Inspiration from my lil brother….

When you growl/bark like DMX & disturb the wildlife

WELL, WELL, WELL….. What a week! I’d have to say the most stressful part, was driving in that horrible Portland/Holiday weekend traffic. Good grief! What in the hell happened to my old stompin’ grounds? Cranes, condos, hipsters & egos as inflated as the prices at the Portland Saturday Market. That being said…. I still miss it on occasion; The convenience of it all. (Eva just yelled, “Dad, I think the quinoa is done!”) Dad’s duty is never done, when the kid wants food!! Shout out to Nicole, by the way! Eva loves the quinoa salad you taught me to make a few years back. Ok… I’ve clearly digressed & Portland isn’t exactly what I wanted to share. Let’s discuss what’s got me all retired & “brand new.”

SAPHO is an acronym for the following:

Synovitis– Inflammation of the joint lining; Swelling & stiffness; Arthritis

Acne– Pus formation at the hair folicle; Generally on the face & upper back

Pustulosis– Inflammatory skin; large, fluid-filled, blister areas; Usually on the hands & feet

Hyperostosis– Excess growth of bone; Usually in the chest wall; Where bones & tendons attach

Osteitis– Inflammation of the bone; Usually at the sacroiliac joints & spine (That area right above your butt-crack)

All of these ailments kick my ass on a daily basis. They hurt, itch, annoy & irritate the hell out of me. At it’s worst, back in ’05-’10, there were days in which I wished I had died in the desert, rather than deal with the pain. Kind of crazy considering my perspective on things now. But very true. The pain & irritation of this disease, I wouldn’t wish upon my least favorite enemy (whoever that is). As it stands today & for the past 2 or 3 weeks, my skin has been bubbling/oozing/flaking; Pustules on the back of my head burst while in the shower or working out. And my body is in a constant state of dull throbbing. The throbbing has become tolerable over the years, thanks to marijuana alleviating a majority of the pain. But that doesn’t mean the shit isn’t exhausting! I’ve found myself soaking in a jacuzzi tub w/ epson salt alot lately, to calm the irritable skin. I just don’t like baths; The idea of marinating in my own filth & dead skin repulses me. A bottle of red wine next to me, extinguishes my disgust however.

So now that you all believe me to be a self-medicating lush, I’ll tell you how I really cope: I kick my SAPHO Syndrome in the balls, before it kicks me in the balls. This disease, if allowed to consume the body, will cripple me. Think of Samuel L. Jackson’s character, “Mr. Glass” from the movie “Unbreakable.” Ok, probably not that severe. But I’d definitely need the aid of a cane/walker. But before it gets to that point, I exhaust myself physically. Whether it be biking the mean streets of Ocean Park or putting in work at my in-home gym, I make my body stronger; To better withstand the pain I’m going to have anyway. Like that quote from “The Shawshank Redemption”: “Get busy living. Or get busy dying.” If I’m gonna hurt, it won’t be due to SAPHO.

(Lights joint of “Candyland”) In addition to beating myself up, I also exercise a level of restraint when it comes to my diet. Beer doesn’t find its way into my belly as often. Which is always a good thing. I’m seeing remnants of my “younger” six-pack & less of the one I acquired at “30-something.” Red meat is now taboo in the household, with Eva being here. I don’t even eat my monthly NY Strip anymore. If I even look in the direction of a steak, I get the “stare of disappointment” from her. Having thought about it, I’ve only eaten meat a handful of times this month. Chicken, turkey & pepperoni pizza…. Eva is converting me into a better version of myself, one day at a time. So the significance of the diet is this: Beer, red meat, lactose, gluten, too much spice, highly acidic foods…. And probably a few others I forgot….They all irritate the body; Causing stress. If my body is stressed, things start going haywire with it. Skin becomes irritable & itchy. Body stiffens up. Eyes get red & blurry. Back spasms. Pain & discomfort ensues. Sounds like fun huh? Right. Even hearing a snipet of what I go through, some folks still say, “But you get to stay hooooome….”

Ummmmmmm….. I’m not special folks. Am I fortunate? Sure. But not special. My 9-5 (Or 6-9:30 for accuracy), consists of responsibilities. Minimal by comparison to some of you, I know. But I earned my spot. Nobody put me here. And I’m still earning it. I challenge myself every day. It’s not easy & it’s exhausting. But I take the time to do it. And that’s my challenge to each one of you this Memorial Day 2018: Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Take the time to figure out what you need to do for you. And if there are changes within your life you need to make…. Or obstacles in the way of your goal…. Don’t fret or panick. You push all of your chips to the center of the table & go “all-in” on yourself; Get busy living the life you want to live.

Derrick & Halsey…. Seeing y’all pushing your wares yesterday really made me smile. It’s beautiful seeing the teamwork you display & how you “work” to make shit happen. Your creativity & drive since the birth of Holt, is a beacon to our family. I am proud of the both of you. I love you & will see you next month.