Making Money, Getting Strong: Two Grownup Responsibilities


Writes Mark Rippetoe:

There are more important things in life than money. There is family, learning, music and art, love and friendship, and your health. There is joy, laughter, passion, triumph, the rebound from failure, and the pleasure of accomplishment.

Now it’s time to grow up, son. Because all these important things need to be paid for, and some of them can be expensive. Money is handy like that.

Physical strength is like money in the bank in that it enables you to do the things you want to do with your body. Work, play sports, hunt and fish, and be physically independent well into your later years — physical strength is the basis of all these things.

I know that sitting around the table at The Academy, solving calculus problems, grappling with tough philosophical questions, writing art criticism, calculating reparations payments, and making decisions for other people might seem to be a more satisfying use of time and intellect. If you’re physically lazy, it certainly is.

But you can still do all these things while getting your deadlift up to a respectable weight. I manage.

Intellectual pursuits are indeed important, but having a strong enough body to host an intellect effectively and to enjoy the fruits of intellectual accomplishment into old age is part of the equation. Strength is the antithesis of ill health, and ill health is not how an intellect flourishes.

In fact, the muscle mass that comes with the development of physical strength has been proven to prevent the diseases and afflictions that come with careless aging, the irresponsible lack of attention to maintaining the strength that is everyone’s birthright. Everyone can get and stay strong, but this requires work, and excuses are easier than squats and deadlifts.

The muscle mass that is the hallmark of physical strength is the key to longevity, to health, and to the maintenance of physical function. In its absence, a towering intellect in a weak and sickly body is a sad legacy of physical laziness or profound misfortune.

Unless you plan to get killed, you’d better plan for getting older. All the “cardio” in the world will do nothing to maintain your muscle mass — but effective strength training both grows muscle mass and keeps your heart and lungs in shape. If you have enough sense to know you must devote some time to exercise, strength training is the far more logical way to spend that time.

Money in the bank, muscle on the frame. Both are the consequences of effective planning, and both are among the most important things you can do — if you’re thinking ahead.

jehovah’s witnesses at my door

jehovah witnesses knocked on my front door the other day.

two old ladies, sweet and pleasant,
with beautiful southern hats
were standing on my porch as
I opened the door.

hair disheveled, shirtless,
my tattooed body staring
at them.

they greeted me with nervous eyes
as they talked to me about their god.

they smiled, made small talk and
read their cherished scriptures
written by unknown authors.

soliciting their view of salvation.

it took all I had not to expose some of the
fallacies in their belief system.

it took all I had not to remind them that
being devoutly passionate in their beliefs
is not a measure of their accuracy.

but I was quiet. I let them read
and I politely took their pamphlet.
I gave them a thank you smile,
figuring nice people are better off
left alone in their fantasies.

as long as it gives them hope and meaning
in this circus of life, you know?

as they left, I shut my door,
tossed the paper into the trash
and headed out back to my patio.

I sat beside the dead ferns and the stale leaves
that had fallen from my backyard oak.

I subtly sipped my whiskey
and sucked in my version of salvation
through a cigar
and slowly exhaled it out to the gods.

and as I sat back,
trying to find my place in the book I was reading,
my mind wandered and
I caught myself recklessly
bleeding nonsensical thoughts on
fate, eternity and immortality.

damn those sweet old ladies,

they got me.



there are no paths
that lead to truth.
that’s the splendor
and beauty of it. truth has
no set path. no absolute.
truth is alive, living,
breathing, meandering
through our cells, penetrating
our dreams. it doesn’t rest under
the roofs of mosques,
or temples
or churches.
it doesn’t die
in bitter hearts
or suffocate
in closed minds.
the truth is alive,
chaotically so,
and will continue to
thrive, whether we
want it to or not.
let it fill you with
vigor and passion
let it lead you
to say yes to it all.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec


Moonlit nights in Paris,
the artist, tiny, staggering through
streets, dragging along
an easel
he was to set up
in the Parisian brothels
to bring a light of humanity
to these gals of the night
that was rarely seen.

The wind, tainted
with the vices of the gutter,
splashed his face as he made his way.

And the thieves, pimps and
street-walkers lurked at all hours
of the seedy night.

The artist strolled on through.

Saturated with drink, 4 day
binge, no sleep
living out the fate that he’d excepted
long ago.

His paintings captured
the bohemian nights in Paris,
the afterhours
of the most essential era for art
and artists.

The glory of 19th century Paris,
he captured beautifully.

But the whores, alcohol
and madness
finally got the best of
this postimpressionist

As it usually does.

Dying in the arms of his mother
at only 36 years old
under the blazing sun.

The sun,
which he’d spent most
of his
short days
days cursing.

glory, gone

i sniffed at the smell of glory today
it found me by surprise.
once I acknowledged it
it faded into the sky
forever away
from where i was.
i find that nothing has changed
i’m still sitting in my garage
at midnight, smoking cigars
and sipping whiskey
trying to figure out something
to write. the agony still lurks
just like desire
just like the owl
in the backyard oak
just like the chaos
i seem to adore
just like the moonlight
over the graveyard
just like tomorrow’s hangover
that’ll surely greet me
i accept it all