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The Arm Wrestle

Updated on July 18, 2015

Surprise Challenge

I was loafing in the vecinity of Macy's to buy a pair of loafers, when I was accosted by a 70-year-old who suddenly leapt out of his car. I don't remember whether he left the driver's side door open. "Put your arm on the hood!" he demanded. "We are going to wrestle."

We were on the verge of man-handling each other in front of all the folks flocking into Macy’s and departing either with their goodies or unmet aspirations. It must have been curious for them to spy two grown men leveraging their grips while sprawling out on an illegally parked Jaguar with the streetside door possibly open.

The 70-year-old had a little pot belly, a crew cut, and sparse muscles. But he had the shrewdness of a former, junior tennis champion and a Harvard MBA graduate, and he knew how to favorably shape the odds.

“Angling it!,”-- he positioned his wrist in a particular manner. He strangely admonished me not immediately pummel him onto the hood-- a seemingly innocuous, albeit somewhat desperate appeal, now that I think about it. At his unquestionable discretion, there had to be a slower than usual, gradual initiation of non-strength before immersion into the contest of wit and braun.

His wrist was cocked at such an improbable slant that all I could muster was a stale mate. I eventually was trying my hardest, yet he hadn’t even begun his war effort and was merely holding steady until my vigor departed from over-exertion. After two minutes of torture, that other, self-assured arm wrestler quickly sent my 205 pounds of solid muscle packing (both left handed and right handed), and seeking somebody else’s Jaguar to casually lounge upon (with classy overtones of the V8’s formality withstanding, perhaps even enhanced by my slumping upon it!).

Even though the 70-year-old’s pulling up and proposition were surprises, he was not a stranger. He happened to be my friend’s Dad. My friend is not surprisingly studying hypnotherapy. Like his Dad, my friend knows how to tweak unseemly illusions and pre-dispositions towards a more favorable reality. Isn’t the whole point of life to fool oneself into remaining optimistic amidst plenty of reasons that justifiably bog one down with pessimism? Should we not also manipulate stacked odds against us like a plate of replenishable flapjacks?

The 70-year-old defies his age by youthfully calculating with his overachieving nogun. I actually believe he purposely seeks folks like me out at Macy’s for the purpose of initiating one-sided jousts! He has the healthy bravado to triumphantly toggle with the present spawning of hipsters like his son, as well as me-- the in-between generation. He lusts for pertinence and self-instituted immersement in today’s game.

The 70-year-old’s wry sense of humor bolsters his resolve to continue kicking a little college ass and absorb plenty more good experience. He is well into the thick of life, as if he still seems a young man fresh with the insights of a Land of Milk and Honey. No wonder his wife still looks like a model. This senior is not checking into Assisted Living any time soon.


Symbolically speaking, could one constantly be arm wrestling his or her inner demons with cyclical revolutions?

Thirsting for Life's Love

How do the rest of us keep our “love-for-life” lights sparked, rather than dimmed from the bleaker realm of cynical cyanide? Through friends, family (if one is lucky enough to forge and sustain such bonds), love of life’s passions (including thought and creativity) if one is fortunate enough to responsibly indulge, respect for vocation, more idyllic Dreams that compensate for drearier vocations, Goals to accomplish feats, nature, athletics, meditation, spirituality, kindness, gratitude, sustenance of health, bonding with kindred souls during troublesome times, and kinship amongst the “conversational musicians of humankind” (I hope that is not an oxymoron that remains too largely under-exercised?).

I like reaching out to people but because a consistent soulmate has alluded me, I do see myself relegated to kind of a satellite off-shoot in the hard-fought, leisure studies field of snaring various forms of Life’s Love. Nonetheless, despite thwarts I try to work for (O.M.) Optimist, Incorporated!

I am a writer, digital musician, psychologist proudly practicing without a license, and occasional patron of the Philosophers’ Club tavern in West Portal. I have mulled over some of the answers to the 70-year-old’s success that I am beginning to apply to my life and help others along with their respective journeys.

Seeking Meaning

A friend of mine half-jokingly asks people whether they are profound. Most of them reply affirmatively because we all would like to think that our life has meaning. But are we aware that our life has meaning? And when we are not aware (which happens sometimes to many of us during our mad dashes), does it mean that we do not possess such meaning because we are not cognizant of it?

Or, may our meaning be present even when we are not particularly enjoying it nor aware in the moment that we are meaningful? I would have to say yes. Persevering through the rungs of human survival is profound because it is necessary, but not necessarily easy nor fun. Of course, each challenging moment that we actually appreciate during this constant battle to keep buoyant accumulates additional layers of meaning beyond our mere survival.

And the prospect of true contentedness trumps gratitude because gratitude is an integral component in the epitome of pursuing happiness. We may foster a keen, somewhat detached awareness of not only the lack of possibility, but because of that very dearth, an appreciation for what is possible to seek that might bring us joy, however finite.





My Mulled-Over Secrets to Capturing Meaning

At ever-so-longest last, jartichoke.com Media very proudly and profoundly presents: Hello, I’m Jacque D’Artichoke, J.D.. Fancy even remotely bumping into you! You might ask, how can I keep my head up when everything appears to be headed so far south?

Well, I vacillate between adopting four hilarious characters INSIDE me, depending upon the existential challenge I must deflate. This requires bait and switch character donnings that serve as symptom dressings that never seem to let up. Yet, these personas definitely hold plenty of water. I guess sanity is supposed to flow and ebb like an impactful river.

I’m predominantly a writer. Even though I am an Artiste (an author of three books), I call myself a “Musician” even in terms of my writing because I compose prose and non-fiction essays in precise, harmonious code of flowery language and revelatory paradigms. In a very real sense, we are all musicians because we all have both a unique story that we croon solo, as well as a chorus of human commonalities. So let us play, Maestros!

I am a “musical” writer because singing the “Code” of the English language, I compose “music” with my Words that are rife with entrenched, bursting symbolism, avant-garde and edgy phraseology, and previously unveiled interpretations behind humans’ psychological, philosophical, and “what-makes-us-tick” Code of motivations, behavior, and hopeful principles that may withstand the former two. I lament my fallibility, aspirations, and try to resolve remotest possibilities that may or may not one day come to fruition, given state of the art realities. I am a “musician” because I make do with what I do not and do have.

For example, in my autobiographical novel, The Ascent of a Barbarious Court Squatter, http://www.amazon.com/The-Ascent-Barbarious-Court-Squatter/dp/146370898X I write about the competitive sports mindset’s relation to my spin on FUNNY and serious persona theory, social conscience advocacy platforms that are too often swept under the rug, the philosophy behind existentialism and monotheistic spirituality from a lay person’s analytical lens, spatial aesthetics of San Francisco and the understatedly majestic, Mount Tamalpais, herself...

In short, I write about consciousness from both an ascetic as well as aesthetic lens and how it is relevant primarily to individual, but also collective prosperity. Read my book and *Prosper!* And get ready to laugh your “A” level off!!! (Don’t worry, you can sew it back on with see-through stitches!)

I unearth evocative aphorisms and have contemplatively reached a keen understanding of the human condition by leading the at times, unnerving life of a romantic celibate for generations. I thrust myself into the throngs of a largely self-initiated, 20-year competition tennis odyssey, I become a digital musician with negligible musical training (Check out my iTunes E.P., Moon Palace!), and I earn a Juris Doctorate (Law Degree).

In short, I have a long way to go before I become as resilient as the 70-year-old when it comes to arm wrestling life’s hindrances and adrenaline-stimulating challenges. But I have come a long way, indeed, and I intend to build upon my steady grip.



We Often Arm Wrestle Ourselves

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