Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ruminations on Truth

Goodbye and RIP to one of the funniest people ever.

Monday night, I was at pool league and thumbing through Facebook between matches when I saw someone post that Robin Williams was dead. To say I was surprised would have been the understatement of the night; I was shocked and horribly saddened, especially after hearing that suicide was suspected. How awful must it be that someone who is that incredibly funny, who causes people to smile with just a facial expression or a change in accent, suffers so much inside that he can only say, “Check please!” to life.

Many people talk about what a genius he was on stage, and he was. But he was also a workingman’s comic, bringing labor to the craft and not just relying on pure adrenaline and chutzpah to carry the performance. I once watched him riff on what comics are thinking about while doing their act and was completely transfixed in watching the only version of meta-comedy I’ve ever seen! What it took to prepare that routine must have been exhausting and I was in awe.

He was also a cyclist and a big fan of bike racing, occasionally showing up at local crits and big events wherever he was. Performance Bike had a post this morning that he once showed up for one of their group rides at the home office when he was on location for a film in Raleigh. Evidently, they’ve never been the same. I can only imagine him riffing on the thoughts of a bike racer…..

That we have a huge record of his talent is comforting, in a very small way, that we can go back and catch some of his stuff. That we’ll never get to see anything new from him, and he still had legs, is very difficult to imagine. I hope, Robin, that your pain is now gone as our own – over your loss – will eventually subside. You were a master funnyman, sir. Rest well.
Going to try for Almighty laughter.....

Ruminations on Truth

It’s been crazy at work lately so I haven’t had much time to write.

It’s also summertime and there are so many things to do. There’s my bike to ride as often as possible; three times this past weekend, alone! There’s the lawn to be mowed and ours is three acres so it takes about 2 ½ hours to cut. There are projects out in the shop that people are waiting on for completion, trophies, and mantles, and music stands, and I don’t know what all. There’s golf to be played with my friends. And besides all that, beer!

Bike Truth

The truth is I haven’t ridden my bike nearly as much as I would like. I’ve managed to accumulate over 1200 miles so far this year but I wish I had more under my belt. I’m riding in the Tour of Richmond again in October and that’s a century ride. I don’t want that to be another Tour de Cure where I was gassed at the 30 mile mark and had to limp back to the start. (I didn’t even post a ride report on that one, I was so upset. On the bright side, because it wasn’t about me, my teammates and I and You raised over $9500!) So, I pretty much have to be diligent in riding 3-5 times a week for the next two months in order to make the entire 102 miles.
Fast Eddy - Showroom pose

I did follow my son’s advice and purchase a Brooks Saddle for Fast Eddy in an effort to improve my ride by reducing the dreaded numbness. According to all the experts, any saddle can be made comfortable simply through fitting properly and then adjusting it until it’s just right. This strikes me as testing to see if you’ve broken a finger by smacking all of them, one at a time, with a hammer until you find the one that hurts the worst. That’s the broken one!
Joy for my tuschis!

But the Brooks Saddle, made of top grain leather, is very firm. With only three rides on it, so far, I can tell it’s going to be a winner – once I’ve broken it into my behind. Or my behind breaks in, whichever comes first.

Lawn mowing Truth

The next truth is that I’ve mowed the lawn exactly twice this summer. MB typically does it but has also been pulled in other directions so I’ve had to jump in and do it a couple of times. I hate to cut the lawn so it just seems like a lot more than only twice. And we have a John Deere riding mower so it's not physically demanding or anything.
It's got a cup holder!

When I was twelve, I had a lawn service in my neighborhood. Every week, I’d cut the grass at 18 or 20 houses and get paid anywhere from $3.50 to $5.00 for it. I was the richest twelve year old in the county! But after a few years of that, my love for cutting grass disappeared and remains missing to this day. It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the look of a well manicured lawn, I just can’t be the one do it. At least not any more than I have to.

Shop Truth

I finished the trophies for the Virginia State 9 Ball Championships again this year, an event I usually play in. This year, it was scheduled to coincide with my and MB’s wedding anniversary and we went out of town for that so, I didn’t play.

The mantle was completed months ago, a piece in beautiful cherry that was great fun to design and build. The music stand is for MB to hold her flute and piccolo when she is playing in our church orchestra / band / music group. I made one that, unfortunately isn’t exactly what she wanted so that one will be moved into our music room (since our last daughter moved out, we’re re-purposing some rooms in the house) and I’ll make another version based on her feedback on the first.
I have a large pile of maple out in the shop waiting for me to turn it into a stand for music leaders during church services and I’ll need to get to that in the next month or so. I have a design in my mind and I just have to execute it, some future weekend.

Golf Truth

This one pains me. Literally. I haven’t played a single round this year. Haven’t even swung a club in anger. Every time I think I’d like to go play, or even hit some practice balls, I tweak one of my wrists and remember that I have arthritis in both of them. And it hurts. It especially hurts to swing a golf club. And it hurts my soul that the game that I’ve loved my entire life is no longer a part of it.
I miss this pose.

The next time I think about it, and it happened this past weekend but I couldn’t connect with my buddy Clyde to go, I’m just going to go do it. Pain be damned. I’m going to push through it, much like you do when learning to play the guitar and you just keep forming chords until the blisters turn into calluses and it doesn’t hurt you any longer. I’m not sure my wrists will go numb like my finger tips did, but I’m going to find out.  Dammit.

Beer Truth

An old saying going something like this, “There’s a whole lot of lies in a full bottle of scotch and a whole lot of truth in an empty one.” The same could be said of beer but it takes more than one bottle.
Yum. A small flight!
Beer is one of the big stories in Richmond this year as we’ve suddenly become the cool place to open a craft brewery. In the past 2 years, about 8 new brewers have set up shop and are brewing some of the best, ingenious beers you can drink. And if you include Charlottesville, an hour to the west, that number almost doubles. It’s a wonderful thing.

And that’s the truth!


  1. And then, oddly, this mercurial star is upstaged by Lauren Bacall.

    A gazillion dollars, universal admiration, an abandoned family...pure selfish pussiness. Mow yer lawn Brian. That's what we do. We mow our lawns and suffer the slings and arrows because they need us. It ain't about the man, it's about the manliness. It is about them, our kids and our wives and our parents and everyone who counts on us to be there in the morning. I'm still here man, and it ain't been easy. Fuck Mork. I'm still standing, brother. How about you?

    (Disclaimer: I am a VA registered Vietnam Era veteran diagnosed with PTSD and Bi-polar manic depression. I am also border-line diabetic and I live in a shitty trailer in a drug-addled trailer park. But I stand up. I recognize you, Brian, as also a stand-up neighborhood bad-ass and I am sorry that I somehow seem to vent in your comments section. But there it is...John Lennon said "a working class hero is something to be...") Fuck it, man. See you in the morning.


  2. I'm still standing tall, too, bro!

    In my old age, I've come to be less judgmental of others because I never know their story, their battles, their scars, and their pain. That doesn't mean I don't think about it. I do. And then I remind myself of these things.

    I recognize you, too, TJ. A stand up, working man like my old man is, and like I guess I am, too. Because of that, you don't have to apologize for venting in my comments section. Your comments are you and you are always welcome here, sir!

    Still hope to ride with you someday and have a beer, too.

    B in VA

    1. We already ride together, Brian. But yeah...someday. It's August in Florida and I seem to stay hot. Plus I know you can handle the action.

      BTW, I know a double-cross-side shot that...well, I'll show you some day. It ain't easy and takes a wrist snap that not just anybody can do...you realize I grew up in a pool hall, right?

      Sneaky Pete

  3. I had no idea you grew up in a pool hall, TJ! I kind of did, too, starting around the age of 10.

    And you're right, we already ride together.

    Fast Eddie