Tao te Drill Sergeant

Digging through digital photographs as i put together my Christmas letter, i was blown away.  It was a spectacular year – one i couldn’t imagine just a few years back.  Adventure, travel, community activism, family, friends and a stunning amount of downright goofy hijinks.  Yes.  Hijinks.  Activities that serve no purpose but to lighten the mood and break the monotony of the daily grind.

Rolling beyond the winter solstice, i am inclined to look forward.  What do i want?  More of this?  Less of that?  Not exactly resolutions… just using the pinning point of a new calendar year to make some gentle course corrections to get me where i want to be…

With the return of The Boy from his first round of Army training, we’ve had fun with “Shit My Drill Sergeant Says”.  My favorite quip is the shortest.  The recruits hustle to get out of bed, shower, shave, and get organized into their uniforms and assemble in formation by 0400.  Taking a look at the congregants one morning, the Drill Sergeant informed them “You have 10 seconds to un-fuck yourselves!”

Un-fuck yourself.

You can blame life, the universe, and everyone else for your woes, but it is entirely up to you to un-fuck yourself.   i am using the Drill Sergeants admonition as my battle cry…

That broken finger from October?  Not healed in December.  Called the doctor, and have an appointment with a hand surgeon.  It’s a ruptured tendon, and can be repaired with surgery.  Time to un-fuck my finger.

Stuff.  i have too much of it.   i’ve made a decent dent in the 30+ year collection of “things”, but not nearly enough.  i hit one closet this week.  The garage is next, where my motorized toys reside.  Too much shit there, too.  With the pending acquisition of a new toy that is 13” longer than my existing vehicle, more space is required.  A little organization of the workbench wouldn’t hurt either.

Time to un-fuck my space.  Give away the unnecessary.  And most of it is unnecessary…

Then there is the matter of my health.  Virtually no exercise, coupled with unbridled gluttony has packed the pounds on this year.  My weight, and general lack of cardio-vascular health, has gotten in the way of living the life i wish to live.  It is well past time to un-fuck myself in that regard as well.  For Christmas, The Boy bought me kettle bells, and will be doing some personal training in my lovely home gym.

It is time to un-fuck my body.

While out on an excursion a couple of years ago, Studley and i found the Alan Cottrill sculpture gallery in Zanesville, Ohio.  We were drawn in by the sight of several bronze sheep seeming to wander down the sidewalk.  One wearing ice skates…


It was hotter than hell that day, but we toured the gallery.  Climbing to the second floor, we found the bronze sarcophagi the sculptor had crafted for himself and his wife.  Both still living.


On the side of Mr. Cottrill’s bronze box was the following:

battle cry

It says everything that needs to be said.

“Life is short.  Death is forever.  Nothing left undone.  Go joyfully.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, i’m off to un-fuck myself this year. i shall post a quarterly update on my ‘un-fuckage’.  Happy New Year!

24 thoughts on “Tao te Drill Sergeant

    • It’s off to a good start! The trick will be to un-fuck more than i fuck… oh, wait… perhaps i need to rephrase that! 😀 Certainly will take more than 10 seconds in any case! Doubt i can finish the job in a lifetime…

  1. Good thing that drill sergeant isn’t here at 0500 when I get out of bed. Firstly, my back does not always comply painlessly.Secondly, aint no polished boots and pressed shirts here. Winter? A cosy bath robe.Summer, a sarong.And no one dares bark an order til I’ve brewed my coffee.The cats may try, but they know what comes first!
    And my year of globe-trotting has seen me nibbling far too much…I’ll have to look up kettle bells.It sounds too much like Morris Dancing!But I can’t afford an entire new wardrobe so I must up the exercise ante…
    Happy 2014 to you, my friend.:-)

    • No kidding! i don’t think he’d know what hit him if he tried to yell at me before my coffee… The “kettle bells” are fancy, ball-shaped weights with handles. Popular amongst the cross-fitters… i’ll start with one small one… Here’s to a grand year ahead for you! To adventure! After our morning coffee…

  2. You just had to mention sheep, huh?

    A quarterly update sounds ominous to me, one does hope that you are not thinking of un-fucking off somewhere else and not telling your pals first?

  3. I admire and applaud your desire to unfuck yourself. We all need to do that. Just be very careful that while you are unfucking your body you don’t fuck it in a way you had not anticipated. kettle balls…. very dangerous for your back if not used judiciously… There is a gym here called Cross Train. They use kettle balls and other implements of torture. I love them. They are a source of clients for me…. Start slow, don’t overdo and don’t forget to stretch when you are done. Don’t be in a hurry. This project requires time and patience.

    For the record, if you really want to lose weight and get in shape, I recommend getting a job at your local grocery store in the produce department. You should see Jim’s shoulders and upper body after three years of that! Plus, he seems to be able to eat all the calories he wants and doesn’t gain weight. Twentyfour hours a week of carrying boxes of fruit and vegetables around. The perfect workout and diet regimen, apparently. And he gets paid for it.

    Happy New Year, and my goal this year is to get over to Ohio to actually meet your beautiful self in person.

    • i have been down this road a few times, and know most of the pitfalls. there is no shortcut, and attempting to do anything without proper stretching is misguided. i used to see those poor folks at the gym every january… having had more than my share of injuries, i need to go easy, and The Boy is going to incorporate his extensive stretchery into the training sessions.

      key for my weight loss is to stop making horrible food choices, and go back to limiting my drinking to just the weekends! getting more active won’t hurt, but my primary demon has been lack of self-control. that’s just got to stop…

      i like your goal for the year! in fact, i was thinking of this earlier — we really aren’t far apart! i happen to know someone with a plane, that could make the trip in just a couple of hours, if we could find a ride from the nearest general aviation airport….

  4. I hope you haven’t gained all I’ve lost. My doctor calls it the “grief diet”. It can stay lost. Meanwhile, I also have some un-fucking to do of body and habitat. I hope we are both successful. Yesterday is past, tomorrow may never come. All we have is right now.

    • Grieve as you need to, but i hope you can find a way to grab those moments and find some joy. i’ve gained quite a bit — actually, regained 2/3 of what i lost over the past 5 years (up and down). i just love to eat, and if i drop the exercise this is what happens. the only way i could maintain my health and eat all i like would be to adopt a continuous tri-athalon training program. and that ain’t gonna happen! Here’s to better days ahead!

    • i know, right? powerful non-word, isn’t it? my son has been laughing at the comments – seems the world could use a few good drill sergeants! here’s to un-fucking, and of course the good kind of fucking, into the new year! 😀

  5. I believe it was Dr. Seuss who said, “but un-fucking yourself is not easily done.” Or maybe i got him confused with something else i read… and honestly it’s good, simple, direct advice and yet it seems hard for many people to grasp… it’s easier to bitch and moan about all that is wrong than to simply un-fuck yourself and get on with it…. And could i recommend a book for Silverstar? Levels of Life by Julian Barnes, there is a brilliant piece about grief in it, he writes about losing his wife and i’ll leave it at that, a thought provoking read and what he says flies in the face of all those so called manuals that tell you how to get through it.

    • Dr. Seuss or Bukowski? Hard to tell sometimes… The older i get, the less tolerance i have for endless bitching – especially of the “poor me” variety. There are folks who get dealt a genuinely shitty hand – that’s not what i’m talking about. it’s the whiners with the day-to-day, “nobody loves me”, helpless, always-a-victim bullshit who can pound sand…

      i’ll make sure Silverstar gets the book recommendation from you… she is awesome, and has truly been dealt a shitty hand this past year or so… thanks!

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