Saturday, October 24, 2009


No matter what you do in your life we all strive for those small moments of perfection where whatever you are doing is effortless, yet the outcome is optimal. When I was fourteen I made a life changing decision to join the high school cross country team. And for the first two years, I hated running. Matter of fact, I really didn't like going to high school. Awkward, braces and glasses really killed the self esteem. I was tempted to quit running and just hide. Yet the masochist in me wouldn't stop. My junior year I made a commitment to religiously train in the off season and I added weights to the routine. Bigger, faster, stronger, and more disciplined I started seeing the fruits of my labor. Then my braces came off, I started my first job, and shed those horrible rimmed glasses in exchange for contact lenses.

And the next two years of high school were quite the transformation. The not so popular Matt Jacobs morphed into the high fiving crowd surfing "Matty J". Senior year I dated often and many, became the high school mascot and got a partial ride to The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The summer before senior year I met my best friend whom I roomed with all four years of college (now he manages my lack of funds as our investment advisor)

But it all started with that first lung burning run, flopping my 14 year old baby fat up and down the sidewalk, and it progressed to a few runs where I could only just go faster and faster and faster. It progressed to a waxing and waning obsession with pushing one self to the limits for that sense of accomplishment, that meaning, and the clarity one can achieve for being such a narcissist.

Today was a run where I could only go faster, it was extra clarity, an ultra high. I dreaded all 10 miles today. It was rainy, muggy, and I was tired from working the overnight shift the night before. The first two miles seemed like bears but my splits were decent. Five miles later after two horrific passes over the Severn River by way of the Navy Bridge, I felt my legs spinning faster and faster. Holding the pace for my kick the last mile it started to pour. And my body cooled as my lungs took in glorious breath after glorious breath and my legs kicked and kicked their way down the sidewalk to a nice finishing time for my thirty year old body. Nothing hurt, nothing seemed difficult, the precision of the run spoke for itself. I felt clean, my mind felt clear, and I felt high. It's a difficult experience to replicate with words. But to me, it's the sense that I kicked ass, felt great kicking ass, and did it honestly. It's a sense of meaning. It is one of those little moments in life that is selfishly yours, and it keeps your wheels spinning until the next one passes by.

Friday, October 23, 2009

You can't make this stuff up

I work in the ghetto of Washington DC. And, I also work with a Redneck constituent in Maryland. Drug seekers versus drug dealers, crack versus methadone and crystal meth, trannies versus well, you get it, you just can't make any of this shit up.

In the ghetto, the storyline for a gunshot wound to the head is something like this, "Well, see, I was mindin' my own business, taking grandmamma to church, and then somebody reached in the car and shot me" (that's if they are able to talk after the assault, you'd be surprised, many are).

In redneck land the story for running out of pain medicine is something like this, "Well see, I'm out of work, and my pain Doctor refused to see me, and I don't want to get addicted to no pain medicines, but this tooth ache has been hurtin an awful lot". The retort depending on my mood is, "Have you gone to a Dentist?" Then they say, "Well, I don't have no money for that". Meanwhile they have a Blackberry phone and pack of cigarettes in their pocket. They usually get testy when you confront them about their money to buy cigarettes. I remember confronting an old man with Asthma and Obstructive Pulmonary Disease how he had enough money for cigarettes and cable TV but no money for his inhalers (he came in asking for a free inhaler). The response was something like, "I didn't come in here to be judged...wheeze...cough...I could just leave and go else...cough...wheeze...where. I gave him a free inhaler, hell, I'm a sucker for schmucks I guess.

And I'm told that God loves everyone. I suppose so, I'm just puzzled that the scum of the earth can survive multiple gunshots to the head while the single hard working mothers of three get diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at age 40. The good dying young has me question my faith in God the most, but it's more like a "I'll ask God when I get to meet Him question" than actually turning into an agnostic.

This morning I was at the Dermatology office for my quarterly skin check. My P.A. scraped a mole and said, "This could be neoplastic, let's just make sure it's not". And I said, "Yeah, Melanoma to the Brain sucks, terrible death, we've had a few of them.". And she said, "That's the part I like about my job, we find things generally when they aren't bad, aren't advanced, we don't have to give the ole "Sorry Johnny, your mom is dead speech".

Interesting, we do. A friend recounted his "Sorry your mom is dead speech" one day in the call room. As a background, this Doctor is a very soft spoken conservative person, and extremely stoic. When he finished telling a family their loved one had no clinical sign of brain function, a concerned and distraught family member said, "You are a Neurosurgeon right? Is your service like that Neurosurgery service on "Gray's Anatomy"? Is everyone sleeping with each other?"

If I never learn anything else, I will never be surprised at the great art form of the human race. God gave us life through Adam and Eve, and He tries to find ways to guide us to become better people...but dang, the disrespect people have for themselves and each other is universal from ghettos to trailor parks.

The universal theme is disrespect and lack of accountability. It's always someone elses fault, job, responsibility, etc. Will it ever get better? Is it worse now, or has it just stayed the same?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Diminishing Returns

The Washington Redskins are a horrid team. How do I know and why do I care? I married a life long fan. And what really stinks is that my wife went from angry to apathetic about how much they stink.

I identify the problem as Dan Snyder, the owner. Although he is an extremely successful owner in terms of profit, he has managed to turn much of the fan base against him. Charging exorbitant amounts for tickets, food, and parking while overpaying mediocre players, he has run his team into the ground with reckless abandon.

What is difficult to watch is that for at least 5 years the offensive line has been a basic root of their problems. They are old getting older, often hurt. We hold our breath waiting to see when the water boy will be inserted for a play, and then get a fat contract as a new diva. And each year when draft day comes, filthy Snyder decides we need to draft 5 defensive positions, overpay some out of shape player, and or draft 5 wide tight ends. Never does anyone say, "We need to fix the offensive line, the problem isn't the Quarterback, it's the fact that not even Tom Brady could manufacture a fart without getting sacked".

So every year, a decrepit offensive line falls down, we all boo, and call for the head of the coach, QB, and everyone except the root of the problem....the owner. And he can do nothing but sit on a fat pile of cash and laugh, because fans keep showing up, and keep paying what he decides to charge.

So what does one do? I guess we just suck it up and hope it gets better next year. I guess it's like being a Browns fan, or maybe a Cubs fan.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Living Forever

Since I was one year of age I attended church and subscribed to the idea that one day, most of us would end up in heaven to live in eternity with God, Elvis, and Jesus. No particular order mind you. And although I'm not a big time church goer and I detest most organize religions, I am still very spiritual. I usually have my conversations with God on the way to work, asking for the usual things: forgiveness, protection, and ways to become more mindful of myself in order to be a better person.

And since I was small, I have always wondered the same thing. And today, for the first time in years the idea crept up in my head as I was taking an afternoon nap. Mind you I didn't nap well, as the question I have is spooky to me, and quite unsettling.

If we are to live for eternity in the afterlife, do things ever stop. I mean, think about it. It seems a bit like Groundhog Day. Day after day of perfection and happiness. Does life just stay the same? Is there no end point?

As a child I was told that God didn't tell us everything because there were things mere mortals just couldn't comprehend. It's like if we tried to wrap our little pea brains around such grand ideas as eternal life as it pertains to time, our heads would explode. Mine simply hurts at the idea.

To me it's like the scene in "The Matrix" where Neo finds out he has found the architect before and failed many times. He just keeps returning and doing the same things, yet he has no recollection of his previous lives. Or Bill Murray in the film "Groundhog Day", when he keeps waking up day after day and finds it's the same.

Mind you, I love my life now, but there is surely a beginning and end, and I hope there is a continuation in that "Heaven" we all hear about. But something so finite with limitations is comprehensible to me. Having an eternal life with endless perfection boggles my mind tremendously. What the hell do you do with forever...think about it...forever. The idea of monotony scares me, it scares me to get bored and not be able to move on.

So maybe we just have to wait and see, maybe our minds are just too small to comprehend such greatness. And then you question your faith, is there a God? If so why is there so much suffering and pain? I think I will always have those questions but my mind is set that there is a deity out there. For me it's a lot of faith; however, I see no way around how else the earth we live on was created.

Spiritual Musings...I think I'll just move on to farts from now on.

My facebook life

So an old acquaintance posted something on my Facebook like this...

"Your updates have me thinking you take daily hits of the nitrous"

And so I write, "Abigail, you knew me in college, and I'm way more watered down now".

The post she was referring to was the following...

"Rawrrr!!!! It means I love you in Dinosaur"

And then I thought about all of the posts I write about how much fun it is to poop, and then to have gas, and then my rants about the poor, and socialism, and lazy people. And then I post things about Homer get it, it's random, and most posts have me giggling like a schoolgirl, then informing my wife of how clever I am, and she says, "Huh?!...I love you Matty"

So then I write back to Abigail, "I have no idea why my wife married me, it's like a daily Facebook newsfeed of wondrous and completely useless updates".

And the life of MattyJ rolls by, legendary moment after legendary moment in my own mind.

When we have kids, I expect life to still be a fun zoo of Facebook posts, silliness, and overall bathroom humor. There is a saying that kids "learn what they live". My family learned me how to laugh at bodily functions. Every family get together my aunt (generally 10 minutes into each meal) says, "Can we not at least have one meal without discussion about bodily function?"

There is not a closing to such a post like this.