code the new issue of cells with what you want to be your beliefs.
Code the cells with your life purpose.
Code them with your Growth SIStem of: Persist, Resist and Insist.
Persist in growing by being curious and humble
Resist the low levels of energy that use pettiness and apathy by being firm in what you believe and flexible in how you achieve it.
Insist in dignity and authenticity.
Integrate your beliefs into daily life:
Using short prayers composed of a few words to align your intentions; or
Long prayers of putting those intentions into action.
New cells are like a newborn baby – fresh from the source – innocent and clean passing from the marrow through your bones Into your bloodstream. There is a heritage of knowledge passed on from ‘old’ cells to the fresh ones. The brand newest of cells are reasserting your well being and ready to receive the human ancestral wisdom. They have a purpose. They have an intelligence. They have a mechanical infrastructure. They have their engraving agility (as opposed to emotional agility). This is an agility to transcribe and translate the DNA via RNA into actionable instructions. This is cellular level synthesis of energy into magnetic information that can be repeated. The residue of this cellular synthesis is hosted by the blood.
What do you want to host in your blood as your cellular orientation. Can they grasp what you want now, as an adult? Or is your childhood programming stronger than what you want?
“I can’t believe someone would be so stupid to pay $280 thousand for a freakin NFT,” said Matt. “It’s a measly pdf.”
“Who paid that much?” said Hector.
“Eminem,” said Matt.
“He’s got too much money,” said Hector.
“They aren’t just payin for a pdf,” said Andy.
“Well that’s what they get,” said Matt.
“They are backed up by the blockchain,” said Andy.
“That does Jack shit,” said Matt.
“You don’t know what you are talking about,” bluffed Andy.
“What the fuck is a NFT?” said Hector squeezed between the other two on the work truck seat.
“It means a non refundable ticket,” said Matt as if that closed the conversation on the topic.
“No it doesn’t,” laughed Andy. Even though Matt could hear everything Andy spoke in a hushed voice to Hector on his right, “Don’t listen to that kindergarten drop out. He was so in love with Kristen what’s-her-name from the Twilight movie he quotes the movie whenever he can. But then she came out as a lesbeen and now numb nuts over there has PTSD.”
“Good morning can I take your order?” came a cute voice over the drive-thru speaker.
“Ya, can I get 3 large double doubles. Do you guys want a breakfast sandwich?” Then Andy turned back to the outdoor speaker, “I’m gonna get a bacon egger – no cheese.”
“Did you want a hash brown with that?” said the nice voice.
“What the hell,” said Andy.
“So then that makes it a combo,” said the bored voice.
“Hector, you want some chow?” said Andy.
“Ya gemme a bacon eager too,” said Hector.
“Another eager bacon,” said Andy, playing around with Hector’s accent.
“Was that a second bacon egger?” said the tired voice.
“Yes please,” said Andy then turned back towards Matt. “Yo, numb nuts, quit holdin up the line.”
“Ya make it a combo for me too. I need the grease to take my morning dump,” said Matt.
“So it’s you stinkin up my truck with beer farts,” said Andy.
“Sorry chump, that’s just your bad breath,” said Matt.
Hector laughed hard at everything.
Hating to be laughed at, Matt elbowed Hector in the ribs.
“Watch what you say, pipsqueak,” said Matt.
“I didn’t say anything. I only laughed”
Andy saw that Hector didn’t grasp the meaning of ‘pipsqueak’.”
“Pipsqueak comes from the old Ojibwa phrase meaning ‘ye of large penis’. Did you know Matt here is part native?” said Andy.
“Hector, did you know that gorgeous Andy over there is 100% dumbass?”
Being the first day of spring work the guys hadn’t been together as a group since early December so their banter was especially vigorous as a way to say ‘I missed you’. Instead of doing snow removal, for the past three winters Matt surfs in Mexico. Andy and Hector would bump into each other at the yard when they drove snow plow. As the winter wound down Andy took March off this year and Hector hung drywall with his cousin.
They couldn’t slide out the plastic cup holder because Hector’s knees were in the way so the tray with coffees and the bag of food were on his lap. Over the winter Hector had pretty much cut out coffee but didn’t want to open himself to the circus of ridicule from Andy and Matt if he ordered a green tea so this morning he just let it ride.
“Rub-a-dub-dub, where’s the grub?” said Andy rubbing his hands together as he drove. The paper bag warmed Hector’s thighs as he listened to the song on the radio. He had no idea the band was Lowest of The Low and the song was called Salesman, Cheats and Liars but he liked the tune. He had no idea Andy was asking for his breakfast sandwich.
“Oye guey, reparta la comida,” Matt translated. As he worked over the years Hector had learned English yet many sayings escaped him. On purpose Andy would use colloquial sayings in a passive/aggressive way that helped Hector broaden his vocabulary while portraying himself as cultured and wise.
“How was Parco el Escondera bro? Some big surf and a bevy of hotties?” said Andy through a mouthful of artificially round sausage.
“Que vergüenza ese pinche guey,” said Matt making Hector laugh.
“It’s Puerto Escondido. And I’m not telling you anything because then you will want to come down there one winter and you will ruin the vibe and scare off all the bikinis,” said Matt.
Hector took a bite of his breakfast sandwich, then looked to his left in expectation of Andy’s response.
“Las nenas guey, una chulada, te digo,” said Matt.
“Orale,” said Hector. Hector likes working with Andy. But Andy has this way of joking with Hector’s English that Hector can’t figure out. So he likes it when Matt speaks his Spanish to kind of even things out.
Out of nowhere Andy slammed on the horn because some idiot didn’t put on their left turn signal. He squeezed his coffee so tight with his right hand that the brown plastic top popped off and hot coffee soaked his leg and crotch.
“Asshole! Learn to drive! Even better, don’t drive at all,” yelled Andy.
“You really told him. I don’t think he is ever going to drive again,” said Matt.
“Gimme your coffee,” said Hector so Andy could dry his pants.
“Great, now it looks like I pissed myself,” said Andy, steaming.
“So what does Eminem get for $280k?” asked Hector.
“A bored monkey,” said Matt.
“Exactly. That’s what Matt sees when he wakes up in the morning,” said Andy.
“No Seriously,” said Hector.
“Google it,” said Andy. Hector pulled his phone from his inside pocket.
“Not board you Mexican midget. Bored,” said Matt watching Hector type.
Matt knew Hector was from El Salvador. Matt was born in Poland and came to Canada when he was one year old so he had no accent but spoke decent Polish.
Hector’s belief in himself as a man was in flux but his spine was strong. He loved Canada. He loved that his daughter could walk to school. He loved Matt and Andy because they looked at him with eyes that demanded results from a peer. Hector was having trouble with his wife because he was having trouble ridding himself of a third world mentality.
“How do you spell NFT,” joked Hector.
“I’ll let Andy tackle that one,” said Matt.
“Bro, it’s a cartoon!” said Hector looking at the picture of the NFT on his phone.
“Hector hermano, but actually you should see some of these NFT’s; they are like a psychedelic trip. But without the drugs. They are really cool. It’s a whole experience. Not just a static image.
“What’s the point?” says Hector.
“Money,” said Andy.
“Yes, money. But the tech behind it can root out forgeries because if you cannot connect your pdf to the blockchain it is a fake,” said Matt.
“Fake what? It’s right here in front of me,” said Hector.
“That’s what I’m sayin,” said Matt.
Andy had reached his limit of his Google search sound bites and succumbed to the most comfortable defence; “Fake news,” he said.
“Blockheads like him,” Matt motioned towards Andy, “Don’t have the mental bandwidth to grasp blockchain implications. De hecho hay un guey que me está ayudando con todo eso. Se puede ganar un chingo de dinero,” Matt confided in Hector about his investment.
Hector’s wife would pummell him and then divorce him if he were to risk their savings on a bored monkey.
He was impressed with how much Matt’s Spanish had improved. Matt just got back last week and was all tanned. He could tell Matt loved tossing around slang and swear words but it resonated as an empty cool. Plus his gringo accent made him sound like a congested substitute teacher.
“What the hell, why is Fields calling me?” said Andy looking at his phone and putting it on speaker.
“Ron, what’s up?”
“Kurdak is calling me wondering if you guys are coming today. What’s going on?” said the boss.
“Nothin. We’ll be there in like 20 minutes,” said Andy.
“Hey Ron this is Matt. First day of the season ya know. We had to find where everything was in the sea can,” said Matt.
“Where the fuck is Hector?” asked Fields.
“Right here boss,” said Hector.
“Ok good. Well, welcome back boys. And let’s get this Kurdak thing done and get outta there. He’s drivin me crazy,” said Fields.
“You got it,” said Andy.
“Should be maximum five days work,” Matt said smiling at the other guys as he leaned towards the phone on the dash.
“Five days!?” said Fields.
“Ya the ground is probably still frozen in parts at the side of the house. If we can wait a few weeks then it will probably only take three days,” said Matt trying to muscle Andy out of being team leader.
“I can’t wait any longer. I need this done. Go rent a jackhammer to break up the frozen shit,” said the boss.
“Ok,” said Andy, knowing that he would drop the guys and the tools at Kurdak’s place and spend half the morning going to get the jackhammer.
“Update me at the end of the day,” said Fields.
“Roger that,” said Andy feeling good about his position in the tug of war with Matt for the team lead.
“Hector bro, sounds like Fields is grooming you for upper management,” said Matt.
“Fields wouldn’t even recognize me if I ran him over with my car,” said Hector.
“You have a car?” said Andy looking across at Hector.
“Ya bro. Didn’t you see me all winter pull up in that blue Nissan?”
“What year is it?”
“2015. Runs pretty good. Got it off my cousin so I can pay it off by hangin drywall for him on weekends he said,” said Hector.
“Nice,” said Matt.
“Last week Fields told me Kurdak had called him like 5 times to confirm we were going to be there today because he wanted to ‘monitor our work’ is what Kurdak said,” said Andy.
“Kurdak. That’s the spooky guy that stands behind the curtains all day to watch us work?” said Hector.
“No. That’s Mrs Moosavi. She’s a whole nother kettle a fish,” said Andy.
“Do we have to go back there?” asked Hector.
“Nope. We finished her driveway in October I think,” said Andy.
“Don’t these people ever work!?” said Matt.
“Who knows,” said Hector.
“Man they come here with wads a dough and buy a passport,” said Andy, throwing around his sayings again.
“Not like Hector the Erector here who works for his money and pays his taxes,” said Matt.
“Hector the erector, is that your porn star name?” said Andy.
“Hey, there goes a Pyramid Landscaping truck. Those guys man, they work fast and dirty. They have the worst Yelp reviews,” said Matt.
“Those guys offered me a job in January,” said Andy.
“As what?” asked Matt, both jealous and curious.
“Territory Manager,” said Andy.
“Obviously you turned it down because here you are. What kind of money did they offer you?” asked Matt.
“More than what Fields pays,” said Andy
“So why didn’t you take it?” asked Hector.
“My wife sat me down and showed me the on-line reviews and she told me there must be a reason they are looking outside the company when they need a territory Manager,” said Andy.
“It must be a real shit show,” said Matt, convincing himself where he worked was alright and his feelings weren’t hurt that he didn’t get a job offer over the winter.
Shit show; Hector liked that saying. He was going to use that.
“Basically it’s sales and customer service,” said Andy. “Putting out fires and dealing with Kurdaks. I wanted the money, of course. To buy a house and stupidly chain myself to a mortgage for 30 years. But my wife told me I would have become exactly like my father. And we don’t want that for her or for me. So now I am stuck with looking at your sad faces everyday.”
“I know, I am getting these bags under my eyes,” said Matt checking out his tanned face in the mirror in the passenger sun visor.
“You sound like a woman,” said Andy.
“You look like a woman,” said Matt with an instant response.
“No seriously, you remind me of one of those women in her flowing dressing gown,” said Matt as they turned onto Kurdak’s street. “You know the 1960’s kind who sit at their boudoir with a cigarette and their Martini to put on their makeup to go out for dinner with their aloof husband,” Andy continued. “Their young daughter stares as her mother gets ready, ‘you are so pretty mommy,’ and mommy smiles to hide her sadness.”
Hector typed boodwar into google translate.
“It’s tocador guey,” Matt told Hector then to Andy he said,
“That’s a whole lot of Disney princesses you got going on in your head bro”.
“I’m an artist,” said Andy.
“You’re an idiot,” said Matt.
“Now Matthew quit teasing your sister,” said Hector in a scolding voice.
Matt turned toward Hector, “If you were a woman Hector, you would be …,”
“If Andy was a woman …,” interrupted Hector nervously.
“What are you talking about, Andy is a woman! I mean have you ever seen him take a piss? Me neither. You know why, cuz he’s gotta sit down,” said Matt.
“Now who’s got the rabid imagination?” said Andy to Matt as he put the truck in park.
Mr. Kurdak was waiting for them in his garage with the garage door up.
“Good morning Mr. Kurdak. How are we today?”
Also from the Short Story Series: Tool by Kevin McNamara is Jerry Rig
“Oksana asked me what Haka meant,” said Oddie, “So I gave her my best version of it.”
On his first day Ricky had seen the word in black marker on the back of Oddie’s hard hat but figured it was his last name or something. That was when he hadn’t asked questions because he feared it would only have shown how little he knew.
“What is Haka?” asked Ricky.
“It’s the warrior dance the All Blacks do before each game.”
“Who are the All Blacks?”
“New Zealand’s national rugby team. Watch this,” says Oddie as he stands right in front of Ricky and starts slapping his forearms as he squats and shouts with his tongue out.
“What the fuck … are you two love birds talking about now?” asked Gerry the supervisor out of breath.
“Nothin,” said Ricky.
“What in the world could possibly motivate you to get out of your truck and climb that ladder?” said Oddie.
“Sandoval is coming later today,” said Gerry, feeling awkward talking about the boss to the boss’s son. “He hates a messy job site and he will yell at me saying the minister of labour is just around the corner …”
“The Minister?” said Oddie.
“Yes the fn’ Minister of Labour is comin down here to find us,” said Gerry.
“Fine us,” said Ricky, the boss’s derelict son.
“Fine,” said Gerry.
“Ok we’ll clean up your job site Gerr Bear,” said Oddie.
“Now,” said Gerry.
Sandoval got his start in Quebec 30 years ago renovating apartments when the tenants moved out so the owners could jack up the rent. To avoid the unions in Quebec he brought his guys to Ontario. Two of his best men, Rejean and Frederick, were machines 20 years ago. They had forgotten more about how to build a house than these young guns would ever know. Frederick became a supervisor years ago but Rejean had framed himself into a corner. He told himself he couldn’t do anything else.
“Tabernac, Jerrie. Kick doze feckin punks inta gear.” said Rejean.
“Relax, Jean. I got em cleanin up the job site. Nothin you need to sweat your little French balls about,” said Gerry.
Gerry found himself squeezed between this wrinkled and weary red seal swearing at him in French and these newbie cowboys knocking in nails as they gabbed about energy. Oddie could see Gerry stressing because he didn’t have skills to get the team to work together. Oddie loved sitting back and watching Gerry squirm.
Strapping on their tool belts after tidying up the job site, Oddie wondered,
‘Why is it that some people are just so easy to make fun of?’
“Ok Gerry-atric,’ Oddie yelled down to Gerry, “Looks real cute your job site.”
“If by cute you mean tidy then get back to building my fuckin house,” said Gerry.
“He’s not coming,” said Ricky.
It took Oddie a few seconds to realize that Ricky was referring to his dad; the boss, Sandoval. Ricky obviously had the inside scoop. Oddie inched a 2 by 4 stud until it was on centre with slow taps of the side of his hammer trying to think of something to ask.
“It’s Tuesday. We won’t see him till Thursday. Chill,” said Ricky. Seeing Gerry leaning on his truck, checking his phone and pulling on his e-cigarette he said “It’s like watching a rat in a lab experiment.”
“Bro, who are you tryin to kid. Ya gotta shorten up on the handle so it will be easier to get the nail in the middle of the block. Shorten up,” repeats Oddie. “You never played baseball as a kid?”
Ricky purses his lips.
“Fuck,” said Oddie. “Gimme that thing. With all your money you couldn’t get yourself a real hammer. Who made this thing? Fischer-Price? Watch me; it’s like this.” Oddie shows Ricky and Ricky gets the hang of it.
“That’s better. Now you only look like a spaztic rookie instead of a complete moron,” said Oddie.
Oddie does anything complicated and Ricky works around Oddie. Oddie is the only one who isn’t afraid to whip Ricky into shape:
“Ricky don’t be picky – grab a couple of those lovely 2 by 4’s and let’s frame the shit outta this wall.”
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph Ricky. That’s not how I taught you to put in the blocking. You’re makin me look bad.”
“Ricky, you don’t have to advertise you’re a rookie. We already know.”
Ricky was still slick; hair coiffed down to the nanometre. But now his boots were nicked and scuffed; the leather on his tool belt was softening up and wrinkling. His posture was strong; his gait potent.
“Who is Oshkania again?” asked Ricky.
“Oksana. She’s Tali’s girlfriend. He says she’s his fiance but I haven’t seen any rings yet. Anyway, Saturday morning she has a Zoom call about intention. with this group of people all over the world who are into well-being. You know, healthy living. What they do is they take turns sending each other good vibes. And apparently it cures people of diseases and other shit,” Oddie loved having an audience.
“Whaddya mean intention?”
“Intention. It’s something you want. Something you want to happen. Something you want to be in the world,” said Oddie.
“What have they cured?”
“I think she said cancer but I find that hard to believe.”
“Cancer?! What… what’s her group called,” asked Ricky. Oddie feigned needing to pick up a block and looked over at Ricky who, for the first time, was radiating confidence. And purpose.
“I don’t know bro. But I’ll get that for ya,” said Oddie.
Oddie can see Ricky is just here till the waters calm between him and his family and he will move on to whatever project his father’s money can finance. In the meantime Oddie is a whole golf bag of services to the little prince; Oddie is the 3 wood of focus; the 7 iron of curiosity; the sand wedge of problem solving; the pitching wedge of nuance; the putter of belief.
“Where’s Reggie?” asked Ricky.
“You know you came along just in the nick of time. Reggie’s knees went a few years ago. Now his wrists are so shot to shit he really shouldn’t even be working. He has to take a couple of days off sometimes. So that would mean I would have to work with Rejean over there. You saved me from a long slow death.”
“What’s wrong with working with him?” asked Ricky reeling with the realization that his privileged upbringing was financed on the backs of these guys.
“I dunno. It’s just that he is so out of touch and out of shape,” said Oddie, hiking up his jeans.
Oddie could feel he was getting soft because everyday after work he would step up into Ricky’s Rubicon after putting his lunch cooler on the back seat. Now Ricky gives him a lift home when at first it used to be just to the subway.
At the traffic light a woman in cat eye sunglasses pulled up beside them in a yellow Jeep Wrangler. Ricky gave a casual three finger Jeep wave; she waved back. Oddie pushed his sunglasses down his nose to get a better look.
“Bro ….” Oddie loved this.
The yellow Jeep sped ahead while Ricky shifted into second on his own time.
“What kind of name is Oddie anyway?”
Shorten Up Ricky is from the Short Story Series – Tool by Kevin McNamara
“What the hell?” said Moe under his breath as the mall bench shook. He was ready to kick into survival gear thinking it might be an earthquake.
The guy on Moe’s left glanced at him; at his phone and back at Moe.
Realizing what happened Alex said, “Bro. Sorry.” Alex showed his cell phone screen to his bench neighbour. “I just couldn’t help it. Robin Williams man. He is crazy funny,” said Alex explaining how when he laughed so much he made their bench shake.
“Comedy. That’s some of the best therapy there is,” said Moe
“Amen to that bro,” agreed Alex.
“Oh, boy! Hnhn,” Moe laughed despite himself.
Alex had asked him why he was sitting on a mall bench waiting for his wife to appear laden with shopping bags.
“When my wife found out I had a second Instagram account she freaked. So here I am paying for it.”
“How’d she find out?” asked Alex.
‘My 6 year old daughter has a friend whose dad followed one of the accounts I followed and somehow the 2 girls outed their dads.”
“What happened to the other guy?”
They both swallowed the loneliness of being in a place with thousands of people yet feeling alone. Seeking community Alex asked;
“What’s all the fuss about shopping anyway?”
“I hate shopping,” said Moe as the elevator music played Dua Lipa.
“What is it about shopping malls; they just suck the energy right out of me?”
Ya, I know what you mean.”
“Usually I can swing it so I only have to drop them off and pick them up,” said Alex.
“I look forward to that day.”
“Hey man, I’m Moe.”
“Nice to meet you, I’m Alex.”
After their fist bump it felt weird to meet someone when you are sitting down.
“What do you do for a living Alex?”
“I’m a carpenter. I’m up for my red seal in a few months. How about you?”
“I’m in sales for a loading dock systems company,” said Moe.
“It keeps me outta trouble.”
“So do you do any of those huge Amazon distribution centres?” asked Alex.
“Ya,” paused Moe, breathing life into the doubt that blocked the sun out of his life. “I put in a bid a few months ago and they should be deciding. Any day now.”
In life there are beautiful pauses. Like, just before he says, ‘Will you marry me?’ as he is on one knee outside the restaurant. This pause wasn’t beautiful; it felt like it was filled with itchy scratchy fibreglass insulation.
“How did you get into dock systems?” asked Alex.
“I hurt my back framing and couldn’t do physical work anymore.”
“You didn’t want to continue in construction?”
“You know I did but my wife kiboshed that,” said Moe.
“Hmm,” Alex looked at the shiny floor between his boots.
“Ya, I know. Sounds pathetic,” said Moe.
“I didn’t say …”
“She was right.”
“Carrie, my wife, said, I can remember it vividly. She was standing sideways at the stove. She moved the chicken in the frying pan with the wooden spoon and said,” remembered Moe. “You have two tasks: the first is to get off the painkillers. The second is to get a job that pays.”
“Shit,” said Alex looking at the floor and then at Moe who was looking up at the ceiling.
“She was right. Again. I had been shafted too many times by general contractors. And I was hooked on codeine”
“So, whadya do?” said Alex.
“I got the pills from my truck, under my shirts in the bottom dresser drawer and the bathroom and poured them all down the kitchen sink as Carrie watched me. Then, I turned on the fan over the stove as she cooked the chicken and gave her a kiss.”
“Sorry man. I shouldn’t have vomited my crazy life story. You’re gonna think I’m a…,”
“I can think for myself,’ said Alex. “So you stayed off the painkillers?”
“Ya know I did. I have.”
“How long ago was that?”
“Like 5 years. Hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Moe. “But ya know what I miss the most? Talking smack on the job site. And the smells, believe it or not.”
You mean the sweet smell when you saw a piece a lumber. Or the porta potty?” asked Alex.
“Ya right! Nothing like the fragrance of a portapotty that has been on the site for a week baking in the August heat,” joked Moe. “But with two young children ya gotta do what ya gotta do.”
“I hear ya bro,” said Alex.
“So how long till you get your Red Seal?”
“By the end of the year I’d say.”
“Cool. What keeps you motivated to keep going?” asked Moe.
Alex was getting a little weirded out by how quickly Moe could get so personal.
“Same as you. Family,” said Alex.
“But what’s in it for you?”
“I love my family bro. It gives me satisfaction to provide for them” said Alex
“I believe you 100 percent. The thing is your life can pass you by and you didn’t live it.”
Moe had touched a nerve in Alex.
“Ya know who you remind me of bro?” said Alex detouring the conversation.
“Who?” said Moe.
The sailor in that poem Ancient Mariner.”
“I thought you were gonna say someone like Mike Holmes. Who the fuck is the ancient mariner?”
“He’s the wrinkled old man who stops the young people arriving at a wedding. He needs to tell them his story. Check it out,” said Alex.
“I’ll Google it,” said Moe. “But that’s a bit of a weird reference,” he said as he was used to a different reaction to his desire to help.
“Hey man, it was grade 11 English class. Mrs. Downs. Great teacher,” said Alex.
“Nice to meet bro, take care,’ said Alex as Moe saw his wife come out of the store with children and shopping bags. ‘You’re a bit of a weird random guy I talked to in the mall’ thought Alex as he watched Moe walk away.
Alex had related the conversation with Moe to Rebecca, his wife, as they were on the drive home from the mall. As he was merging onto the highway Rebecca asked him,
“She went in the house to talk to your mom,” said Oscar Phillips. “Hey, I heard you had a new girlfriend.”
“Is she coming?”
“No, Trish had to work. She’s a nurse.”
Tim leaned against the workbench and picked at a scab on his index finger. Oscar sat on the chopper with the sparkling silver gas tank. Everyone, including Oscar, knew the theme of this family barbecue was to offer him a hand up as he lurched in the quicksand of depression. The radio effortlessly played classic rock; Spirit of the West ushered in the moment. Spirit Of The West “Home For A Rest” – Official Music Video
“So, did Debbie bring home any boyfriends. To do the meet-the-parents thing?” asked Oscar instantly regretting using air quotes.
“I remember one guy. He was really smart, tall and polite. Debbie was still in college but he was working a full time job. He had a pick up. My Mom didn’t like him. Dad did.” Oscar straightened his back and bent his neck to crack it. Oscar feared Tim’s dad Stan.
“Debbie is like, 10 years older than you?” said Oscar.
“Yes, 10 years and 8 months apart. In school Debbie always had a part time job. I saw her on weekends. Kind of like visitation rights with your own sister while living in the same house. Basically we grew up in two different families with the same parents. Debbie was before the accident.”
“Right,” said Oscar.
“She wasn’t perfect or anything but she didn’t cause my parents so many headaches like me. We never really had any big brother-sister fights. Never lit the kitchen on fire heating the pizza box in the oven or anything like that”
“Right,” said Oscar.
His shoulders deflated in a whatever surrender. Depression is usurping his mojo. It’s a pesky grinding of his tectonic plates causing landslides of conflict between him and Debbie.
Tim took in the Oscar’s theatre in response to his question.
“What the fuck do you want me to do,” Oscar imitates an exasperated Debbie.
Then nodding to Tim. “And you know Debbie never swears.”
“So bro,what … do you want Debbie … to do?” asks Tim.
“I don’t know what I want to do,” Oscar throws his arms open. “So how the fuck can I tell her what to do?”
“Dude. Fake it till you make it. Ya know, tell ‘em you wanna buy a house. Or have children. Or to go for that promotion.”
“What promotion?” Oscar needed to know.
“I am making it up. It doesn’t fuckin matter. They just need to hear that you are the man. They need you to make them feel they made the right decision bro.”
Tim and Oscar nodded as they sipped their beers.
“Sorry man,” Tim tried to redirect the heavy silence that was weighing them down, “I’m just tryin to help.”
‘This family therapy gig is getting old quick,’ Tim thought during yet another awkward pause. Oscar kept himself busy by thinking, ‘I just need to keep the conversation going.’ But he couldn’t find anything to say so the bottom fell out of the conversation again. Tim turned around to face the workbench and grabbed a long, red handled Phillips screwdriver. He spun it in the air, caught it and turned back and looked at Oscar.
“Look bro ….”
Oscar looked at him.
“It has everything to do with you and nothing to do with you all at the same time,” Tim pointed the red screwdriver handle at Oscar.
As Oscar’s soul mined him for traction, he heard his instinct, ‘Reflect.’
Like a witch Tim says,
“Listen bro, you just need to reflect on, you know, the situation. But, you have to fuckin swear you will not sit there and stew in your own regret. You cannot, cannot mire yourself in your own, you know, bullshit.”
Like the open garage door, Oscar gaped. Tim was proud of how he used the word mired. He had never used it before.
“Dude, I can see why Debbie is so frustrated. Your mojo, your fuckin chi!” Tim extended his neck at Oscar, “Has been sucked out of you like you were a cherry freezie on a hot summer day. Know what I mean?”
“If I don’t, Debbie does. And she isn’t shy about telling me. Daily,” said Oscar.
“Is she right, daily?”
“Is this a yes or no question?”
“Yes. I mean, sure we had all those immature marital squabbles cuz our parents didn’t orient us about marriage. I know now that’s nothing personal. But now we are a fuckin tsunami of feces even before we wake up. We don’t talk, we argue. We don’t speak, we yell. We don’t love, we dread. It’s real. It’s horrible. I want to fix it,” said Oscar with the humility of a porcupine before a gale force wind. His own words stood him up from the motorbike. Tim was impressed. Oscar looked at himself standing as if he just woke from a dream. He sat back on the motorbike.
Bobcageon by The Tragically Hip reminded the radio of younger times.
Oscar and Debbie lived in a condo downtown Toronto. Having recoiled from most of their relationships, Oscar squats at home all day coding; becoming paler, losing valuable hair and gaining stupid pounds so he can be a better punching bag for depression.
His man cave was either: early morning concrete coffee cross legged on the 5 x 10 balcony overlooking the Gardiner Expressway or: seated on the ground in a clutch of red pine trees in the lakeside park across the street from the condo. In other days, these ‘encuentros’ would have provided better dividends.
The garage was Stan’s man cave. Storage boxes stuffed with sentimental anchors among aged yard equipment collected on his shelving unit. He was a salesman for Global Racking Systems. One day a client wouldn’t pay for one of Stan’s sales, so the install team took back all the racking and put it in his garage.
Tim had never seen his dad in work mode. Stan started out really appreciative of the install team bringing it over and installing the racks. Then in the flip of switch he was really bossy when it came to the installation. Then he gave the guys pizza and beers. It was fun for Tim to observe others caught in his dad’s passive/aggressive jousting.
Tim shuffled his feet on the gritty garage floor painted slate grey, looked back at the racking and realized he was proud of his dad. He decided he would ask his dad about how to invest in a house.
The earthy air of the garage buoyed Oscar from falling deeper into the abyss of depression. There was a hint of oily rags coming from the corner. The ceiling was high enough and the garage wide enough so you didn’t sense you were missing out on the day when you were inside the garage.
“Lemme see that thing, said Oscar reach for Tim to pass him the red handled screwdriver
“This thing is probably older than you,” Tim said.
Oscar exhaled laughter, “You know I am actually named after this fuckin thing.”
“Get outta town.”
“Ya. My dad is a total tool geek and he insisted my name be Henry Phillips – the guy who patented the cross screwdriver. He didn’t tell my mom until after I was born. I’m pretty sure that is why they got divorced.”
“Well not exactly, but it couldn’t have fuckin helped. Anyway, I was like three. My mom made sure from then on everyone used my middle name.
“Oscar,” Tim said.
“Nice to meet ya,” Oscar raised his empty beer bottle and they both laughed. Tim wanted to get them another beer but feared breaking the moment by going to the kitchen.
“Guys.” Stan opened the door connecting the garage to the laundry room with his left hand and held up his right hand carrying two green bottles of beer. “Do I have any customers?”
Oscar jumped to his feet.
“Right on. Perfect timing dad.”
“Where’s your beer Stan?” Oscar asked.
“Back at the barbecue. Burgers are gonna be ready in 5 minutes,” Stan said, closing the door.
“Thanks dad,” Stan loved hearing those words. They ferried beautiful meaning.
“Nice and cold, thanks Stan,” said Oscar as he grabbed a metal scraper with a wood handle from the workbench and popped the bottle caps off.
“Boys, dinners on the table,” Tim’s mom chirped and then she knocked on the door. Tim and Oscar chuckled at the backward sequence of it.
ar Oscar imagined that the granite boulder of depression weighing on his shoulders was crumbling into shiny grains of crystalline red, black and silver sand that fell off his back spilling around his feet.
—- Phillips is part of the Short Story Series called Tool by Kevin McNamara
Dying to Belong is the name of the program. And it hits the nail on the head. We all want to belong but humiliating people and endangering their lives to generate a sense of exclusivity is juvenile.
Hazing is defined as the imposition of strenuous, often humiliating, tasks as part of a program of rigorous physical training and initiation. So the greater the humiliation then the club you are being initiated into should be that much more exclusive. Or provide a transcendent feeling of belonging. I am not sure that university frats get to that level of, well fraternity. Basically it is supposed to earn you a loyalty towards you when you need it. And your loyalty to your fraternity will be asked for when it is needed. In the meantime you have the status of saying you belong to this or that frat.
The thing is people die in these hazings that new recruits or pledges are submitted to. Why? Why does it have to dip to a level of life threatening humiliation?
To belong to the Jeep driver’s club all you need is to make a down payment of a few thousand dollars to buy your Jeep Wrangler and then keep up with your monthly payments. And as a result every time another Jeep drives in the opposite direction you get a cool and subtle wave as you drive by each other in your Jeeps. It’s silly. But it provides a sense of inclusion/acceptance/belonging in and among all the random traffic. And it is warming not demoralizing. It is simple not nefarious.
Initiation is the process of crossing the threshold into the next stage of life. And in some cultures they can be extremely demanding rite of passage like a vision quest. Or it can be a celebration like a bar mitzvah.
The idea of initiation is to create a mark that a person is entering into a new possibility in their life. Witness it. Make the ceremony and the person being initiated important. Generate in them the concept of upholding their dignity as they pass from child to young adult; or from adult to elder. So when we cross the threshold of death, from elder to ether, we have had practice knowing how to cross into the next realm and what is of value there.
While initiation helps the same person elevate in their development trajectory a distinct aspect of their life is being accessed in this new platform for life that encourages curiosity and perception.
If you are not religious then recognition of the next life stage might not be so ceremonious. It can be conversations to show appreciation of the person for what they have become up to now based on their challenges and opportunities. Appreciation coupled with respect for their version of responsibility as they grow. Reminding them to harvest from their past the milestones won by the vigour of their youth. Merging these lessons with the awareness being petitioned of each person to grow into the unknown.
Turning left out of the restaurant, MJ and I walk south along John Street. I know I hear some running footsteps but, so what. You never know who is asking for something so I put my arm around MJ’s shoulder and keep walking.
I look over my shoulder between me and MJ and see this guy waving his hand and running towards us. The guy was wearing black pants, a white shirt and a knee length white apron. It’s our waiter from the restaurant. Maximum 25 years old as he ran with ease towards us.
“Crazy” the waiter says, landing a few slow down steps as he reaches us.
“Look.” He only takes two breaths to speak normally after a 2 block sprint.
“I think the bills stuck together. I don’t think you meant to leave a $40 tip on a $29 tab.” The waiter tentatively offers two twenty dollar bills. The bills were probably just printed and put into circulation. I had just got them out of the bank machine earlier in the day.
“I thought they felt funny.” I say putting my hand out tentatively as the waiter goes about half way.
“Thank you very much.” I extend my appreciation and my hand to receive my overpayment.
“Right on.” Waiter says. There is a brief gap in the moment; and then he spins to jog back to the restaurant. MJ and I look at each other.
“Wow. You don’t see that too often. Someone running 2 blocks to give you money you didn’t know was yours. Actually, in the moment I thought to give him 1 of the twenties.”
MJ says “I could tell you hesitated. You could’ve.”
Standing in the same place, slowly folding the 2 twenties, I look at MJ and declare “That’s honesty”. Feeling proud to have been a part of that street vignette, I almost feel I deserve some of the credit.
MJ holds my gaze for a moment, then she says “That’s tidy.”
Tidy is living life with minimal loose ends.
Tidy is not military. It is clarity of scope of any intention.
Scope refers to what you are going to do when and how.
How refers to the quality of your work and ‘the 2-stage hand off’.
The first stage of the ‘hand off’ is you receiving from the previous person what you said you needed in order to get started. The second stage is you delivering what you said you would. That way the next person knows what to expect when you are finished with your part. Essentially ensuring the next stage 1 for the next person includes what said they needed to get started.
So if the person before or after you is not tidy, life now has drama that we aren’t paid for.
Being tidy is a reflection of self respect; It is an expression of understanding others and having the arts and skills to be understood.
Tidy is a great way to run your life.
Like someone runs their business.
You do what you say you are going to do.
You make commitments, make a plan and invest in the project. Then people quit, get fired or screw up. So being tidy can be a great hypothetical ideal but the daily reality can make your work anything but tidy. Because someone on your team quit means now you can’t deliver your products on time. So you have to advise others that your delivery is going to change. That’s business. That’s life.
Sometimes there is a pandemic and materials or staff are scarce or expensive and your price changes and the customer isn’t happy or wants to cancel all together. These are some of those changes that fit into the ‘you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up’ category.
So many obstacles can get thrown your way making your work, and life, untidy. You can’t control others. You can manage yourself. Your work is subject to outside influences. When everything is going sideways, that is when you need to insist on being tidy in your mind. Meaning understanding who is responsible, or to blame, but with an eye to moving forward.
The New You Profile is:
The man a young man strives to be;
The gentleman a man can feel he is becoming.
The scope of that gentleman’s life is: deep, expansive, growing, challenging, intriguing.
This book is for tough guys. Like me. Like you. Tough nuts to crack. When we aren’t as good as we want to be at our own emotional display we can get frustrated. Frustration is rarely associated with satisfaction.
The spark of this writing is the belief that a man who is creative in achieving his satisfaction, able to share the successes and let downs of pursuing what he wants, will use his stressful challenges to grow. Life has shown us that when one of us is frustrated in the moment, stressed by life, wayward in his manlife, he can easily lash out. He can be hurtful with insults and beatings.
The purpose of the book is to be a spur for men to access their emotional agility as they strive to get what they want.
A man who knows himself at daily and higher levels will appreciate what he is becoming despite his shortcomings. He will have a sense that there is more to the definition of a man than can be found on the internet.
A constant theme of this book is that we are indeed on a development journey during our whole life. That journey for a man differs from the journey of a woman. Whether or not male and female journeys have converging priorities, understandings or emotions we all want to enlist each man to ‘be his own man’ in the moment.
When a woman wants something different from her man, or wants more from her husband or wants better from her boyfriend it is a good news story. It locates the man in what she seeks. It’s not a strike against you that, as a man, you cannot immediately figure out what she wants. Perhaps it provides her a sense of being valued by knowing she can look to you for man services. So, what kind of man services do you offer? Sexual services, fixing flat tire services, humour, tenderness, encouragement services, mortgage payment services, opening jam jars services, packing the car, parking the car, washing the car, barbecuing …
A man is a good thing. Anyone who feels differently does not have the full story. Or as is often the case, has had more bad man experiences than good. Those damaging experiences are often the result of his lack of belief in himself . This poverty of self-belief contorts the love of those that believe in him as a man. When we can rise above the tyranny of our energy sucking ego we ascend into new thoughts, fresh intentions, rejuvenating conversation … This elevation into realms of value, success and connection makes your man feel like the MVP.
The underlying concept that powers this book is that men have the emotional finesse enabling them to instinctually respond to the Daily challenges and Devotional callings of life.
There are many men in the various communities you participate in that don’t subscribe to the dogma of sexism. They go along with insulting jokes and remarks because they don’t have something stronger they believe in. Or they fear for their job and crave respect as a man’s man. They most likely believe in women; in a deep and beautiful way. However most men don’t get the education they want to become a man of self-respect, love and belief.
There is a lack of readily accessible guidance for men to become the reliable husband that is also the spontaneous guy who is also the nurturing man. There is a paucity of seed pods for him to cultivate the male version of instinct.
Each day all men search for the missing pieces in the life puzzle of career, love and meaning. At the risk of alienating himself from the lowest common denominator of macho manhood there are those that insist on being ambitious, clean and versatile. It takes balls to be a man that resists the mafia of moronic male behaviour.
The guy who strives beyond the poor understanding of women and lack of self knowledge as a man needs your support. Most likely he is energized by sincere love yet doubts his version of a man authentic. He is juggling his professional ambition, the questions for his higher self and his residual anger of youth. He wants to bundle them into a brave vision of him as a man, spouse and gentleman.
This book highlights that we are all capable of and responsible for our own Satisfaction in the ongoing stages of life, evolving relationships and variety of experiences.
Did you see the 2007 movie Ocean’s 13? It’s the third movie in the Ocean’s series of a modern band of thieves. The sudden news of one of their own falling ill from shock of a business deal gone bad id bringing them all together again. About ten minutes into the movie George Clooney as ‘Daniel Ocean’ and Brad Pitt as ‘Rusty’ are just getting off their private jet.
‘It’s not their fight’ Linus, played by Matt Damon had just asked Ocean where Tess and Isabelle were. A seemingly harmless question as they walk across the tarmac. Tess (Julia Roberts) is Ocean’s wife; Isabelle (Catherine Zeta Jones) is the love of Rusty’s life.
Since Linus wants a bit more info he turns to Rusty and asks a little louder above the jet engines. ‘Where are Tess and Isabelle?’
Out of nowhere Ocean explodes on his colleague Linus and repeats with an anvil of force closing the issue, ‘It’s not their fight’.
Ocean is right. A man takes responsibility for his struggle. He doesn’t make it hers. Men are experts at the quiet struggle. Like the earth is coursing with ley lines and the body is strung with energy meridians, men are marionettes to the undercurrents of genuine emotion. The task at hand is to make this struggle less solitary, these emotions more accessible.
For that reason it is to be aware when you need help with your response. Ask for help, accept help. Appreciate the help and love the helper. But never make them responsible for your fight. Your fight is to evolve into you. Become the version of a man that is becoming of you.
Some men who are jacked up: cocky, confident, full of their preconceived idea of their importance to the moment. There are those guys who are understanding, laid back and funny. Of course we all know those guys that are lost, lack confidence and have more things they dread than they look forward to as a man. How could they ‘man up’ in a difficult situation. They don’t have the education, training, or reference to find their mojo.
The degree to which many a man is lost and alienated from a development journey as a soul bearing gentleman can feel bigger than huge, and deeper than bottomless.
The lost man can’t seem to get traction on his passion and skills. That’s part of why it can appear to his wife, a man doesn’t want to be a part of the solution to a withering marriage. His relationship is complicated by him not knowing how to shine his light on the path of their marriage.
One of the core messages this book carries is that men are a creative force, wildly willing to be a part of something good. And they are sincere. Sincerely in need of help to understand themselves, women and relationships.
The following is an excerpt from an article on cbc.ca.
Another trailblazer, Toronto engineer Gina Cody, has been appointed as a member of the Order of Canada. Cody immigrated to Canada in 1979 at the age of 22 when her family fled the Iranian Revolution.
She was the first woman to be awarded a PhD in Building Engineering at Concordia University in Montreal and went on to found a successful consulting firm, CCI Group, that was named one of Canada’s most profitable woman-owned companies by Profit magazine in 2010.
The faculty of engineering at Concordia now bears her name. The Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science is the first in Canada — and one of the first in the world — to be named after a woman.
Cody said she hopes her appointment inspires more women to enter the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics — especially as economies undergo a “fourth industrial revolution” characterized by automation and smart technology.
“That’s the message I want to send out — that parents encourage their girls and young children to get into the STEM programs,” said Cody.
Move the words out of your heart – say anything man. Be funny, dumb, endearing, stilted, embarrassing, true and simple. If they stay in your heart they will block your arteries and give you a heart attack.
Say how you feel. Because you want to understand and be understood. Understand what causes you to feel inspired or lost, confident or frustrated. And be understood as you go through the process of using these words to grow.
Find your words for love and vulnerability, of vision and belief.
Practice the words for sorry and appreciation, worry and forgiveness.
Repeat the words that elevate you and are a catalyst for other men.
Move the words out of your heart and into the world so we can all hear and learn:
Earlier today I was looking through my blog posts in search of a previous post about The Female Frixion when I came across this one from a year and half ago entitled 10 Things A Young Man Needs To Hear From A Man. When I wrote this it was a time when I knew even less than I think I know now. Fearful of the edits it still begs I believe there are some valid points in this post. Worth repeating. I have included 2 here starting with Be Agile – Not Fragile. That is what a father wants for his son. What a woman wants for her man.
Do the work to be emotionally agile not fragile. This one is so important to teach by example. The work can be analogous to juggling. If you focus on one ball then all of them will fall. To take it up a level you use your peripheral vision to manage the task at hand. What is being asked is to be able to have long term vision while still managing the present.
Define strength: mentally, physically, emotionally – as a man; find out what it is for a woman. What is your formula for strength in each case: Emotional Strength = _________ + ____________ Use your strengths to highlight them in others.
2 old guys were playing tennis as I walked by the public tennis court. It was a beautiful fall day with the mid afternoon sun balancing out the autumn cool. In the park there were a few mothers and nannies caring for and playing with children. There was one empty court and the one in use by said men.
In their 70’s one fart was in very good shape and the belly of the other one had a nice round shape to it. I watched them for a few minutes from the park bench near the court. They played very well without physically challenging each other too much. I couldn’t hear everything they said but I did catch the guy with the belly say in a chipper voice as he approached the net to collect a ball ‘ Kidsthese days. They’re not careless’. It seemed he was defending the millenials for getting a bad reputation as being lazy and disrespectful. Perhaps he had some grandchildren that were really proactive at recycling and social responsibility.
‘They are carefree.‘ The belly guy completed his thought and turned to walk back to the baseline.
What is that supposed to mean – ‘carefree’? That young people being smart phone savvy soothes all their problems. That because the retired generation receive their monthly pension then all must be good in the world. Or because the younger generations can’t afford a house that means they don’t have to worry about a mortgage. Or because they use Uber they don’t have to be concerned about car insurance rates. Or because they work from home they don’t have to stress about the price of gas and the pollution it causes.
Stress and depression and the temperature of the planet are all on the rise. Young people are worried. Sick. They are worried about the degradation of the planet and how to grow food on their balcony, their parents failing health and the quality of care in a seniors home, the job market and the cost of daycare, the widening gap between rich and poor and the deepening feeling in their gut of connecting with some higher purpose that surely there is in life.
Like me and you, they need help. Sure they are super agile on social media and pay for everything in the moment on an app. Still they don’t know what they want in life, how to be a good spouse, how to respond to the urge of their soul life. They may sound very confident because they have lots of sound bites in the moment at their finger tips. Yet self knowledge is still elusive.
They need challenges that help them elevate their mind just as much as to learn how to stretch their money. They need guidance of how to cultivate their soul. Who is going to be that guide? To let them know what is a good idea to repeat of the the preceding generations and what mistakes to avoid. To model understand humility, listening and patience.
Below is the link to a previous post entitled Rise Of The Elder Class petitioning adults to get over their feelings about their stage in life and see past the confident face of the young generation to engage them in conversations about meaning: https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/wild-coach.com/834
Nothing wrong with being an old guy. In fact it is a badge of honour. But it comes with the responsibility to turn around and offer wisdom. To take responsibility for their role in the state of the planet and the lack of devotion life that connects young people with themselves and can be applied to daily life.