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August 27, 2008

Bullet the Grey Sky

The sky ripped open
and rain poured through the gaping wound.
Pounding the erstwhile mechanic.
Pounding the erstwhile mechanic.

Keeferman huddled over the exposed engine block as water washed down his face and off his nose, falling into a focal point on the wet battery leads he was trying to reconnect. It was a tight spot and the wet wrench kept slipping off greased terminals. Eventually though, he got it.

I'd gotten the emergency call while i was in the middle of a run around the neighborhood. Here i was forty minutes later, ten miles across town, and a hundred dollars lighter. Struggling to bring that car back to life. There was thunder and, yes, there was some lightning. i was experiencing a weird moment of deja-vu when it occurred to me: all that was missing was a hunchback named Igor. There were, however, people huddled under umbrellas running frantically for the shelter of the medical building or back to their cars in the parking lot.

They didn't seem to notice me though as i walked around to the driver's side door, opened it, and slipped inside. Instant quiet. The rain was now just a distant sound on the other side of the windshield. i was still soaked though and the keys i pulled from my pocket were dripping wet. i shook them once, wiped one on a drier fold of my shirt, and plugged into the ignition.

Of course it started right up. i shut it down and restarted it a number of times to be sure. No, yeah, it's good.

i got out and stepped back around to the open hood. -Waitaminute. The rain stopped. And it was alittle lighter out too. i tilted my head up to let the brim of my hat take in the whole sky. Just then there was a break in the clouds and the sun was shining down on my half of the parking lot. i swear. The sun came out and shined down upon me and my enterprise. i dropped the hood, stepped back, and considered my work.

Job well done, Keeferman.

Well done.

i drove across town, windows down and wind blowing, to Joan's office to collect my kudos. By the time i got there though, i was pretty dry, so i figured i wouldn't be getting Full Credit for my deluvian labor. Unfortunately, it was going to be worse than underwhelming. As i stood there waiting for the elevator, the doors opened and her manager stepped out with another coworker. We were each alittle surprised to see eachother, but exchanged greetings and i told them i was there to drop off Joan's now-functioning car. That's when her coworker told me the bad news. "Yeah, Joan said you were grumpy on the phone."


It's quitting time and they're among the last of those scattering homeward. I'm not going to have the opportunity to track everybody down and explain the circumstances. I'm not going to be able to explain how I'd been in the middle of something, but dropped everything and immediately sprang into action. I won't get to explain how any perceived terseness was just me Getting Down to Business. Nobody's going to know that i got it resolved in less than an hour and no one's going to understand (on this bright & sunny late afternoon) that i did it in the Pouring Rain.


Not only do i NOT get full credit for my good deed, but the way it's going down in the books is "He was grumpy about it."

This is bu-

August 24, 2008


Joan had a High School reunion last night.

It wasn't as bad as i expected, but it wasn't NEARLY as much fun as that one Charlie Driggs went to in "Something Wild" (1986). The worst part was when Joan nixxed my bourbon&coke lineup and told me i was the one driving us home eventually. That came as a bit of a shock to me as I'd planned on buddying-up with Jack Daniels while Joan talked to all those strangers. Instead i just soberly watched people all night.

Man, people are strange. Except i found this group to be alittle more "normal" than what i remember of my old highschool crew. Even relatively normal people are strange though if you watch 'em for long enough. And when you goto a reunion you notice that, of course, everybody's even more paranoid in their bodylanguage and greetings than they normally are. Everybody pretending not to be checking out everybody else and judging them. You see the darting eyes and the sideways glances and the ears straining to overhear other conversations. Then, even as a supposedly detached observer, you find yourself doing it too. It's like this mass hypnosis of social anxiety. It was great.

This is the enlightened year 2008 though and the thing that surprised me most (despite whatever economic/familial success they're having) is how most of these people don't seem to be taking very good care of themselves. There were leathery-skinned subjects who'd obviously been spending too much time in the sun (tanning booth). There were a whole bunch of people walking around with nametag pictures suggesting they used to be fairly athletic. Unfortunately most of those same people weren't just 10 or 15 pounds overweight now, they were into the "type 2 diabetes" category. Everybody's gonna lose alittle hair or get alittle grey (i have) and gain a few pounds (i have), but you can't just Give Up and slowly sink into a swamp of yourself. If you know you're getting older, you gotta try alittle harder. That's all. Gracefully, i mean. And, no, this does not mean the fools gold of a tan (increasing your chances of skin cancer) or plastic surgery (you're not fooling aNybody and it can be daNgerous). i dunno. Don't get me wrong. There were soMe people who looked like they had, indeed, been taking decent care. Kudos to them and anybody else who's gonna start. Anyway...


Of course my wife was the hottest, most-interesting woman there and i felt pretty fortunate to be the one by her side. -Except for the part where she made me the designated driver. We did hang out a with a lovely couple for most of the night and had passable conversations with a few others. Joan got to see some friends. i accumulated more data for the running sociology computer in my head. It wasn't a compLETE waste of an evening.

i wouldn't recomMend it, but it was alright.

i might even go to one of my oWn one day.

August 20, 2008

Kids, cartoon characters, and You.

Kids say the darnedest things. Sometimes i get asked why my forearms look like Popeye's or why my calves look like I've stuffed bowlingballs in my socks. That part of my physique is genetic. What's not genetic though is my homegrown New England love of donuts and my media-induced fear of looking like a pink Pillsbury Doughboy.

Downtown, behind a popular restaurant and down some stairs to below streetlevel, is the gym. The Platinum Superhero Gym. Of course there's no signage and it has a pretty exclusive membership, but i assure you it's there. Right there, sitting innocuous-like, in the middle of everything. You'd never guess.

Sometimes it surprises regular people to hear that even supers with extraordinary strength need to hit the gym. Actually, that's the difference between being able to lift a car off of someone and being able to lift a bus. It's also helps prevent a forced supersizing of your wardrobe. And there's also the fact that most of us age normally as well, so... you gotta do the tighten-up or face some octagenarian sagging.

Anyway, today was an "arms" day. 10x150Kg on the bench, a few leg adductions, 10x100Kg two arm chest fly, a few leg abductions, 10x150Kg military press. Then 2 kilometers on the treadmill at 25kph (inclined). Then arms rotation again. Then 10 kilometers on the treadmill at 20kph (inclined). Then arms again. That's 45 minutes of sweat right there. Since I'm doing this during my dayjob lunchbreak, i don't really have time for much more than that. One cold shower, quickchange, and brisk walk later... I'm back at the office.

If you're not doing anything (and the U.S. Surgeon General estimates that 60% of you aren't), you gotta do Something. Nobody's gotta get hulked-up or superskinny, but everybody's gotta get Active. Start by taking walks at home and taking stairs when you're out-and-about. Ease into Stage 2 by fitting actual workouts into your weekends. Eventually, you're going to have to get more of a routine going. It can be something casual like jogging around the neighborhood or messing with some sports or (if you're as undisciplined as I'm prone to be) lock yourself up in a gym. Whatever. Every responsible citizen should sweat for at least 45 minutes, 5 days a week.

That includes me and you.

August 18, 2008


-----Original Message-----
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Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 9:07 AM
To: Keeferman@dayjob.com
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