Speech Terrorist

A dear friend, Kenny, used to relate an anecdote for which the punchline was a child referring to him as the, “Speech Terrorist.” I love that. Sometimes, though, it really is like that’s what we do. I think about the amount of children and young adults out there whose entire lives are utterly therapized. For some, almost every waking minute is programmed, structured, or dictated; almost every behavior is measured, studied, and pathologized; and every ounce of fun is wrung out of life for the sake of fitting in and “looking like a typically developing child.” I say fuck that. And ultimately, all of the children I’ve met in these scenarios have essentially said the same.

I see so many professionals restraining children and telegraphing at them, “Use…your…words!” I’ve often thought, what if the child looked up and said, “Fuck you!”? Behaviorally, you’d have to positively reinforce that…because the child did exactly what s/he was told. Right? (What we generally mean is, “Use the words I want you to use. And do the things I want you to do. And be interested in my shit. And follow my agenda.” We should say what we mean, lest we get a ripe F-bomb legitimately lobbed at us.)

Do you remember the show, “Life Goes On,” with Chis Burke as Corky Thatcher? He was the first television star that I can remember with Down syndrome…or any kind of uniqueness, for that matter. There was an episode in which he just became sick of it all and he raged against the machine (…fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me). For the talent show, he dressed in all leather with sunglasses and he lip-synced Public Enemy’s, “Fight the Power.” I loved the episode and the scene then, and it remains relevant to this very day. Watch it. Please. (Thank you.)

But I digress…

On today’s episode of the D2D podcast, Eric from the Grind (…any of you forty-somethings out there remember him?!…) makes an appearance as Blackbox sings “Everybody, Everybody” in the background. (Awwwwww yeahhhhhh. It’s Eric from the Griiiiiiind! Here at MTV Spring Break beach house. Nineteen ninety four, baby!!) Jen and Greg discuss fat basset hounds and asshole Springer Spaniels, canine ass-balls and neck-vaginas (“They call…that thing…neck-gina.”), and a titillating, immaculately alliterative, Huffington Post title, “Invading the Vagina in Virginia.”

Additionally, and on a more serious note, Greg asks the question, “Why Speech and Language Pathology?”

We present to you, “Speech Terrorist.”

(Listen closely for a George Clinton Funkadelic incursion at 4:45. Not sure what happened, but everybody’s got a little light, under the sun!)

Corky Badass

(Chris Burke, as Corky Thatcher, in badass mode.)

Streams of Semi-Consciousness

If the universe is, indeed, infinite in all ways, then there exists an infinite amount of Greg’s sitting at infinite computers thinking infinitely precise thoughts. Right now. Furthermore, there are infinite Greg’s sitting at a different spot and thinking a slightly different thought. Further still, there are an infinite amount of Greg-contexts in which Christopher Cross is playing in the background. And these infinite “Never Be the Same” choruses will cause infinite joy in that first group of infinite Greg’s while an infinite amount of more manly Greg’s shun the music as entirely too effeminate while fixing a plumbing issue without having to reference You Tube. Far out, huh?

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Jen has indicated that I should change my running clothes lest I get moldy balls. Moldy balls. That’s a horrifying thought. It’s like a yeast infection…it just doesn’t seem right. Right? How long might one need to remain unclean, moist, and immobile to grow actual mold on his balls?

(Pause for Google search)

I found this on a common medical-advice website. I will include the post in its entirety because it’s awesome and cringe-worthy and quite well-composed:

I’ve noticed for probably 5 years now that some of the pubic hairs on my scrotum are discolored and look like there’s a thin layer/skin of fungus or bacteria growing on them. The normal color is black and these particular hairs look like they may as well be blonde but it’s definitely noticeable that there is a coating of something on these hairs. It’s enough to feel like I can pinch my fingers together and scrape the substance off the hairs with my nails but it doesn’t seem to come off easily. I usually use exfoliating gloves or a loofa which are only for my use but I have noticed this for years and can’t seem to get it off during normal showering and most of the time it just goes un-noticed. The only hairs that seem to be affected are on the right side of the scrotum but there are some on the other side also. I have no physical pain with this problem though throughout my 4 years in the military I have been diagnosed with epididymitis multiple times though nobody can seem to tell me why or how to make it not happen again. I have been tested for STD’s multiple time and have been married to the same woman for nearly 3 years. She has also been tested and is negative also though I am quite sure that this is not in the STD category at all.

So I’m just writing to ask if this is a common thing seeing that the scrotum is usually in a dark, moist environment, probably a favorable place for fungus/bacteria to grow. It doesn’t grow out of control or show ANY signs of progression but a close look makes it look like these hairs are growing this way out of the scrotum. I have shaved my pubic region and scrotum multiple times but it keeps showing up which makes me think that only these select hairs are growing this way.

If anyone has any input, comments, suggestions, or answers please let me know. This has gone on long enough without telling anyone of the problem since I feel that it is nothing to worry about but it would be nice to get some peace of mind. 🙂 Thank you to anyone who can help!

The comment section is extensive and equally intriguing. I’ll spare you that, though here’s a link.

So apparently, one can have moldy balls.

I should take a shower now. I don’t want to be scraping mold off of my pubes and exfoliating my groin.

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Good then…I’m all clean and talcum powdered. No pubic fungus among us.

Jen just asked me to either drive to the store to get eggs (…Fat Head’s “Hop Juju” has something to say about that…) or go next door and ask the neighbor for an egg. Generally, I would rather walk to the grocery store through 6 inches of snow, in sandals, up hill (…both ways…), than knock on a person’s door to ask for something. Some of you get this. Some of you don’t. I really do think the world is divided into two groups of people when it comes to this sort of thing. Those who are or easily could be salespeople, and those who would rather remain poor and calm than face the anxiety required for anything even reminiscent of a “cold call,” even if it meant significant money. As a University of Pittsburgh Heinz Chapel Choir (HCC) member, I couldn’t even make calls to people who indicated that they wanted the HCC to call and ask for money. I couldn’t do it. Each number sat ominously like a death sentence. I’d breathe. I’d lift the receiver. And I’d dial…one…number…at…a…time. Ring. (God, please let this go to machine…Please let this fucking thing…) “Hello.” “Oh, hi. My name is Gregory Del Duca. I’m a current Heinz Chapel Choir member and you indicated that you might be willing to hear from us and perhaps contribute a donation as we prepare for our European tour. Oh, also, I’m a fucking douche bag. I feel like if you are at all annoyed by this call or if you even just tell me kindly, “No, thank you,” that you hate me as a human. Also, please don’t cast any pity on me. Too much kindness might be interpreted as you judging me and confirming that I’m not good enough. I figure if I just keep talking you won’t have an opportunity to say anything. Perhaps I’ll even…what’s that? You’ll donate $100? Just to shut me the fuck up. Great.” To me, asking the neighbor for an egg…a neighbor with whom I have an awesome relationship and who would never be bothered by communication with me…is like begging for change on the corner. Can’t do it. My stomach drops, my heart rate ticks up, and my pupils dilate just thinking about it.

But, I did it. And I got an egg. And I had a lovely conversation with the neighbor. Doris. She’s lovely. An old Italian lady who thinks I’m so kind and nice. She tried to give me several eggs. She actually thanked me for coming over. So put a fucking star on my sticker chart and plop an M&M in my mouth. I did it. I asked for an egg. (And I carried that egg back home like it was hand crafted by Peter Carl Faberge himself. Why? Because if I dropped it and needed to go back for another. Christ help us.)

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There really is nothing more satisfying than singing a Journey song loud and unabashedly. Nothing. I dare you to tell me something that is more satisfying, from an adult human behavioral perspective. And don’t start in with sex and masturbation. At best, full satisfaction lasts mere seconds. The satisfaction derived from singing “Separate Ways” like you’re standing in front of 100,000 people at Red Rocks lasts for hours upon hours. Go ahead, try it. Really, you’ll be hard pressed to match the elation and joy that comes from the anticipation, moving through the song, pretending to be in front of that crowd, the glorious high notes, and then the reverberation for hours after the fade out.

Some day love will find you,
Break those chains that bind you,
One night will remind you,
How we touched and went our separate ways.

If he ever hurts you,
True love won’t desert you,
You know I still love you,
Though we touched and went our separate ways.

(Kind of fucked up, actually, when you really read the lyrics.)

-G

The Dude

(The Dude, With Half-and-Half, On a Boogie Board. By Jenny D.)

A World of Pure Inebriation – Part Two

Hello there! We’re glad to have you back for the concluding installments of our serialized booze-a-palooza! To recap: One Friday night, several weeks back, Greg and Jen made their way through 7 alcoholic beverages and recorded mini-podcasts per drink. Last week, we presented, “The Belfast,” “One Miller Lite,” and “Mr. Burton Baton.” Today, you’ll move through the final four.

As always, we appreciate your eyes, your ears, and your willingness to comment, to share us with your friends, and to keep coming back. And remember, the more you drink, the funnier we get.

(Episode 4, in which we crack open a 64 ounce growler of Troeg’s Nugget Nectar, discuss a friend’s upcoming birthday, consider framing a very old British newspaper, and spread love to other wonderful people. For Greg, the official Head of Hyperbole, everything becomes “amazing,” and “incredible.” Additionally, the word “like” escapes his mouth so much one might be tempted to drown him in the Pacific Ocean along with a venue of vapid valley girls. We present to you, “20 Ounces of Nugget Nectar.”)

(Episode 5, in which the Nectar continues to flow. Greg becomes the drunk man trying to articulate soberly, and Jen makes home made cheese crackers, a la “Cheez-Its.” Greg says, “Gelana Abaya” perhaps 5 too many times and Jen claims, “I’d rather you look like Guy Fieri than Donald Trump.” The Drunk Ducas close this one out strong discussing “The Coolest,” a bag of live chickens, and family alcoholic dysfunction. Cheers. We present to you, “20 More Ounces of Nugget Nectar.”)

(Episode 6, in which the final 20 ounces of Nugget Nectar disappears along with both Greg’s and Jen’s sobriety. Greg becomes the drunk man who is assuredly drunk, and Jen begins her steady decline toward sleep. The discussion moves from home made didgeridoos and shekeres, to “The Weekly Pint,” and the fact that Jen wants a subscription to receive artisinal cheeses. Additionally, it becomes clear that Jen loves to fuck with Greg when Greg is drunk and feeling self-conscious and sensitive. It’s funny. We present to you, “The Final Ounce Down.”)

(Episode 7. With his frontal lobe incapacitated and sound decision-making no longer possible, Greg makes himself a rum high-ball. He is a hot fucking mess. Jen is losing steam quickly. Nonetheless, the Drunk Ducas discuss Jen’s middle school rapist (…wha?…), dive into literary criticism (…yikes…), and end with scabs. Scabs are bad. We present to you, “Welcome to the Shit Show, and Good Night.”)

demotivational-posters-beer

Middle School Erections

When I was 15 years old, I was obsessed with, “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye. (What do you mean, obsessed, Greg?) I had a 45 of the song and a shitty old record player, and I would spend my nights, more than half of them per week, playing that song over and over for hours. (You can’t be fucking serious, man?!) No, I’m serious. Furthermore, I lived in a “house” that was approximately the size of Charlie Bucket’s shack from, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” (Surely your parents wanted to kill you.) They did, for a variety of other reasons including my douchey demeanor, my need to constantly argue (…Who you, Greg? No! That’s unbelievable…), and my tendency to neglect showering after an eight hour shift at Wendy’s, thus making me smell like a stale, fermenting ass-warmed french fry. But also, I was turning a classic song, likely a song that meant something to them, into aural torture. (Did you also sing along?) Fuck yes I did. Loud and proud. “Beeeeeeeeeeeee-bayyy. I’m hot just like an oven. I need some lovin’.” (Did you understand the song?) The words? Sure. Structurally the thing made perfect sense. The innuendo? (Did I ever tell you the joke about the Italian suppository?) Not one word of it. As late as 8th grade, at 14 years of age, I was still constructing zip lines out of old shoe laces for G.I. Joe figurines and masturbating in a manner entirely detached from sexual thoughts. From age ten through puberty I contended with unpredictable, unseemly, and embarrassing erections, and the only way to get rid of them was to…well…play with them. I had never seen a naked tit, save the old National Geographic magazines around the house, and I was still a year or two from making the connection between my birdie (…that was the euphemism used in my home…) and the emotional centers of my brain. And one day, it occurred when I opened Santana’s “Abraxas” album (…scroll to the bottom of this post, you’ll see why…), my visual cortex connected with whatever system had caused those perpetual, inconvenient hard-ons (…Al Gore, can you hear me?…) and life was never the same.

The woman inside of that album cover made that critical connection, but there was really nothing other than two-dimensional naked tits and a bird covering up whatever in the hell it was covering up (…her birdie? How was I to know…) as far as my brain was concerned. This was 1989. There was no internet, and thus no unlimited free internet porn. There was the occasional Playboy magazine. Sometimes someone’s father had Penthouse. None of it really made any sense. (In a year or two I would come across a nameless VHS tape, tucked away behind “Top Gun” and “Eddie and the Cruisers,” that would crack open my sexuality like Humpty Dumpty falling off the Empire State Building. Feathered and bleach-blonde mullets, white men with perms and thick moustaches, unshaved parts all around, a dinner party at which the attendees shared their wildest fantasies […flashback fucking in fuzzy, sepia toned frames…] then retired to the den for cocktails and an orgy, and a soundtrack that implanted in my subconscious so indelibly that I still get a boner every time I hear Kenny G.)

But in 1989, when I listened to “Sexual Healing,” and learned and sang every last word, I had…NO IDEA…what the hell I was saying. I understood none of it. Like Dickens spent copious time, right up front in “A Christmas Carol,” explaining just how dead Jacob Marley was, none of what comes next will be as stunningly absurd or embarrassing if you do not understand that in 9th grade, I understood “Sexual Healing” as well as a 2 year old understands the consequences of pulling on an entertainment center, or touching the side of a just boiling kettle, or tugging the cat’s tail. Which is to say…not at all. (But unlike the 2 year old who NEVER touches the television, stove, or cat again, I would need another 20 years or so to learn my lessons.)

In the midst of my teenage obliviousness, I also arrived at the first true crush of my life. Let’s call her Snow White. I thought Snow was the most beautiful, best smelling, funniest and most perfect girl. Snow and I were friends, and remained friends even after the incident I’m going to relate. (Hold tight. It’s coming. I promise. And it will be worth the wait.) I maintained my crush, and Snow broke my heart each time she dated another guy who was not me. How could she string me along knowing how I felt? (Falling for friends comes up multiple times in my life, and I needed many years to learn all of the necessary lessons, starting with Snow and proceeding through my 20s and well into my 30s.) I was engaged in a classic gender struggle: “Men are from “The Wizard of Oz” before Dorothy lands on the wicked witch, in black and white and with absolutely predictable, familiar content. Women are from “The Wizard of Oz,” in dazzling Technicolor, ever surprising, and with intense emotional complexity, after the house drops.” Again, I didn’t resolve this shit until I was well into my 30s.

So…we have an obsession with “Sexual Healing” and we have an obsession with Snow White, neither of which were particularly sexual, though both required a lot of fucking healing. I’d been trying to get Snow over to my “house-partment” for weeks. To hang. Really, that’s it. Turns out the night she was able to come hang, we had a brief window in which my parents would be out and we’d be the only ones in. Cue Marvin. (“Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up.”) Perhaps you see where this is going. It ain’t good. I cringe with each additional word I type, bringing me to what is coming next.

Snow is over, and I ask her if she’d like to dance with me. (Oh no?!) Oh yes. My memory only informs me she said, “Sure,” but has erased the fact that she’d undoubtedly hesitated…perhaps hoped I’d seen the hesitation and would retract my question. Of course, I sensed nothing, only heard “Sure,” and commenced with countdown. I ran to my bedroom, which required I travel through my parent’s bedroom, and put the needle to the record. She had no idea what was coming. (“Let’s make love tonight.”) We danced like Catholic middle school zombies, stiff arms and straight backs, and talked about…absolutely nothing. (“Get up, get up, get up, get up.”) I was completely satisfied. Snow was stoic. The song ended. I ran back to the bedroom and put it on again. (“Cause you do it right.”) Truth be told, I put that record back on until I heard a car outside, and I can’t remember if it was my Parents or her Parents come to get her. In either case, that was likely the greatest relief she’d felt up to that point in her life. Who knows. Perhaps it still is.

In the upcoming months, I continued to play that song incessantly, likely until GnR’s “Sweet Child o’ Mine” or Tesla’s “Love Song” took over the top spot. Also, Snow remained friends with me all the way through high school. Looking back now, I see the weird, uncomfortable positions in which I constantly put her. I also see that she genuinely liked and trusted me. For a young boy, and likely for many a grown-ass man, life is black and white. (And the dreams that you dare to dream…actually end up sucking most of the time.) Shades of grey (…be they several or 50…) do not compute. It all starts with that inconsolable pre-pubescent boner, always on a toggle switch, either entirely off or entirely on, demanding immediate attention. I feel fortunate to have broken largely free of my genetic AND indoctrinated masculine chains and come to some semblance of nuanced and realistic sanity.

Unfortunately, Kenny G’s music still makes me horny.

And tragically, Marvin Gaye’s does not.

-G

annunciation-1961

(“Annunciation” by Mati Klarwien. 1961)

A World of Pure Inebriation – Part One

Greetings regular readers and listeners. Today and next Wednesday, we have quite a treat for you. Did you like NPR’s “Serial?” Do you enjoy conversational podcasts? Do you adore your ‘happy drunk’ friends as they travel through the evening? If you answered unequivocally “No” to even one of these, I’m not entirely sure what you’re doing here in the first place. However, if any of these questions sparked even a modicum of interest or intrigue…come with me, and you’ll see, a world of pure inebriation.

One Friday night, just several weeks back, Greg and Jen made their way through 7 alcoholic beverages and recorded mini-podcasts per drink. Today, you’ll move through the first three…and next week, the final four. (No worries, Pitt won’t be there.)

As always, we appreciate your eyes, your ears, and your willingness to comment, to share us with your friends, and to keep coming back.

So, without further ado:

(Episode 1, in which Greg is incredibly excited to have “invented” a new drink, the Belfast…only to later realize that he’d made a Rob Roy. It was smokey and delicious, and Greg stands by his minor modifications on the classic cocktail in creating a new, albeit not ultimately creative, drink. We present to you, “The Belfast.”)

(Episode 2, in which Greg unveils a Miller Lite. Why? We propose, why the hell not?! Here, Jen researches the ingredients of Miller Lite, among many other common and popular beers, and Greg is gobsmacked. We present to you, “One Miller Lite.”)

(Episode 3, in which the soon-to-be Drunk Ducas enjoy a “Burton Baton” from Dogfish Head. Oak aged, 10% alcohol by volume, imperial India Pale Ale. And holy shit what a whack in the palate after the Episode 2 debacle. We present to you, “Mr. Burton Baton.”)

Meow

(Colonel Meow is watching. And judging you. Harshly. Drink responsibly. Don’t disappoint Colonel Meow. This is Meow in a good mood!)

The Gregory Del Duca Show

I’m a pediatric speech/language pathologist by trade. A “speech terrorist” as my friend Ken often quips. Today, I had a sub-par session with a bright, strong-willed, difficult-to-understand young man (…my Pappy would’ve called him a “whipper snapper” who “don’t take shit from no one”…) who stated in completely certain terms that he didn’t want to work one-on-one. I tried to convince him, then cajole him, and eventually I begged. (I fucking begged a four year old to hang out with me.) “I just don’t want to,” he finished the interaction, clearly exasperated and uncomfortable. I ultimately shifted to more integrated work and we reconnected just fine, but my confidence was shot…and I became dull and listless. A Nerf ball could have bowled me over. Immediately, I knew that I’d be dealing with my brain the rest of the day, obsessing over the minutiae of my self-perceived ineptness.

Sitting here now, I think back to “The Chris Farley” show on SNL, and the interview with Paul McCartney in particular. (My mind often drifts to Chris Farley when I find myself in the dark caverns of my perception.) An initially confident and ecstatic Farley is rendered bumbling and ineffective in the face of the legendary Beatle and he ends up revealing something that is simultaneously hilarious and heart-wrenching. Here’s a bit of that transcript:

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Chris Farley: Um, Hi. Welcome to The Chris Farley Show. I’m…Chris Farley…and, my guest tonight is…one of the…greatest musicians…uh, rock musicians…I guess, songwriter, ever. [Smacks himself. Speaks to himself, but out loud.] God! That sounds stupid! God, I’m an idiot! I never know how to start these things!

Paul McCartney: You’re doing great, Chris.

Chris Farley: [Hopeful] Really? No, I’m not. [Hyperventilating] Anyway…I guess…I didn’t have, have to say, who you were, because…man, I mean…everyone knows who you are. Mmm…you’re Paul McCartney.

Paul McCartney: Well, it’s great to be here.

Chris Farley: [Utterly uncomfortable] You…you…you remember when you were with The Beatles?

Paul McCartney: Yeah, sure.

Chris Farley: That was awesome!

Paul McCartney: Yeah, it was.

Chris Farley: [Now feeling confident with Paul’s seeming acceptance] Okay. Oh! You…you remember when you went to Japan…and, uh, and at the airport they arrested you ’cause you had some pot, and…it made all the papers, and everything?

Paul McCartney: Well, to be honest, Chris, I’d kind of like to forget all of that.

Chris Farley: [Smacks himself harder] IDIOT!! That’s so stupid! What a dumb question!!

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Such comedy and tragedy rolled into one. Unfortunately, when one actually approaches oneself and the world this way, there is no comedy. It’s all tragedy. I held it together through the rest of the morning and two additional sessions, dreading the moment my feet hit the cold pavement, thus initiating my walk of shame to the car. In the car with only my emotional dysfunction to keep me company, I cast my memory back there…entirely overwhelmed thinking about it. Instead of processing that morning interaction through a realistic lens, I conceived my entire life through the prism of what my brain proclaimed was an utter failure. And let me tell you, when I look through the goggles of my narrowly focused emotional loathing, I see a landscape…a lifescape…of foundational, pervasive, to-the-core failure.

In moments like that, and even now sitting at a computer, hours later, with a clearer consciousness, I find solace thinking about Chris Farley…because it’s painfully clear that he meant it all. He put on tight pants, torso sweaty and abundant, and donned a bow tie as he danced alongside a svelte, muscular Patrick Swayze. He portrayed Matt Foley as a complete buffoon and abject failure. He did stupid, self-depreciative, and ultimately brilliant shit. Why? Because he knew it would be hilarious? Partly. Because he knew he was agile, both mentally and physically, for a funny fat man? Sure. But really, I believe it was because he deeply doubted, likely loathed himself and if he could at least make people laugh with this reality…well, it would prolong him needing to take a really long look in the mirror and contend with the deeper demons. Look…what the fuck do I know?! Perhaps I’m just projecting my own shit. (Obviously I am.) However, Farley’s ultimate demise and the comments of his closest colleagues and allies proved the point.

I Google searched a variety of terms: Self-Loathing, Self-Hatred, Self-Doubt, Fear of Failure…and ultimately I found a bunch of definitions (not helpful) and people who’d figured it all out and had the solution in several “simple steps.” These simple steps are almost always founded on some psycho-spiritual jargony bullshit suggestion to, “Just let it go.” When I’m calm and relaxed, these posts cause me to nod in agreement. (“Yeah, brother. I dig. Cool, sister. I’m with you.”) However, when my anxiety is high and my self esteem is low, I can only think, “Oh, fuck you. Take your loads of money, ample free time, California sunshine, healthy outlook, self-control, prayer gong and vegan smoothie…make a nice enema sack and shove it all up your ass.”

Freud would have assumed the self-hatred was the tip of an iceberg…and that I need to explore underwater extensively. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) would have me perhaps purposefully sit with these thoughts, even “fail” on purpose…and ultimately realize, nay, deeply understand, that these thoughts are ultimately harmful and indicative of nothing deep, nothing that is the core “me.” Then there’s the third wave of psychology, the mindfulness camp. It’s really just a classic Buddhist method of meditation, of allowing thoughts and feelings to float by like clouds. We don’t need to explore them (Freud), we don’t need to battle them or counter them or even change them (CBT), we need only acknowledge them then let them pass. Here self-hatred comes. “Oh, hi there.” There self-hatred goes. “Okay, bye. See you soon.”

I’ve done these all. Several times each. And all of the experience and practice means not a damn thing after a four year old rejects me. The depth and strength of the emotional plummet is almost indescribable, except to perhaps compare it to actual plummeting. When you’re falling, you can’t stop yourself. Gravity gives zero shits about your ability to explore, expunge, or dismiss. As does the cold, hard ground waiting for you at the bottom. Zero. Shits. That’s what it feels like. Like Goose, in Top Gun, when he simply can’t pull-out of the flat spin and needs to eject.

The fortunate piece, I suppose, is that I am better able to eject today than I was just several years ago. I spend a bit of time wallowing, but I rebound…after a run, an hour at the gym, an hour at the keyboard (…thank you very much for reading, responding, sharing…), just a minute with my wife and step-daughter. Hell, even a positive interaction with a barista can pull me back out. I *can* find perspective…and let go of the failure from earlier this morning. It baffles me, however, that such a small thing can still push me straight off the cliff and into an emotional freefall. (Christ, are you also sick of my fucking falling analogy?! I’ll stop, I promise.) Perhaps this is where the lesson lies. It’s not that I find myself again in a position of self-loathing and depression, but rather that I find myself again in a position of regained self-confidence and optimism. I’m better today than I was yesterday, was better yesterday than I was the day before yesterday, and if I keep working (…writing, running, meditating, exploring, living, loving…), I’ll be better tomorrow than I am right now.

Remember that time you were happy?

Yeah, that was awesome.

-G

Grasshopper-in-hand

(Grasshopper-In-Hand)

On the Road Again

On today’s episode of the D2D podcast (#12, for those keeping track) Jen and Greg travel on 79 South toward Pittsburgh after a wonderful day and evening in Erie. They discuss how to make shitty, burned, convenience store coffee (kind-of, sort-of, maybe, not really…) palatable, and also how to make delicious coffee in a style that has come to be known as “bulletproof.” (For Greg’s recipe, 10-12 ounces of delicious coffee, likely from Commonplace Coffee, made on a pour-over bar. 1 tablespoon of grass fed, unsalted butter. 1 tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil. Organic ginger and cinnamon. A few dashes of organic Stevia. Craft bitters can be quite fun here too! All go into a blender and are spun on high for 10 seconds or so. When the blender is shut down, the new concoction forms a wonderful, frothy head. PLEASE NOTE: For those of you who drink tea, this absolutely can be done with your beverage as well. I suggest using black tea, steeped for at least 5 minutes but perhaps even 6, then do everything else as described above. PLEASE ALSO NOTE: frothy heads on animals are to be avoided.)

D2D also exalts the folks at Lavery Brewing, who have created a warm, welcoming, non-television-having environment with consistently stellar craft beers. Even my Mother-in-Law fell in love…with a breakfast stout! Ulster Breakfast Stout, to be specific. (This breakfast stout was amazing. None of the tangy, metallic, bitterness that can often be found from either poorly managed coffee and/or poorly managed barley and hops. It was smooth and thick and creamy.)

Speaking of “creamy,” Greg describes a “creamy mouth feel” one too many times and causes Jen to beg cessation. (Unlike many, Greg quite enjoys the word “creamy.” And “moist” for that matter. In the world of food and libation, these things matter!)

Discussion then turns to Colao’s Ristorante and the amazing food, drinks, and desert therein. Greg’s pappardelle (…thick, hand made, linguini-like noodles…) all’Arrabbiata (…which means “angry” in Italian…) with Pancetta (…I like saying, “Pahn-CHET-ahhhh”…) was exceptional, as was the White Chocolate Bread Pudding. All participants in this gluttonous extravaganza then waddled out onto the icy streets of Erie, more ready for an immediate nap than the Olympic pairs skating routines required to get to the car.

Have fun with this one, we sure did!

LaveryBeerFoodTicTacToe

(Lavery Brewery. Charcuterie board, beer sampler and menu with descriptions, 3-D tic tac toe game)