Comedy, Mostly?

Tom CashBlog Posts, Fitness, Forgiveness, Healthy Eating, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal, Self-ImprovementLeave a Comment

The last comedy article posted here is around six months old, and it feels a bit phoned in (by the time you read this, it will probably have been deleted). In all honesty, I feel like most of the content on this page is phoned in. It was rushed, never went through any revisions, never crossed paths with an editor. I was impatient to get content up, because I was of the opinion that regular content was better than quality content posted sparingly. Keep people interested by providing consistent content.

In reality, the only articles that I really like on this site – with a few exceptions – are the ones I wrote as Bob Kowchanski. Bob is fun to write, because of his skewed understanding of reality and his bizarre turns of phrase. He is a lovable idiot, a sort of burned out, perpetually stoned poor man’s Karl Pilkington.

I don’t do any creative project I’ve ever been involved in for any reason others than because it’s fun, and because it amuses me and my friends. If others like it, well, cool, and if I ever push for more people to see it, it’s because I like what I made, and I want others to have a chance to see it, too. I want them to have as much fun looking at it or reading as I did creating it.

And therein lies the problem. Regardless of what my friends thought, writing for this site became dull, a chore. My best work has always been character work, and I just didn’t have the time or the motivation to come up with good stuff. The majority of my content has been “Filler Content Friday” level nonsense. Zero effort.

So I stopped, and started putting my attention toward comedy videos, most recently in the form of Let’s Play videos. I re-discovered how much I enjoy video editing. It’s fun to sit down with Mike and make stupid comments about games. It’s fun to edit the footage, to throw in all sorts of in-jokes, sight gags, memes, etc. to punctuate the commentary.

And if it ever stops being fun, I’ll quit.

But that’s not what this article is really about. All of the above has really been a preamble to what I really want to talk about: personal growth.

Get Busy Living, or Get Busy Dying

There is a story that I am particularly fond of, taken from Bruce Lee: The Art of Expressing the Human Body, which was compiled and edited by John Little. I will relate it here:

“Bruce had me up to three miles a day, really at a good pace. We’d run the three miles in twenty-one or twenty-two minutes. Just under eight minutes a mile [Note: when running on his own in 1968, Lee would get his time down to six-and-a half minutes per mile]. So this morning he said to me “We’re going to go five.” I said, “Bruce, I can’t go five. I’m a helluva lot older than you are, and I can’t do five.” He said, “When we get to three, we’ll shift gears and it’s only two more and you’ll do it.” I said “Okay, hell, I’ll go for it.” So we get to three, we go into the fourth mile and I’m okay for three or four minutes, and then I really begin to give out. I’m tired, my heart’s pounding, I can’t go any more and so I say to him, “Bruce if I run any more,” –and we’re still running-”if I run any more I’m liable to have a heart attack and die.” He said, “Then die.” It made me so mad that I went the full five miles. Afterward I went to the shower and then I wanted to talk to him about it. I said, you know, “Why did you say that?” He said, “Because you might as well be dead. Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”

Just beneath the icy cold surface of the statement, “then die,” there is a wealth of wisdom and compassion, and it’s something that I have made one of my core values in life in the last six months: never stop pushing yourself; always strive to be outside of your comfort zone. Whether it’s about fitness, work, relationships, giving to others, or any other meaningful pursuit, complacency is death.

If I am in the gym, and I am not ready to throw up at the end of a HIIT workout, I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough. If I’m not experiencing total muscle failure on the last reps of my last set, that means I need to add more plates to the rack and do another set. I measure my workouts by the aftermath; if that muscle group isn’t sore for two days afterward, I wasted my time. I might as well have not gone at all. Admittedly, I have become a gym rat fitness junkie. Hey, if you’ve got an addictive personality, you might as well put it to good use?

Same with food. It is so easy to cave in and buy pizza or a burger for lunch. It’s so easy to eat a candy bar as a snack because it’s 3 PM, you know you won’t have dinner until 7 PM, and you’re famished. It takes real discipline, a force of will, to break away from a lifetime of poor habits, to rid your diet of sugar, to denounce refined carbs and processed food. It’s expensive to buy grass fed beef and free range chicken and locally grown produce. It’s a pain in the ass to cook every night instead of eating junk you bought on the way home. It seems unfair that I need to set aside an hour or so of my weekend to plan, prep, and pre-pack my breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for the entire week, and stick to them.

But it’s worth it. It’s worth my enormous improvement in sleep, in energy, in happiness, in strength, in body composition. Losing 25 pounds in 8 weeks (let’s subtract 10 pounds of water weight and assume a healthy loss of just under 2 pounds per week), and reduction of 4.5 inches on my waist and 3 inches on my hips has improved my life and my health in ways I can scarcely believe. I have a long way to go, but I’m not worried. I’ll never turn back. There’s too much on the line. Turning 40 woke me the hell up.

But I can’t take all the credit. I can’t even assign all the credit to those that motivate me. No, I must ultimately give a nod of thanks to those that have hated me, that have abused me. They have taught me so, so much. And it makes sense, doesn’t it? Growth is catalyzed by pressure: pain, fear, trauma. These things act in such a way as to galvanize one’s efforts, by forcing them observe themselves closely, to understand themselves better, to question why those people that belittled them really got to them. Because you can bank on the fact that those people are self-loathers that are projecting their own fears and perceived inadequacies onto you and others. You remind them too much of themselves, and seeing yourself in such a light is painful. I know this all too well from personal experience. But to quote Bruce Lee once more, “Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”

If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Thank Him

With that in mind I would like to make mention of all the people that I would count as enemies. In some ways, they’ve given me a great gift of love than my friends and family ever could. It’s as if they came into my life as manifestations of the Buddha, unintentional Bodhisattva warriors that have taken a karmic hit for my benefit. Thank you all for that. I may not like you, but I love you nevertheless.

Without further ado:

  • S. K. taught me how to let go of someone that is holding me back developmentally, and has helped me to recognize when I am doing so to others. The fundamental flaw in existing in an echo chamber is that it breeds apathy and stunts personal growth. One needs to be challenged at all times, or else they become stagnant, which is nearly as bad as death.
  • R.C. taught me that not everyone deserves a second chance, and that very few ever deserve a third one. When somebody continually reverts to old, toxic ways, and lashes out at others frequently to combat their own shortcomings, they are not worth knowing.
  • M.L. taught me to never again allow my need to avoid hurting others’ feelings get in the way of my own peace of mind and emotional health. Some people’s feelings needn’t be spared, especially when they fail to live up to the promises they make and the strengths they claim to possess.
  • J.A. taught me that few people ever change, and those that do rarely change much; petty at the age of eleven means petty at the age of forty. He also taught me that when it is necessary to tiptoe through a minefield in order to keep from setting off somebody whose entire worldview is essentially a house of cards, it’s a waste of time and energy. Friends should be able to be completely honest and say what they will to one another. Friend should be able to disagree.
  • L.Y. taught me to recognize a lost cause when I see it, and to avoid getting entangled in their pathetic web of self-fulfilling prophecy and predestined failure. When someone asks for advice, and then refuses to take it or gets offended by it, then they really do not want help, they want validation. Validation must be earned.
  • C.M. taught me that it’s not always necessary to be nice or even respectful to someone. Respect is a mutual thing, and when the other party is unwilling or unable to take the hint that you wish to be left alone, they are no longer worthy of your respect, and should be treated tersely and frigidly. This is because there is absolutely no other way to get your message across; a polite request has failed to do the trick.
  • S.O. taught me to never again give a tyrant authority over me, and to thoroughly vet those to whom you would surrender power.

A Mission Statement of Sorts

All of this leads me to a newfound purpose for this site. I’ll occasionally post comedy, as the whim strikes me; when that happens, my focus will be positivity, not insults. But I am going to be reviewing the content that I feel is below my personal standards, and removing it from the site. Furthermore, I am going to be using this site as a personal blog, focusing of self-improvement of all kinds. I feel that making myself publicly accountable will only further cement my dedication to achieving my goals, and never settling for less than a lifelong pursuit of self-improvement.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. I cannot promise regular content, but I can promise that what I do share will be in the best interests of myself and others.

About the Author

Tom Cash

Hi! I’m Tom. I am on a journey of constant self-improvement, and I’m thankful that you’ve chosen to join me. I’d love to hear from you.