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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Live Your Dream ~ That's My Theme

With thanks and a tip of the hat to blogging friend Kirk Jusko, [He doesn't post his picture, so I can't either.] for the title, it occurs to me that really is one of my strong life themes. I want everyone to land on their dreams and achieve them. I've had some lofty dreams of my own and on the odd occasion, I've found myself existing in my dream just as I dreamed it. Maybe I should have bought that bracelet for myself, or at least a matching one. I wonder if the catalog . . . . maybe . . .

I lean toward being generous and pretty engaged/engaging, so if I find out that you have a dream, likely I'll cheer for you at some point. If your kid wants to sell the most Girl Scout cookies, I'll walk her around the neighborhood, sit with her in front of the store, buy some cookies myself and take her to lunch to celebrate after the sale. If you need a 12-step program, I'll take you there and stay with you. If you want a meal or a drink, I love providing those things maybe more than any other. I'm not shy about asking others to support you, either. If I watch you chase your dream and fail to reach it, I'll love you and keep hoping. If I watch you chase your dream and grab it, I'll holler right out loud.

Those who come here often, know the Badger had an important two-stage race last weekend. Not for the first time, I asked other bloggers to join me in some collaborative effort to cheer the man on with words - show our support and humor and admiration. I was pleased and touched once again to see the work of those who commented "I'm in!" Bloggers are creative, of course, but I never cease to be amazed at the generosity we show one another.

It is not for me to tell you all about the two-day race and how it was the most difficult thing he has ever done on a bicycle. It's not my deal to tell you about the dead rattlers and what the weather and road gradient were like. It isn't my job to explain that he found the experience transcendent. Click on the link and read the last few posts of his good blog. You'll get the picture! I will share the words I'd never heard him utter before. As he stepped out of the car for the pre-race course test, he e-mailed, "I don't know if I can do it." I wasn't sure whether to e-mail this: ;~} or this: "How serious are you, since I can't see your face?" He was serious. He didn't know if he could propel that Cervelo up those hills.

No, my job is to present the works of my wonderful blogging friends. Here you are, Badger, applauded and encouraged from spots all across the globe and blogosphere. In absolutely no order whatsoever, behold the offerings. Congratulations on your first place, you climbing old mountain goat. Transcend and do it again! Ride on and live your dream!

I used the offerings as stand-alone poems this time. One will see why! Each was that good.

From my dear friend Rachel Fenton, a published author in Auckland, New Zealand, comes wonderful poetry she constructed using some of the language from my prompt in the original post:

His mighty steed is the white Cervelo R3. A hound
with an orange saddle and handmade wheels.
Encircled: the heart monitored, wrist bound
by Garmin to give data, feed the needs he feels.

Erin O'Brien - yes, we all know she's Hot in Cleveland! - also a published author, rang in again:

The weather sure did make it hard
he did not end the Boulevard.
But upon the Callville Stage he stood
wearing proud a winner's hood.

He needs no introduction to you, Badge, but you knew friend Tag would play. His offering was dropped into my e-mail account, so this is the first public viewing:

Dead rattlers on the road
where Badger dares to fly
on wings of sinew and steel,
pushing to the summit
toward verging indigo sky.

All right, here we go. She hails from Sugarhouse, Salt Lake City, Utah. She is a poet, a fact recognized by many, many bloggers and readers. She is classy and sassy. She is Kassie. Her offering follows. I bow:

Listen, dear bloggers, and you shall hear
of Badger Morehouse with passion clear.
On a fine day in May he took his Cervelo R3
down to the floor of dry Death Valley.

Who remembers his spokes and tooth low gear?
Who remembers the miles he’s logged this year?
He says to friend, Les, “I’ll attack upslope,
I’ll ride with the wind, chase the ringer and hope.

Hang a bottle of water off of a tree,
one on the land, and two that I’ll see
on the opposite side of the valley.
Ready to ride, chains over the cogs,
I’ll attack the headwind and slide through bogs.”

Then he sees decayed asphalt and muffles a cry,
stands up out of his saddle and lets fly
a clatter of swearwords aimed at the sky.
His wheelness illness is evident now;
he’s careened with something left by a cow.

A paceline perfectly is formed,
under his slicker, his heart is warmed.
He’s mastered the switchback, he’s leading the pack;
he thinks of the past and takes a look back,
remembers the shot in his upper left thigh;
thinks of his death, of how he could die -
a punch in the kidneys by a teen upside down?

“I’m third in the nation,” he says with a frown.
I’ll not pass on in a way that is lame,
I want a sure victory, I must win this game.”

So laying a finger aside of his nose,
(Oh no, I’ve muddled, I’m in the wrong prose).
Let’s see, where were we, we’re talking of Jim
and how he cycles on more than a whim,
but now his heart is much like a wheel;

He won’t let go, his ambition is real.
His derailleurs will never derail his dream;
he’ll win this race, or so it would seem
to one who is waiting at his door,
with words that will echo forevermore!

For borne on the night-wind of the past,
through all their history, to the last,
in his hour of darkness and peril and need,
stands one without malice, corruption or greed.

Her heart will waken, she’ll welcome him home,
she’ll hand him the print-out of our collaborative poem.
He’s bound to listen and then he will hear
the resounding love of his cheerleader dear -
a love he can count on as simple as cycling -
it’s Leslie who’s waiting to announce, “You’re my King!"

And what does anyone have to say about that?

I didn't write any poetry this time. I'm not good with it. But I know it when I read it! My written offerings this time were my post, the endless e-mails as he traveled, prepared, and awaited the results. The Andy Griffith Show was my white noise - the episode where Thelma Lou's "dog" of a cousin, Mary Grace, comes to town and dazzles Gomer Pyle. It's one of the funniest things I've ever seen. It comforts me when I pace while absentmindedly getting dinner organized. I got an e-mail. "Outskirts of Las Vegas." I sent one back. "Would you like me to organize a parade, come out there and carry you, the Prius and your mighty steed into the city on my shoulder so you can bow and wave?" "Oh, no," came the reply. "That won't be necessary." He's modest, too! Enthusiastic, but modest.

In my ears right now: This is fun music. I was 22 years old.

Something that charmed me: This entire endeavor charmed me. The outcome charmed me. The 60-year-old dreamer charmed me. You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one.

Photo credits: Good folks, I ask indulgence. I had to go a lot of places to get the pics. I'm going to take a flyer here, hoping that if you visit here to read, it means you've got a soft spot for me and you'll forgive me just this one time. Please. I don't mean to steal or offend.


  1. Good poem. Congratulations to all the contributers.

    May I something about the whole "follow your dream" thing, as a general philosophy? I admire people who follow their dreams, but I don't particularly have a problem with people who don't. Life is complicated, and whether or not to pursue one's dream, or bliss, is a choice for that particular person to make, and no other. The best we can do is not consciously, maliciously, or selfishly try to obstruct somebody who wants to follow their dream, or just wants to live in peace for that matter. The phrase "live and let live" is, in my opinion, still the philosophy, or moral precept, that trumps all others.

    Sorry if I sound a bit sour. I just wasted a hour looking for something on the Internet that I could use in a post, and couldn't find it. Now, I gotta rethink the whole thing, and maybe not even write it. I'm so depressed at the moment, I might throw myself in front of Badger's bike

  2. This is all wonderfull stuff. I mean really. But I have to say, there's nothing noble about me. I'm just an old guy who rides a bike, and that's all. So I thank you for your kind words. Life is shorter than you think. Do what you really, really need to do. And do it now. Don't hesitate any longer. ...off the box. Good night and good luck.

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  4. I'm sorry to have missed the bike ride, here Les but belated best wishes to Badger.

    I'm still catching up on all this bike riding business.

  5. @ Kirk ~ I also take into consideration the degree of drive and passion a person has. Some are OK with dreaming and ONLY dreaming. They seem satisfied with that. That's OK with me. Others HAVE to go after the dream, kicking all obstacles aside. That's OK with me, too. It isn't my place to tell any other human being what to do, how to do it or to judge him or her. I try to bring that to the table for every human interaction. I like the motto, "Do no harm".

    I'm sorry your research was thwarted! I hope your depression was temporary. And, Kirk, I don't recommend you throw yourself in front of that particular Cervelo. I once watched him at the Skull Valley finish line from the car about 20 feet behind him. Just as he was about to cross, a car veered into his path. He stared that car down and, Kirk, I was pretty sure the car was going to blink first. I'd fear for you if you threw yourself in harm's way.

  6. @ the Badger ~ Sage advice, Badge, from the man who is finally living his dream. And I'm with you. Let's lose not one more moment of life NOT doing what we dream about. You may not be noble, but you're sure-as-shootin' fascinating to watch! You thrill us. We pull for you.

  7. @ Elisabeth ~ I thank you for popping over to this side of the globe and I know the Badger will appreciate your good wishes. From my perspective, you don't even really need to fully process the riding and the races. That's the Badger's deal. My deal here is simply about connecting with others.

  8. Hi, Limes, it's me again. I'd like to apologize for my somewhat rash statement last night. I think I overreacted to seeing my name at the top of the blog. I might have to scale back my particular dream for awhile, or else face starvation, so I'm a bit defensive these days.

  9. @ Kirk ~ I'm not quite sure what you're saying about seeing your name at the top of the post. Why did you overreact to that? And are you saying you need to curtail your writing efforts in favor of gainful employment, Kirk? If so, that makes me sad, and I wouldn't blame you for being twitchy. Please don't starve.

  10. My contribution should have been "Live your dream, that's Badger's theme". Rightly or wrongly (probably wrongly), because I came up with it, I thought it would be percieved as "Kirk's theme" and I didn't want to come across as some hypocrite telling people to persue their dreams when I may have to slow down a bit myself.

    Don't be sad for me. I'm not going anywhere. I just might not be quite as omnipresent as I once was. We'll see. As that great sage Anonymous once said, hope springs eternal.

    WV hanes--unmentionables.

  11. @ Kirk ~ OK, I get it now. I didn't take it that way at all. But it reminds me how sensitive you are and how much I like that about you. Many men either don't have much sensitivity or won't show it. You and Tag have it and show it and it is one of the qualities I most appreciate in each of you.

    Kirk, if we don't keep hoping, we might as well not get up in the morning. Hang on to hope.

    VERY fine WV! You know I appreciate that.

  12. I know how Kirk feels. I'm not exactly 'living my dream,' but I squeeze some moments in that feel dreamy. I would much rather be free to travel and pursue more artistic ventures, but I simply can't. A 96-year-old dying mother trumps a traveling musical poetry show. In another respect, I'm living my dream to be calm and happy to handle circumstances that are thrown my way.

    That said, I'm human enough to be envious of people who can get out in the rain and push themselves through a biking race. I would love to do that.

    I love the title and poetic contributions. I wonder if your other readers are aware that Badger has been shot and that someone punched him in the kidneys while being held by the legs out of a moving truck?

    Just got back from a wonderful trip to Kanab, Utah, where I helped a friend with an Earth Fest. Hope to tell you more about it in one of my blogs.

  13. @ Kassie ~ I wondered where you'd got off to! I missed you and I'm glad to have you back, but I'm also thrilled you had a lovely getaway. Can't wait to hear some details.

    I don't mean this to sound pathetic or stab the more sensitive readers, but I lost track of my dream. Believe me, I'm not living one. However, some things are changing. There is some shape shifting afoot. I hear sounds that were missing for a long time. There is a fragrance on the air. The clouds are parting and I am beginning to emerge. I feel a little sun on my shoulder and it feels damned good.

    Kass, when you sent me the poem for the Badger, I was blown out of the water at the research you had done to catch all the details. It is a stunning piece of artistry! Something else I would point out with admiration for him is this: He had to change his head. For many years he played the tapes of disapproving voices. "Too much time. Too much money. Taking attention away from me. It serves no purpose." Turning off the subliminal messages was an important step. Not many of us are successful at truly changing the way we think. He did that.

    And, by the way, I think you are a heroine for taking care of your mother. Too many people would warehouse her and feel they'd done well. You're about to do it hands-on. That sounds a lot like fighting a mighty bicycle race to me.

  14. I'm one of those who didn't know Badger had been shot or held out of a truck while someone punched him in the kidneys. He was a photojounalist at one time, wasn't he? Did that happen in the course of his work?

  15. @ Kirk ~ Uh-oh. You've wakened the beast! Get ready. I'm going to get loud. For reasons I don't understand, because I CHEER cyclists, they bring out aggression in a shocking number of people. The Badger's cycling blog tells of many outrages, as do the blogs of cyclists he follows.

    He was shot as he rode toward Red Rock Canyon one evening. He stood in the streets with his bike for 45 minutes before the paramedics arrived. They wouldn't transport his bike, but a kindly NHP officer took it to the hospital for him. The ER personnel were chaotic and the bullet was not removed. The police did nothing to even investigate, despite the fact that other cyclists had been menaced by people in a similar vehicle in the same area about the same time. Years later he got a tiny sum of money from a Victims and Witnesses program that did not offset the co-pays at the hospital and other expenses.

    Here is the kidney punch story: a gang of adolescent cretins were playing "hassle the cyclist". One hung out the window up to his waist while the other morons held his feet so he wouldn't fall out on his head. The driver pulled up near the Badger and the kid let him have it across the kidneys with a 2x4, I believe it was.

    He's also bee paintballed, ganged up on by a pair of Rottweilers (one bit him through the calf and he had to shoot one of them) and I couldn't begin to write enough in comments about the daily peril from motorists. Going for a bike ride isn't kids' play!

  16. To set the story straight, on the shooting, I was returning from Red Rock Canyon, and I "only" had to wait about 20 minutes, give or take, for the police to arrive and say, yes, it definitely looks like you've been shot with either a .22 or a .25 caliber bullet. The kidney thing was merely the balled up fist of the cretin hanging out of the window. No other organic or inorganic tools were used. The rest is pretty accurate. The ER bill came to over $12,000 for basically nothing other than "yes, you've been shot. We're leaving the bullet in, as it is not in a place that will cause any problems." Then I was on my own to find a way home at 10:00 at night.

  17. @ the Badger ~ I thank you for the clarification, Sir, and I am laughing uproariously! This is a hilarious example of how legends grow. I've heard these stories more times than any other human being, probably. Right out of your mouth, in the same room. DAMN, the details got inflated! Seriously though, when you care about someone and they're attacked, it's hard to keep it in perspective. A little slap on you from a stranger with no good reason to slap you feels like an assault to me!

  18. Hey, that's brilliant! Well done everybody - we couldn't pump those pedals for you Badger but we can rally along and rah at the finish line!

    That's really sweet, Les :)

  19. @ Rachel ~ Love you, and thank you for coming back again! He'll read it and love you, too. Seriously, not being stupid here: I wonder why some people "click" and deeply, immediately. What's Beanie doing? <3

  20. Hey - I'm going demented this week with too many things going on! Or rather there were too many things planned, I went to great effort and then got let down at the last minute leaving me quite fagged out and generally out of sorts, which I do not like to be!

    Beanie is swimming twice a week now - 1 and a 1/2 Ks on Tuesdays and about half that on Fridays - not bad for a 9 yr old!

    I'd be happy if I could manage one length. She does it really quickly, too.

    Thank you for asking :)

    Hope you are okey doke, too?
    SOrry I didn''t get back to this sooner.
    I don't know why we click but I don't mind not knowing as I'm happy just to have...crikey, now I sound like Yoda...

  21. @ Rachel ~ YAY, Beanie! You see, I do root for people going after their dreams. I have an extra soft spot for little 9-year-old Auckland girls, though.

    I have an inkling for why I click with you, Rachel - at least one reason. You wrote some of the most wonderful words to me that have ever been sent my way. You said you often didn't know what I was talking/writing about, but you were intrigued enough by me to want to find out. That's powerful stuff. Thank you.

    Be good to yourself, please. Slow and easy.