Posts Tagged ‘fighting’


Man of Steel

I have to admit that I am as excited as anybody to get out and see the newest Superman movie. Although DC comics pale in comparison to its counterpart, Marvel, Superman has been a longstanding part of every man-child’s upbringing. We, the masculine form of our species, have long been enamored with the idea of this spectacle Superman. A dude from another planet with values and morals beyond reproach, with only one weakness, if you don’t count Lois Lane, which I never do, because having a woman / love interest also be a weakness is so cliche it isn’t even funny. I could never stand that Lois would rather see Superman weak and get beat up in a diner rather than just be an awesome lover who could fly her around Metropolis on Date Night Fridays. That is not why I write today, although I would like to expound upon Lois and Superman’s relationship at some point in my life. I write because today is Father’s Day. I want to talk about the old man who brought me up and instilled in me the tenants of being a man.

There exists a thousand stories that I can tell that would prove the assertion that my pops, Lane started me early in training. If you have ever read anything about Teddy Rooselvelt, you would understand that, as a kid, this mountain of a man was weak and fragile. Afflicted with asthma and possessing a generally frail body, Teddy wasn’t the guy who one could see later leading the Rough Riders or hunts for wild animals in far off countries. One day Teddy’s father came to him and said, “Teddy, you weren’t given the strongest body, so you have to make it yourself.” From sick and weak to the Presidency–no big deal. The rest is history. I don’t really tell that story to glorify Teddy. He was a good dude, but I wanted to to point out his father, because in his father, I realize what it is my father did for me.

Lane Phillips, quite possibly the meanest man to have walked the earth, a man who is destined to be the subject of many an outlaw country song, the man who when cut bleeds like a wounded knight from a Monty Python sketch. Lane Phillips, the man who spawned me from his loins and then surrounded me with sisterfolk, the man whose mustache is rumored to be more full and thick than that of God himself. Lane Phillips, my father, and now my friend.

This is my dad in a nutshell.

I got in a bike accident as a sixth grader. I hydroplaned for one thousand feet (read ten or so feet) and came up with road rash all over my arms and legs. I was out of myself in pain. I was running around in circles, and according to my father, I was shedding my clothes like some moron, like I had entered into a state of shock and lost control of myself. People were gathering and watching the entire show. I was a star! My dad grabbed my bike. Walking right onto the stage during the drama, he grabbed me and looked at all of the wounds, probably making sure there were no bones broken. He put my hand on the bike and said, “you need to get yourself together and limp out of here pushing this bike home. Nothing you’re doing right now is going to make any of this better.” His voice was riddled with a tone that said, “wrecking is one thing, embarrassing yourself is another thing entirely, push through this and move on.”

A few years later, I watched my dad catch a fish. The fishing lure he was using had a treble hook and and was barbed to ensure the fish, once caught, stayed caught. While removing the fish from the hook, the fish jerked as fish do, one of the hooks went into my dad’s finger. My dad said one word and it was profane. With the hook through his finger, he still removed the fish and put it on the stringer to be cleaned later. The barb was through the skin so he had to push the entire hook through in order to get it out. He bled like his index finger was actually designed incorrectly and attached to an artery, but never said another word. I saw what a calm and cool reaction did for him and was amazed..He just pushed through and everything was better.

A few years later, I was attending Officer Candidates School for the United States Marine Corps. After jumping into a huge hole full of water, I felt an extremely painful and audible pop in my right ankle. Another Marine had to lift me up and we both kept running. I stayed calm, cool, and collected and finished three more weeks of training on a foot that was missing all anterior ligaments. When I told the doctor that I kinda was just brought up not to act like an idiot when you hurt yourself. The doctor responded, “How admirable, but its the stupidest thing you could have done.” What does he know, right Dad?

My Dad has raised me to be courageous in adversity. Something Superman never has to do. My Dad has built in me a longing to be responsible for my actions–a trait far too lacking in society today. My Dad has raised me with the values that your wife is the someone to be taken care of and cherished. My dad has raised me with a longing to be tough when things get difficult. My dad instilled in me a longing to give my child every single opportunity, but not to give them every “thing.”

My dad said to me recently that he sometimes forgets that his father is gone on to a better place and that there are moments when he will be thinking and he will have a question for his dad. He relayed to me how sad it was to realize again that his dad is gone. He told me stories about his old man, and how amazing and brilliant my grandfather was. I heard emotion in his voice and longing to have just one more discussion with the man. In that moment, me a mid-thirty year, became a boy again. And sitting there, in an honest voice my dad taught me another lesson. My Dad has taught me to slow down and not be as tough–to take the time to be a dad–to look at him as an example of all things good and bad–to take the things about him that I love and apply them, but to build upon other areas. He has taught me that he is not perfect and that the best parts of men are found in how they respond to their own failures and shortcomings. My dad has taught me to be a better dad than even he was.

My beautiful wife has given me a daughter. Today I thank my dad, because he has given me the foundation to be a Man of Steel for her.

I just want you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.

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The street that leads to the five-home community in Ramona, California is dissected by an iron gate that, most of the time, opens when you push the remote control. It is a beautiful gate, and right next to it, is a walking trail that says to the would be cruiser of our neighborhood, “We trust you if you are on foot, but we dare you to try and drive into this area uninvited.” After living here for just two weeks, I know that the gate is here for protection. It protects the hood from teenagers. This country road is the perfect little place for lasciviously intentioned boys to park with equally minded, but coy hipster girls.

My house sits about halfway up a steep hill that, at its pinnacle houses the remaining four homes. I drink. I drink while sitting on my back patio overlooking small family orchards, horses, and llamas (Whitney has decided that llamas are nosy animals). I drink while I listen to the barking and howling from coyotes, the relentless caw of the ravens and crows, and of course I drink while I watch my dogs salivate over rabbits that tease them in a similar manner as the hipster girls in the cars down the way do their skinny-jean wearing boyfriends. Rabbits move in stop animation. They find a spot and they freeze. Rabbits stare at you with their side-of-head eyeballs and taunt you while they poop with reckless abandon wherever they please.

My shepherd dog has had enough of this. Lobo, the big, burly and loving shepherd, has declared jihad on rabbits. They are infidels who have the tenacity to waltz into your yard, where you have staked your claim, where you drink and enjoy the country life, and where your dogs should be the only thing pooping with reckless abandon. Rabbits, to my boy Lobo, are a lost cause and should be eradicated. A battle was eminent and loomed ominous over our household.

Enter my poor, poor, good natured, sweet wife, Whitney. Friday night brought frivolity and movie watching to my family. We have made it a point over the years to use our Fridays as a night to relax at home and reconnect. The movie we watched came to an end, and it was time to let the three dogs out for their last shot at reckless defecation. What ensued was murder. It was the circle of life without Elton singing. What ensued was ravenous animality. Even the three-legged chihuahua was overly emotional as she sporadically ran in zig-zagging motions.

One single, solitary rabbit had found his or her way into the yard. Unfortunately for the rabbit, he or she did not take the tenth of a second necessary to dedicate to memory how it came to be in the yard. This is a life lesson to you, people. Always have a way out. When you walk into any place, a restaurant, a club, a store, or even a church, you have to know where the exits are located. You have to know where you can hide. You have to be engaged in your surroundings, because in the moment of confusion and chaos, you will run around moronically wishing you had been. A prepared rabbit lives to see another day. There are those out there that wish to do harm to unsuspecting and under prepared individuals, and Lobo, the alarmingly agile shepherd, is just such an entity.

Maybe five seconds passed. Lobo had cornered and overwhelmed the rabbit. Surprisingly, Baby, the old, but ferocious heeler was an accomplice in the cornering. Like dogs do, Lobo grabbed the unprepared rabbit and shook his head back and forth with such violence no rabbit spine could have survived. That was the end. That is as far as Lobo, the hunter, the manliest of all my dogs, had planned. He had no exit strategy, so he just pranced around the yard with his spoil of war. Dropping it in the middle of the yard, Lobo circled it and said, “This rabbit, is my rabbit. This rabbit is the first of many rabbits I will kill. This rabbit is…” Lobo stopped talking abruptly when I chased him off with a shovel. I stood over the rabbit.

Okay, for reals now, enter my poor, poor, good natured and sweet wife, Whitney.

“MURDERER!!!!” Whitney yelled compassionately. There Whitney stood emotionally moved to tears. “What did you do. Our dogs have tasted blood! What do we do!” Whitney continued, all the while Lobo is circling the area fist pumping as if he just created fire, but alertly scoping the scene for follow-on insurgent rabbit attacks.

“Whitney!” I yell. “They are dogs, and these are rabbits, this is what dogs do, now, you need to go inside.” I tell her to go inside because I know the rabbit is still alive and suffering. I am going to have to finish the job. Of course, and as I should have expected, Whitney needs background information and she needs it immediately.

“Why do I need to go inside?” “Why are you holding that shovel?” “How did Lobo kill it?” “Lobo will now want to kill everything and so will Baby.” “Our dogs are murderers and YOU are not even registering the gravity of this situation.”

I have to tell her the details, because I think the reality of the situation will be enough to make her head back to the safety of the house. “Whitney, I have to kill this rabbit, because it is suffering.” She responds in the only way Whitney could, “Heath, you need my moral support through this…”

At this point, all I can think of to do is the same thing I did to Lobo when he was rambling on about his kill. I run at Whitney with a shovel and yell, “Go inside, already!!”

Gentlemen. I commend to you today that running at your wife with a shovel was the wrong action. I am not sure why I thought that a shovel run would somehow fix the situation. In the end, I have not lived down this portion of my decision making that night. But, I, like Lobo, didn’t plan beyond the actual moment of action. I thought that Whitney would react like Lobo and just sprint away from me. Something in my mind said, “If you run at her with a shovel, she will retreat indoors, calm down, and respect you all the more after this fades away.” That was all I needed. Again, after a day of retrospection, running at your wife with a shovel is never a good idea.

Whitney will not be run at with a shovel and in the midst of all of the back breaking and war, Whitney’s voice echoed out into the darkness. “CAN’T YOU SEE I JUST NEED TO BE HELD RIGHT NOW?” There I was, shovel above my head trying to get her to flee into the house, stopped cold. “I just need to be held, and you are chasing me with a shovel.” While I did not believe that this was the moment for holding–a suffering rabbit needed to die and all, there was somehow something else in her voice. It was like she really was saying, “You. Ran. At. Me. With. A. Shovel.”

After a few moments, I was able to get her into the house. I finished the job and coerced Lobo, the dog who made me kill, who made me foolishly run at a woman, with a shovel back inside as well.

I found Whitney in bed, holding tightly to her chest the three-legged chihuahua saying, “You’re the only dog I love.” She repeated it like Dorothy trying to escape Oz. We both fell asleep.

In the morning, I woke up naturally to the staring eyes of Whitney. She is so beautiful. She was tracing the shape of my face with her eyes. It was almost like she was discovering me for the first time. I expected her to sing my praises for the manliness I exuded only hours before. Our eyes met. Whitney said softly, “Remember how last night you ran at me with a shovel.”

I had no clue what she was talking about.

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.


When you take vows at the wedding ceremony, the traditional ending is “Till death do us part.” I said it, you married guys have said something like it, and if you haven’t said it, you have seen something that makes this understandable. Instead, I think the woman should have to say, “Till I kill you” because this is what they are thinking. The nicest of women, my wife for example, will kill a man. Trust me. Look at your wife right now, sitting over there all innocent. That woman will kill. That woman will kill you–no questions asked. She will kill you because it just seemed like the right thing to do, and everyone will agree with her. The good news is that woman loves you, and she will just as easily die for you just so long as you don’t mess up the baby’s schedule, or eat the curly potato chip, which she has silently claimed to be hers, and if you loved her, I mean really loved her, you’ll understand why that chip is hers. But again, do not let this give you an overwhelming sense of security, wives are trained like Batman and the League of Shadows, to take men’s souls.

My wife, who I have written extensively about, is a great case study. She has terrific skills with a bow staff and can hang with the worst of men in fights. I’m certain of it. Having a baby has added another dimension–more depth to her fighting portfolio. We had an old method of arguing where we incorporated the “studio audience” method. One of us addresses a fake studio audience and makes fun of the the other’s irrational behavior.

It goes like this. Your wife says something, then you pause and look into the fake crowd of onlookers and say something like, “here is where my wife uses all inclusive statements to irrationally prove that she is right…”

Whitney has developed new weaponry. It is what I call the “baby talk” defense. This is where she looks at the baby and says something in random high and low pitch tones, “Look at you so cute sitting there with your foot in your mouth…Your daddy puts his foot in his mouth all of the time and one day I am going to put my foot in his ass…” It is quite effective because it now becomes parenting and allows you to say things you probably wouldn’t say to each other. She is a respectable foe and lover…

Now, I know in a fair fight, I could take my wife to school. She is strong, but I think I could win–maybe not by knockout, but I’d get the judges decision for sure. But this is only if the judges have the balls to tell her to her face that they think I won. It reminds me of a story about my wife.

Another couple, Whit and I were gathered together over the holidays playing a very competitive game that pitted couple against couple. The game was like the old game show Million Dollar Pyramid. One person had a word that they needed the other person to guess, but they were restrained by a list of words they could not use as clues. The game was back and forth, and Whitney was growing increasingly competitive as time passed. Soon, it came to Whitney to give me clues. I sat anxiously awaiting Whit’s masterful barrage of brilliant clues. She is a genius, for the love of god, we got this in the bag. Whitney began:

Whitney: (Slowly and matter of factly) I want to mont.

Heath: I don’t know what that means

Whitney: (still calm) I want to mont.

Heath: Okay, you’re sick, death, dying, montgomery, Alabama, the Confederacy….(Digressing into words that barely relate to one another, but pretending that Whitney is leading me down this road.

Whitney: (Growing Frustrated at my apparent idiocy) Listen, Heath! I WANT to MONT. I want to mont. (She then motions with her hands to me a gesture that says, “see how obvious it is now.”

Heath: Mont. You want to mont? Need, hungry, starving, children with no food, poor kids in Africa, famine, death and famine, rape, torture, water boarding, surfing, shark bite, apple sauce… (more words spilling out of my mouth at the rapid rate)

Whitney: (Yelling as the last sand falls through the minute glass) I WANT TO MONT. I WANT TO MONT. HEATH, I WANT TO MONT!!!!

Other couple: Time! They yell it with exuberance knowing that they have just been put into the perfect position to win this game.

I turn to Whitney feeling a bit embarrassed that I didn’t solve her clue. I say, “Whitney, I don’t know what a “mont” is. I don’t think it is a word. Whitney’s face is now riddled with disappointment. She breathes in and out big breaths and says “It isn’t a word, its what I was doing….I was rhyming. Want and Mont rhyme. Rhyming was the word you needed to guess.”

I explain to her that she could have rattled off a sequence of words like bat, hat, cat, mat, and that eventually, maybe three words into it, I would have put it together. I even said that I could understand the first go round using “I want to mont” and then seeing that I wasn’t comprehending, maybe moving to a new set of words that rhymed. Moreover, I felt that clinging to a nonsensical phrase was the worst strategy I have ever seen in the history of this game.

Whitney leaned in real close. Her lips so close to my ears that I could feel her breath on my lobes. She is silent. Long pause. She then says to me slowly and well enunciated and loud enough for all to hear. “If you really knew and loved me, you would have figured it out with the clue I provided.”

You have all seen the facts. It is clear that I am right in this case, but let me tell you what happened in that room. The other couple hearing Whitney’s words, understood something I should have figured out by then. Don’t mess with Whitney. If she wants to mont. Let her.

So, I say to Whitney, “You win, you’re right.” She reaches up and grabs my chin gently, caressing it softly with her thumb, and In a tone dripping with love and rainbows and unicorns and puppies and candy canes, she says, as she always does, “Heath, its not about winning…”

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.


And now I offer to you a few techniques that you need to put in your little mental toolkit and carry with you everywhere you go. The title to this is a bit misleading, because it centers itself on the art of debate, but really, this is about winning people over through smoke and mirrors. Don’t get all weird on me, this is something that is being done to you on a daily basis; I have decided that you should be well equipped and wearing the full armor of intellectualism, which if used properly, culminates in a win in battle. If you can master the art, you will be a force to reckon with anywhere you go. You will likely get the best looking mates, gain riches beyond your wildest dreams, attain fame and fortune, and most importantly, look down on others not so well prepared.

**It is important that you understand that these techniques have a limited operating area i.e. don’t take on subject matter experts in a debate of subjects wherein they are experts–this is lunacy. I have done this and there is only one outcome with which you can save face. You actually have to speak in circles and then finally end by saying the following statement, “I think we are arguing the same point. I’m just not communicating it very well.”** I will show you other escapes momentarily.

When making a point in an argument where you are a) unprepared, b) want to win quickly and at all costs, or c) a combination of both a and b, you must utilize the following

1. “It has been proven”…

“It has been proven” is a difficult one to make work, but it is worth the try. A good opponent will naturally retort with the logical counter, “by who?” you must then immediately say, without hesitation or wavering of voice, “let’s not get into semantics here, anyways….” That word “anyways” is your ticket to victory, people. After the “anyways” you just say whatever half truth or fact that best defends your side and, voila, you have somewhat won. Somewhat winning is as good as winning in my book, somewhat. This little trinket is the “I’m just saying” of the intellectual discussion. There is no really effective counter, but I have seen grown men lose friends when the user of this method continually falls back on it for all arguments, so use accordingly.

2. The next little trick you can apply is displacing the burden of fallibility upon someone that your oponent will never be able to verify without a lot of leg work. I like to use basic knowledge I may already have that is out there on the subject being debated. Then I say one of these these golden phrases:

“I think this is what John Smith (insert author whom you believe says anything close to whatever garbage you are about to try and sell) discusses in his book….”

Even if your opponent has read the book, as long as you didn’t get overly specific with your point, you are fine. If you feel trapped, all you have to say now is, “I need to read that again, it was such a good book.” This is misdirection at its finest. It appeals to the opponents love of the book, and in the same breadth, you look like a lifelong scholar. It’s genius

Or,

“I heard a lecture on this very subject, who was the doctor speaking? (Really sell right here that you are searching for a name, shit, you can even say a name, but then take it back and continue. It is much about the selling the drama as it is the phrase) I forget his or her name, but they said…..”

(I like this one, because you never really have to have attended any lecture on anything, plus you look like you walk around thinking about more than food, sex, and beer..)

3. This tactic is more delivery than an actual specific phrase.

I saw this recently during a brief where a friend of mine was asked to convey a specific plan by walking step by step through a process. With the confidence of a Spartan warrior, my friend proceeded to rattle off a random sequence of numbers and letters. He added in a few important words that everyone wants to hear like, safety, fuel allowance, worse case scenario, etc….you get the idea. My point is that my friend said nothing of value. I’m not even sure he had a plan in the first place, but he said nothing of value with such conviction that he received accolades for the thoroughness and depth of his plan. When I confronted him on this, he simply told me to shut-up and walked off hurriedly…you can’t shit a shitter.

4. The last tactic is not for the weak or faint of heart. This is boldness in action, and relies on passion. I use this as my, “all hell has broken lose” course of action. When you have realized you have argued yourself to a loss, simply attack the character of the person you are arguing. It can be subtle, but it must be based off of some small crumb of reality.

For instance:

Your opponent says, “the problem with your argument is that you are based purely on a flawed understanding of the world.” Your opponent is right, but now you have to make it look like this is name calling, and by sheer nature of this, you no longer want to engage in petty discussion. This makes you look so civilized it’s not even funny.

If all else fails you need to resort to name calling, but you need to make sure that you will not get punched, or that you can punch harder, and that you punching harder is universally understood by your opponent as to deter actual physical contact.

Use this and you will be successful.

I just wanted you to know, because I’ve been holding it in for years.


Certain magnetism exists between the mall and my wife. It is the allure of the over-accessorized ladies clad in black, past-the-knees dresses. They peddle their fragrances with relentless fervor while you hurriedly try to escape the cloud of chemicals emanating from the atomizer these women cling to like it’s their last weapon in the fight against the zombies. It is the cacophony of smells purging their way out of the food court rushing out in all directions like throngs of ghosts escaping from the Ghost Trap in any one of the Ghostbusters movies (if that analogy doesn’t make sense to you, you are too young or lacking the requisite knowledge to be reading this blog). It is the rush you get from competing with 14 other vehicles for the same spot and the joy of victory watching 13 other cars mope off to start another fight. All of these make the mall the place to be. All of these things and, well, watching the odd nature of teenagers and their poor decision making, especially with respect to facial hair and wardrobe.

So this was my Saturday. I was heading to the mall, and I was generally fine doing it, because there is nothing better than documenting the horrible lives of teenagers. We set off, driving down the long winding road towards civilization. For the sake of thoroughness, my story begins earlier in the week when an awkward blink of the eye sent my left contact lens tumbling to the carpet. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a lecture from a General Officer in the Marine Corps and could not start crawling around on the floor to find the rogue lens. Instead, and probably more annoying to the speaker, I notified the surrounding Marines using a complex gesturing system, which involved me mimicking an awkward blink, holding my palm over my eye, and simultaneously pointing to the deck. This is the universal symbol for, “Don’t make a scene, but I lost my contact lens. Try and look inconspicuous while you help look for it, but please don’t let the general know that we are only minimally paying attention.” Unfortunately, this symbol seemed to be less than universally understood and was met with judgmental looks of my peers.

The irony being that, without that contact, I could not read the presentation’s slides, which were covering how to read more effectively. Long story short: I am now wearing glasses.

We set off, driving down the long winding road towards civilization. The brightness of the sunlight flickering in and out of the trees along the country road created a strobe light effect washing out my vision. Luckily I had brought my prescription sunglasses. Even more luckily, the prescription sunglasses were issued by the Marine Corps to me. There are many like them, but this pair is mine. Donning their awesomeness, I was once again blessed with vision and continued on my trek. At this point in the drive, Whitney and I have been bantering back and forth, talking about this and that, and generally enjoying the moment. I was relaying a story about the price of some item. Here is how it goes:

Heath: I was surprised once the lady told me how much it costed.

Whitney: What?

Heath: I said that I was blown away by how much the stuff costed.

Whitney: I’m sorry what?

Heath: Growing more aggravated. “Whitney, it costed a lot of money, and I wasn’t going to pay it!”

Whitney: I’m sorry, but did your cool little glasses make you forget how to use irregular verbs? I let it slip once, because I thought you were joking.

At this point I understood I was beat, so I switched into what I call, “I am insulted mode.” It is also called, “Misdirection.”

Heath: Hold on here! What is wrong with my sunglasses?

Whitney: I didn’t say anything was wrong with your sunglasses.

Heath: You said, “your cool glasses,” with a really snarky tone like they are nerdy.

Whitney: No, I don’t think they look nerdy…. they look like women’s glasses.

Heath: Oh, you think that I won’t wear them out in public?

Whitney: It’s not that I don’t think you will; it’s that I hope you won’t!

I spent the rest of the car ride looking at my feminine glasses in the mirror wondering if it was worth it to wear them in public. The tone with which Whitney said “it’s that I hope you won’t” echoing in my head made my mind up for me. I would not be wearing my sunglasses where anyone could see them in all of their femininity. I would do this for the sanctity of my marriage, because I am a man. A man with feminine glasses, but a man still, and I will sacrifice my eyes for her happiness—our happiness.

Arriving at the mall, I quickly secured my manly, and very cool military issue glasses, changing them out for my more traditional ones for casual wear. The mall was as I left it. Teenagers everywhere. Teenagers everywhere making horrible decisions. On three occasions, I bore witness to a teenage boy buying jewelry of all levels of ornament for their teenage lovers. How happy they looked, happy and pathetic. I wanted to rush in and grab the young man and yell. I wanted to stop the madness. I wanted to stop this kid’s downward spiral into the abyss of stupid gift buying. That was when I saw their faces. I knew I could not stop it. Each of the teenage boys, still relishing in their transition from boy to man, were letting any possible hair that wanted to grow, grow. Their faces looked like training grounds for pubic growth. I was ashamed. I know I did the same thing. I know that there were instances in my past where I had two distinctly different colors of beard hair, but I rocked it like it was hot. Teenagers.

I was just getting over the tomfoolery going on at the jewelry stores when we wandered by a man and his wife. This woman was laying into her husband. It was the kind of argument where the man closes his eyes and flies away. He flies away to a land of unicorns, chocolate rivers, and rainbow avalanches. A land where Chumbawamba’s “I get knocked down, but I get up again” plays endlessly, and where teenagers shave until the hair on their chin is all one color and stiffness. The man was making all of the right body gestures, but his soul was gone. Robotically forcing apologetic movements, but internally, he was surfing the rainbow avalanche to the base of Marshmallow Mountain. Whitney looked at me and made me promise that I would never let her do that to me. She hated the sight of the man, how embarrassed he must have been, how broken. To her credit, Whitney would never do this anyway, but the sentiment was well taken. I took the moment to ask Whitney if she thought that the man wore the wrong sunglasses in public or used the incorrect form of an irregular verb….she smiled, and just kept walking.

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years…


My blog could have been titled:

Happiness is All Around Us, Except in Me…

I Want to be Happy For You, But I am Having Trouble Making it My First Priority

Please Don’t Be Like Me: A Study in How I Have Trouble Being Overly Critical

Or Finally,

I’m Insecure, So Excuse Me While I Look For Ways to Bring You Down to an Acceptable Level of Average…

I chose, No, I am Happy For You, I’m Serious….Just Not All the Way, because I think this sounds a bit kinder towards the object of the statement. I want to go down in the records as being a kind and welcoming man, but I also want to be painted with honesty, and so should you. I want to think that after reading this, you walk away thinking, “Hey, Heath is just like me, and maybe, we all need a little work,” or most likely, “Sweet, I am not the only one who has trouble with being a human.”

Congratulations, you’re normal. What I am talking about is the same emotion we feel when we see the trashy looking soul that won a zillion dollars in a lottery we played, but lost. It is the same lottery that you had already fantasized how you would spend the money should you had won, and more so, how you were going to impress all around with how respectable and responsible you were in your fiscal prowess. But now, because you lost, you spend the next fifteen minutes of your life wasting it on playing the winning guy’s miserable existence out in your mind. Immediately, you flash forward ten years in this guy’s life and hope that he is desperately addicted to meth or coke; that he took out a million dollars in ones and gave it to a stripper at the local club, only to show up on the news after being beaten by the stripper’s ex-boyfriend; her ex-boyfriend recently learned that the love of his life and baby’s mama, Cinnamon, was seen philandering with that guy who won the millions—he, in an attempt to save his pride that had been stripped away like Cinnamon’s last thong on stage at TD’s Gentlemen’s Club, took his frustrations out on the subject of our fantastical voyage into the future, and, oh by the way, he stole the last bit of his coke, and found the briefcase full of ones that the winner had intended to use to convince Cinnamon to escape with him to a better life; subsequently, her boyfriend leaves the miserable winner in the gutter, face down, mumbling garbled phrases of longing for simpler days when his worst worries consisted of how he was going to afford the next six pack of Natural Light from the 7-11 down the street and still be able to buy another carton of cigarettes…you know, the bare necessities.

You quickly insert into this unfortunately lucky guy’s life an ineptness that is so profound that he will not be able to function as a normal person, because he has never dealt with real responsibility…not the kind you have. Oh. My. God. You could have done so many more responsible things should you have taken home the millions.

That is what I am talking about. We humans spend a lot of time making sure that we are doing okay. To a large extent, this is relatively harmless, at least towards others. It is a thought process we utilize to maintain an operational level of self-esteem and self-concept. Why did that guy deserve millions? It must be because he is going to be a parable for something larger to the world. He is the proverbial example of “be careful what you wish for.” Now that you have denigrated the dude’s existence, you can go on and be successful. This is the average man’s way of not murdering people out of envy or jealousy…we do it mentally and then we move on. Admit it. None of you are happy for the guy. If you say right now that you are, then you are the worst type of person….dishonest—and there is a level of Hell that Dante built especially for you…

And to a much smaller scale, we do this every day in our normal lives. The good news is that the victims of our little murders are generally not people we know and care about.

Girls, it works this way…It is the girl you see at the mall, who is dressed to the 9s and looking good…but maybe, a little too good for a trip to the mall, maybe a bit too revealingly clad, and you can tell this girl is as superficial as can be and that her entire existence is to get attention from men. You should be happy she is confident and pretty, right? Not in my world. She is looking at the same type of clothes you are and moves on to an area you are not interested in, but you kind of meander that way just so you can find the flaws in this little, under-dressed tramp…You examine her from top to bottom, you notice that she holds her bag, a certain way, that her make-up is a bit too thick….oooooohhhh there it is, this girl is hiding her real face from the world. Satisfied that you have deconstructed this girl sufficiently and kept your self esteem levels at functioning levels, you walk by her and say, “Girl, I just love your hair, it frames your face so well….” And then the girl knows you looked at her face…she is effectively neutralized.

It is what we do. Please tell me it is what we do…I want, so bad, to be normal…Personally, my “mental murders” are probably a bit over the top, but that is who I am. I am a man who constantly enters into imaginary fist fights with people and I win all of them. Usually the imaginary fights are the beginning of my mental destruction of whoever deserves it at that moment. Imaginarily, I have fought and won hundreds of battles. They have taken place in gyms, bars, bar restrooms, libraries, walking into work, and on Interstate 95 just outside my truck during a traffic jam. I have beaten many a redneck just for looking weirdly at me when they pass me by at Wal-Mart—all in my imagination.

The best part about my imaginary beatings is that they are all imaginary. No one ever gets hurt except the imaginary victim, and let me tell you, none of the imaginary victims were even close to imaginarily beating me. In the end, these imaginary conquests are just as much a part of me as the personality that you all see and hear. I cannot help what goes on in my insecure little brain. The imaginary fight is an unbelievable stress reliever for me, and an absolutely great way to boost my self-actualization levels. Have there been innocent victims on my imaginary battlefield? Sure, but such is life in my imaginary landscape. I have no time to get caught up in the “guilt game.” And guess what, I am a well functioning member of society. Imagine people who don’t function well and their inner thought life. I bet it is a scary, scary place. I contend they, too, have imaginary fights, but unfortunately, they cannot separate the two existences. Also, let’s be honest. I am undefeated in my imaginary world. My real world fighting experiences don’t always pan out as successfully….

To be completely honest, this is the part of me I hate the most. It is the part of me that reminds me that I am insecure about being among other humans. Worse still, it is the part of me that gives power to others over my existence. I hear other people say great and nice things to others, and I cannot help but harbor some skepticism towards what is being said simultaneously in their inner monologue. So, you can see, I project my inadequacies on others, again in hopes that it makes me more normal.

The Good News:

I know I do it. I know that I am probably going to continue to do it. However, I want you to know that many of the people I am closest to now started out as a person I tried to marginalize through my mental processes. This means that the feelings I have are not really affecting my ability to relate to them once meaningful discourse occurs. So, I am Happy for You, Just Not All the Way.

I am a work in progress. I will keep moving towards perfection, and along the way, I will probably mentally murder thousands, but I will be fine. I will write about it and be open with you people.

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.


The neighborhood glowed a purplish hue in the early hours of the morning.  A breeze rustled through the knee high wild grass, blowing it to and fro making a chorus of white noise echo throughout the old swampland turned residential area.  But in the little house nestled in the deepest corner of a quaint cul-de-sac, in the Autumn Meadows subdivision, a sleeping, pregnant woman was up to her crazy antics.

An unsuspecting husband, sleeping soundly and innocently, had no clue or forewarning that a ninja was roaming the bedroom on a hunt for whatever spirit she deemed the enemy.  The ninja was a silent killer, highly trained in ancient arts lethal to most ordinary men.  Luckily the unsuspecting and innocent husband is no ordinary man, for he has been fighting the ninja for a decade now.  Admittedly, the husband underestimated the pregnant woman’s abilities.  He has read and heard stories passed down from generation to generation that pregnant women lose their coordination and agility, and to a certain extent, the pregnant ninja roaming the room had lulled the husband into a state of complacency.  When the pregnant woman is in her alter ego day form, she indeed has near zero dexterity.  But at night, when the neighborhood glows a purplish hue, a ninja is reborn and she is on a mission to kill.  Last night was no exception.

The husband rose to a flurry of activity.  The pregnant ninja had raised out of the bed the way I picture demons to have risen off of the lake of fire in Paradise Lost.   There was no bend in her knees or a push off; instead, she swung up, staying stiff as a board into the standing position—it was evident that this pregnant ninja was not a slave to the laws of physics as I understand them; however, I am not sure I understand physics.  The husband had witnessed something similar before during horror movies where the characters are possessed, but never had a pregnant ninja exhibited such a thing.

The bed is four feet off of the ground.  The pregnant ninja now standing in a full on warrior stance ran toward the foot of the bed.  To the husband, she looked like an Amazon Warrior capable of destroying the toughest foe.  The added bed height made the ninja look to be nine feet tall as she expertly maneuvered around a three-legged Chihuahua and a Blue Heeler.  She reached the footboard and perched for a second, examining the terrain around her.  Her eyes scanned the room until they locked on the husband who sat shivering and scared.  The husband lay silently still wondering if he was the spirit the pregnant ninja was looking for.  After what felt like thirty seconds of eye contact, where the husband was sure the pregnant ninja was mentally figuring out a way to disembowel him, the pregnant ninja leaped (not a slow get down from bed you would expect from an average pregnoid, but a leap, like the kind of leap where you are sure it is going to end in a somersault landing). 

The pregnant woman dashed to the door into the master bedroom, which she found locked.  As the ninja began the confusing process of unlocking the door, something switched.  Like God reached into the pregnoid’s head and pushed an “off” button.  The ninja was gone.  Whitney was back and as confused as ever.  She looked back to her husband and said following, “I just needed to pee is all…..”

The light in the bedroom glowed in an ominous purple hue as Whitney made her way back to bed and fell asleep.  The husband laid there, heart pounding, but alive.  However, this time, he knew he was alive because pregnant ninja let him live.  The husband is a strong and athletic man, and startlingly handsome……but no match for what he witnessed last night.  Pregnant ninja exhibited a rare display of mercy.  I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in since last night.   


This is now actually part two of three.  If you haven’t read part one click here it will give you some context, plus it will give me more readership on that blog, which in turn, will make me feel better about myself. 

4.       I have been threatened and subsequently nearly killed over one US dollar.  I wanted to keep this on the subject of my father because I can do whatever I want to.  If I wanted to reference Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I can.  Like, for example, do you remember the song, “I got the golden ticket, I got the golden ticket….” 

      Okay, so my father… I think your initial reaction should be to feel sorry for me for my life spent with such a scary tyrant of a dad.  However, I bet that by the time you’re done reading this, you will wish that you could get in line to help him beat my ass. 

      Long story short.  I had pretty much recovered from the candy bar fiasco and was back to some semblance of normalcy.  It was summertime and around our house, we had this really cool Tupperware container for holding Kool-Aid.  As a matter of fact, I first developed my fondness for Tupperware because of my childhood Tupperware collection, which included this container.  This container was used so much by us that it actually had permanent stained Kool-Aid marks on the sides.  It featured a sliding top that let you pour Kool-Aid through a strainer like opening or a full wide mouth opening.  The top fit snugly down inside the bigger, bottom piece.  As a fourth grader, I was curious about things, but didn’t have the background in physics, nor did I possess the common sense required to avoid the seemingly, easily avoidable.  (Whitney has proposed to me recently, that not only did I never have common sense, but I also failed to ever find any…) 

      So in this situation, I thought that the container top fit so snugly inside of the bottom that it could actually withstand the weight of the Kool-Aid and would remain closed if I tipped it upside down.  Unfortunately, what I hypothesized (that the container lid would stay nestled into the bigger bottom portion even when forced to hold the added liquid’s weight) was incorrect.  However, learning did occur.  This science experiment taught me about potential energy and kinetic energy, one of Newton’s Laws, and about how sugar reacts to linoleum flooring.  To be clear here: The Tupperware container’s lid did not support the weight of Rock-o-dile Red Kool-Aid.  The experiment further illuminated that Rock-o-dile Red Kool-Aid spreads across a kitchen like oil does on water.  To be clear here:  One gallon of Rock-o-dile Red Kool-Aid has the ability to cover at 12 square feet of kitchen surface area.  In full on panic mode (see yesterday’s blog on my father as Satan), I grabbed the roll of paper towels and just started unrolling them onto the mess on the floor, counters, crevices of the stove top, under the fridge, everywhere.  I must have used two rolls just to soak up the Kool-Aid.  I felt like I had averted near disaster, and best of all my dad hadn’t happened upon me during the science experiment.  I was going to walk away from this unscathed.  I threw the soaked towels away, and walked away with satisfaction over my new found knowledge of science. 

      Hours later I heard yelling, and like a dog that had forgotten all about their earlier transgressions that walked right up to his owner when he discovered urine on the carpet, I wandered right to the point of the yelling hoping to see my sisters getting skinned alive.  Instead, what I saw next looked like the scene of a crime.  Red paper towels everywhere; did my dad actually just skin my sisters alive?  Not only that, but everywhere he walked his shoes were making this weird sticking sound like he was walking on glue.  I quickly saw that what was going on in the kitchen was somehow coming back on me.  I tried to slink into the background, but he saw it my eyes……fear. 

      I remember being held against a wall; I remember my dad’s voice; I remember that his index finger bounced off of my nose on every syllable as he repeated the following phrase over and over and over, “DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH A ROLL OF PAPER TOWELS COSTS, THEY COST A DOLLAR!!!!!”   I woke up seven days later with no recollection of the events that ensued after being pressed against the wall.

5.       I was nearly killed by a falling 32 inch television set.  This was in the 80s, so you know that the set weighed at least 70 Lbs.  To be clear here:  The set was probably built in the 70s, so you know that the TV weighed at least 100 Lbs.  More specifically, the TV didn’t even have a remote, so kids were often used as little remote controls.  But, in our house, my dad, who I have mentioned before as being wary of children, would not allow kids to touch anything.  Kids carried “magic sticky” and everything kids touched was contaminated and broken. 

      My dad cherished the television.  It was his baby.  We kids were there because my mom loved us and convinced my dad that we were worth keeping around; I am sure that she pointed out our potential for slave labor when we were older and stronger.   Out of protection for the TV, my dad placed it high atop a set of shelves to keep kids from ruining everything he worked so hard to get.  The problem with shelves, though, is that they form a ladder.  Being left alone to watch TV, I decided that I wanted to watch The Dukes of Hazard and see what trouble Bo and Luke were up to in Hazard County. 

      I began the climb to the top of the shelf.  The shelving, I shit you not, was like 15 feet high, and I expertly negotiated every shelf.  As I reached up for the TV, I made a couple of bad decisions.  As a child, I was curious about things, but didn’t have the background in physics, nor did I possess the common sense required to avoid the seemingly, easily avoidable.  (Whitney has proposed to me recently, that not only did I never have common sense, but I also failed to ever find any…)  I failed to understand gravity’s effect on human beings and televisions.  And I think more importantly than this, I failed to understand the distribution of weight across an object that extends vertically from the ground, more specifically, that the vertical object cannot have its heaviest point be off center and higher than midpoint, or else, said vertical object will tip over in the direction the heaviest point is pulling it.  (See Figure 1.1) 

  Figure 1.1, this photo is my personal property.  I spent hours drawing it 

      Needless to say, I reach for the TV and this movement sets in motion a horrible sequence of events that tells you my entire childhood in a nutshell.  Everything starts to fall.  I cling to the TV and pull it with me.  Halfway down I am now holding the TV pressed firmly against my head, at this point all of the lessons I needed to learn were learned, but unfortunately, there was no stopping this from happening.  I was falling, and this 80s TV was going to smash my skull in, and I looked death in the eye, and I screamed like a bitch.  When I landed, my head cushioned the blow for the TV, but I swear this is what I heard in the surround: 

Mom:  Oh my god, my son, he’s dead…..he’s dead, I know it.

Dad:  WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN HERE, OH MY GOD, MY TV, WHAT DID HE DO TO MY TV… 

Stay tuned to part three where I will do what I originally said I would do during this blog. I will finish my last two personal tidbits of information and recommend some terrific reading.