Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why me?

These last two months have been depressing for the competitor in me. After experiencing cross last year for the first time, I was eager to ring in this season with a new bike, new found fitness, and new excitement for racing. I was going to see Gloucester for the first time, with my pals Moveitfred and Meg racing next to me. Like always, things just don’t work out as Heywood the Great planned.

The bike was to be a Cannondale Cyclocross 2. SRAM Force and all. This is one of the brands that Auburn Bike Works carries and the only place I will buy a bike (I work there part time). Yeah. Cannondale missed the boat and did not produce enough bikes to fill the orders. But they will have some ready for purchase mid December. Nice timing!

Ok, the other brand Auburn Bike Works carries, Giant. I can ride a Giant. It is still a CX bike and I need one badly. Oh, they also missed the boat this year. According to Giant, they sold the same number of CX bikes in ALL of last year in only two weeks this year. So, here they are loosing out to there competitors and fucking the little guy like me. How am I supposed to get my ass dragged around the course if I don’t have a bike to ride? What the hell is up with these two companies?

I been forced to watch and cheer at races this year with a tear falling down the cheek. Reading about the races on VeloNews is not helping either. There is always next year, right?

Maybe I should reconstruct the white trash ghetto cross bike of last year?


Lars said...

Dude: Hang tough on the out. Watch your back and best of luck. The boys in block D miss you (Knuckles told me to say, "hi, Princess.") Don't forget the brothers and fuck Familia Nuestra.

moveitfred said...


Moveitfred feels for you. By the way, who's Lars? Seems you two were tight, so to speak.

Moveitfred hopes that things work out for you in the near future. You deserve better. Man, what a mucking flustercluck.

Moveitfred would like to leave you with something--a parable of sorts--and the parting thought that at least you don't live in Canada where people get humped repeatedly by bulldogs.


When Bad Things Happen To Good People!

I have a great friend who I have known for nearly twenty five years now. During our university summers he was the straw who stirred our social drink. Saturday afternoons and evenings were spent at his folks' place before we went out. All day people would come and go as we ate and drank in the sun. A ballgame would be on the TV in the house, music would be playing and good natured insults would fly through the air. Anyone was fair game and any misstep was remembered and recounted endlessly. One of the girls who had too much to drink one time became known as Carrots after she tossed in the driveway before we hit the road.

Saved by youth's ridiculous capacity for alcohol and the ability to quickly recover from nights of abusing our bodies, Saturday and Sunday mornings would invariably begin with a phone call from Frank with a plan for the day. Throw down some coffee and a bacon and egg sandwich and out into the sunshine to go fishing, to play a pickup game of soccer or ball hockey or baseball, to make a ridiculous video, play some golf or go harass some of our poor buddies who happened to be working. Or take a daytrip or an overnighter to a camp. And then we'd start at it again.

And once or twice a summer we would roadtrip. One of these was to Penetang, Canada. Frank's girlfriend at the time was from there and one weekend she had a wedding to stand in. Two of her friends who were also in the wedding party weren't seeing any of the local yokels so Julie and Frank convinced them to import two yokels, myself and Carlo. Two first round draft picks from the big city.

The highlight of the weekend was the Saturday afternoon. While the girls were at the wedding we sat on Julie's sister's boyfriend's deck overlooking Georgian Bay and drank beer. His name was Bob and he was a typical smalltown Canadian guy (read: terrific). A good old boy who was a contractor. Business was good. I think being a contractor is brilliant myself. When times are good people spend money on their homes. When times are bad rather then buy a home they upgrade their existing ones. Anyway business was good for Bob. He had the big sprawling house with a beautiful wraparound deck. He had the big truck, the big boat and all of the toys. And he had a beautiful bulldog named Gus.

By the time it came to go to the reception we were a pretty big mess. A solid day of drinking will do that to you or so I've heard. We arrived at the reception late and in fine fettle we were. Our dates were not impressed and Carlo and I got the cold shoulder early and hard. Our nights decided for us we amused ourselves by making sure we were around the videographer the entire night. Right now somehere in central Ontario a couple who have been married nearly twenty years are watching their wedding video and wondering who those two guys are who are in nearly every shot at the reception. And how come two such handsome guys aren't beating off the ladies?

We returned to Bob's place to sleep and by this time we could barely walk or talk. Slow into our room and I ended up on the floor on a foam pad as Frank and Carlo grabbed the couches. Wrapped in a sleeping bag and dozing off when I heard a snorting and a snuffling. Around the corner Gus shuffled.

Dogs love me but never like this. He came across the room at that slow pace that bulldogs have and then he mounted me. I was laughing so hard and so helpless from the drink that I could do nothing but submit to his frenzied yet deliberate thrusting. Suddenly a gasp and he rolled off of me and disappeared into the darkness.

We were killing ourselves at this point when all of a sudden from around the corner, another snort. Not yet satisfied, someone was coming back for more. And so it went. Again. And again. And again. My pleas for help were met with laughter and flashes going off as the moment was recorded for posterity.

Gus is long gone now but he lives on in our memories. He was a good boy, even though he violated me multiple times.

Dan-Yell said...

Wood: It's a hard time. The actualization process is grueling but worth it. Stay strong. And remember, re-assignment isn't an overnight process and can't be undone. Not only is the surgical end of it difficult, but let's not forget the months of hormone therapy that follow. And I've said nothing of the psychological scars we caryy. But enough. Be strong broth--er, sister. Here are some thoughts for you:

Compassion is everywhere. Compassion is the world's richest energy source. Now that the world is a global village we need compassion more than ever -- not for altruism's sake, nor for philosophy's sake or theology's sake, but for survival's sake.

And yet, in human history of late, compassion remains an energy source that goes largely unexplored, untapped, and unwanted. Compassion appears very far away and almost in exile. Whatever propensities the human cave dweller once had for violence instead of compassion seem to have increased geometrically with the onslaught of industrial society. The exile of compassion is evident everywhere -- the oil globules piling up in our oceans and on the fish who inhabit the oceans, the teeming masses of persons pouring into already congested cities, the twenty-six million persons who live poor in the midst of affluent America, the 40% of the human race who go to bed hungry each night, the maldistribution of food and of research for energy, the mechanization of medicine that has reduced the art of healing to the engineering of elitist technologies, unemployment, overemployment, violent employment, the trivialization of economics and the proliferation of superfluous luxuries instead of basic needs for the needy, the deadening bureaucratization of our work, play, and educational lives. The list goes on and on.

Rev. Sterling Cary, former president of the National Council of Churches, assesses the moral conscience of humanity in our time in this way: "We are losing our capacity to be human. Violence and oppression are becoming so commonplace that the modem victims of injustice are reduced to mere statistics."1 And Robert Coles, commenting on the state of humanity in present-day Harlem, asks the question: "Does our country, by virtue of what it permits, still, in such places as Harlem, have a morally impoverished culture?"2 What makes injustices so unacceptable in our time is the fact that we now possess the know-how to feed the world and provide basics for all its citizens. What is lacking is the will and the way. What is lacking is compassion.
Compassion in Exile

In acquiescing in compassion's exile, we are surrendering the fullness of nature and of human nature, for we, like all creatures in the cosmos, are compassionate creatures. All persons are compassionate at least potentially. What we all share today is that we are victims of compassion's exile. The difference between persons and groups of persons is not that some are victims and some are not: we are all victims and all dying from lack of compassion; we are all surrendering our humanity together. The difference is in how persons react to this fact of compassion's exile and our victimization.

Some persons react by joining the forces that continue the exile of compassion and joining them with a single mindedness and tenacity that guarantees still more violence, still more of compassion's exile; others react by despair and cynicism -- drink, eat, and be happy for tomorrow we exterminate ourselves; still others react with what Ned O'Gorman calls the "abstract calm" of intellectuals and other too-busy people who want it both ways and advocate political change while living high on the hog. Others are reacting by fleeing to fundamentalist religions and spiritualisms. Spiritualist and fundamentalist spiritualities that forsake the tradition of imago dei and humanity's deification in favor of the preaching of sin and redemption will have virtually nothing to say about compassion, for compassion is a divine attribute and a creative energy force and will not be learned by a cheap religious masochism.

As the world becomes more of a global village and world religions become better known in localities far from their origins, the question arises as to what, if anything, these religions do for the globe. It is more and more certain to me that religion's purpose is to preach a way of life or spirituality called compassion and to preach it in season and out of season. This is surely the case with Judaism and with Jesus Christ. It also appears to be the case with Buddha, Muhammad, Lao Tzu, Confucius, and Hinduism. People can indeed learn compassion from religious traditions, provided those traditions are in touch with their truest roots and have not themselves fallen victim to ignorance regarding their origins. Compassion will also be learned from nature and the universe itself. Yet these two sources of wisdom, faith, and nature, are intimately related, for the God of one is the God of the other. As Simone Weil has put it, "How can Christianity call itself catholic if the universe itself is left out?"3

Much healing is accomplished by removing pressures and obstacles and letting nature itself do the healing. Our ancestors called this kind of cause and effect removens prohibens -- removing the obstacles. Getting out of the way so that nature and the Creator of nature might act.

I sense a growing awareness among numerous alive and awake persons today that something is wrong with the dualistic mystical traditions that Christianity has so often endorsed in our past. This tradition simply blocks out too much -- it blocks out body, the body politic, the ecstasies of nature and work and laughter and celebration, the love of neighbor and the relieving of the suffering of others, the wrestling with political and economic evil spirits. In this tradition, compassion is effectively exiled for the sake of contemplation. And yet, strange to tell, Jesus never said to his followers: "Be contemplative as your Father in heaven is contemplative." He did say, however, "Be compassionate as your Father in heaven is compassionate." In doing so he was reiterating what Rabbi Dressner calls the "cornerstone" of the way of life or spirituality of Israel. For in Biblical spirituality (as distinct from Neoplatonic spirituality) believers are taught "that the holy and awesome name of the Lord, YHWH, which remains secret and unpronounced, signifies compassion."4 The Bible, unlike Neoplatonic spirituality, suggests it is in compassion and not contemplation that the fullest spiritual existence is to be lived, enjoyed and passed on. What is at stake in recovering compassion as the center of our spiritual existence is the remolding of contemplation after compassion's image.
Major Developments

In my opinion there are three major developments in spirituality today that are urging us all to deep changes of heart, symbols, and structures. These are:

1) the recovery of the Biblical, Jewish categories and therefore our practice of detaching ourselves from hellenistic ones.

2) The feminist consciousness and movement among women and men alike and its discovery of new images and symbols for our shared, deep, common experience. A feminist consciousness requires our detaching ourselves from more one-sided and patriarchal symbols, images, and structures.

3) The emergence of critical, global thinking urged upon us all by the brevity of time that our planet has remaining if it is to survive beyond the twentieth century.

There are some today who say that it is in fact already too late, that industrial society's greed and violence have already polluted the global village beyond repair. Others are not quite so pessimistic. What I am sure of is this: that if it is not too late already, the only energy and direction that we can take in the brief time left is the way of life called compassion. Compassion alone can save us and our planet. Provided it is not too late. Compassion is our last great hope. If compassion cannot be retrieved from its exile, there will be no more books, no more smiles, no more babies, and no more dances, at least of the human variety. In my opinion, this might be a great loss to the universe. And to its admittedly foolish Maker.