*

It’s that time again. Southnarc’s Extreme Close Quarters Combat class. Three glorious days in LA, getting the fuck beat out of myself and rolling around on the ground with a bunch of violence-fueled apes.

What could be better?

Last year I went with my work partner. He claims I broke one of his ribs, but I doubt I did more than pop it out of joint or something. This year I’m going with my brother, the world’s most dangerous man.

I may not survive.

*

I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with me. Last week at dinner with my mom she told me how when I was a little baby I was scared of absolutely everything. Not like my little brother, who took it all in stride. Anything that moved, I jumped. Anything new, I shied from like a nervous colt. I cried a lot.

She had to make sure to introduce things to me real slow so I wouldn’t bust into tears.

*

I’m not much changed.

I put a brave face on, but there’s still a nervous little poodle working the controls.

*

I don’t know how to resolve the contradiction, and I don’t guess I ever will. I fucking love to shoot and bang and fight, to kick doors in the pre-dawn dark, to hang it out over the line. There’s nothing that makes you feel more alive than the surge of main-line adrenaline when your brain has turned the tap wide open.

And yet I’m afraid all the time of the simplest things. Anxious and sleepless over money or work or relationship matters. Forget about Sundays, man, the thought of going to work on Monday ruins the whole day.

A fucked up tangle of tough and lazy, clever and stupid, fearless and trembling. Like Private Joker said about Paris Island, the home of the fake tough and the crazy brave.

And at forty-seven, I should perhaps have these issues better resolved than I do.

*

At any rate, that’s where I’ll be for the next few days.

I don’t know how that woman of mine puts up with me, but she seems decided in my favor. It takes all kinds, I guess.

I am damn lucky for it.

*

Namaste.

***

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