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‘When the Wheels Come Off’
Man Weekend Addendum: Portland 11/21/22
© 2023 James LaFond
JUN/15/23
Over a year ago a long time Baltimore friend observed critically, that my physical state was much reduced and that I should move back to Baltimore, that pestilential whore that spat me out, and “give up the minstrel road show.”
“You’re not getting any younger,” he reminded me.
Since then, I have sworn that I would rather cough out my last wheeze in some shithole rental in Burlington, Iowa then submit to his prophecy, a prophecy that has come nigh.
Six days ago, Clark Kent came to town, or rather his stunt man. When James North shook hands with me and I studied his MMA middleweight form I said, “Damn, hope you can’t fight.”
Well, he could, and well enough to take it easy on me. When he loaded the gear in his trunk and I saw his weight belt there, he asked me how I was and I told him that I was experimenting with strength training, moderately, conservative, with very light weights and that I hoped “the wheels didn’t fall off” of my geriatric man cart.
The Portland City Park hobo gym has been busy: Joe, James, Brit O’Neal, Heath, Felix and even Yeti Waters, have trained with me this autumn. My ego wanted a few good savage fights in May. That wish list is posted for January and it may remain as a fantasy. I had sent it ahead to Sean. I don’t want fighters taking it easy on me in a fight like he did our last go. Also, since my health is a mystery, I have not had blood work since the early1980s, and I’m almost as old as Dad and Grandpa were when they croaked, I wouldn’t want to saddle a young fighter with my heart attack or stroke.
For these reasons I had decided to fight my last on May 20 and forever hang up the gloves, which I had supposedly done in 2017. A weight reduction of now 70 pounds since then has permitted me to keep traveling and sparring and to have couple of fights even. I thought, to keep Sensei Steve’s prophecy from coming true, that I would do light strength training. Half of the year I have a place to stay because I can do a lot of work. I also need to carry my ruck. If my guts burst, I’m done.
But, as I find, God is making my decisions, not me, like when he set those two pairs of dark angels on me on December 11 2017 and sent me limping from the old Baltimore whore.
Felix, the oldest boy here, who is much bigger than I am, has been lifting with me, wanting to get strong as well as learning how to box. Well, the wheels came off when I was doing half squats with, get this, 40 pounds. I knew better than to even try a full squat.
I did go out since then and stick sparred with Joe for 90 minutes and boxed for 45. I think, if I can prevent any further deterioration, I can still attend the Man Weekend and get KO’d in a boxing bout and a stick fight. If not, I’ll let Sean know that I’m bowing out of being a man ASAP.
The coping strategy to minimize further rupture is to loose all of my body fat. This will reduce my carry load by 25 pounds and stop whatever subcontanious fat remaining within from pressing out against the torn husk. I also think that the hideous sack of skin that will be left hanging over my paper thin abs might serve as padding against blows.
The second longevity method will be to reduce my travel [and throw away more clothes] as hauling my possessions is a greater danger to my autonomy than those three incompetent negroes and the towering spic who tried to mug me in Baltimore on August 4.
Fate has already whispered to me that it would be so. My income is falling slightly and prices for every thing have risen steeply.
If it gets worse, I will look for a cheap rental in a town as worn out as this clown near a train line, and stay put, maybe Iowa, Nevada or Nebraska some place I haven’t written about yet.
Perhaps this is in the cards. Felix, towering over me and hulking broad at 13, stopped drinking his half gallon of milk long enough to assist me in cleaning up the kitchen and observed, “James, you have a strong slave instinct. You stay out in the dark writing dungeon for days and magically appear to clean up our mess, and then back to the dungeon you go. It’s kind of epic you know.”
It then occurred to me, that my recent fitness-focused life path has violated my stated purpose to finish as a writer. I have been most prolific in resent years when in poor health and alone, not when actively training. Training young men and sparring and fighting does make me feel human, alive even, like a man—but is besides the point.
After May 20, or when the rest of my guts fall out, I’m just a writer and will give up trying to remain a fighter. In the meantime, being weaker than every man and boy I know, is helping me write a novel from a female perspective.
Sorry, Juan Stabone, I have to withdraw my wrestling challenge. Maybe arm wrestling will be a possibility.
Ironically, looking at my schedule, this article will not post until the week before Man Weekend.
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