I've gone thirty rounds with March; I have one more to go. One more final bell. One more chance to throw that knock-out punch.  That's the only way I'll get the decision, that check mark in the Win column.  Because otherwise, it's going to The Judges- and who the fuck knows how they'll score it.

I mean, I got my shots in.  Heavy body blows and crisp hooks that snap the head back.  Those middle rounds...I really thought I had It on the ropes.  I got to meet quite a few really great people this month, people that crossed over A-Ha-style from the ether into the physical, fantastic people that I'm...I'm really stoked to get to know. And I worked my ass off.  And I partied my ass off.  I was riding that rhythm, that cadence that lets you anticipate the next move, the road up ahead, the next dance step.  It's a heady place to be, when you can feel what's coming.

But March got its shots in too, lulling me into the Rope-a-Dope.  Sensing the contrails of burnt dopamine and serotonin pouring from me, It left a knuckle imprint on my heart. It hit me hard and dirty.  It hit me with low blows that cost It more than just a point on the score cards.  It's turned me around and into the ropes the past few days, furiously working against the ticking of the clock, wasting little time to decimate what stamina and confidence I had amassed over time.

And now, even by my own corners' estimate, It's winning. So I've got one more shot. A Last Dance. A Ninth Inning, Two-Minute Warning, Golden Goal chance at coming away beaten and victorious.  Or I end up beaten and defeated.

And how do I see it winding up?

I'm broken. I'm...I'm just really pretty much broken. I'm just trying to make it out alive, just to see the next fight. I've been beaten about the head and neck with a giant club of self doubt and I just wanna be done. I'm...yeah. Earlier this week, somebody I had just met coined the phrase Nightmares & Promises... and I don't think he had any idea how closely he had just described my March. (ed note- If I ever run for office, Nightmares & Promises is totally going to be my Platform.)

This isn't my first loss, or even my worst.  I don't have the record of a Champion or a Contender, someone looking to make a name for themselves, looking to etch their name into a book.  I'm a journeyman, a AAAA ballplayer-D League, practice squad fodder, just trying to preserve my own memory of what the Majors are all about.  I know my lot.  I'm just a stepping stone for Bigger Things, maybe a footnote, a sparring partner.

So I'll pick my carcass up off the canvas.  Because that's what I do.  That's...that's how I live.  Friday is a new month, a new fight. And a tomato can like me has to keep fighting.

Oh, Part Two? Part Two is a non-story. A false alarm. Crying Wolf. Part Two is a small glimpse into what happens when an anxious mind gets a foothold, a place to lace its fingers into and choke the rational thought into submission.

So here's the back story to the non-story: I haven't had a significantly informative doctor's visit since the years started with a 19. My most relevant medical experience in the past decade has been sticking my arm in an automated kiosk at Walgreen's/Target/CVS to get an estimate for a blood pressure reading. Which, coencedentaly was a high reading (okay, readings.). And that was enough to plant a seed in my head. A a fertilized plot to grow anxiety. But that was years ago. Since then I've made lifestyle changes to address the issue (although if you try and take anymore booze away from me, you will end up with a pen lodged sideways in your throat.). And much like any super villain, I turned my attentions back to trying to take over the world and assumed that everything went to plan.


Besides putting my liver and social life through the equivalent of Spetznaz training, I've actually been prepping myself to participate in the Cleveland Half Marathon in May. As such, I figured it might not be a bad idea to see how those Plans turned out and get a baseline idea as to what some basal life metrics might currently be sitting at. So I shuffled myself off to a free health screening at a Clinic hospital to get an idea as to where I stood.

Cholesterol? Rock. Solid. Glucose levels? Rock. Solid. Resting heart rate? Rock. Solid. Blood pressure? Well...I wouldn't say it was reading through the roof, but that's only if we're talking about the roof on the Terminal Tower- My BP would be looking out from the Observation Deck.

And that was all it took to loosen the shackles on my Monsters, the insecurities that can wreak havoc on my normal, mundane activities. I immediately lifted the embargo on seeing a medical professional, even though I sure I was inviting certain uninsured financial doom upon myself. Work outs because an exercise in diminshing returns. I could almost start to feel the anxiety squeezing the sweat out of me. Every little blip. Every little twinge. All seen through the microscope strapped to my perception. By Thursday I had to cut my run in half; having a small panic attack on a treadmill 30 minutes in is not what I'd call A Good Time. On Friday I cut my work-out short because I could have sworn that I was going to pop, right then and there, Scanners-style.

And then I went to the doctor. He was a fine gentleman; someone that I had never met before. We talked for a while, he did a few basic tests, then noted some observations. And not once did my blood pressure read above 136/80. Elevated, yes. But almost 40 points lower than what I was reading earlier in the week. And you know what? That's what I'm going on now. Professional v. Volunteer. Human v. Machine. Right v. Wrong. That's what I'm using to wedge apart the those nervous fingers gripping the Oh Shit handles in my brain. That's...Sometimes, when sailors are sailing, they think twice, about where they're anchoring. And I think... I could make better use of my time on land. I'll drink less, 'cause lord knows I could use a warm kiss instead of a cold goodbye; I'm writing the folks back home to tell them  Hey I'm doing alright!

(Ed note- Instant spoiler: this is a two-parter. Because I have too much to say and you probably would get bored and not read it all...)

That post about Huey Lewis, the one currently lingering in Blogger purgatory, is pretty much rubbish. There's...there's some decent pieces, some scrap with value. Leftovers sitting in a digital Pull-A-Part salvage yard. But for the most part it's little more than the rusty pieces of incomplete thoughts and bad grammar. Shit that even the Homeless doesn't want.

The short story is that I fucked myself up watching Do You Believe In Love on the Youtube, over and over and over and over. And over. My mind short-circuited by an Eighty's spiritual precursor to Grum's Through the Night, I spent most of Friday giggling, hungover, and at work. Then I ate Thai food and destroyed myself under the mantra of Good Fun at Johnny's Little Bar.

See, last week was supposed to be my Down Time, quiet time to ease my way into the anal rapage that is to be the month of May (and April. And May.) Except I wasn't paying attention in third grade (or any of the other 24 subsequent years) and I still have no idea how to read a calendar, which is why I spent most of my Quiet Little Week smoking my tires, the RPMs bouncing off the rev limiter, hair metal blasting from the tape deck.

Quick Plug: Go eat at Banana Blossom (er, Hammock?) in Ohio City. It's the newest endeavor to open up in the terrible location that has seen Halite, Budapest Blue, and Jazz 28 come and go in the past few years. Dinner on Friday was stellar; I'd love to see a good place like it make a decent go at It in that spot. So do your part (you know, if you like Thai food...)

Which brings me to Now. Now I have to take a federally-mandated furlough. Now I have to throttle it back. It's like playing a game of Red Rover, Red Rover with Life. Sooner or later they're going to break through; try to keep your best player from watching from the sidelines.

And with Down Time comes the Down Swing. My mind works better at a sprint; my body is sucking wind way too early anymore. So between reestablishing Dominance over Little Bar to whiskey flights at Sullivan's (which was super fun with Bridget!) this past weekend, my body was like John Candy trying to run the hundred meter dash. Which is not a the kind of conditioning you want to see headed into the Spring Games. I've already committed to the St. Patrick's Day Triathlon, the Opening Day 4x100 Relay, and the WhiskeyFest Death March.

But I'm not one to let up on the gas. The best place for the accelerator is resting firmly against the floorboards, leaving little more than a pile rubber and burnt clutch material on the ground, the smell of race fuel hanging heavy in the air. But some times...some times... you have to because...