Periscope Depth

don't touch that dial; we're in denial

In a dream this past Thursday, I accompanied some crooks on some complicated robbery in this compound up in the mountains. Law enforcement showed up, including the President in a VTOL jet. I had a rifle handy, so I took a shot at the President – not out of any particular dislike of Geena Davis, mind you, but because I thought it would make a good distraction. The bullet creased the side of her head; she glared at me, said something I couldn’t make out, and took off from the cockpit in her jetpack. I pegged her in the foot with a second shot – a pretty phenomenal shot, really, as I had to lead it by a few yards, given the distance and altitude – and she spiraled out and crashed.

The biggest hassle in the days that followed wasn’t going on the run for murdering the President. Rather, it was turning on CNN or MSNBC and watching talking heads dissect the details of my life for clues as to my troubled past. I watched Rachel Maddow pick apart my Netflix queue with a criminology “expert” and felt awkwardly angry.

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Pulled something just beneath my glute at jiu-jitsu. I grow old. Liz B. suggested that it might be my “uber-hammy,” or the biceps femoris. It’s fine now, but bothered me sorely this weekend.

Every time I pat myself on the back for teaching jiu-jitsu, I strain something in my shoulder. Sure, I’ve stuck with something for 8 years that most people quit in 3 months. I would not work out regularly were it not for jiu-jitsu: the gym bores me. But throwing people around, even on the supremely cushioned mats we use*, takes a toll on the heartiest athletes. At the brown belt level, I regularly see people nursing wrist sprains, neck trouble or aching backs.

I lay all this out not in a search for pity or applause, but because I genuinely don’t get it. I know that I’m going to end most classes limping and sore, and not in the way that power yoga or 45 minutes of spin gets you sore. I have yet to break anything other than my nose or an errant finger in class, but the law of averages has its eye on me. But I keep showing up anyway.

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Woke up on Saturday with a mild cold – sore throat, small congestion. I didn’t really feel the worst of it until Gorefest set-building on Sunday, when I tried to hoist a light up into the rafters of the theater and had to stop on the ladder to rest.

My cure: take one ibuprofen (500mg), one melatonin (5mg) and one multivitamin every night before going to sleep. So far it’s helped me sleep and kept my symptoms livable. Sorry if I pass this cold along on to anyone else, especially anyone who has to sing in 10 shows over the next 14 days**.

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I saw the most intelligent baby I’d ever seen on the Red Line on Monday morning. Most babies regard the world around them with shifting, glazed eyes. This one looked at each person around her with preternatural focus. She didn’t make any random noises or flail without purpose. She sat there calmly, making and holding eye contact with every other rider in her periphery, unstrapping her velcro shoes with quiet deftness. She was, quite possibly, the world’s most perfect baby.

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* Most jiu-jitsu studios use the thickest gym mats you can buy and even those don’t help. They change an accelerated fall from a height of six feet from crippling to survivable. The academy I train at uses a modestly sized mat, layered on top of ten inches of alternating foam and plywood. It springs under impact. Without that I would have found an excuse to quit years ago.

** Buy your Gorefest tickets now!