Friday, January 9, 2015

Who You Callin' Shrimp?

I remember as a kid, There was this cartoon sales ad in a magazine. Some shrimpy kid at the beach was getting sand kicked in his face by a big bully, right in front of a bikini clad hottie. Now this is the kind of advertising that sounds home to a self conscious ten year old, because there is always someone bigger, better looking or stronger. If I just had that weight set, things would be different for me too. Well, the truth revealed; there will always, always be someone bigger, better looking and stronger. Always. Don't get me wrong here, I am not saying give up, check out of the game. Oh heck no. What I am saying is, at some point in your life, you have to realize that you aren't perfect, you aren't going to be rich, you are kinda ugly and it is getting worse, you're not a total badass... whatever. By the way, it is OK to realize more than one of these if it applies to you. At some point you become... OK with it. There is more to life than that, life is more three dimensional than that. It's alright though. Being satisfied with who you are and what you have is something that should be natural, yet somehow we are pounded into thinking just the opposite. Realizing how unbelievably lucky we all are, and how insanely good we really all have it, that is the 800 pound Gorilla in the room. It doesn't matter how bad things seem at times, believe me, someone has got it worse than you. I am not saying this so we can all feel better because some poor sap has got things worse than us.I am saying, step back and realize how good things really are. Sure, someones got it better. So what. What about the things you already have. Someones got better stuff you know. Some people are worse off too. I eventually got that weight set. I used like crazy for a while, then guess what? I used it less and less. And even more less than that. (Not sure about that last sentence) Anyhow, I got into soccer, and swimming and girls and cars and... the cartoon of the bully and the shrimp didn't matter that much anymore. I'm no badass, that's for sure, I am OK with that. Hand me a beer or something. After high school, I was a lifeguard for the county in Daytona Beach. Those were the days... young, tan, and 100% in shape. I could run a mile on the packed sand barefoot, in well under 5 minutes. I could swim for miles and miles. Was I a badass? Nope. Not even close. My roommate was though. Totally. One day he said to me "Chris, I think I want to be a Seal." Silence as I stared into his starry gaze. "John," I said,"it's too late for that, you clearly are a human. It was God's choice for you, you should probably just stay with it". "Not that kind of seal" he said, ignoring my comment totally, "the kind the Navy has. Sniper, paratrooper, demolition, all that. I am enlisting in the Navy." Holy shit, it must be the sun. It's pretty hot today, maybe some cold water will help. I said "John, really? The Navy? You are the best swimmer I know, (he was on college scholarship for swimming),you are on the US National Iron Man team, and the girls John! Think of all those tanned girls at the beach." It didn't matter. After that summer, he left for school, finished his degree, and joined the Navy Seals. I didn't see him for 28 years. I ran into John at Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta, we literally almost ran into each other. We couldn't believe it, but there we both were. We had a few hour layover, and had lunch together, reminiscing and catching up. It turns out, John was out of the Navy now, but was on his way to a Navy sponsored gathering for all active and prior seals, to celebrate the capture of Osama Bin Laden. Try to imagine the poolside antics at that party. Anyhow, here was John, smiling from ear to ear, still a total badass, it was awesome. So why is this story important? Because for too long, so many of us believe that the satisfaction that we get from life, is based on getting ahead, at all cost. ..Working ourselves to death to earn more and more, taking steroids to be the biggest, plastic surgery to be the prettiest. But there will always be someone better, faster prettier. Why not be happy with what you have, what you can handle, with the skills and gifts you have been given. Let it go, it's alright. We're not all supposed to be rich, pretty, or a total badass. I am just glad, not envious, that there are some out there. Ever hear of Cliff Young?
Badass. Showed up in overalls and rubber boots to race in Australia's 875 kilometer ultra-marathon race. At the age of 61. And he forgot his teeth. They laughed at him, the pro sponsored types. He smiled. Then he kicked their asses. He ran 566 miles, that's like 21 marathons Back-to-Back across Australia. He not only won, he won big. He shattered the record by two entire days, he never stopped once. Never. Badass? Hell yes he is a badass. How about Henry T Elrod, The Mighty Atom, or Nikola Tesla?
How about Commander Shepard, Chris Kyle, and Joe Medicine Crow?
All badasses. To find out more about them, try going to... Not only will you find out about these totally tough guys, but there are lots more there too. Every week, just like the name implies, a new story. Interesting.Caution though, the narrative is a bit colorful. You'll see. Speaking of shrimpy, we are parked for now only a few hundred feet from some small scale, local shrimpers. They pull small nets from small boats, and catch lots of shrimp. I was up early for work today, and ran down to see the catch. For 20 bucks I got a bucket full of shrimp. Yes, a bucket. And they were still alive and kicking. They don't get any fresher than that! Yes I am grateful for badasses... and shrimp.