversation, a few laughs and no bail was required.

As for Drinks? It is officially retired now. Which means not dead, but no longer around on any kind of regular basis. I’ll never delete it because why should I? And I plan on saying how do to my blog peeps from time to time.

This place was where the Irish post came to be. Out of the nowhere of misogynistic pleasures gone haywire. With dreams of hush and simple and a gallivant of primary colors gone sesame street. I turned albatrosses into a Paul Simon version of better. I measured my lack of discipline as per the ten commandments here. And not a soul knew how badly I was failing at them.

I bid you adieu with an adaptation, delivered up Cayman Thorn style.

May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. And may God have a wicked sense of humor who just so happens to be golfing buddies with Richard Nixon.

It wouldn’t hurt, is all I’m saying.

The high five of a cosmic smile

As far as serendipitous involvements are concerned, there are few cooler moments than tuning in to someone’s hum of a song that was busy playing through your head moments earlier. Unfiltered, unfettered and so very fine. As in . . all feng shui with none of the aforethought. That’s how it happened for me yesterday afternoon, after work; as I waited on my pal so’s we could get busy with some much needed java whilst ruminating on the carnival of NFL free agency buzz.

I was busily strutting through the big fat middle of freshly pressed varietals when I passed this kindly looking retiree aged woman who was throwing down on some Gladys Knight. She was wearing an olive green turtleneck sweater and a white beaded necklace and a hat straight out of Carly Simon’s closet- a brown cowgirl hat with figure eight patterned leather hugging its waist.

“Save the Overtime” is what this lady was humming, and I just locked in. It was a metaphysical evaluation, gone to the solid quick of my way back in time preferences. And by the time it was too late to turn back, I was already digging in.

“Gladys Knight.” I said.

“What?”

“You’re humming Gladys Knight.”

“Yes.”

“Save the Overtime For Me.”

“Yes!” She smiled.

“Love it.”

There’s a definite restorative quality to such a simple thing as this. And especially so when the song in question wasn’t plucked off the FM dial. And it wasn’t fiddling off the roof of this Starbucks coffee bar. And it sure as hell wasn’t something easily found on the A side of an album’s 9-5. Nope. This was solid gold, half court prayer, power ball chance. It was solid? Meeting gold. Yeah it was.

So from there, I had to share something, anything.

“I saw her in Vegas back in 2005.” I said.

“Oh, I’ve seen her live . . like everywhere. It’s my church time.” She giggled. And she pulled this amazing fucking laugh all the way from the ’70’s, and the smile that lit her face in the doing left my skin bristling with the kind of harmony that is far too brilliant for a price tag.

“Thats . . . some crazy stuff right there.”

“Yes!” She laughed. A laugh so resonant that it will reside in my noggin for a spell. And I thought to myself that I might remember this particular occurrence that long, and longer. To the benefit of absolutely no one but me and this wonderful lady dressed in Gloria Steinem. It was a mighty fine place to find myself in the middle of a Thursday afternoon.

“Thank you.” I said.

“Oh, honey . . that was fun.”

A few moments worth of magical trespass, sent straight from the cosmos and delivered right to the tip of my nose- betwixt my moon risen eyes and my slack lower lip that was too busy chewing on the some kind of wonderful to worry about manners.

It was found money. No, fuck that. It was so much better than found money, because with found money you’re just gonna end up blowing it on stupid shit because . . . it’s found money. This moment was more similar in nature to found bacon (the gold standard of delicious occurrences). Found bacon . . attached to a humongous breakfast spread . . . no, wait . . brunch. On Sunday. With Bobby Flay at the wheel and candles spiraling in perfumed agony, with the moon’s silhouette going all last chance opera. And, of course, with Gladys Knight peeling away the innocence of a vinyl wrapped prayer.

My pal arrived and I shared the story with him, and then we were making Darth Vader jokes and then he was trying to convince me to go see the movie Logan sometime and then everything else got lost again. Gone to the hard burn of a still happening day. But not forgotten so easily, or at all.

I’m still smiling.

(This just felt like the musical spill to hop on. Because this is what drove me home, and it’s got a supernatural fix on me currently. Yes, I’m that easy.)

 

 

Making America Grate Again

I can’t bring myself to do a Trump blog post.

Because it would need to have a satirical payoff (for me), and I just can’t replicate the humor that happens on a weekly, daily and even hourly basis with this guy. I stopped reading opinion pieces on the new President, simply because they all read basically the same way- regardless of political affiliation. The piece begins hopefully enough, before caving in on itself with self inflicted parody.

The entire spectrum has become infected with this disease and unfortunately, Mark Twain isn’t walking through that door.

You have the Fatherland brigade who believe that everything the man does is mandated by a higher power (Who, I can only assume would bear a remarkable resemblance to the love child of Ronald Reagan and Charlton Heston). These peeps believe the sins of progress that forged a new age must be erased. If they had their way, contemporary American history would become a Mandela Effect punchline. Then there’s the other side, the Rise Up battalion. Their hearts are in the right place, but their angst is obvious and predictable stuff. They’re incredulous about the fact that a reality show star with a bumper sticker inspired catchphrase is President. And man . . . do I relate. But it’s why I believe all this sturm and drang they’re putting into angry placards now would’ve been much better served in the lead up to November.

Beyond all that chatter, there exists one very simple truth for me. As much as I love to satirize shit, I just can’t find an opening with Trump. Because you can’t satirize satire.

So I breathed a sigh of relief when Alec Baldwin announced he was hanging up his Trump suit in those SNL sketches. Because those sketches, they never really worked. All I saw was a really bad Gene Rayburn impersonation (which is redundant), a really bad wig, and a really bad marriage of two arrogant personalities who’ve proven quite adept at calling women pigs. There was a satirical quality to Baldwin playing the starring role, even if I’m pretty certain the writers weren’t aware of it.

I’m thinking AB should have been spending less time beating up on paparazzi and more time watching film last summer, because this young man? Nailed it. Ya think SNL has a scouting department?