The U.S. of Can’t Insure my A.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These are our unalienable rights, and America was founded on them. You can step on our blue suede shoes, but you’d better not threaten these three rights of ours. Yet, there’s a cognitive dissonance that permeates through our national consciousness. The first – arguably preeminent – right is under attack daily in our nation, and this attack is actually being assisted by our current government.

At the surface level, the right to life is the right to not die. The right to be protected from any threat that would aim to take your existence, your livelihood, your vitality. But many of our elected officials (and their families who’ve inherited enormous amounts of wealth) contradict this notion with their views on how our lives should be protected. A good government keeps its people safe and alive. However, in our country our government has allowed our livelihood to become a commodity for corporations to profit from. Namely, healthcare corporations.

In the current contraption that exists in the U.S., you have to either be debilitatingly poor or profoundly rich for health care to not be a carrot for your employer to use. The American middle class is being held hostage by health insurance and healthcare corporations; forcing them to work jobs they hate, so that they can feel the tenuous security of a healthcare plan. And when one considers the current shift in businesses moving to an increasingly part-time workforce, that opportunity for life sustaining care is thinning at an alarming rate.

I lived the first quarter of my life oblivious to this. Even worse, I had the gall to judge those who needed assistance with their healthcare needs – their right to life. As a young, healthy adult I assumed that I’d just save money, and if something came up, I’d pay out of pocket (insert laugh track). Preceding this nieve adulthood was a childhood where my family worked jobs that weren’t particularly thrilling so that I could go to the doctor, dentist, etc (hi everyone 26 and under still using your parents health care). My single, lower middle class mom walked the line every day. She marched into to the cubicle-spreadsheet-meat grinder because she knew that was the only a way we were going to get healthcare.

Fast forward to me getting married, and my wife getting a solid job (solid in terms of first world soul stealing) that allowed us to have healthcare that we basically never used. Just a big ass slice of our paycheck, gone every month for a “just in case.” We had it made in the shade; never really caring that money we could use for other livelihood necessities was going into a machine that held our health as ransom. That was until the kids came.

We soon found ourselves scrambling to enroll in care packages that covered our children who had substantial disabilities. I was employed at an ad company that cared about giving me health care about as much I care about The Bachelorette, so the onus for our entire family’s health insurance was on Abbey. One would surmise that our children’s diagnoses would qualify them for Medicaid (CHIP to be exact), but NOT SO. This is an assumption we frequently get: “oh, your kids have disabilities, so you get help from Medicaid, right?” Huh uh. We actually America-d too hard, and our economic position puts us just out of reach for these services.

The health insurance we receive from Abbey’s employer covers a lot, but not all of the costs associated with the plethora of doctors our children MUST see in order to have the best life possible. I repeat, my kids are not getting boob jobs, they’re receiving life-improving care. But here’s the catch: Abbey has to be employed to receive said benefits. This sounds obvious but, when you’ve got a swath of doctor’s appointments to make, and only so much paid time off (PTO) to go around, the situation tends to get tricky.

I’ve moved on from the fancy pants ad job selling french fries to obese people. I now work what I would consider my dream job as a Special Education teacher in our local school district. Once again, one would surmise that this would tip the scales in our favor. We could maybe split the costs associated by going between both health plans. Wrong again. Most healthcare packages won’t let you split dependents; it’s an all or nothing thing. For example, I couldn’t take just one kid on my plan and make it cheaper. It’d still be just as expensive if I took two kids on the plan, and Abbey wouldn’t save any money on her plan by me leaving. Screwville USA.

As we wrapped our minds around the idiocy that is the employer provided healthcare systems, we learned that all is not well in the U.S.- of can’t insure my-A. You work a job to get the healthcare, you use the PTO to go the doctor’s appointment, and you get shamed by your boss when your healthcare needs start to cause friction at the office. Where does this start to get good? The answer: it doesn’t. Our government has colluded with the private healthcare industry to create a machine that traps the citizens. Once you’re in, you’re not getting out. Unless of course you want everything taken from you over your medical debts. Dave Ramsey ain’t fixin’ this thing.

For too long, we’ve been sold the lie that healthcare is a privilege. Put another way, the capability to not die is a privilege. It’s the Rand Paul fever dream of healthcare providers running themselves like a Six Flags theme park. The more money you have, the more fun it will be. Does this sound like a system that honors our unalienable right to life? Methinks not.

I look at my beautiful children, and I imagine them as pawns to drive profit for CEOs of major healthcare corporations. I imagine parents across America losing their dignity to save their children’s’ lives under the enormous weight of medical debt – for life sustaining care. Millions of parents, fighting to defend their children’s right to life, while simultaneously losing theirs at the hands of their employers. If you’re not paying attention by now, I’ll help you: this is not freedom.

The individuals who espouse such beliefs should have to work a 9-5 soul sucker, and then go home to change some seeping bandages. They should worry about losing their homes for the sake of another chemo treatment. But they won’t because their inherited wealth will carry them past such trevails.

After initially believing that you’re covered, you happen upon the grim discovery that you actually have to argue with your insurance company to get them to ante up. Remember, it’s a business, not a charity. They are not there to help you, they are there to make money off of you. Even better, you get to be the mediator between the health care provider and health insurance company – unpaid! But with the current party in power, this is made out to be the price of doin’ business in freedomland. Any other type of system, we’re told, would usher in a 1984-esque regime of big brother government, with us all being forced to read Marx.

Wrongly, we’re given the examples of countries who are experiencing economic difficulties, and also identify as socialist nations. Namely, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and basically all of latin America. Unfortunately, there’s zero context for the downturns these countries are experiencing. Hint: it has nothing to do with socialism, it has to do with the foundations of said nations’ governments being used incorrectly (and being tampered with by foreign powers – cough cough the United States). The same people who use these countries as examples aren’t as ready to reference much of western Europe and their successful implementations of healthcare for all.

The propaganda job done by far-right pedalers of unregulated capitalism has been nearly a century in the making. The varying phases of socialism fear mongering in our country has developed a straw man that’s ceremoniously trotted out every time health care reform comes up. When President Obama began working on the Affordable Care Act, the right sounded the socialism alarms, and it worked. The final version of the bill was tame compared to its original form. More preposterous, the Republican held House and Senate are working to eviscerate it to a greater extent, if not completely repeal it. These people do not represent us.

Our country is more than capable to provide a single-payer system, but that would mean higher taxes. And if you know America like I do, the phrase “raise taxes” strikes a chill down the spines of bald eagles everywhere. To think about giving my hard earned money I was going to use on resort stays and private jets – GASP. The only problem is, the country runs on taxes. Successful governments need taxes. The paradox of Americans hating taxes while simultaneously expecting an equal opportunity for success is a cancer that eats away at the lower class’ ability to live fulfilling lives.

The right has done an outstanding job of turning people from the same economic class against each other over the topic of health care. While we should be marching over the vomit inducing tax breaks billionaires are getting, we’re busy calling our neighbor a “bum” or “leach.” It’s just easier to consider yourself more worthy than the next citizen instead of taking a long, hard look at the flaws in the machine. The stereotype of the “lazy welfare recipient” permeates our national narrative. America wants people to be ashamed for asking for help with their healthcare.

The life, liberty, and happiness we seek is only granted if we shut up, put our head down, and stop complaining. While we’re busy casting stones at our neighbors, the health care CEO mulls over his options on private jet purchases. Paul Ryan and Rand Paul aren’t going to sleep worried about medical bills; they’ve sold their souls to ensure it. The land of opportunity is ripe for the opportunistic.

How unhappy would we be as a nation if we made health and education the most important things to invest in? Without the stress of health coverage looming, people in the United States would finally be able to pursue careers they’ve always wanted to try, but have been too afraid to because of the threat of losing medical coverage. Doctors and hospitals would still make money, but instead of making it off of families who can’t afford it, they’d be paid through taxes that use the resources of all for the benefit of all. I know this might sound utopic in nature, but that’s only because we’ve been discouraged to think of it.

As I look into the eyes of my children, I cannot tell them in good conscience that they currently have the full rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They live somewhere that still fancies the idea that being healthy, both physically and mentally is a privilege, not a right. Our elected officials are out of touch with what’s happening to millions of Americans who can’t just write a check and cover it. They don’t care about us. The only individuals who have the ears of our representatives are the ones who’ll never know what it’s like to look at a medical bill and wonder how they’re going to afford it. I think it’s time for a new take on what our right to life looks like. Anything less is a national embarrassment.   

 

7/17-20/18 (Martin updates)

7/17

Today was the big day. M bravely went into a 3 hour surgery and came out with his legs turned at a new angle, with a new opportunity to walk independently. As crazy as it sounds, the surgery was the easiest part of the day.

When he woke up, M panicked – and justifiably so. Gaining consciousness in a room, on heavy meds, and without mom and dad would be scary for anyone. M struggles with anxiety; it tends to flare up when he’s separated from us, but also when he senses a procedure will be painful. Every three months M undergoes Botox shots in his legs. These help with the spasticity that is often prevalent amongst people with Cerebral Palsy. These shots are extremely painful. They’ve burned a memory in M’s head that causes him to get nervous around doctors’ offices.

We spent the better part of two hours trying to get him to calm down. After being heavily sedated, he was able to get some sleep, but not without frequently waking up to scan for perceived threats. Watching your child scream to the point of hyperventilation can cause one to go to the depths of their mental bandwidth to remain calm. But what choice do we have?

Sure, there’s plenty of fuel for mourning and wondering “why?” But what kind of trajectory does that perception put us on? When you start focusing on short sided emotional reactions, you stop thinking about the horizons of possibility. I’m not saying that we don’t get sad, or anxious, or scared. We just take those emotions, and put them in their proper place amongst the spectrum of feelings that arise on the journey of life. If we lose the ability to mindfully consider circumstances, we bow to the will of our emotions: a bad place to be.

Self pity is like the brush fire that eventually sends an entire forest ablaze. This might sounds like a platitude, but it really could always be worse. There are strong people out there, dancing with adversity in a far more charming way than we could ever hope to do. And when you start believing that you’re life is a bad as you think it is, you subconsciously send yourself into a self destructing pattern of never acknowledging beauty in the present. You never give yourself the opportunity to expect anything more than the worst case scenario.

Seneca once said, “We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.” No matter how shitty it seems, no matter how tight your chest feels, no matter how many scenarios you’ve created in your mind to ensure your demise – you’re alive, man. And alive is always better than the opposite. Over the past three years, our family’s been playing our favorite album known as “The hits just keep on comin’.” It originally started out as a complaint, but now stands as our motto. I’ve never been more mentally engaged in my life than I’ve been since I’ve known my children. How am I going to complain about such a rad opportunity?

So as M grows and deals with the anxieties he faces, I want to be a steady shoulder for him to rest on. That will never happen if I’m a servant of my emotions. So in times of great duress, I’m challenging myself – and challenging you – to step back and see it all from the position of a crowd surfer at a Metallica concert. You know the saddest parts of the songs are merely build ups to the rippin’ ass guitar solo coming in a few moments. It’s all part of one amazing song.

7/18

I’m not above admitting that today – I got irritated with M. To be specific, I let my emotions possess me. M was stressed to the max in the hours after the surgery. A lot of the stress has yet to subside, resulting in repeated glazed over panic attacks when medical personnel enter the room. He completely detaches from his consciousness. This is true, unbridled fear.

Immediately after M’s surgery, compassion was easy. It’s not hard to speak softly, and feel your child’s pain coursing through you. But after a night of sleeping on a hospital couch with the ergonomic principles of a refrigerator box, you’re a little less of a saint. The nurses had to come in every two hours to check M’s vitals. This was a screamfest – every time. The patience matches were burning at an alarming rate. By morning, I was sounding more like a drill sergeant than a dad. I had the disposition of a rush hour commuter.

I could feel the tired snarl growing on my face; like a wave taking over a town. My perception was fading. Instead of seeing my emotions for what they were: products of a stressful situation, I let them flavor the my consciousness in the moment. Thankfully, I’ve been reading Jack Kornfield’s The Wise Heart, and was able to recall some of his teachings on mindfulness. Peace came, and compassion flowed. Compassion trumps irascible emotions.

7/19

Throughout our lives, we’ve been taught to perform good gestures because of their correctness. They’re appropriate in reaction to someone else’s misfortune. Often, we ask people, “how’re you doing?” Or we tell them “I’m thinking about you” without truly evaluating the impact this may have on them. When I say these sorts of things to people, I hope that it places in them a good faith that they’ve got someone in their corner. But sometimes I do it only because it’s what I’ve always done. After nearly a week of watching M recover, I can say with certainty that these gestures are not lost on a party in need of a pick-me-up.

It’s easy to feel like you’re alone in something like this. Pushing M around the hospital in a wheelchair awakened memories of being the other guy. Walking past a child in a wheelchair, wishing him well in my heart. Now that I’m on the other side of that exchange, I realize the weight that many parents carry in the halls of children’s hospitals worldwide. All you want is for your kid to be back on his feet. You’d give anything to just be chasing him around the house, complaining about the toys he didn’t pick up. If you focus too much on the situation, it can pull you down.

But any time that Abbey and I have felt ourselves sinking, we’ve been met with a psychological boost in the form of countless well wishes, calls, and videos wishing M a speedy recovery. As M lay in bed tonight, he watched a video of his daycare friends singing “We Wish You Well” at least six times. The smile on his face conveyed a sense of camaraderie. He felt that warm feeling of “his people” cheering him on, thinking about him in his absence. Watching him make that connection moved me deeply. It reminded me of the necessity to check in on people in my life. Whether they be family, friend, coworker, or neighbor, it’s important to tell them that we’re thinking about them during times of trouble. Knowing that someone is saving space in their heart and mind for you is enough to get through the hardest days.

They say “it takes a village to raise a child.” This proverb’s truth can also be found when one considers people who have a hard row to hoe. Just replace “raise a child” with “encourage a spirit.” When you know you have people out there cheering for you, it creates this almost supernatural momentum that starts a lifting feeling in your chest. Even in the most dire circumstances, people have been able to persevere from the thought that somewhere someone was there for them (see Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning).

So, the next time you feel the need to send the text, make the call, or show up at the front door – do it. You don’t have to be a counselor or a motivational coach. Just let someone know you love them and want the best for them. That alone could change the complexion of someone’s day. That person could remember that affirmation for the rest of the day, finding a new motivation to put the gloves back on and fight the good fight. I know that as M experienced teeth gritting muscle spasms in his legs – begging to go home – our ability to open up a video of a bunch of kids singing, celebrating Martin had our hospital room glowing with optimism. Your kindness is a rock splashing in a pond. It’s ripples are the lives that are positively affected because of the splash.

7/20

Home. That smell, that street, that house. If you know what I’m talking about, you know that when you get home, you feel your shoulders relax. Your guard gets to be let down, even if only for a little while. I wheeled Martin into our house today, and instantly you could see his tension ease. He sensed that a difficult thing had passed. The road to recovery starts now.

I really don’t have much today. I could rant about medicare for all, and how anyone who thinks healthcare is a privilege should try paying debt for someone’s ability to walk, but I’ll save that for another time. I’ve a got a little girl who’s fighting hand, foot, and mouth. She’s missed her mommy, daddy, and brother to tend to, and a little boy who has a lot of work to do.

The best thing to do is your best.

Trevor

7/16/18

I haven’t written substantially about where we are as a family for some time. It’s not that we haven’t had things happening; trust me, we’ve had enough to produce a robust saga. It’s in the business of it all that time to write was lost. M and C are growing, and in their growth, we contend with knew challenges. One of our larger challenges looms tomorrow: July 17, 2018.

M will have both hips and connecting tendons operated on with the goal of fixing his femoral anteversion (knee knocking). The procedure is called a bilateral femoral derotation osteotomy – say that five times fast! I’l spare you the intense details of the procedure, but needless to say, he’s not getting his tonsils removed. As many of you know, when M came home, we had no idea that he had Cerebral Palsy, but after nearly three years of doctor’s visits and weekly physical therapy, we feel as if our plan of attack is set. My son is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

I no longer believe that this was a plan. I cannot believe with a clear conscience that anything would befall such a sweet boy on purpose. My son’s situation – like many other children from institutionalized backgrounds – is a product of chaos. The good news is that I no longer have to feel conflicted about why someone (or something) would ordain this. I am no longer obligated to make sense of why my children face the perils they face. I can now put my full faith in the humans whose unbreakable will continually outpace the hand dealt them by the stars.

M will undertake this journey of recovery with his amazing mother, beautiful sister, and extended family at his side. We believe in him. We believe in the wonder of a five year old being who has been through more in his short time on the planet than many thirty somethings. This young man, and his sister, have lit a fire within us. This flame provides an illumination into the great gift we have in the present. We can stop bemoaning the past, and jettison tensions of future tense. Every day is a gift; a happening that will never occur again, and has never unfolded before. To do anything except stand next to our children, acknowledging their dignity and strength, would be missing the point of the whole story.

Our story has become one of drinking the full glass of the day we have. The fear reservoirs have been drained. In those little wild eyes, unbroken by a world of uncertainty, I see the future of mankind. A future where we don’t have to try to make sense of why it happened, instead being present for how we’re living, thinking, and loving through the situations. If you’re an adoptive parent, child, or just a person who has traversed seas of tragedy, I hope you see the stories of my children and find hope. You’re not alone, and this is in no way a static situation. You don’t have to wait for it to get better, or for “the bad parts” to be over. Understand the great strength and beauty that resides within you. Whatever has befallen you is not a product of a plan. Sometimes terrible things happen to innocent people, without reason.

The important part of all of this is that with love, patience, and compassion, we can move through these trepidations with a heart that realizes that today is all we have, so we’d better make the best of it. In doing this, we can shore up the drifting lines of past and future by knowing that they’re tied to posts of well invested presence. We’re nervous – hell, we’re scared. No five year old should have to go through this (and many other maladies that acost youth throughout the planet), but put in proper context, we can watch a small shoot spring forth into a great oak of human triumph. In the coming days and weeks, my hope is to document his surgery and recovery to share with you all the inspiration that I and Abbey derive from these beautiful little people. Together, we can overcome the struggles of the human experience, by sharing our triumphs.

The pain and stress will be very real. But stepping back and looking at the big picture, I can see a young man walking effortlessly, thanks to the brilliance of the doctors at Children’s Mercy Hospital. Compassion and love will carry us. So many have supported us and sent their positive affirmations, and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Here goes nothing,

Trevor

6/8/18

Thanks, Tony

When I first discovered No Reservations, I was drawn to the enigmatic figure of Anthony Bourdain. He was honest, humble, and floated zero bullshit. He was a student at the feet of the planet, with his narratives providing insight on how to travel like a traveler, not a tourist. As I followed Anthony’s work, he became a role model for me – an aspiration to shoot for.

What made his work so fantastic was the informal demeanor in which he spoke to his audience. He wasn’t lecturing you, he was talking with you. To see how Anthony engaged his hosts revolutionized the way I approached travel. He wanted to hear everything, not just the travel guide boiler plate material that most Americans seek. He told not just the story of the place he was in, but of the people he was engaging with as well. Tony wanted to live like a local, honoring customs, and never being presumptuous like many travel show host divas.

For the rest of my life, I want to travel like Tony Bourdain; being exactly where I am, and consuming that location in its entirety. Tony put conversations at a premium, something many world travelers have forgotten to do. So busy with “seeing it all,” many a globe trotter forgets that what makes travel truly savory are the conversations with the people you meet at the location.

Tony was unapologetic about his opinions and beliefs, always giving harsh criticism and observation about the issues he saw facing the world. He didn’t sugarcoat the injustice in it all, and acknowledged how lucky he was to be in the position he held.

Upon hearing of his passing, I felt like I lost a friend – a mentor – that I had never met. I think that speaks to the depth and impact of his work, and how many people his life touched. Anthony had a way of pulling you into his experience; making you feel as if you’re right there with him. He inspired me (and countless others, no doubt) to pursue the world as a student, and not as a judge.

The world lost a dynamic being, today. Rest, Tony.

6/5/18

Hail to the chief

The president of the United States denied a sports team the ability to attend a White house celebration for winning a championship on the basis that they weren’t patriotic enough. Not patriotic enough. How does one determine patriotism in a nation that’s founded on the freedom of thought?

If there is in fact a line for patriotic/non patriotic actions, I posit that we should start fining people for not flying an American flag on the fourth of July, Memorial Day, and any other holiday that honors America.We should throw malcontents in jail who [accidentally] leave their flag out during a rainstorm. The unmitigated gall! Could you imagine some suburban plebe flyin’ old glory during a shower that falls in the age of the forecast?!! He’d think nothing of it, and then get hauled away for “crimes against patriotism”?!?!?!? Well, you are living in a time where teams get uninvited to the White house due to not standing for the anthem.

The right scoffs at accusations of fascism, but they fail to realize how insidious fascism is. Hitler didn’t jog out and say “let’s get this holocaust going!!!” He used gradual notes of fascism while speaking to a disgruntled populace that eventually allowed him to open the gates to complete depravity. Our president, and his supporters, are doing the same thing; in the 21st century! And they have their own news channel (COUGH COUGH FOX NEWS) to propagate this garbage.

The “celebration of america” that the president claimed to replace the Superbowl champs with was – at best – a wal mart goers wetdream. But, at worst, it was a side swipe of a thug authoritarian who sees an opportunity to stir strife when he can. If he sees that he can get support in a stunt like this, the sky’s the limit in the mind of the orange poobah.

“Something that makes our country special and unique” was what Sarah Sanders said that motivated Trump’s decision. Know what’s more special and unique about a song and standing for it? THE FIRST AMENDMENT!

Without the First Amendment, the entire American experiment implodes. It is what makes the United States so insane and so great all at the same time. It prevents religions from killing/imprisoning people, it prevents political purges, and it prevents thought policing, The First Amendment is the backbone of this nation, and if it cannot be used, then we’ve lost everything men and women have fought for.

It’s also fascinating to see a white, privileged male give African-Americans a talking to about patriotism. I am white, my life has been pretty great. I have no idea what it’s like to live in a nation that once enslaved my ancestors. A nation that treated my people like a lower race. And a nation that continues to deny the inequality that exists within the justice system. The president has entirely missed the point of the protests (with which the Eagles didn’t participate ONCE this season), and made it all about himself.

If the president wanted to use the situation in a truly presidential manner, he would’ve offered the Eagles (and the NFL) a platform for dialogue about the nature of the protests (police brutality against minorities), but instead, a failing executive used the opportunity to entrench his base. To drink from the goblet of extremism. To drive the wedge deeper.

Extremists often appeal to the “good ol’ days” when they want support. The anthem is just another billy club being wielded by fascism to cultivate division. This division will keep ignorance in power, until we agree, as a people, to reject country over humanity. This nation is derived of humanity, not a flag, not a song.

5/29/18

Thanks, Grant

After a year of wandering through a weird phase of hating riding fast, and racing bicycles, I realize what I am. I’m an unracer.

I found bikes through a friend who started riding in adulthood; which to anyone who doesn’t ride bikes, seems ridiculous – and a huge waste of time. “I’d rather be crusin’ down the road on a harley in leather chaps, wimp!” The deviance of i, and the adventure had me interested. But, I was riding a real piece of wal-mart (POW). Singletrack seemed like a spider-laden death swamp on that horrible POW, so I bailed, and looked for the most intense thing I could find; something that really showed how macho/masochistic I was: triathlbro-ing.

Swimming, biking, running: in the most expensive, no fun way possible to “stretch your limits.” Seriously; go to a triathlon and feast your eyes on the mass of six digit, first world humanity. A bunch of people – with loads of free time, suffering b/c they have the money to. I passed like 12 ppl with biikes that were worth more than our minivan! Eep! After ayear of my wife hating me for all the trainer rides during the time when we’d usually dirnk wine and do the nasty, I realized that the only thing I dug about this whole ordeal was bikezzzz.

BUT I STILL HAD TO COMPETE, BRAH. Which leads me to my first rabbit trail (of many which I’m bound to stumble down.) I still wanted the opponent – the obstacle to tackle – the UBER ACCOMPLISHMENT. In America, we applaud people for winning, accomplishing, and doing things that are considered unnecessarily fantastic. Everyone else are categorized as the “plebes,” the “freds,” and just all around regular. Well, consider me discount vanilla ice cream.

I tried my hand at gravel/cyclo bump ‘n grinding, only to realize that I still didn’t like the way that I was required to put a ridiculous amount of time into a beautiful hobby. I just want to ride my fuggin’ bike, man. So, after feeling like a piece o’ crap for not being super driven(obsessive) competitive; I realized that there wasn’t anything wrong with me – I was just identifying with the wrong lifestyle.

I’m an unracer, and I didn’t realize this until I read Grant Petersen’s Just Ride. This book was like the come down from the mountain moment for me. I was reading the opening chapter, and welling up with that “fuck yes!” feeling you get when someone says something ya really believe in. I believe the religious folk yell “amen” when they get this feeling.

If ya haven’t had the pleasure of reading it, the book delves into the feelings that many of us have when the spandex group breaks away from bu, and you’re like “dumb.” It’s ok to just get on a bike and ride in ur khakis and t shirt, and honestly, it’s purer. Grant provides many reasons why modern bike culture is geared toward profit driven sales tactics, that motivate common people to buy a carbon race rocket and strap on a chamois. Races make a TON of money off people who want to feel “accomplished,” so they sign up in droves to have a sore crotch and a finisher prize.

I just want to ride my bike, drink some drank, enjoy friends, and feel my legs move as I glide through the natural world. If ya want to be fast guy, power meter fellow – do so! Just know that there is another way to ride a bike, and it doesn’t make you any less of a human. There are still people to ride with, you still stay in “shape,” and you get to see way more since you’re no longer staring at ur garmin.

C’mon in, gang! The water’s fine!

5/28/18

The Passenger
A world without KOMs and podiums. Would you still be interested? What if no one knew how hard you were working? Would ya still feel fulfilled?

The merit of it all drives the machine. Wanna be faster? Buy more stuff, join a training program, become uber skinny with this new diet program. What if it’s all designed to get you to buy stuff, and enjoy the occasional mastubatory pic of you “achieving?”

Meritocracy, after all, is an illusion. B/c for everyone person you label “lazy,” or “undeserving,” there’s someone else who thinks the same about you. So earn away, but know that baby jeebus wants you to slow down and help out the guy on the side of the road – and ask no questions about his worth.

The good samaritan didn’t care about how many hours the the guy was picking up at McD’s.

Idk, I’m just a passenger.

P.S. There’s a tree down on Corby S that’s right across the trail. Unless ur shorter than 5’7” I’d avoid tryin’ to creep under it; lest u want ur nuggets crushed by a cycle/cyclist sandwich.

5/26/18

MACHO:
I’m always pleased to hear the thunder of a motorcycle (typically a Harley Davison) exhaust as I try to peacefully sit in my house, or pedal down a path. It’s fantastic to know that after elementary school, some males stopped evolving. Just as they screamed, pinched, and stomped in 1st grade, they now rev, speed, and intimidate on the roadways. Freud’s ID is on full display as cul-de-sac dads make a mid-life investment to stave off waining levels of T.

Keep on bein’ loud, man. Keep on pleasing your macho bros by being obnoxious. The rest of us will look on with a confused grimace as your macho machine blasts down the road, on another whirlwind adventure to prove to everyone how manly you are.

2/1/17

When one needs assistive equipment for physical disabilities, it is to no surprise that they use them. For example, a walker for a boy with Cerebral Palsy is met with sympathy (and the occasional sideshow glance), but never met with disdain. It’s accepted that this individual cannot function without such equipment, and to deprive him of such, would be a crime.

But a disability of the mind is another story. The mind cannot wrap its hands around handles that prop it up. The mind cannot ask for a physical piece of equipment to assist it with its ailments. It is an invisible disability. Invisible disabilities are often met with less sympathy – if any. Without a piece of equipment to look at, a disability just doesn’t seem as legitimate – or at least this is the implication I’ve detected as I’ve walked alongside my daughter in the short time I’ve known her.

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